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MTM for dress shirts

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm new to the world of "classic menswear", and have been looking around for a while, and now I feel like I have a grip on the subject. Although it will take at least 5 years for me to even get into the business world, I thought it'd still be good to know + I just got hooked up by the beauty of them :)

 

I think I'm getting along with the details fine, but the basics - things that are supposed to be common knowledge - are bugging me the most, and they're relatively hard to find since I'm already supposed to know them..

 

I'm pretty sure all my questions will look silly to you, but I would highly appreciate it if you could bear with me.

 

I'll just list all my questions, so that my questions are as clear as possible.

 

1. Do all shops (Zegna, Oxxford, Brioni, Attolini, Kiton, BB, Isaia, Boss, Armani etc) do MTM or bespoke? Or are some available only in OTR/RTW??

 

2. When people buy suits / shirts during "sale", this means that they're purchasing OTR clothing, right? Or do shops "sale" MTM or bespoke clothing as well?

 

3. In case of BB shirts, they have extra slim fit, slim fit, regular and so on, and they're all OTR, am I wrong? If I'm going for MTM, I wouldn't have to consider those fits since MTM would fit my body perfectly - so there wouldn't be any "fits" to it right?

 

4. What are non-iron shirts? How do they differ from regular shirts?

 

5. Would you recommend me to get an OTR that fits me "ok" and then tailor it, or to get an MTM/bespoke shirts/suits? Does this differ according to my budget?

 

6. "IF" I got an OTR shirt and I want to fix it, what should I keep in mind (Where should I fix it? - armholes, the "cut", but what else?)

 

I can already see people mocking me for my stupid questions, but please be nice :)

Thank you in advance

post #2 of 11
I'll give this a shot...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semin Park View Post

I'm new to the world of "classic menswear", and have been looking around for a while, and now I feel like I have a grip on the subject. Although it will take at least 5 years for me to even get into the business world, I thought it'd still be good to know + I just got hooked up by the beauty of them smile.gif

I think I'm getting along with the details fine, but the basics - things that are supposed to be common knowledge - are bugging me the most, and they're relatively hard to find since I'm already supposed to know them..

I'm pretty sure all my questions will look silly to you, but I would highly appreciate it if you could bear with me.

I'll just list all my questions, so that my questions are as clear as possible.

1. Do all shops (Zegna, Oxxford, Brioni, Attolini, Kiton, BB, Isaia, Boss, Armani etc) do MTM or bespoke? Or are some available only in OTR/RTW??

Depends, all do OTR/RTW, most do MTM, a few do bespoke.

2. When people buy suits / shirts during "sale", this means that they're purchasing OTR clothing, right? Or do shops "sale" MTM or bespoke clothing as well?

Correct, unless it is specifically noted somewhere in the sale literature

3. In case of BB shirts, they have extra slim fit, slim fit, regular and so on, and they're all OTR, am I wrong? If I'm going for MTM, I wouldn't have to consider those fits since MTM would fit my body perfectly - so there wouldn't be any "fits" to it right?

They are all OTR, all with same neck size but different sleeve and body measurements.
For MTM you may have to choose one of the fits as a template to start from and modify from there.


4. What are non-iron shirts? How do they differ from regular shirts?

Non-iron shirts are identical to normal shirts except that they are treated with a chemical that makes them wrinkle resistant.

5. Would you recommend me to get an OTR that fits me "ok" and then tailor it, or to get an MTM/bespoke shirts/suits? Does this differ according to my budget?

Depends on your budget and location. The cheapest and most convenient is to get an OTR shirt and adjust the sleeves and waist to fit. If that doesn't give you the fit you want then go MTM/bespoke but you need to be in a location that has that option and there are no guarantees on the outcome being better without trial and error.

Another option is one of the online MTM shirt makers like Proper Cloth.

6. "IF" I got an OTR shirt and I want to fix it, what should I keep in mind (Where should I fix it? - armholes, the "cut", but what else?)

Make sure the neck and shoulders fit, the body and sleeves can be "taken in" to fit you well but only within tailoring limitations.

I can already see people mocking me for my stupid questions, but please be nice smile.gif
Thank you in advance
post #3 of 11

1. All I can tell you about is BB, and yes, they do MTM.

 

2. Many of the shops you're asking about have MTM "specials" in which they offer a discount on MTM shirts. These occur at different times of the year. Otherwise, MTM is usually offered at regular price year round.

 

3. Your logic is correct.

 

4. Non-iron shirts (as I understand them) are treated with a chemical that makes them semi wrinkle-free. Regular dress shirts must be ironed. The supposed drawback to the non-iron dress shirts is that this chemical eventually wears off after many washes. I opt for non-iron dress shirts because I rationalize it this way: if the non-iron chemical eventually wears out of the shirt, all I'm left with is a regular dress shirt that must be ironed, which is what the alternative is anyway, so where's the downside? In all honesty though, I'd probably be due for more shirts if the day ever comes that the shirts lose their wrinkle-free abilities.

 

5. Depends on your budget and your measurements. I have a difficult-to-find neck/sleeve size combo, so I go the MTM route. If I buy 3+ BB MTM shirts on special, it's pretty affordable. In fact, it's cheaper than some OTR shirts would otherwise cost. However, if you like the way an OTR shirt fits you and it just needs a little tailoring, why not get it?

