1. Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 7: A Made-to-Measure suit from Lanieri

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    The 6th auction of the year is for a Made-to-measure suit from Lanieri. Please bid often and generously here

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In Praise of FIHTies

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by johnnynorman3, May 7, 2005.

  1. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    As I had posted previously, FIHTies hand-delivered a dress shirt and tie to my hotel in NYC while I was on my emergency business trip. Because I literally had no time to leave the my office to buy a shirt (I didn't even have time to leave my building to eat.), and because I had no clean shirts for the following day of my business trip, FIH really bailed me out.

    I ended up going with the light blue "tone on tone" shirt, and the navy polka dot tie. The shirt is described as "cotton pique," but it isn't like a pique polo shirt. It is a very light (great for spring and summer) fabric that has just a bit of texture to the fabric, but is otherwise similar to a broadcloth fabric. The "pique" weave made the shirt pretty darn resistant to wrinkling and gave it a love visual texture as well. The shade of blue is perfect -- vivid enough to give a dark suit some "pop," but in a light enough shade to flatter all skin tones and allow you to pair it with virtually any shade of tie. The collar and cuffs are pretty good. Not as substantial as, say, Borrelli. But they interlinings are high quality and very comfortable against the skin. I put in a pair of thicker collar stays that I had with me, and the collar when buttoned really lays well and frames the tie perfectly. Unlike a lot of dress shirts, FIH's shirt collars sit up high and are clearly meant to be worn with a tie, IMO. Really nice.

    I went with the size 40 Full. The "full" description is a little bit misleading. The shirts are cut on the slimmer side through the chest, and the 40 full had about a 19" shoulder measurement. FIH told me that the "full" cut shirts have a slightly wider shoulder measurement (and, by extension, a slightly longer shirt sleeve measurement) than the "slim" or "narrow" fit shirts he sells. Having tried on the 40 slim, I can tell you FIH is correct. The slim fit shirts also have a slightly shorter hem, but those were the only differences so far as I could tell.

    Overall, I found the fit in the chest on the slimmer side (the 40 probably had a 46" chest measurement), and the taper of the shirt was more like a "medium fit." I'd compare the fit of the FIH shirt to Brooks Brothers slim fit shirts, but with a better fitting (i.e. "higher" and "shallower") armhole. The sleeve on the 40 full probably runs about 34".

    One thing I found great about the shirt was that the wrist circumfrence was cut for a normal wrist, not some thick wristed giant like most RTW shirts. I have a narrow wrist (6.5") and for that reason alone hate most RTW shirts. But FIH's shirts are cut perfectly for someone with about a 7" wrist, so they fit me pretty well and I won't have to move any buttons.

    The thin MOP buttons are really beautiful. They aren't paper thin, and they had a bluish hue to them that looked great against the shirt. The circumfrence of the buttons is smaller than most shirt buttons. This took me a few minutes to get used to, but your tie is covering the buttons anyways so it's not a big deal. And, in fact, the smaller buttons are actually quite elegant looking.

    The quality of the fabric was very good. Though I haven't seen how it will hold up to repeated washing, I'm pretty confident it will stay soft and comfortable. Why do I say this? Well, unlike crappy department store shirts, the FIH shirt fabric did not appear to have been sprayed with loads of "finishing spray" or whatever is used on lower quality fabrics. So, I'm not worried that the fabric quality was simply an illusion created by chemicals that will come off after a first washing.

    As far as collar sizing, FIH shirts run either true to size or a bit tighter. I prefer a measurement of 15.5" from button to buttonhole. The FIH size 40 fit me almost perfectly right out of the package. With the normal shrinkage, I think it will fit like a 15 1/2 (I think a 40 is a 15 3/4, so you might want to consider ordering up one size -- do you agree, FIH?).

    As for the tie, I'll be frank and say that the silk on my tie wasn't nearly as luxurious as the silks that Carlo Franco uses. It's really a night and day difference. They have a different heft, weight, and sheen. Of course, the tie I got from FIH only cost $55, about 60% of the cost of one from Chuck. However, more than making up for the less luxurious silk was how well the tie knotted. I can honestly say that this tie tied the EASIEST and BEST four-in-hand knot of any tie I currently own. It tied a fairly thick four in hand -- not quite as thick as most windsor knots, but almost -- and it was easy to get the dimple precisely right on the first try.

    I should also mention that I received three compliments on the shirt and tie by my co-workers.

    So, all in all, I'd say that FIH delivers a very good value. If the shirt sleeve size will be right for you and like a "medium" fit (and by "medium," I mean what a custom shirtmaker like Jantzen or WW Chan would call "medium"), I'd recommend trying one of FIH shirts. And if you like to tie four in hands, give a tie a try too.
     


  2. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    Again, way to go, Jon.

    I'd like to say, I think this is what sets our resident vendors apart from a lot of other places/people. Guys like Jon, Chuck, Alex, Ron Rider, Chris from Bennies, Discostu, Andrew Harris all have the same appreciation for quality and service that board members here value and desire. I think they stick around here because they want to have great customers just like we want to have great providers of quality goods who understand real customer service. Sure a lot of their motivation is economic, but I know they enjoy being here or they wouldn't stick around. We have fly-by-nighters who can't handle the expectations. Thanks to these guys who stick around and offer something valuable, which goes beyond simply great products.
     


  3. johnnynorman3

    johnnynorman3 Distinguished Member

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    I'd also like to add one more thing: FIH (Jonathan) and I had spoken before regarding overcoats (I was looking at his overcoat merchandise) and it was clear from our conversations that I am a total cheapskate. [​IMG] I have been spoiled by bargain shopping, which we have a lot of in Boston. So, Jonathan's incredible customer service in our transaction -- while successful in gaining a customer (I'll definitely order some ties over the holidays, I think, as well as some scarves) -- was not done out of an expectation that I would suddenly buy $1000 worth of goods from him. So, the service was done out of genuine kindness, which is the ultimate characteristic of a good vendor.
     


  4. Steve B.

    Steve B. Go Spurs Go

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    I bought a Marinella tie. Very pleased with it.
     


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