Where to buy made-to-measure clothing?
May 5, 2011 11:23 PM   Subscribe

I've decided to go down the made-to-measure road and buy some shirts (and, perhaps suits) that fit really well. Which online made-to-measure shop is best?

With the poverty of grad school behind me, I need to buy some great fitting shirts and suits. I've had relatively little luck in retail stores and want to try the made-to-measure route. Unfortunately, there are tons of places to buy made-to-measure shirts and just as many reviews slamming or praising each of them. If you've had a good (or bad) experience with online made-to-measure, I'd love to hear where you recommend I go/stay away from.

If it matters, I'm a relatively tall (6'1") thin guy who is primarily interested in conservative fabric patterns. I'm hoping to buy shirts (and suits) that fit really well, but I don't want anything that even suggests "cutting edge" fashion.

Bonus question: If you have recommendations for where to get really great tailor measurements done near the Durham/Chapel Hill area, I'd love to hear them.
posted by eisenkr to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I bought a suit from Indochino 8 months ago.

I am 5'10", 150lbs.

Based on the cut of the suit, the man they envisioned with my measurements had my shoulders, my arms, my neck, and a 200lb tumor erupting from his stomach.

It was a total failure.
posted by Spurious at 1:12 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

As the experience of Spurious tends to indicate, I'd have thought an online made to measure shop is something of a contradiction in terms. I've had a few bespoke outfits made and can't imagine how the tailor or seamstress could have done it without actually having me there to measure and discuss things personally with. Maybe it's different for guys, but the clothes always needed to be fitted and adjusted a bit in progress and even after they were done, which was all part of the service, and I don't see how you can do that online. Either buy off the peg or do it the old fashioned way. There's a reason the online option is cheaper, but it's the same reason why Spurious's suit won't fit.
posted by joannemullen at 1:27 AM on May 6, 2011

For shirts, I have had good results with Tailor Store for made-to-measure.

I have also had great service and results from Denver Bespoke, and just received a new suit made by them for my wedding. They have a system for making bespoke (not made-to-measure) suits by sending a linen mock-up of the design for you to try on before they start making the final product. Their website puts quite a lot of emphasis on old-fashioned / costumey stuff, but I bet they'd make normal work-type suits as well.
posted by primer_dimer at 1:39 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've had two suits made to measure. Not online, but by actual tailors. Both looked great for a very short time and then went weirdly out of shape. Compared to suits that I buy off the rack they were both a huge waste of money because suits should last a long time and keep looking good. These really didn't. A friend of mine who works in fashion explained it by saying that the type (stretchniness/shape holdingness) of the fabric I selected wasn't a good fit for the style of suits. How was I supposed to know?

So yeah, I wouldn't bother getting things made to measure any more. Instead I try and buy business attire from a good specialist retailer. The good thing about the company I just linked is that all their shirts come in different cuts, with different necks sizes and arm lengths. 6'1" and thin isn't really that weird a shape. Just get your arm and neck measurements and select a slim or tailored fit.

I guarantee that you will get a better fitting, longer lasting, higher quality shirt than you would if you went for a mid priced tailored option.

Also, those shirts come with metal collar stays as standard. It's a nice touch. You can even get them monogrammed if you want.
posted by aychedee at 2:04 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm 6' 2" and quite slim, and I find Ben Sherman formal cut shirts to be PERFECT. Give them a shot if they have a stand at any department stores nearby you.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 2:32 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might also want to check out Style Forum. The fellows over there are obsessed with fashion, and they often post photos of their made-to-measure clothes, compare notes on tailors, etc.

