Hey man, love the blog. Looking for intel on MTM shirting. I'm a slim dude and looking for basic oxfords has been a pain. I remember you had a good experience with ModernTailor's $20/shirt deal a while back. How have those shirts been treating you, and do you have any advice for measuring/ordering from them? Would especially love a quality comparison to BB ESF, which is what I've been wearing. Have the ModernTailors shrunk at all? Any other places I should look? Price range <$60-80/shirt. Thanks
Ever have this happen to you? I have this issue with a MTM shirt that I ordered (currently trying to get this resolved, we’ll see).
Notice how when the arm is raised, the shoulder/sleeve intersection has two things going on. First, it pops up. Second, the shirt’s sleeve tucks itself into and under the stitching on the shoulder. Needless to say, this is really uncomfortable.
What causes this to happen? At first I thought I’d entered some lousy measurements, but that’s not the case. The problem is with the shirt’s construction.
I laid this dress shirt on top of the shirt I modeled the measurements after. Notice the angle of the sleeves in comparison to the torso. The red one (BBESF) has a slight angle in comparison to the shoulder line. The blue MTM shirt has a very extreme angle in comparison to the shoulder line.
How dramatic is this? I busted out my protractor (shoutout to acutestyle!) and took this measurement:
The BBEST has a angle of 5 degrees, whereas the MTM has a angle of 30 degrees — a 25-degree difference. That measurement gets extreme as you look at the variance of how the arms end up toward the end of the sleeve.
Anyhow, if you have this problem on your shirts, then this is why. The manufacturer basically put the sleeves on too extreme of an angle and it’ll dramatically affect your range of motion even if you raise your arms up slightly. Also, it feels weird to wear it.
They’ve finally arrived: My made-to-measure blue oxford dress shirts from ModernTailor.com.
A few weeks ago, tredicielupo mentioned the site was running a deal for new customers: $20 for a custom oxford-cloth dress shirt. He really seemed to like his shirts and wished he’d bought more. I decided to take the plunge and order three.
The site recommends that you measure your best fitting shirt and input those measurements rather than measuring yourself. Being that I’m a big fan of the fit on the Brooks Brothers Extra-Slim Fit dress shirts, I decided to use that shirt as a pattern to get measurements from. You’ll obviously need a tailor’s measuring tape for this, which you can find at any hobby and crafts store.
Now, I didn’t use the BBESF measurements exactly. As good as those shirts fit me, it’s like any off-the-rack shirt and could be improved for my own fit. I actually took it trimmer in a few parts. I knocked off some sleeve bagginess, narrowed the waist measurement and increased the shirt’s length so it would stay tucked.
In addition to putting in my sizes, I also got to choose the various details of the shirt. Some are free, others are an additional fee. The only thing I opted to add was thick mother-of-pearl buttons.
For a collar, I went with a standard spread collar with longer point lengths (I can’t stand it when short collars don’t properly touch the collar of my jacket) and a single-button mitered cuff.
The only hitch came when I received an email back from them, saying that my armhole measurement was too small. I found this ridiculous and confirmed with them that, yes, I did want a smaller armhole. They made me send a photograph with a measuring tape on my BBESF shirt to prove that, yes, this is what I wanted them to do. Honestly, this worried me a bit, because it must mean they don’t get very many orders to do shirts with smaller armholes.
As it turned out though, my fears about the outcome ended up being unfounded. They arrived from China yesterday and I’m a big fan of how they turned out.
First, I just want to comment on how insanely quick they turned these shirts around from the day I placed my order to the day they arrived at my door: 13 days. And that’s with the slight delay because of their uneasiness with my armhole measurement. I’m blown away by how quickly they arrived.
The shirts arrive folded and pinned (plastic, not needles) just like any other shirt you’d buy at a department store and they give you a bag of sorts with their name on it (although I’m a bit unsure why).
I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert on dress shirts and what qualifies as good construction. I will say that the one thing I noticed is that they use a single-piece yolk instead of a split-back yolk. This was a bit disappointing, but it’s something that lots of places do to cut production costs. For a $20 shirt, this isn’t a dealbreaker, but if you’re going to be buying a full-priced shirt from them, then I’d try to maybe request they do a split-back.
The one nice thing about choosing your shirt’s features is that you can avoid having back pleats — although you may find this can limit your shoulder movement. I’m OK without them, but others may want to have them. I’m also a fan of the gauntlet button on the sleeves, which makes rolling sleeves up easier (the lack of a button on the BBESF bothers me a lot). The inclusion of a pocket and a full placket for free is nice, too.
I will say that the material is just about what you’d expect for a $20 shirt: a bit thin for an oxford shirt, especially compared to the BBESF oxfords. I’m sure if you order a better fabric, this will be remedied. Regardless, I’m fine with the material and don’t think it feels “cheap.”
But it all comes down to fit, right? And I think they fit wonderfully well.
Granted, your mileage on fit may vary. It’s all going to come down to whether or not you have a perfectly fitting dress shirt to measure from — or one that’s close enough to what you want so that you can modify it.
The bottom line is that if you find yourself needing a couple of blue oxford dress shirts right now and are fairly confident in your abilities to get the measurements nailed down, then you should take the plunge and order a couple of these at the discounted price.
All told, I ordered three shirts and it came to around $100 with MOP buttons and shipping. At $33/shirt, I think these are a tremendous deal. I’m regretting not ordering twice as many — I’d be set for a long time.
Will I use ModernTailor.com again? There’s a very high probability. I do want to try and give other MTM online shirtmakers a fair try first, but the price, speed and fit do seem to be a nice combination here.