Rugby's $150 MTO is worth it for those not in major markets. Though I'm in DC now, I was in a town of 7k and the nearest true tailor was 3 hours away. When you factor in gas, time, etc. it becomes a lot more expensive to go bespoke. For those that don't have access to bespoke options, I think it's an excellent deal on a shirt with a good fit that's made in the US. I think when you factor those things in it becomes more attractive to certain people.
After a bit of an ordeal, my first custom-made dress shirt arrived from Biased Cut. In short, I’m pleased with it and would definitely order from Biased Cut again in the future. For this review, I wore the shirt pretty much the entire weekend, sweated in it, got caught in a rainstorm in it and spilled nachos on it. I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t like wearing it.
Still, my praise is not without criticisms, none of which are what I’d call deal-breakers and they’re all easily resolved. The one thing I give Biased Cut enormous credit for is their customer service and willingness to take on additional customizations not listed on their site (more on this later).
The shirt fits me well. I should note that I took measurements off of another well-fitting shirt (one made by MyTailor.com) to use as a baseline for this shirt. If you don’t have a well-fitting shirt, then you’ll be forced to use the option of measuring yourself or using a few questions and basic neck/sleeve measurements to get a shirt. I can’t comment on the rest of these options because it’s not the route I chose to take.
Wearing the shirt, it’s comfortable and doesn’t feel too tight or restrictive. They have options for “slim” or “normal” fit, and I chose the “slim” option. The “normal” option will give you more room in the torso, bicep and armhole. If you’re used to the Brooks Brothers Extra Slim Fit line, then go with the “slim” option, because I feel they’re similar in some respects.
In regards to the back of the shirt, Biased Cut does two things — one of which actually alters the fit of the shirt. The first is to add darts on the back, which is something none of my other shirts have. You can request that they not add darts by emailing customer service after you place your order. I decided to give it a shot since it is a part of their idea of how the shirt should fit.
The darts definitely do reduce the blousing effect on the shirt’s back and waist area when tucked in. I’m overall not sold on darting my shirts just yet, but I can see the appeal. In terms of aesthetics, I’m just not sure if I like how it looks and as my tailor once commented, it can definitely remind one of a women’s shirt.
I will say that the darting doesn’t strike me as too visible or noticeable on this particular fabric (I chose the “Everton”, a light-blue steel chambray), but would probably make any sort of patterned shirt look odd when the pattern doesn’t line up along those seams.
The second signature of the Biased Cut shirt’s back is the full-length back pleat. As you probably know from all of your other shirts, this is really unusual and I’ve never seen this done elsewhere. Visually, it adds a line on your torso that creates some sort of vertical line down your back. Functionally, it does nothing. The pleat is non-functional and is just extra fabric that’s purely decorative. So, unlike a traditional back pleat that actually adds real bulk to a shirt’s back (usually to allow for extra movement), this is just there for looks.
I like the look of the full-length back pleat, however, one obvious downside to it came about when I had to iron my shirt after washing it. The pleat’s folds came undone and needed to be re-pressed. This was a bit frustrating to deal with and a bit of a hassle I hadn’t anticipated. For future orders, I will definitely ask that my shirts not have a full-length back pleat.
The shirt’s quality seems pretty good. The stitching looks much better than off-the-rack shirts I’ve bought before (Nordstrom, Brooks Brothers) and definitely better than any of my MTM shirts from Modern Tailor. I’d put the quality on par with MyTailor.
The buttons are mother of pearl and are securely sewn on. Unlike the Modern Tailor cuffs, these cuffs are soft and comfortable on the wrists, yet still have enough rigid structure to them to hold up. Oh, and they include a button on the sleeve plackets, which is nice.
One detail that I really enjoyed was how the top button of the shirt on the collar was actually smaller than the rest of the buttons on the placket. I assume this is for when you’re wearing a necktie that it doesn’t get in the way of the knot and add bulk. Not a big detail and definitely subtle, but still shows some extra thought went into that detail.
The collar itself was also pretty good. It felt stiff enough to stay up, but not like a cardboard box around your neck. I chose the standard spread collar and the length on it worked well enough with all my jackets. One thing I cannot stand is the trend toward shorter collars, which increases the likelihood of the dreaded collar gap — plus, thicker bladed neckties tend to stick out from under the collar, too. No worries about that here.
As I mentioned earlier, there are some more customizations you can do to your order that are worth knowing about. I think the approach Biased Cut gives its customers through its online user interface is one of simplicity. Pick a shirt, enter measurements, pick a few limited details and order it. Unlike a lot of other online MTM dress shirt sites, they have a lot less visible choices for customization. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get extra details and additions done or make special requests.
For instance, some shirts don’t come with a pocket. But you can request a pocket be added (I did for this shirt, and I find pockets are very essential functional elements for my EDC because they carry my calendar and pen).
You can also add a club collar or contrast collar (or both!) to any shirt. You can also have a non-contrast or non-club collar and have a “normal” collar using the same shirt fabric on any contrast or club-collared shirt. So, that’s worth noting and means you could get the Basso in a spread, bengal-striped collar.
