Vastrm Fashion - Official Affiliate Thread - Page 3
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Editors Note: In March 2013, we convened 5 independent reviewers to participate in a Vastrm Focus Group. These Styleforum members were given a complimentary shirt in exchange for their review. All reviews have been re-posted in their entirety and are unedited.
Repost of my review from focus group, I was given a free shirt for this review:
I ended up getting two shirts, since after the first one I discovered that I could tweak sizing (more info on that below).
My first shirt was a self-fabric collar Newport Navy with a patterned lining for the inside of the collar and placket. I got it in the vSoft Interlock fabric, which was a soft jersey-like fabric. The structured collar worked really well with this sort of fabric, and maintained its shape really well.
The construction seemed flawless, and there were no noticeable issues. In particular, the inner collar and placket accent seemed well integrated, especially since I could see this being a trouble spot with the two fabrics being of different stiffness.
After some communication with Jonathan, I ended up getting a second shirt with a 1" taper on each side, for 2" total. I usually have problems with too much space in the waist when a shirt fits in the shoulders and chest, so the ability to tweak the sizing was definitely helpful in that regard. This prevented it from puffing out around the waist when tucked in. This shirt (pictured below) was Lacoste mesh in white, with a flat knit collar and two button placket. The fabric had a really nice hand to it, and it has stood up well even after being washed/dried.
Jonathan served as an excellent resource during the design and customization process, and even offered suggestions for alternate accent patterns, one of which I ended up selecting instead of my initial choice. He also suggested some customization options that weren't on the site, though I imagine those will be built out. All of my questions were addressed quickly and graciously, exceeding my expectations for an online clothing service.
Initial reactions and reactions after wearing your garment
On inspection out of the box, the quality of manufacture and materials is good. As the others have said, there were no loose threads or misaligned seams. I stuck to a relatively simple style: Lacoste Mesh in Ink, self-collar, with white oxford trim on the placket, inside the cuff and at the hem notch, four button placket and MoP buttons. First impression was that I liked the end result, which has nice custom elements without being completely in your face.
I wore my shirt for the first time this weekend, on a very warm day spent wandering the streets of New York, and it kept me looking and feeling very cool. The fabric is very comfortable, and the vCool option gave it good wicking qualities.
Good quality pique with a soft hand.
Very good: no loose threads, seams are well finished and even. MoP buttons are lustrous and fairly thick.
Very good. I requested "slim but not tight" and got exactly that. I was fitted in person by Jonathan, who had me try on 4 or 5 shirts to nail down the general fit, then made two or three adjustments to that stock size: the length was shortened by 1", the sleeves narrowed and shortened slightly. Shoulders, sleeves and chest are all an excellent fit, but I will add .5" back to the length on future orders
Update: The fit will need a bit of further tweaking. The chest and waist need about 1" of additional allowance. This is more noticeable after washing the shirt twice (washed in cold / hung dry), so I believe there was a small amount of shrinkage, but since the fit was a bit too slim to start with it's now tight.
Outstanding. In my initial email response to Austin, I asked to participate in the try on program and mentioned that I live in San Francisco, which is very close to their headquarters in Burlingame. He invited me to come into their offices for an in person fitting. Due to my travel schedule I had to reschedule multiple time before I was able to get there, and Jonathan was endlessly patient with my constant changes.
When I got there Jonathan met me at the door, gave me a tour of their offices and introduced me to everyone who works there, and then walked me through the fitting process. He is extremely personable and really concerned about providing an excellent product and service. We made several changes that were not available through the website so we exchanged emails later to confirm the details. I received the shirt 20 days after placing the order.
Fit pics to follow.
My review from the focus group, I received a free shirt for the review.
My initial reaction upon receiving the shirt was positive. I tried it on and the shirt fit great, I had specially requested the arms slightly shortened vs the try-on version I received. The quality seemed on par with other polos I own (RL, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste) but nothing blew me away about it. When I showed the shirt to my girlfriend, she told me that it is the best fitting polo I own and actually said that I should buy more of them. It's rare she says I should buy more clothes.
I ordered the lacoste mesh with flat knit collar and it seemed fine, on par with what I expect for an $80 polo but didn't impress me as a "value" in the material sense. My second shirt that I purchased was a premium fabric. It's a higher price point but definitely worth it, I'd say a good value for the money as I have no other polos that feel that good.
The construction of my polo was well executed. I didn't find any stray strings or foul stitching. That being said, again it was at a level of detail I expect for this price but not significantly above.
The fit of my polo was excellent. It fit fantastic off the rack however I do think there should be a tool to have additional tweaks made if you do the in-home try on. If I wasn't part of this group I would have felt unsure how to proceed with my alterations to the stock size I was sent. Luckily, all i needed were the arms shortened but if I wanted the body tapered or something I would not have known where to go. If I had to choose a stock body the arm length would have made me opt for a different brand rather than go with Vastrm.
