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Bespoke Shirt Fitting - What to Look For?

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

I have taken on a lot of new anxiety after reading through countless thread on StyleForum and AAAC about shirt measurement and fittings. What are the things one should be looking for when getting measured and trying on a test shirt? I like to not only rely on my tailors opinion, but own opinion as well.

 

My experience with bespoke shirt makers has so far been limited to Hamilton through Barney's. I like to believe the shirts fit me fairly well, however, my knowledge of what a proper fitting shirt looks like is limited. The sales person, while decent, was in no way comparable to a true tailor. At the time of my order, I had not yet known about SF or AAAC. Knowing what I know now, I would have opted for a local shirtmaker such as Geneva, T&A NYC, Cego. I would have also been more aware of the types of fabrics I am choosing. 

 

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 33

Consult your doctor for anti-anxiety medication and quit styleforum asap. If you are anxious at the mere thought of the bespoke process, how will you cope when Sf'ers heap criticism about your shirt fit(if you choose to post pics)?

post #3 of 33
Hamilton at Barneys is MTM, not bespoke.

Anyhow, every tailor will measure you slightly differently, and your input at that point will not likely be useful. If your tailor is any good, he/she will know by looking at how your first shirt (or test shirt) looks and fits on you what alterations need to be made to your paper pattern. He/she should ask about how you like it, and if it fits properly.

Your shirt should feel comfortable on you at the neck, shoulders, and back, and look flattering. I wouldn't worry too much about this "slim is best" nonsense on SF. A good bespoke shirt should have a slimming effect and still be comfortable through the various arm movements you make during the day. You should be able to sit down in the shirt and not feel constricted by the fabric.

If you feel comfortable in your shirt, some obvious places to look for improvements are at the collar (is there alot of extra material at the neck), shoulder (are they too wide or narrow, is there extra material that extends from your shoulder down, like a fold) and back (does the material look too tight across the back or is there too much material).
post #4 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrybrowne View Post

Hamilton at Barneys is MTM, not bespoke.

Anyhow, every tailor will measure you slightly differently, and your input at that point will not likely be useful. If your tailor is any good, he/she will know by looking at how your first shirt (or test shirt) looks and fits on you what alterations need to be made to your paper pattern. He/she should ask about how you like it, and if it fits properly.

Your shirt should feel comfortable on you at the neck, shoulders, and back, and look flattering. I wouldn't worry too much about this "slim is best" nonsense on SF. A good bespoke shirt should have a slimming effect and still be comfortable through the various arm movements you make during the day. You should be able to sit down in the shirt and not feel constricted by the fabric.

If you feel comfortable in your shirt, some obvious places to look for improvements are at the collar (is there alot of extra material at the neck), shoulder (are they too wide or narrow, is there extra material that extends from your shoulder down, like a fold) and back (does the material look too tight across the back or is there too much material).

 

I think you are mixing up SF and #menswear.

post #5 of 33

Recent post from a bloke who knows what he's talking about: http://www.permanentstyle.co.uk/2013/07/how-shirt-should-fit.html

No need to get over-anxious smile.gif

post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by EliodA View Post

Recent post from a bloke who knows what he's talking about: http://www.permanentstyle.co.uk/2013/07/how-shirt-should-fit.html
No need to get over-anxious smile.gif

Someone has mentioned that forum before recently on why he may not work anylonger with english makers... In any case, I think he missed the point that the most important area for the fit is actually the shoulder fit, e.g. the yoke width and the arm scye cut. I had shirt made by Stariano Cinque as well and discussed with Luca this same point (Luca is the fitter, production is outsourced to a third party). This will allow confy movements whilst avoiding that the shirts will pull out of trousers when extending the arm upwards or pulling the sleeve up when putting on a jacket. I have had bespoke shirts made by several makers, and on those i find most enjoyable wearing, the yoke width is virtually identic (+/- 1 cm)
post #7 of 33
I do not know how the Barneys/Hamilton shirt program works these days
When it was first started 20+ years ago. it was very much a made to order program.
choose a fabric. pick a collar and cuff. i think you were measured for collar size and sleeve length.

Each shirtmaker works differently.

In the last few years, i have switched to using fitting samples.
the reason?
too many customers show up in T-shirts, knit shirts, ill fitting sport shirts and over sized brooks brother shirts.
Using a fitting model helps the customer understand what their idea of a well fitting shirt will actually feel like before it is even made.

I have several fits that can be tried on as well.
do not get caught up in the terms MTM/Bespoke.
the three companies you mentioned(mine included) will make a pattern for you.
either paper pattern by hand, or by computer.
but it will be made to your specs and requests.
Hopefully the end product will be as expected.
post #8 of 33
Barney's/Hamton is M2M and while its a good store and Hamilton is a good maker it's a far cry from bespoke. In Bespoke the tailor should take your measurements and make the changes himself or oversee his staff make them.

