When I first started trying to rebuild my wardrobe, one of the first things I did was swear off shirts that didn’t come in my exact neck and sleeve size. No more alpha (small, medium, large, etc.) sizing, as I could never find a combination that fit my frame correctly. Over time, I developed a preference for custom, made-to-measure shirts. Going back to ready-to-wear is a tough proposition.
But as I’ve said countless times in dress shirt reviews before, made-to-measure isn’t for everyone. And if you’re fortunate to be able to buy items off the rack that you enjoy and fit well, then you should do it because it’ll save you time and you can often find good deals.
I wanted to provide that personal background so you can understand my experience with Hugh & Crye better. They have the most unique sizing I’ve ever encountered and when they contacted me to review one of their shirts, I had to ask them for help on what “size” shirt to pick from. They were extremely helpful, but I would point out that it helps to know your basic measurements.
Instead of sizing guys by neck and sleeve, they size you by your build (skinny, slim, athletic, broad) and height (short, average, tall). That’s it.
I won’t deny being highly skeptical of the idea, but it actually worked for me. They placed me in the “tall/skinny” fit, which I suppose is an accurate description of body.
I received their Rockefeller shirt that features a spread collar, barrel cuff, placket front and no pocket on a blue and white striped poplin fabric made of 120s Egyptian cotton.
The collar stands pretty well, even after two washes now. I hate collar stays (and the shirt includes removable ones), and I liked the fact the collar managed to stay up well without them under a jacket.
The buttons are plastic, but they are decently thick and don’t feel cheap at all. Along the placket’s end, the bottom buttonhole is horizontal. This allows the shirt to move as your waist expands to have some give without stressing the placket and causing it to pull (probably helpful to those of us who drink too much beer or enjoy pasta).
The shirt’s side seams feature single-needle construction, which is preferred to the double-needle construction you see on cheaper and lower-quality shirts.
The back of the shirt is darted, helping trim and taper the torso’s extra fabric. I’ll admit that I don’t have my MTM shirts darted, but I’ve never minded when ready-to-wear shirts add darts. I feel they only help the shirt fit better.
At the base of the side seams are Hugh & Crye’s signature contrasting gussets, which help prevent the shirt’s seams from splitting from stress. I haven’t seen gussets like this before and thought they looked pretty cool. Thankfully, the contrasting fabric is tastefully complimentary and simple.
The shirt’s construction overall felt well done. Hugh & Crye’s site says they primarily manufacture their shirts in India and source fabrics from Italy. In addition, they have a rather comprehensive disclosure page about their sourcing. I thought this was rather a rather interesting level of transparency, which I hope becomes more common from others.
In regards to the fit of the shirt, I really liked it and their approach to sizing worked for me — a pleasant surprise. Their shirts range from $85 to $125, slightly more expensive than Brooks Brothers, but cheaper than many department store brands.
I would add Hugh & Crye to a very short list of ready-made shirtmakers I’d recommend. Combined with a good variety of classic fabrics and thoughtful construction, they’ve managed to produce a competitively priced shirt.
The pitch hit all the right notes: denim fabric sourced in the United States or Japan, made in San Francisco and a price that reflects selling direct to customers versus retail markup.
The Kickstarter was a massive success, but my one hangup on issuing a blanket recommendation about Gustin was that I’d not handled the product myself and I thought sizing could be a bit tricky along with exchanges. I also wondered what Gustin would do post-Kickstarter and how they would continue to offer their jeans to those who wanted them.
Gustin launched their new website this week and they were kind enough to provide me with a pair to examine and photograph for this review.
After having hand’s on with Gustin’s jeans, I’m giving them a recommendation.
One of the first things I noticed about Gustin’s jeans were the back pockets and their unique blue horizontal stitch. At first, I thought this was a decoration, but it turns out that it’s actually there to functionally attach an inner cloth liner to help prevent your back pockets from blowing out and forming holes.
Of course, you can look up a bit higher and see the leather patch. I’m not person who places a lot of value on the leather patch on denim, but it does feel more substantial than one that would appear on a pair of Levi’s. However, it feels thinner than the Tanner Good patch that comes on a pair of 3Sixteens. As someone who wears a belt over the patch anyway, I’m not too hung up on it, but I did appreciate that the patch is darker and subdued rather than outlandish.
The inside of the jeans is pretty standard. The left pocket has a patch sewn on with information about the jean’s fabric, fit, care instructions, etc., and the fly also features a selvedge edge.
What really impressed me, however, were the buttons. I love the buttons on this pair more than any other jeans I’ve worn or seen.
The tops of the buttons feel thick, unlike other pairs where the fly buttons are almost sharp along the edges. The result is a more knob-like feel that buttons smoother and rolls along your fingertips better. It’s hard to explain why I’m obsessed with these buttons, but Gustin sourced unique hardware.
