March 29, 2013 by Ville Raivio
Founded in 2007, Modern Tailor offers custom shirts, trousers, jackets, suits and vests made in China. All orders are cut, stitched and pressed by hand, leaving the factory in a unimpressive parcel. Shipping is cheap around the world, unless the customer chooses expedited service. Prices begin at $20 and rise up to $190, depending on the fabric. Payments are handled with Paypal, Google checkout and all major credit cards. The maker also has a starter kit, including a tape measure, fabric samples and three $10 gift vouchers.
Fabrics are mainly sourced from undisclosed mills, apart from Thomas Mason’s offerings, all of which are priced at $190. Significantly more than what MT’s competitors have. The maker is clearly targeting a larger audience with their cheap selection. Thread counts and materials are clearly listed, but not all fabrics show weight. Swatches can be requested freely, with each sample costing $1. Oddly enough, the webstore has no shirt designer program, which has become standard practice with online shortmakers. Modern Tailor uses these measurements: collar width, half chest, half waist, half hip, left and right sleeve length, half bicep, left and right cuff width, yoke, shoulder, shirt length, armhole.
As for returns, Modern Tailor states:
‘If you are not satisfied with Modern Tailor products due to reasons like fit, quality, fabric issue, etc, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org We will evaluate the issue on a case per case basis. The general principles are:
1. If we were not able to follow the measurements you entered, with consideration of our cutting commitment and allowances published on our website, we will remake your order.
2. If the package has been damaged during shipment, we will request for a photograph of it. We will replace the order as long as it has not been tampered (washed, cleaned, etc) and reported within 1 week upon receipt of the item.’
The maker offers 24 collar styles with different heights, 10 cuff styles with variable buttons, 5 placket styles, 10 pocket styles, 4 back cuts, 4 bottom cuts and 23 button types. MoP buttons cost extra. Monograms can be placed in three locations for $5 surcharge. The customer can either send his shirt in or measure his shirt or body. Instructions for measuring are clearly listed along with several body type variables. The store also offers gift cards. Modern Tailor does not offer unfused collars and cuffs, but they made my shirt with soft construction as requested. I placed my order for a club collar shirt on the 2nd of October. Right afterwards I sent an email, requesting for changes. I was answered in two days and the order placed on hold until everything was clear. I was also asked to re-measure my wrists, and MT’s master tailor was indeed right in his call.
The shirt arrived on the 14th of October and is made with larger armholes than I requested. The sleeve was also too narrow on my elbow. As a result, I cannot bend my arms or pick anything from the top shelf with ease. The material I selected, MT’s Sea Island cotton, is far from genuine, much coarser and thicker than true SI fabrics are. Patterns were matched poorly on the left shoulder seam. Modern Tailor’s round collar is anything but round with soft construction, resembling more like a true horizontal Eton collar. Apart from the armhole and sleeve elbow, other measurements and details were exact. Of all shirtmakers I’ve tried, MT’s cut was best on my slouching shoulders. Seams, buttons and buttonholes are neat.
- excellent selection of collars and details
- clear webstore
- thorough customer service
- extensive, but nameless fabric selection
- troubles with pattern-matching
- armhole measurement was off
- fabric is far from true Sea Island
- unfused collars and cuffs not available
Modern Tailor places last among the ten makers I tried. The company would benefit significantly from higher-grade fabrics (with better prices) and new construction methods. Its competitors offer more with less, thus I can only recommend MT for the most frugal men.