To answer your question, I don't think you will have much input for the tailor on measurements but you can express preferences like a slim fit, a high arm hole, leaner in the chest, or maybe you like it fuller. You just need to be clear about this stuff up front and have a good idea of what you like and don't like. Also, you want the tailor to be able meet your requests around stitching and finishing. In my opinion a quality shirt is also in the details like the stitching in the collar, cuffs, and shoulders, as well as distinct MOP buttons. Pattern matching is another thing to look for.

Not all shirt tailors are good at these details. They'll cut corners to save time. If you pick a tailor don't fall for the "if you order 7 I'll give you 2 more for free" deal. Place a small order like 3 shirts or more if they have a higher minimum but have them make only one shirt first until you both agree it fits and looks good. When the shirt is done and you are happy with the fit, finishing and stitching then give the green light to make the rest.

In my opinion Ascott Chang is an excellent shirt maker with a very competent staff in NYC. They can sew just about anything.

They have a four shirt minimum the first order but they make one shirt first to see how you like it before processing to the next three. You can make adjusents and alterations and they will reflect it in all four.

This is a better option than Barney's I believe.
post #9 of 33
Thread Starter 

I appreciate all of the great information in this thread. As already mentioned, I would never get another shirt made through Barneys. At the time of purchase 3 years ago I was clueless. Hamilton was recommended by a sales person in their MTM suit department. While I think Hamilton makes a fairly decent shirt for the price if you buy direct or get fitted for them in Texas. I don't think their stock fabrics, stitching, or overall quality is that great. Especially when you consider the price from Barneys -- sigh, around $400 per shirt.

 

My goal is to get around 12 shirts made in the next few months. I am going to start with T&A. While I know that their shirts are not loved by everyone, I happen to love them for their creative fabric patterns. The premium is warranted in my opinion just for their fabrics. As for the standard wearers, I'm probably going to go to Geneva or CEGO and pick something out of Thomas Mason Gold Line / Bespoke, Monti, Anulo, etc. 


Edited by PSNY - 7/3/13 at 10:15pm
post #10 of 33
Yeah, m2m thru department stores in general is a bad idea. Early on, I once had a pair of m2m Armani pants made thru Bloomingdales but the sales guy measured in inches and the Italian factory made it to measure in centimeters. When it arrived 3 months later I could barely slip it over my knees.
post #11 of 33
I'd be curious to hear about your experience with T&A when it is finished. I do recall them having a great selection of cloth but got some bad feedback from a number of people on them being a bit of hassle to work with so went with AC instead. Hopefully that has all changed and things are smooth now.

For your reference, AC shipped my first shirt about 12 days after commissioning it. I had one small adjustment to the cuff , and it took them about 10 more days to incorporate the adjustment and send all four shirts. Quality turned out very good.

On two of the shirts I ordered a white collar/white cuff but about six months later decided I didn't like the white cuffs. For about $100 per shirt they replaced the cuffs with the matching color. It took them about 20 days to ship the two shirts to me.
post #12 of 33
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dempsy444 View Post

I'd be curious to hear about your experience with T&A when it is finished. I do recall them having a great selection of cloth but got some bad feedback from a number of people on them being a bit of hassle to work with so went with AC instead. Hopefully that has all changed and things are smooth now.

For your reference, AC shipped my first shirt about 12 days after commissioning it. I had one small adjustment to the cuff , and it took them about 10 more days to incorporate the adjustment and send all four shirts. Quality turned out very good.

On two of the shirts I ordered a white collar/white cuff but about six months later decided I didn't like the white cuffs. For about $100 per shirt they replaced the cuffs with the matching color. It took them about 20 days to ship the two shirts to me.

Regardless of the business you are in you will never be able to keep 100% of your customer base happy. Perception of atmosphere, staff, and service are all highly variable. There are the typical complainers that complain about not being attended to in the first 2 minutes upon entering the store. Then there are those that just do not know what they want and no matter what anyone does will not satisfy them. I did a fair bit of research on T&A NY on SF and AAAC and generally the feedback is very positive. T&A NY came off to a rough start when they first opened, however, in 2008 Robert Gillotte returned to T&A NY as the bespoke shirt manager. From what I have read Robert is regarded by some as one of the sartorial landmarks of NY. I will post updates when I start the process. 

post #13 of 33
My personal experience is that a first fitting with a muslin shirt has made a huge difference in getting the fit right. I can't think of a good reason why a first shirt can't be manipulated as much as a muslin, but the results are what they are.
post #14 of 33
Unless you are spending serious money, It is doubtful a shirtmaker will use a muslin.
they might make a throwaway sample from some older unsalable fabric.
which will feel like a regular shirt

real muslin will not make up properly.

some shirtmakers will make a try on fitting. where side seams and shoulders are only sewn with one row of stitches.
but the fabric used, is one chosen by the customer.
post #15 of 33
I'm using muslin interchangeably with "try on", although Hermes uses a true muslin and Charvet uses a white cotton that may not be a "true" muslin, but certainly isn't leftover unsaleable material.
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