A few years ago I lost a good bit of weight thanks to the South Beach Diet. From a health perspective it was good. From a wardrobe perspective however… well that was a different story. Suddenly none of my suits fit. It was the same story with my dress shirts, and replacing them was going to be an expensive proposition.
I happened to mention my need to go shopping to a co-worker, and she told me that her father gets all of his clothes custom-made and often for far less than he would if he were shopping “off the rack”. How did he manage this? Well his tailor came in from Hong Kong twice a year so measurements could be taken and cloth could be picked out, after which he would go home, create the clothing and then, a few weeks later, he would ship the finished garments. Best of all, the prices were shockingly low. As luck would have it the tailor was coming in a week later. Thus was my love for custom clothes born.
I picked the fabric, chose the cut of the suits, and made all the decisions necessary so the tailor could get started. [Okay, to be honest, Elana picked out the fabric and advised me on the cut of the suits etc., but I DID have my impact... I had him make an extra pocket that was perfectly sized for my smartphone at the time... an iMate Jam. Yes I found a way to bring tech into my wardrobe long before my love of ScottEVest's products!]
When they arrived I was impressed. The clothes fit great! And they have stood up well ever since. I have only had to replace a piece here or a piece there, as quality stands the test of time.
Lately though I have been faced with a bit of a wardrobe challenge. You see, when I have the shirts made I opted for French cuffs and began collecting cufflinks. That worked well (except for my constantly losing cufflinks!) until my right wrist went bad and required me to start wearing a brace on it pretty much full-time. The cuffs were just too tight to fit around the brace. And now that my other wrist has also begun having problems, I have an even bigger issue. My choice… either don’t close the sleeve or… buy new shirts. And that’s where ShirtsMyWay comes in. With ShirtsMyWay you don’t have to find a tailor who makes house calls and then wait for his twice-yearly visits. Instead you can design your own shirt from the comfort of your own home and have them shipped to you a few weeks later. I made one recently and was impressed with the process. Let’s take a look.
Step One… Pick the fabric
I liked this fabric called Grey Goose so I tapped on the swatch to get a better look at it. Since you can’t see the fabric “in the flesh” the site gives numerous views of each fabric so you can really get a sense of it.
Next I clicked the “Apply It” button and, seconds later, the white shirt was now displayed using the chosen fabric.
After clicking the “Next Step” button I was brought to the collar selection page. Since this is a truly custom shirt you get to select from any of seven standard collars.
As soon as I clicked on any collar the image on the right changed to reflect the choice. The update is all but immediate. Impressive and rather neat to play around with!
The next step was selecting a color for the buttons…
…and after that the actual button holes. That’s right, you can choose what color thread is used to finish the button holes. (My Hong Kong tailor never give me that choice!) If you want to highlight the buttons use a different color. If you want to play down the button holes choose a color that is close to the color of the fabric you are using.
Next you can choose whether to leave the shoulders plain or add Epau Loops.
After that you can choose whether the collar stays should be removable or sewn into the collar.
Finally you can select whether or not you want to have the shirt monogrammed and, if so, what color and style the monogram should be in.
Now comes the tricky part… measuring. The great thing about having a tailor there to measure is that they know what they are doing. I don’t know about you, but I don’t. Thankfully the ShirtsMyWay site understands this and walks you through the process step by step.
It lets you choose whether you want to take measurements, use a shirt that fits well and measure it or use the standard sizes indicated in an off-the-shelf shirt that fits well. Regardless of the path you choose use the old woodcutting method of “measure twice, cut once”… in other words double or triple check your measurements. (Or if you are like me… ask Elana to do it.)
Seriously though… the site walks you through everything step by step. So long as you take your time you will not have any issues.
Finally when you think you are ready you can submit the shirt, give it a name and get a look at the summary. Look at it VERY CAREFULLY (more on why in a moment). If you like the way everything looks you can submit it, input payment and shipping information and you are good to go.
It is worth noting that the price of the shirt is ENTIRELY based on the material you choose. As a result you can get a custom shirt for as little as $75 or as much as $155. A quick look at dress shirts at Nordstrom showed shirts for as little as $50 but as much as $365. GAH! So a custom shirt for $75 seems quite reasonable.
So here is my experience when I did it for real a few months ago. I went through the process and made all my choices. I measured the cuffs on my original custom shirts and then added a half-inch so the cuffs on the new shirt would accommodate the braces I wear. I also opted to use buttons instead of cufflinks, since the cufflinks are hard to secure on a day when I am in a bad flair.
The result is…
Cuffs that actually work for me! Better still — the material used, the fit and finish of the shirts is excellent. Personally I will be ordering from them in the future. I like the prices, the options and the process that much. BUT… and this is a huge BUT… before you order double-check everything, and have someone else double-check too. I write this because I introduced a huge amount of human error to my trial shirt at the last minute and ended up with a white shirt with black button holes, when I thought I was ordering a gray shirt with black button holes. Let me be clear… it was MY ERROR not ShirtsMyWay, but it is why I will have Elana look over future orders for me. It is also why you aren’t seeing me in the shirt.
My suggestion if you are inclined to go the custom shirt route, is to order a single shirt the first time to make sure you like all the options and have measured properly. After that you can order a number at a time, comfortable in the knowledge that all the design choices are indeed what you want.
ShirtsMyWay has custom shirts from $75. You can create and order your own directly on the company’s site.
What I Like: Truly custom shirts with prices beginning at just $75, tons of choices in material and various shirt details, cool fun site that lets you see the shirt before you order
What Needs Improvement: Nothing but remember, double and triple check before ordering.