|Dress For Success
The Custom-Made Shirt
At least once in life, a man should have a dress shirt that is custom made. Of course, this endeavor tends to be an expensive one, so you might need to save up or wait for an appropriate occasion. As long as you engage the services of a reputable tailor, however, the unbeatable fit and the attention to detail that goes into making a shirt that suits you perfectly is well worth what you'll spend. Unfortunately, not knowing where to start or what to expect can turn this otherwise unique experience rather sour – and is likely to keep you from even trying it out to begin with. Here are some tips to keep in mind…
Find A Reputable Tailor
To find a tailor that you can trust, begin by asking around in your circle of friends or at work among colleagues with sartorial savvy. After you've rounded up a few promising prospects, pay a visit to each tailor and ask to see samples of their work. Inquire about which fit and collar type would work best for your body type and face. A good tailor should have no difficulty determining which style of shirt will meet your personal preferences for comfort and most flatter your bone structure, proportions and physique. Additionally, good tailors will always take your measurements, so if you come across one that doesn't offer this prerequisite as part of their routine service, keep looking.
Choose Your Fabric
What holds true for bedding holds true for dress shirts: The higher the thread count of the fabric, the better. High-end shirts often exceed 200 threads per inch, but any cotton with a count above 140 will be very soft to the touch. Finer dress shirts are also constructed from two-ply fabric, which makes them even softer, stronger and less prone to wrinkles. Pay attention to the country from which your fabric originates. Egyptian and Italian cottons are top-notch choices.
To check the fit of your collar, button your shirt up completely and make sure you can get two fingers between your skin and your shirt
Shop By Occasion
Decide where you plan to wear your custom-made shirt because it will make a difference when it comes to the fit, fabric and detailing. For instance, for formal occasions, you'll want a dress shirt with a very tailored fit in a neutral-colored, luxurious fabric. On the other hand, if you're shopping for shirts to wear for an evening at a swanky restaurant, shirts with a slimmer fit and trendier patterns are more appropriate. For business meetings, when you need to dress to impress, a French cuff shirt will help you create seriously fashionable ensembles.
Egyptian and Italian cottons are top-notch
When you're shopping for custom-made shirts, obtaining the correct measurements is of utmost importance. Get this wrong and you botch the entire process. To avoid the situation in which you end up with a custom-made shirt that looks like it was made for someone else, always have a tailor to take your measurements. If you plan on buying a custom-made shirt online, go to your local tailor, pay him to take your measurements and then proceed. Request collar, chest, shoulder, half-shoulder, sleeve, waist, hip, and length measurements. Ensure that your tailor is measuring the largest circumference of any given area. For example, the tape should go around your larynx for a neck measurement and also around your chest for the right width. Finally, if you normally wear a watch, bring it with you to your fitting and request that the tailor take your favorite accessory into account in your cuff measurement. Be as detailed as possible about how you like your shirts to fit.
Pay Attention To Detail
When it comes to custom-made shirts, the hallmarks of good craftsmanship can be found in the fabric, the buttons, the stitching, and the cut. Essentially, it's the details that count. Although plastic buttons are still the most common, even in the custom-made world, pearl buttons are the most revered and worth splurging on if you can afford them for the dress shirts. On cuffs, gauntlet buttons and horizontal buttonholes are indicative of a superior shirt. With regards to stitching, the sides of a custom-made shirt should always be hand-sewn rather than fused as hand-sewing results in a more durable product. Furthermore, seams should be smooth, with only one line of visible stitching on the side, and free of puckering. If your shirt is striped, the pattern should be properly aligned everywhere. The collars on a top-quality custom-made dress shirt should be firm with no wrinkles and have collar tabs to help keep it sharp.
Check That It Fits Properly
When your custom-made shirt is ready, you'll need to check that it fits properly and possibly return it for alterations. A shirt that appears as though it was custom made for you shouldn't pull anywhere. Any exposed skin indicates that your shirt is too tight and that either your chest or waist measurements were not taken correctly. To check the fit of your collar, button your shirt up completely and make sure you can get two fingers between your skin and your shirt. The sleeves of a custom-made shirt should be long enough to cover most of your upper hand when you're standing, and you shouldn't be able to get your wrists through the sleeves without unfastening the buttons on your cuffs. Lastly, tuck your shirt into your pants and raise your arms above your head – a shirt that comes out of your pants is too short.
Once You Go Custom
The biggest downsides of buying a custom-made shirt are that it's somewhat time intensive – you'll have to visit a tailor and it's costly. However, owning a custom-made shirt outweighs the negatives, and you are sure to be labeled as fashionably well-informed!