I recently decided to finally take the dive into custom clothing and began by ordering my first Made-To-Measure (MTM) shirt from Modern Tailor. There are a slew of custom/MTM shirting brands available online, but my tight wallet led me to choose Modern Tailor for their ‘first-timer’ deal and the number of positive revies I had heard for their lower-end shirts. In the end I was able to walk away with a great white dress shirt for about $40, all shipping and extras included. You might be able to do even better if you use this referral link for $20 off your first purchase: http://moderntailor.refr.cc/Z9GC8NX
I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I am no professional tailor, so my comments here are from a completely novice standpoint. That said, the construction and quality of my shirt is not disappointing in the slightest. The fabric itself, a single ply cotton, is as light as would be expected from a lower-range option, but honestly, it’s going to be perfect for this (hopefully) coming warm spring days. It’s thin without being sheer, and doesn’t have any of the stiff, wrinkly, uncomfortable (almost like plastic) feeling that some cheap dress shirts seem to have. Everything feels solidly constructed. I can’t speak too much for stitching, etc., but all the seams are neat and straight and I have yet to find any blemishes, in the fabric or the needlework. The collar, which I chose to have a ‘common’ softness, is structured enough to stand up on it’s own, without a tie, but soft enough to be comfortable and forgiving, and Modern Tailor offers bother stiffer and softer collar options, if that’s what floats your boat. I also opted up for the thick Mother of Pearl buttons, which came through sturdy and clean. Overall, the quality definitely met my expectations.
I will say that I wish Modern Tailor had included metal collar stays instead of the flimsy plastic ones that the shirt came with. So far I’ve only gotten metal stays from Charles Tyrwhitt and Express, and I have a bad tendencey to lose and/or ruin plastic stays pretty quickly. Minor complaint.
Quality of fabric and needlework is great and all, but you really buy a custom shirt in order to insure a perfect fit, so this was the aspect I focused most heavily on. While I can’t quite say that the shirt fit like a glove, it was pretty damn close. Modern Tailor offers a few different options for taking measurements. If you have a shirt that fits you perfectly, you can either measure that shirt, or send it to their tailors (although I’m not sure how shipping works in these cases). You can also choose to measure yourself, and Modern Tailor will then adapt those measurements into actual shirting measurements when constructing your shirt. I opted for this last option, as the whole reason I wanted a custom shirt was because none of my shirts fit perfectly. I was a little intimidated by taking on what I saw as a task for a professional, but the instructions provided made it pretty easy to get measurements I was confident with (my girlfriend helped out, it’s definitely useful, if not necessary, to have a second pair of hands). I did tweak a few measurements before submitting. I have broad shoulders and a very slim waist, and my biggest problem with shirting is that it tends to be far too wide around the beltline, leading to that dreaded ‘billowing’ effect when tucked in. I double-checked some other reviews online and made sure that Modern Tailor doesn’t cut especially close in the waist, and then knocked my own measurement down an inch. I also leaned on the slimmer side around the armholes, but not by much. For everything else, I faithfully followed directions and stuck with those results.
I gotta say, the fit is pretty impressive. The waist fits perfectly, which was my biggest concern. The cuffs seem a little loose at first, but now, only halfway through the day, I’ve gotten used to them and actually think they just fit better than what I’ve become accustomed to. The armholes are high and tight without being constricting (aiding to what I find to me a slimmer, more modern look). The darting in the back of the shirt let’s it follow the contours of my back, rather than hanging loosely (TSB Men has a great article on the glories of darts, check it out). The length of the shirt is just right as well (although I did pull this measurement from a shirt of mine, so I would expect this to be pretty accurate), and stays tucked in without bunching up under my pantaloons. Check out the picture below, and forgive any wrinkling (this was after a long day at the office):
Now, I said close to perfect earlier, implying that some things were a bit off. I’ll add a disclaimer here: from what I’ve read (and reasoned with mine own mind grapes), your first MTM will inevitably need a little bit of tweaking, as you get used to your own preferences and how that translates to tailor (and specifically your tailor of choice) measurements. With that in mind, for my next shirt I will probably cut an inch off of the chest, and will slim down the arms as well. Now, I do think it’s important to note that neither of these areas don’t fit on my shirt. My personal preferences just call for a bit slimmer of a cut than what Modern Tailor appears to make standard. I’m still happily wearing the shirt as is at this very moment.
I was pretty impressed with the turnaround time here. My order was ready to ship a mere 6 days after I ordered it. At this point, they even sent me a picture of the finished product, and while my choices were pretty standard, this could be great if you are picking a bolder pattern or customization options.
Modern Tailor does their actually tailoring in China, so the product shipped out of Shanghai, and I figured I was in for a pretty lengthy shipping time, but Modern Tailor provided me with a tracking number that allowed me to track the package internationally and it only took 3-4 more days before I had the shirt in my hand. Voila. Well under their quoted turnaroud time.
Here is a list of all the options I selected when making my shirt (all personal preference).
- Collar: Medium Cutaway Collar, Common Softness, Removable Collar Stays
- Cut Corner Cuffs, One Button
- Thick Mother of Pearl Buttons (+$5.00, well worth it)
- No Pocket or Monogram
- Standard Placket
- Slim Fit, with Darts
- I also sent in a picture of myself for the tailors to use to aproximate body type (not sure how much of a difference it made, but why not, right?)
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my first foray into custom clothing, and have the feeling it’s going to be my next addiction. Options can get pricey at any online retailer, but take advantage of any ‘1st time user’ discounts you can find, and, once again, use this referral link to get $20 off your first order from Modern Tailor: http://moderntailor.refr.cc/Z9GC8NX