I once spent an afternoon just browsing around there and it's pretty fascinating.
posted by Georgina at 3:05 AM on May 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

Given the caveats people are offering, what retail stores have you tried? For your build I would also recommend Zara and Express for Men.
posted by like_neon at 3:15 AM on May 6, 2011

I've had good luck with Maxwell's. They make regular visits to cities all around North America where you can get measured, choose your fabrics and styles, and 10 weeks later the shirts arrive. Three shirts wound up costing me about C$180 including tax, shipping, duty. The quality of frabric isn't amazing, but they fit perfectly.
posted by fso at 5:17 AM on May 6, 2011

There's a small men's shop called O'Neill's in University Mall in Chapel Hill. Might be worth a look. You could call ahead to see if they're likely to have your approximate size, then they'll measure you in the store.
posted by amtho at 6:54 AM on May 6, 2011

I've had a very good run so far with MyTailor.com. Check out the tour schedule to see when someone will be in the area and set up an appointment. You should be well taken care of.
posted by cardioid at 7:28 AM on May 6, 2011

Maybe you've already considered this, but I just met someone of your build (6'2", skinny) who wears alot of Brooks Brothers button down shirts because they make a slim fit that's perfect for him.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:50 AM on May 6, 2011

You need to be measured in person by a skilled human. My tailor is based in Hong Kong but does a U.S. Tour once a year for the purpose of updating measurements and so you can feel the materials. I'll memail you his contact information if you like when I get a chance to look it up.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:02 AM on May 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice so far! Like most of you, I thought that finding perfect-fitting department stores and mens-wear stores would be easy as I'm not that unusually shaped. Unfortunately, these stores seem to mean I either sacrifice a good fit (Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic), fabric quality (Express, H&M), or consistent availability options (any department store). I'm fine paying premium prices if I can get the quality I want and the fit I want.

Based on previous answers, it looks like suits are going to be a no-go---sort of thought it'd be silly to try that online---but I'm still betting there's an online shirt solution out there. I'm going to check out Style Forum, but still open to any suggestions you guys may have.
posted by eisenkr at 8:03 AM on May 6, 2011

My husband has gotten a couple of shirts and a sport coat from My Tailor. They did a great job fitting him and he's 5'11" and 125 lbs so super thin and lanky. He could never find shirts especially off the rack because his neck size is smaller than any standard size but he also has long arms so youth sizes aren't even an option. I went with him to both fitting appointments and looked through all the fabric options and styles and I can confirm that they have lots of traditional options. The tailor we met with with awesome and really knew his stuff though you do have the option of providing measurements to them via email if you don't want to schedule an appointment when they're in your town. But I really recommend doing an in-person measurement with them as they're really good at determining what looks good on you and making adjustments to best fit your needs.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:26 AM on May 6, 2011

This is a bit out there, but if you're serious about building a wardrobe (and have the cash to commit), you could fly to Asia and get tailored there.

Looking at one or two of the links above randomly, the package of two suits, two spare pants and two shirts I got in Hong Kong for $850 a few years ago runs something like $2500. My understanding is that cutting more fabric is relatively cheap and that they could have banged out another half dozen shirts fairly cheap. Flights from RDU to Hong Kong run as low as $1200, and you only need two or three days to get clothes tailored. And hanging out in Hong Kong for a few days is crazy fun.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:41 AM on May 6, 2011

I would look into finding an old school men's clothing shop near you. They are usually called something like "Smithson and Wedge" or "Hovnanian and Sons".... These guys will measure you AND make your shirts AND give you advice about fabrics and stuff. My husband has had great luck with this.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:50 AM on May 6, 2011

My Tailor makes good online shirts, as others have said. I would use them for shirts and shirts only. Anything at a better grade and you'd have to wait for a shirt-maker to visit and get measured. Another fine option is to locate a local alterations tailor and buy some high quality shirts---T. M. Levin, Turnball and Asser, Charles Tyrwhitt---and have them altered to fit you. This is what I personally do.

Here's a handy guide for judging how a well a shirt fits.

W. W. Chan makes the best of the Chinese suits. You can get nearly the quality of Savile Row at about a third of the price---$1200. Again, this is another case where you have to wait out their visit.

Please read A Suitable Wardrobe. It is the best online source for satorical information.
posted by luckypozzo at 12:32 PM on May 6, 2011

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