The customer service I received was impeccable. Jonathan was kind and responsive to all my requests and patient with me when I took longer than probably expected. I do wonder how scalable that experience will be for figuring out tweaks to sizing. I had to email my expected alts to Jonathan, after placing my order, which would worry me if the orders start to ramp up. I'd like to see an online form that allows you to list any tweaks to the fit you want when you place you're order so they don't get lost EDIT: since writing they have created a similar tool to tweak your shirt's size. Awesome work.
Since being in the focus group I have purchased a second shirt so they have my approval.
Edited by MZhammer - 6/10/13 at 8:38pm
Apologies for the delays in pulling this together--I know its not a fair excuse but a bunch of things came up at work and monopolized my time in front of the computer.
My guess is that this evaluation process is more about the ordering process and how it relates to the final fit and happiness than about the actual quality of the garments.
As such, I won't speak too much praise about quality. The fabric is immediately soft and luxurious in feel. Everything looks symetrical and the collar attachment (to the dress shirt style collar) is solid.
I mentioned a possible issue with thread tension in my "first impressions" review so I thought I would include a few photos. Again, this is such a tiny detail...and it might right itself after a few washings anyways.
Here you can see the bits of the red bottom thread pulling through to the front. (on all photos, click to see a larger version)
On the underside of the collar, none of the white top thread shows through. It would be preferable to error on the side of having white show on the underside instead of red on the outside. Or as mentioned in the review, this design would have worked well with contrast stitching (either red against the white outer collar, or white against the red and white inner collar).
The ordering process went very smoothly. I provided a set of measurements and in turn was sent a pair of shirts that (I assume) best matched those measurements. From the fit of those shirts, and looking at a few photos, there was a back and forth email discussion on what changes could be made to get to the right fit. Is something a regular customer would experience? Having someone who is familiar with the shirts look at a photo and say "ah, we could take this measurement in a bit and lengthen this other area" is immensely confidence boosting and reminiscent of the TOJ jacket order process. If this is not an option available to typical customers, the idea of trying on a test shirt and then adjusting around its measurements is also a very viable way to get a good fit on the first round. I had the luxury of my order being handled through email, so I did not experience the actual order form for sizing, but I would echo other posters who suggest that the most needed option is often custom amounts of taper, closely followed by adjustable length.
The design elements work well. There were only two surprises. The first is that the rolled sleeve hem is a bit bulkier than expected, I still like it...its just not what I expected from the photos (there's an extra section of fabric on the inside that I didn't realize would be there). The second is that the pocket has a bit of thickness to it. This is probably stupidity on my part (of course a hidden pocket needs 3 layers of cloth) but it is much more noticeable than the chest pocket on a dress shirt and it doesn't show up at all in the photos (presumably because the image just has the pocket added on top of it and thus could never represent the extra fabric beneath the pocket). I probably would have left it off or used a larger chest measurement.
The fit is good but not perfect. I'm sure someone more well-versed in alterations could look at these pictures and tell exactly what needs to be done. I'm a little goofy shaped so...I'm used to these things. It seems to me that there is maybe still a bit too much fabric in the bottom front from the way it hangs out, but it is really not bad at all. There is still some bunching in the back, but I don't know what could be done and its not a huge deal.
Arm holes are nice and high--the shirt's not too long and yet when I lift my arms to the side, it doesn't even expose my belt.
On the website, the back button does not work correctly. The website is super-slick, but the back button takes you *all* of the way back to whatever page brought you to Vastrm. Especially since I use a mouse with a back button right on it, this is the natural thing to do when you are on the second step of the design page and decide you might want to try another color/fabric...instead of taking you back to that, the back button takes you all of the way off the vastrm site. The visual display of your customization is great, but a non-working back button just kills it so much. I could see a customer making it all of the way through designing a shirt and then hitting the back button and being back to their google search results that got them to vastrm...and deciding they don't want to bother designing it again.
- Initial reactions and reactions after wearing your garment
- Customer Service
Thanks for participating in our program Jimney. It was fun to work with you. And yes, we now offer the ability for all our customers to tweak sizing right through our online interface. Read: If you would like to taper one of our silhouettes, simply subtract inches/cm from the waist. Add or subtract front length for tucking or wearing your shirt untucked. Currently, we allow our customers to refine sleeve length, front length, chest and waist. We will likely be adding more flexibility to this feature shortly. We are thinking of offering the ability to tweak shoulder width and sleeve across. Are there any other areas that the community feels important to allow modifications to?
thanks for the review imatlas. I really enjoy meeting customers in person. It gives me a much better sense of style, fit and design. Our fabrics have been tested for heavy laundering and will typically see a 1% shrinkage after wash. As imatlas recommended at slight increase in tight areas using our FITID tool may help in preventing garments to wear too tightly. There is a natural stretch tendency in knits, so there will be decent tolerance on most garments ordered true to size.
