I’ve worked from home for going on three years now and that’s meant a very welcome relaxation in my standard 9-5 dress code. Most of the dress shirts and khakis have been relegated to plastic bags buried deep in a closet in the basement, back behind the spare seat I removed from my wife’s minivan about a decade ago. I tend to wear baseball caps instead of ties and the shirt I wore to work today was this —about as far as it gets from my old standby of button down collar and long sleeves.
However, there are occasions when even a self-employed geek needs to suck it up and dress appropriately. I was invited to try out a customized dress shirt from Blank Label and figured I may as well give it a shot, especially once I realized just how customized they could be. The process of designing your own shirt is quite easy (and can be entertaining), thanks to an interactive configurator that guides you every step of the way and provides real time updates of what your creation looks like. Designing a shirt takes just a few minutes:
- Choose a fabric (from three pages of options). They even have plaid for the grunge revivalists and paisley for vintage-look hipsters.
- Choose the shirt style (with the ability to modify everything from collar to pockets and buttons -even add military straps if that floats your boat).
- Individualize the shirt with monogramming or a label.
- Choose your size.
It’s this last step where Blank Label really takes things up a notch. I’ve always had a hard time getting long sleeved shirts that fit properly —I haven’t had a perfectly fitting dress shirt since I was measured by a tailor for my wedding tux and that’s a long time to put up with sleeves that are a little too short or a collar that’s too tight. Blank Label gives three options: enter exact measurements, fill out a form that lists some key information (weight, height, collar size, etc…) plus fit preference and current preferred brand of dress shirt, or they’ll send you a postage-paid envelope and you can ship them a shirt you currently own that fits perfectly and they’ll duplicate the sizing. I was feeling brazen and went for the exact measurement option and a few weeks latter, I had a perfectly fitting dress shirt for those days when a “Bazinga!” tee-shirt isn’t going to cut it. Although my review version was free, pricing is quite reasonable, especially for a custom tailored shirt: anywhere from $60 to $90, with free shipping.
I appreciated the fact that instead of simply letting you go nuts building a shirt then spitting out a final price, the site gives you the costs for each option as you design your shirt —so no surprises and if you want to stay within a budget, you can make informed choices about where to spend your money.