February 27, 2013 by Ville Raivio
After having ordered, received and reviewed made to measure shirts from around a dozen online makers, I feel a small summary of my experiences is in order. As fabric selections, my listed measurements, used machines and manufacturing methods are fairly alike, the comparisons must be drawn from other variables. Of these by far the most important is the end result. Fit is key, finishing is essential. What I’ve learned: all shirtmakers muck up. Measurements are off, collars are of wrong type, delivery times lengthen, patterns are not matched, so on. The first shirt is always a prototype. Even the odyssey’s winning and second-best maker got my subsequent orders wrong. Thus, online shirtmakers will not please the restless customer. Some orders must be returned for alterations, others won’t be quite right in the long run, and end up on eBay or such. At their best, however, online shirtmakers offer similar end results and fit as established houses. The process is just impersonal.
Most online shirtmakers have two substantial advantages: prices and ease of use. Based in India, Hong Kong, China and the like, the makers can offer bespoke-made shirts with pleasing prices. They have no stores with high rents, middlemen nor typical sales clerks with accustomed wages. Their webstores offer clear instructions and interfaces. The customer has no need to make an appointment, clear his schedule, go through endless fabric books and discuss details. Once his fit has been solved, a great shirt can be ordered with a few clicks, delivered to his office or front door. Easy, affordable, enjoyable. Online shirtmakers will not please the man craving attention and service or fast results. Others will find excellent results and never look back on readymade shirts. After my experiences, I can recommend online shirtmakers with the caveats listed.