Around this time last year (give or take a few months), I was invited to try out the concept of ordering custom-tailored dress shirts through a website. It worked extremely well. I’ve bought 90 percent of my clothes online for the past decade — no lines, no crowds, better selection, decent prices, what’s not to like? Online will now be the default method for ordering my more formal attire too. However, along the way I have learned a valuable lesson in the importance of accurate measurements when buying custom-tailored clothing. Scientists, carpenters and plenty of other trades recognize the importance of proper measurements. I always thought the guys who measured me for a rental tux were putting on a bit of a show, but turns out that that the tape measure needs to be respected. I had the opportunity to try out another well-known online custom clothier — ShirtsMyWay — and discovered that even the snazziest, hand-tailored dress shirt doesn’t add much to your wardrobe if you mess up your measurements.
Cofounders Peter Crawfurd and Michael Yang have been operating ShirtsMyWay.com since its 2009 launch. They offer a wide range of fabrics and designs that, in combination with custom measurements, is claimed to be able to create 7 trillion different men’s dress shirts. I didn’t take the time to test out the 7 trillion claim, but I did try one. Although I favor a tee-shirt as my daily work uniform (one of the bonuses of working from home), I do have an appreciation for classic white dress shirts. While there are many other colors and patterns to choose from (as well as a range of fabrics), I stuck with the classic.
Designing a custom-tailored shirt is pretty quick and simple (you are guided through the process and detailed measurement instructions are included), although it pays to have a second person available to do the measuring for you. If you’re not certain, you can use an existing shirt from your wardrobe as a base for measuring, instead of attempting to be your own fitter.
Shipping is free (even to countries outside of the US), with express delivery available for an extra $10 — for those rush custom dress shirt emergencies. Mine arrived a few weeks after ordering and it really was of impressive quality. Nice fabric, fine stitching, no loose threads. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of rushing through the measurement process (I discovered my error after double checking my measurements) and as a consequence, it was a bit snug. While the website points out that accurate measurement is the customer’s responsibility, Peter says that in the unlikely situation where someone makes an error, he will work with them to sort things out. And when you get things just right, you can come back and order from a saved profile so you don’t have to remeasure. Prices start at $75 (shipping included), which is pretty reasonable for a quality shirt, let alone one that was custom-tailored.
In short: Nice shirts, well-designed website, good customer service, decent prices, but make sure you measure twice.
Disclosure: ShirtsMyWay provided a sample shirt for review purposes.