The seam rivets are also interesting. Rather than having tiny studs that stand up and protrude, their rivets are recessed and smoother as you brush over them.
Gustin also uses some subtle stitching details with red thread, placing it along the inside hem, the crotch seam and at the outside opposite the selvedge. It’s a small detail that most won’t ever see, but it’s a nice way to distinguish their pairs from others without going over the top.
Of course, a large selling point of jeans comes down to fit.
I’m a natural 33” waist and typically take a 32” waist in most raw selvedge denim jeans I buy. Gustin didn’t have a 32” available to send me, but did provide me with a pair in size 33”.
If you know your actual measured waist size, I’d recommend definitely sizing down 1” and perhaps consider going down 2” to account for stretching in the denim over time.
Regardless, I felt the jeans offered a good fit that was flattering and looked slightly better than a pair of Levi’s 501s would give you. The seat area of the jeans were comfortable and I felt that going down a size or two would still be pretty good and only slightly tighter. The rise was about where I’d like a pair of jeans to be — not too low, just slightly above a mid-rise.
For those of you who don’t like a straight cut, Gustin is now offering a slim cut. I’d perhaps also consider going with a slim cut if you’d like a smaller leg opening. You can see their size chart here.
In their post-Kickstarter phase, Gustin is now doing something similar on their own website. You can “back” a pair of jeans for pre-order and if enough buyers back a particular fabric, then the jeans begin production. Prices range from the original $81 to $99 — both of which I think are a very fair price for these jeans.
The one thing I cannot comment on yet is how Gustin’s jeans will look over time after many wears and a wash, but that’s a risk you take with any new pair of jeans. What I can say is that I think Gustin is bringing a lot of value and thought into their jeans and if you’re on the fence, then consider trying a pair.
If you’re the kind of guy who wears undershirts, then you’ve probably found your T-shirt of choice probably has some kind of problem that you don’t like — but you tolerate anyway.
I like undershirts as they generally keep pit stains from showing up on my dress shirts, but the standard white V-neck does present a few problems for me from a lot of brands.
First, a lot of undershirts are cut too short to tuck in and stay tucked in while under a dress shirt. If you have a longer torso like me, this is a constant frustration. And usually the few “tall” sized shirts you find aren’t often slim enough, typically starting in size “medium”.
Of course, guys who wear white poplin dress shirts know that if you wear a white undershirt underneath, you often have the ghost of the undershirt visible, which looks bad.
This is where Mr. Davis Undershirts come in and they offered me a free sample undershirt to try. I’m extremely resistant to change, especially when it comes to undershirts, but they definitely knock it out of the park in those first two categories I mentioned.
For one, their shirts definitely are long enough to stay tucked in. The hem length is sufficient that bending over the shirt won’t ride up past your belt line.
When it comes to staying invisible under your dress shirt, Mr. Davis shirts also excel at their goal. Here’s what my current white undershirts from Stafford look like under my white dress shirt:
And here’s the same dress shirt with a Mr. Davis Undershirts:
You’ll note in the first photo you can see the end of the short sleeves of the T-shirt as well as the outline of the V-neck, whereas with the Mr. Davis shirts you can’t see any of this. This is because Mr. Davis uses a weird beige-tan color that blends closer to your natural skin tone. I was pretty impressed at how well this worked.
It’s definitely also worth mentioning the fit of the undershirts. The fit is very form-fitting and tapers dramatically along the torso. I’m not a very muscular person, but it was essentially a second skin on me with a size medium (I’m a typical 38” chest in jackets). The fabric does have some stretch to it as it’s a bamboo-spandex mix (96-4),
I’m a bit torn on whether the fabric is for me. For a long time I’ve liked cotton-synthetic blends because it had the softness of cotton but the anti-shrinking properties of the synthetics. Frankly, I’m just not used to wearing something this tight and this stretchy. It took some getting used to when first wearing it, but for those who like this and find it preferable, you’ll like Mr. Davis’ fabric choice.
As far as details go, I liked how they went with a raglan sleeve rather than a set-in sleeve, which gives you greater movement in the arms. And the V-neck area is deep enough to allow for you to leave your top button undone and not worry about the undershirt showing.
If you want to give Mr. Davis a try, then visit their Kickstarter page (as of this writing there’s only 9 days to go), where they’ve already met their initial funding goal and are offering shirts for as low as $15 a shirt when you buy 10 of them. Or you can go more modest and try a single shirt for $25.
Overall, i like the shirt and think Mr. Davis is worth trying if you prefer your undershirts hidden, form fitting and with some stretch.
My friend edwinzee is selling a bunch of his shoes and if you happen to be a 9.5D, then you should check them out. He’s even including shoe trees with them.
All shoes are previously worn. Click on the links for more details about each shoe. Price includes shipping for CONUS. Please e-mail rushzeeman (at) gmail.com for payment details. I’m open to reasonable offers, but please don’t ask for my best price. All sales are final.