Really look forward to hearing more from the SF community and if there are improvements we can make in our products. Please let us know of any recommendations you may have! We welcome the feedback!
Thanks so much MZhammer. And yes, we have released a tool online (Fit ID), that allows our customers to self-service any tweaks to our silhouette. You can save that sizing information as part of your profile. So each time you order a shirt, you will be getting the same fit you know and love. In fact, you can save several sizing profiles for different occasions (work, play, etc...) As mentioned above, we hope to be adding more areas that you can define adjustments (shoulders and sleeve across) shortly. We have stylists on hand that can also help define what those adjustments can be. Also, many of our customers who have had questions about sizing and where/how much to tweak. We recommend that you take a t-shirt or polo from your dresser that already fits well. And measure a few areas of that shirt (chest, waist, shoulders, front length, sleeve length) and voila, you can use our size and fit chart along with our size adjustment feature and not only design a style that suits you, but actually design a fit that you already know and love!
Thanks for taking the time to participate in our review process StockwellDay. And yes, we need to work on our color naming conventions as monitors and displays will really distort colors online. We worked with color experts, light boxes, monitor calibration, etc.... to do our best representation of colors online but simple naming would be extremely helpful. Thanks for that tip. Really glad to hear that we nailed the fit for you. That is first and foremost concern. Will work on some of the construction flaws you noticed (ie buttons sewing). Will also be more mindful of new colors we offer in future updates!
My review from the focus group (received shirt as compensation). I had tried to focus more on the process and my feelings about it than on the quality of the shirts (which are great) since I figured the company knows all about their shirts already and would want feedback more on ordering/fit/etc.
OTC - many thanks for your thorough review! There are a couple things we have been working on since your review and honestly as a result of your review. We have made modifications to our rolled cuff. The rolled cuff was originally offered to provide a more modern cuff than the age old flat knit and more standard self hem cuff. After reviewing our construction with our design technicians, we are moving towards a much thinner profile for the roll. Our original design was 3-ply which we will be adjusting to a single ply. It will look alot sleeker and should wear much nicer! Really appreciate the comments there! Also, the inside pocket you ordered as well - we are in the process of reworking that, if possible, to also provide a slimmer profile. People like the look of it, however and in some cases, recommended a simple decorative pocket (read: remove the inside lining). not sure what you might think of decorative vs functional. If anyone does decide to apply the inside pocket option as is, we recommend that you pair it with our pique lacoste fabric in the darker colors. Because of the heavier weight fabric and darker color, the lining will not show through the top layer. Finally, we have some ideas, we are working to fix the bunching you experience in the back of your shirt. We are looking at creating a dress shirt yolk construction. If this works, we will be able to control draping better by moving the yolk stitch forwards or backwards, similar to what some bespoke tailors do to adjust woven shirt fits. Stay tuned for more improvements as we work with gents such as yourselves!!!
Onetwobit: Fantastic! We have heard great things about Kent Wang polos. As for your questions: Here is a father's day promo we are offering: https://www.trycelery.com/shop/3b2ozy It's a $100 gift for $70. Please tell your friends about it!
As for fit: There are two methods I would recommend to find your perfect fit:
1) Test drive our home try on program where we send you 3 shirts in different fits and you pick the one that fits best. If none of them are quite right, no problem, you can go to our website and set up a fit ID that lets you tweak the dimensions of any of our silhouettes to make sure the shirt fits right. Link to home try on is here: https://www.trycelery.com/shop/home-try-on
2) If you have a shirt in your dresser that fits perfectly already, measure these points and send me your results. I can then recommend the proper fit type with adjustments for your personalized fit ID. my email is firstname.lastname@example.org The points to measure are shoulders, half chest, half waist, front length and sleeve length. Attaching a measuring guide to help you. You can also compare the results yourself to our size and fit chart located at step 4 of our design tool.
Hope this all makes sense and really look forward to helping you find the perfect fit!!!
Vastrm Measurement Guide.pdf 3,546k .pdf file
Ok cool. I signed up for the try on home program (through your site) about 3 weeks ago to no avail.
I think I'm going to start by doing the home try program on from the form you just linked. Very excited!
edit: Ordered the home try on. Which fabric/color/collar comes with home trials? I ordered a navy polo from KW, so I'm interested in the white and maybe red.
Edited by Onetwobit - 6/7/13 at 6:26pm