Yesterday I received the shirt I ordered from WW Chan's online shirt ordering service. I tried to take pictures, but the pictures were very misleading because my flash accentuates the shadows on any folds, etc. I therefore didn't think pictures would be that useful. Anyways, here is my review: (1) Fabric Selection -- B There are 560 or so choices on the Chan website, all from either Acorn or Thomas Mason. All are 2x2 100 cloths, I believe. The fact that 100s quality cotton is the highest grade on the site is a wee bit annoying, but the 2x2 ply cloth is nicely finished and easily softer than the 100s cloth that Polo uses in its Blue Label shirts. The test of course is to see how the cloth holds up in terms of softness and sheen after washing. But I'm pretty confident that the cloth will stay soft and smooth. Chan's patterns aren't going to knock you out. Though there are 560 fabrics to choose from, there are a lot of fabrics that really closely resemble each other -- would anyone ever order both the medium blue fine pinstripe & the dark blue pinstripe? It's virtually the same fabric. That said, if you are looking for conservative patterns, Chan is the place for you. I can go through 200 Jantzen fabrics and not see anything appropriate for courtroom decor. On Chan, aside from some of the check patterns, virtually everything passes the courtroom test; however, very little (if anything) passes the "hip bar" test. (2) Order form -- B+ The order form is very simple, using drop down options for measurements. I found this reassuring because it showed that they measure to a quarter inch. Also, because your measurements are stored in your file, it is easy to make incremental changes to subsequent orders. One part I didn't like was that you couldn't specify things like wrist circumfrence, collar height, or point length. However, I particularly cared about cuff circumfrence and so put that in the "comments" section. In the comments section, I also specificied no monogram, that I wanted a high armhole, and that I wanted thick MOPs. Each request was met spot on. (3) Style selection -- B+ You get half dozen cuff and a dozen collar choices. The collar choices in particular aren't nearly as good as Jantzen, which has about six different iterations of the spread collar. I went for the Wide Spread, but in the future the "Little Wide Spread" will be better for me, I think. (4) Fit -- A+ I'm good at taking my own measurements at this point, even though some think it's impossible to take your own measurements. So, that's a caveat. That said, I chose the snug fit and it fits almost perfect in my mind. For those who like a form fitting business shirt (i.e. snug enough not to be blousy, but not so tight that you'd feel like it was a shirt best left to the club), Chan's snug fit is perfect if you give accurate measurements and specify a higher armhole. It's sort of like Jantzen's "form fit," but the shallower yoke, higher armole, and closer fitting sleeves make the fit more consistent. I may end up adding 3/4" to my chest measurement to accomodate for some potential shrinking. But other than that it is great. The armhole and yoke are far superior to Jantzen, as is the fit over the shoulders and upper back. This is easily the best fitting shirt in my closet -- by a long ways really. One other caveat -- put for you neck measurement .5" less than you want you collar to measure. I wanted my collar to measure 15.5" and put as my neck measurement 14.75". My collar came back at about 15.4", which will probably shrink to 15.25". (5) Customer Service -- A+ I received my shirt three weeks after ordering. Also, the fabric I originally ordered sold out and I was informed of this within 24 hours of placing my order. So I emailed them back picking another fabric and received confirmation that it was in stock. Personally, I'm willing to pay a premium over Jantzen simply for the speedy service. (6) Quality -- B+ The fabric is very good quality for a 2x2 100s, like I said. The stitching is superb -- better than Jantzen in my opinion, which makes for a slightly more comfortable shirt. The buttonholes in particular are very good, and the buttons are all shanked on. The interlinings are not quite as good as Jantzen -- they just aren't as substantial. That said, they aren't bad by any means and are certainly as good as anything you'll find in the sub $250 range in RTW. Indeed, I forgot to wear collar stays today and the collar has held its shape well without being stiff at all. But buttons are much better than Jantzen. WHile the thick MOPs don't have the bright white luster that a Lorenzini button does, they have a decent rainbow effect and don't have any ugly browning on the back. (7) Price/Value -- A+ Total for my shirt was $79. That's for the best fitting shirt in my closet, in a nice albeit unspectacular fabric, with first-class stitching and nice finishings. It took 3 weeks to get it. After shipping Jantzen runs me about $54. I think those extra $25 to $30 are well spent.
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4/13/05 at 3:48pm