As previously mentioned, you can ask that the full-length back pleat and darts not be included as well. And I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m sure you could ask that your button-cuffed shirt either have a mitred or rounded edge. As for any other customized details, I’d just ask them by sending an email before you order to see what’s possible.
Where do I place Biased Cut in comparison to other MTM online shirtmakers? I think Modern Tailor has a huge selection and quick turnaround time, but suffers from quality control issues that’s pretty much made me hesitate to use them again, even at sale prices. MyTailor is great for their optional, in-person service to take your measurements and let you consult fabric books. Their quality is also very good and their selection is huge. The downside, however, is the turnaround time of 6 to 8 weeks and their prices tend to be a little bit higher than Biased Cut.
So, I think Biased Cut hits a good compromise. They have the quality, they have a reasonable turnaround time of 3 to 4 weeks and the pricepoint sits lower than MyTailor. Their largest weakness is that they don’t offer a large amount of fabrics nor a lot of the crazy customization options you might see on other sites. Still, don’t let this distract you from the fact that if you have a well-fitting shirt to base your measurements off of and they have a fabric that is appealing to you (they certainly do stock the basics), then they’re a good deal.
I plan to use them again in the future (along with MyTailor) and will be keeping an eye out for the fabrics they’re stocking from season to season.
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.
It’s become rather clear to me that after testing both ModernTailor.com and MyTailor.com — and probably trying a few others in the future — that I probably won’t be buying RTW/OTR anymore with maybe the exception of heavily discounted Brooks Brothers ESF shirts.
This isn’t a point of snobbishness, but rather just value and fit. I have an odd body shape that doesn’t fit most shirt types and for the cost of many of those shirts, I might as well just go MTM and get exactly what I want — in detail and fit.
I won’t deny that the wait time and hassle of nailing down your measurements does present a barrier to entry, but it’s one easily overcome and worth it. If you’re on the fence about approaching the MTM realm, I say try it once and give it some thought after you’ve seen the results.
After a long 5-6 week wait, my first custom-made dress shirt from MyTailor.com arrived: a red-gingham button-down collar.
On the whole, I like it a lot and am pleased with the product. The fit is incredibly good and it was worth the wait.
The whole process was rather interesting and for those of you tempted by the idea of going made-to-measure with MyTailor.com, then let me break it down for you what happens.
MyTailor.com has several traveling tailors with whom you can schedule an appointment (either online or by phone). My experience was that the tailor, Mr. Joe Hemrajani, met me in a hotel suite he had set up in and he first consulted me on what I was looking for in this shirt.
My advice is to have some good ideas about what you want, but I’m sure he can help guide you along in the process. He had several fabric books with him, all at various price ranges (you can see the selection on the website, but it’s nice to get a feel for the fabric, too).
I told him that I was looking for a red gingham shirt, all cotton, and a slimmer cut with higher armholes. I also made sure to specify to him I wanted a button-down collar, a full placket, gauntlet buttons and a longer shirt length because I prefer to tuck my shirts into my pants. He took all these things into consideration and then began the measurement process.
First, he had me try on a shirt of which I assume he already knew the dimensions of and based on that he made some measurement modifications at the shoulders, armhole, sleeve lengths, cuff circumference, chest and neck. (There may have been more, my memory is slightly foggy). He also took a photograph of my profile and front (barechest) to give the shirtmakers an idea of my body’s shape.
And then the waiting. The shirts are made in Hong Kong, but I imagine that they have a fairly big customer base to make the lead time this long. (Feel free to correct me if you know something about their shirtmaking process that makes it longer than some others, like ModernTailor.com).
Is this as slim-fitting as some would like? Maybe not, but it certainly fits me quite well as I wore it around this weekend, slightly better than the Brooks Brothers Extra Slim Fit line, especially in the waist area and with the extra shirt length. One thing to keep in mind though is that I do not have washboard flat abs, and really going any tighter would probably make the shirt look odd and awkward to wear. I think taking maybe an inch off the total chest size could improve the fit though.
Also, one thing that I really liked is that the chest pocket matches up exactly with the fabric — you can barely tell it’s there in this photograph. One more thing that doesn’t show up in this photo is the collar roll — it’s pretty good with a necktie.
So, what did all this cost? $100, including the in-person fee for the shirt, tax, shipping and fabric. They certainly do have cheaper fabrics (I chose a slightly more expensive one) and you can get rid of the in-person fee if you just enter the measurements on your own, however, I would recommend meeting the tailor just because they have a better idea of hope their process goes and what measurements on your body work within that system.
I think the price for a MTM shirt is a fair one and I finally was able to find a red gingham shirt that fits me perfectly with the details I wanted at a comparable price.
I would use MyTailor.com again, but I’m also open to trying others, too. Their measurements are stored in their system and you can go back and modify them to tweak the fit if you want. The one downside is the turnaround time, however, I don’t think that fast necessarily means better.
Are they worth a shot? Certainly. And I’d recommend getting measured up, too, the first time.
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.