CREDIT TO: Why You Deserve A Made To Measure Shirt BY: CHRISTOPHER MODOO

If you are looking to upgrade your wardrobe and have been tempted by the idea of having your clothes made especially for you, a made to measure shirt could be the perfect introduction to the world of custom clothing. Less of an investment than a suit, but with the same ability to upgrade any formal outfit, and with the added ability to give an edge to your more casual dress, it’s one of menswear’s true luxuries.

Need another excuse? The wrong shirt will detract from your look. Although the high street offers hundreds of off-the-peg options when it comes to fit and style, it can still be hard to find exactly the type of shirt you’re looking for. If your preferred collar shape is out of fashion, or you have particularly long arms, having your shirts made could be the 007-approved solution.

It’s easier than ever, too. In a world where you can easily customise your Nikes, made to measure shirts are now being offered by new and old brands alike. Darren Tiernan, a senior cutter of one of the latter, Budd shirtmakers in London’s Jermyn Street, believes that MTM (as it’s known in the trade) is “simple, convenient and enables a shirt to be personalised, offering you the finest choice of high-grade cottons and the luxury of your own fit, collar and cuff style.”

You can expect to pay anything from £145 to £250 depending on the brand and materials you’re going for. Sound good enough to make you part with your hard earned? It should be. Here’s everything you need to own about ordering your own made to measure shirt.

What Is A Made To Measure Shirt?

With made to measure, the shirt will be made individually for the customer but with a pre-existing pattern, which is altered to fit. Various components and design elements can be mixed together. If, for example, you have a small neck but a larger torso, you can choose to put a 15” collar onto the body of a size 16”.

There will be different collar shapes and other details to choose from, such as cutaways or button-downs which can be combined with stock cuff styles such as a three-button barrel or double style to be worn with cufflinks.

Michael Fish fitting Sean Connery at Turnbull & Asser

It is crucial to know the distinction between MTM and traditional bespoke services. A bespoke suit or shirt is made on an individual pattern made specifically for the customer. The measurements will be taken by the person who actually makes your pattern, and they will also take into consideration how the customer stands as well as a limitless option of collars and cuffs.

This service can take longer, will be more expensive, and most shirtmakers will insist on a minimum order (usually six). Bespoke is not always better, but you should be suspicious of any service that claims to be bespoke when it is not.

Why Buy Made To Measure?

There are various reasons why you should treat yourself to a made to measure shirt, but not all services are the same. It is important that you match your expectations to the right service and ask the right questions before parting with any cash. Above all, make sure the company has the cloth you want and that they offer the right styles and fits.

One of the advantages of MTM is that you get to try on a sample shirt first. This is an opportunity to express how you like your shirts to fit and see if your request can be accommodated. All services should allow you to have the perfect sleeve length, but some will also allow you to alter the length of the shirt body. You may also be able to amend the width of your cuffs (useful if you sport a chunky mechanical watch) and sometimes you can alter the waist of the shirt, although this is usually achieved by picking another body size.

Brooks Brothers

Because you get to try a shirt on first, there is no need for a trial or a fitting, so MTM is quicker than bespoke and you are usually able to order in singles. Christopher Field of London-based tailoring brand Guy Field believes that the ability to order one shirt is a significant advantage of MTM, although he does advise that customers “don’t rush into buying a whole wardrobe of MTM shirts straight away – it’s best to start with one.”

The Made To Measure Shirt Process

When ordering a made to measure shirt, you’ll be given a range, collars, cuffs and cloths to choose from. The most important part is trying on an actual shirt. How you like a shirt to fit is personal, and just because something is being made for you, it does not mean that it will fit like a second skin. You may prefer a looser, more classic fit, which will need to be conveyed to whoever is taking your order. Always ask for a summary of what you have ordered before placing a deposit as you likely won’t see it again for another four to eight weeks when the finished product is complete.

Turnbull & Asser made to measure

What To Consider

Ask yourself what the shirt is for. Are you intending to seduce the girlfriend of a rogue arms dealer or are you just looking to improve your current business wardrobe? Discuss your needs with the tailor so they understand what you want and when the shirt needs to be ready.

Field recommends clients really delve into fabric choice: “If it’s cotton [you’re after], does a robust Oxford or a silky superfine poplin suit your needs better?” Picking the cloth can be daunting as you’ll be faced with numerous options, but if you make a firm decision on what the shirt will be used for, you’re already off to a good start. Enjoy it and experiment. This is the sartorial equivalent of whisky tasting.

Thomas Pink

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