Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Semi custom part 2

While I have the deepest respect for reality, we shouldn't let it interfere with our lives. Sometimes it does stick its nose into the tent. Please excuse my absence the past two days.

I can be a jerk about shirts. I like them just so, but not so much enough to go the full custom route. In my experience sleeves or necks shrink, I don't. When I finally find a shirt I like I'll wear it until it falls off.

Shirts are tricky for fat men. Skipping right over and never, ever mentioning S_M_L abominations, its fairly easy to find a good fitting neck or sleeve, since off the rack shirts are sized by neck and sleeve. It's the chest that hard to fit. The only shirt maker who gives a consistent heads up on how the body is expected to fit is Ralph, and for the life of me, I've never deciphered the code. That's what drove me to the netherworld of on-line semi custom shirt makers.

If you have shopped this neighborhood at all you've seen there are lots of players, mostly in places you have never heard of. There are enough in the US to do a man justice, most I have never tried.

Today we will focus on two, Brooks Brothers and Lands End, book ends if you will.

I will say unequivocally, until someone proves otherwise, that Land End offers the best custom shirt available. I base this on 3 factors.

1. They offer the highest level of personalization of any shirt I have encountered. Once you select a fabric the question set of how you want your shirt to fit is extensive. It compares favorably to what your tailor would compute.

2. The shirts are reasonable priced and delivered soon enough. Your requirements are retained, to eliminate hassles when ordering your next and subsequent shirts. Excellent value for money.

3. You get the full, LE no hassle guarantee. If you no like, return it. No prob.

On the down side, and I expect that this is in response to the current economic conditions, the fabric selection is a lot smaller than it used to be. The basics are there, but not much fluff. It is still a great place to dip your toe, if you're wary about trying an on-line shirt.

choice of collar and color

No pocket

shoulder pleats

French cuff with gauntlet button

Brooks Brothers
Most of my shirts are BB's ocbd's. It has been that way since 1977. I like them and make no excuses. It wasn't until the mid 00s that I explored other shirt options. Not until I saw a BB custom ad for the shirt below did I gave their custom shop a try.

I like it, but. Much beyond sleeve and neck there are no size alternatives. Choice of collar, pocket and pleat is about it. If you know how their shirts fit you won't be disappointed. If you feel you swim in their shirts, you will in the custom shop as well.

Button down with contrasting collar
no pocket

double rear pleats

French cuffs in body color
gauntlet button

I'm open to other shirt makers offers, but I'm checking LE first.



Karena said...

Toad, I think you have done your research well another unless you receive another option. I am just wary when you already have tried and true available!

Art by Karena

Suburban Princess said...

Thanks for the info! Hubby is a girth man and shirts are always a struggle - if the chest is big enough the sleeves are too short etc. I think I will try the LE custom route and see how we do!

Patsy said...

My father ('til he retired) always has his shirts made by Ascot Chang (in Hong Kong, before they opened their NY store, then NYC.

Sadly, none of the menfolk in my family can wear them, since it appears my dad has freakishly short arms for his size. lol!

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Toad I'm passing your wise advice on dress shirts to my sons who are just beginning to purchase career wear. You are a wise man ~ and obviously a well-dressed wise man!

ADG said...

That BB contrivance remains one of the coolest shirts ever done. Ever.