 

6. All that I'd plan on altering in an OTR shirt is the sleeve length and the waist and/or chest. You cannot alter the neck size, and as far as I know, I don't think you can raise the arm holes (could be wrong--never tried it).

 

All of these answers are from my personal (and very limited experience). I'm sure others can add to this.

post #4 of 11
1. Many shops offer MTM. It is hard to generalize here. Brooks is one of them.

2. There can be specials on MTM clothing offered by various stores that offer temporary discounts if you order during a certain period.

3. For BB, yes you have to consider the different fits as one of them will be used as a template for your shirt. Also, do not expect MTM to fit you perfectly. It may take a couple of attempts with any given maker to perfect things. Also, while most people can do very well with MTM, if you are particularly hard to fit you may need to go with something bespoke to get a perfect fit.

4. Non-iron shirts have chemicals that make them less likely to wrinkle and that wash out over time. IMO they are an abomination. If you send your shirts out, they get pressed anyway and if you don't, learn to use an iron.

5. Depends on your budget and on how well OTR fits you. If you have something that fits you perfectly OTR, why reinvest the wheel and spend more unless there are certain fabrics that you really want that are not available with OTR shirts.

6. Make sure the shirt fits you well in the chest and shoulders. Consider getting shirts slimmed down in the waist area and perhaps in the arms. Generally you should not buy something that is not a pretty good fit in the chest and shoulders. This applies more for odd jackets and suits but I believe it is valid for shirts as well.
post #5 of 11
I will not mock you, even though I have been known to do so
I actually have very specific recommendations:

Individualized Shirts

http://www.individualizedshirts.com/

For years they have been the MTM maker for high end stores such as Saks Fifth
Avenue and numerous independent men's shops. I have no idea of their present
range of stores. I do know that I owned several of their shirts bought RTW from
a now gone very exclusive retailer in Chicago- Dana Cote D' Azure, which was a
branch of a French company. They were in a heavy oxford cloth and were extremely
well-made. They lasted for over 15 years. I got rid of them when my size increased.

Another company is Hamilton Shirts the "custom" shirtmaker for Barney's
and Wilkes Bashford among others:

http://www.hamiltonshirts.com/

Don't order no-iron MTM shirts. Unless the technology has improved, they'll
look like they came from KMart in no time.

Good Luck
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your replies!

 

I have one more question though if you don't mind:

 

I understand that the fabric and the time taken for the construction (full canvas, half canvas, fusion) determines the price, but are there more factors that affects the price or quality?

 

Even if two suits from different brands are both made out of 100% Wool, and are let's say super 120, and they're both half canvassed, one has significantly higher price than the other. Why is this? Is this pure brand value or is one actually better than the other? I see that fit is not a concern here since we're dealing RTW here, and style is subjective, so what makes one brand so expensive and the other not so?

post #7 of 11
Well if you're asking why there is a price difference between retail brands, a lot of it is name recognition.

Ralph Lauren, as an example. Caruso makes their suits (Caruso makes suits for others, too). The average person off the street will always know who Ralph Lauren is and never know who Caruso is.

Ralph Lauren will charge you like $1750 for a suit but you can get a Caruso off Ebay for like $600-900 depending and you honestly won't see much of a difference. You're paying a premium for the label.

Of course there are some instances where you can take 2 half-canvassed super 120's and put them side by side and see how one was made to cut a way better silhouette than the other, and one may have additional levels of detail such as functional buttons on the sleeves and more detailed stitching ...
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semin Park View Post

Even if two suits from different brands are both made out of 100% Wool, and are let's say super 120, and they're both half canvassed, one has significantly higher price than the other. Why is this? Is this pure brand value or is one actually better than the other? I see that fit is not a concern here since we're dealing RTW here, and style is subjective, so what makes one brand so expensive and the other not so?

Often it is a mix of brand value and superior product that cause a certain suit to be more expensive. There are times when every cent of the additional cost (or more if the cheaper suit is actually better) is pure marketing, but as a broad general rule I'd say it's a mix of the two. People will also pay for certain silhouettes that are more flattering to them and often "slim fit" type clothing with more waist suppression in jackets and the like will command a premium even with RTW.

Also keep in mind that not all "Super 120s" are created equal and that many of the better fabric mills do not disclose their super numbers. You need to know more than just the super number to understand what you're getting with a particular cloth. Super numbers tell you about certain properties of the fabric; they are not a guarantee of quality.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

TM79 and archibald,

 

If it's so, if I see suits that are both made out of the same fabric, same everything, then can I assume that they're "equal" in terms of quality? Meaning I can just make the decision based on which silhouette flatters me more?

post #10 of 11
I mean, it's a purely hypothetical situation but what you say sounds fair enough.

If you were able to actually stand in front of both suits and they both had identical Loro Piana fabric (as an example) and had the same level of detail then you could reasonably deduce that the price of one could be higher than another based on the label on the suit.

You'd want to rank fit above all else, anyway, in my opinion.
post #11 of 11
Assuming you have a good eye for various details and can tell if a suit is canvassed or not, yeah, I think that's fair. I agree fully with TM79 about fit being most important.
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