When you're looking for a custom shirt, you want the best. Most people overlook the importance of wearing a completely customized top, thinking that it's only necessary to have a tailor handle alterations of their suits. If you're on a terribly tight budget, then this might prove true. But if you're looking to invest in your clothing – and not just buy them – then you want every piece of your wardrobe to be fully custom fitted. If you can afford to do this, you will have clothes that wear well, look well, and last the test of time. Most people get it all mixed up – they think that if they buy their clothes at the local department store every year when the fashions change that it would be less expensive. If most clothing shoppers applied the same yearly budget to having a custom shirt, suit, pants, and other items made, they would end up with just as many items, and they would all look and wear properly for years to come.
A Custom Shirt is Timeless
Before you learn just how to evaluate a tailor's ability to piece together a custom shirt, it's important that you know just how timeless a good men’s shirt can be. Think about it – have the fabrics, patterns, and styles of button down shirts changed drastically in the last fifty or even one hundred years? Not at all! Your father's shirt will still look great today if it was tailored correctly. Having not just one custom shirt, but an entire collection, means that you will have clothing that last you for decades, and not just until the latest fashion trends change.
Checking Your Tailor's Ability to Help You with a Custom Shirt
Here's all you have to do – buy a men’s shirt that doesn't fit quite properly from the department store. It doesn't even have to be expensive, so long as it's somewhat classy looking. Make sure you buy a shirt that is relatively conservative, instead of something that is focused on current fashion trends. Visit your tailor and ask him how it looks. If all he does is shrug his shoulders and ask you what alterations to make, then he's not very good at this. If, however, he points out the areas that could stand to have some improvement, then he's definitely looking out for your best interest. When you have a tailor who won't just tell you what you want to hear because he knows it will make you happy, then you have a tailor that's worth keeping. Your tailor should be willing to share his opinion, especially if he thinks you're making a bad decision. This doesn't mean that you have to listen to, or agree with, every recommendation he makes. It just shows that he is really doing his job as your tailor, and trying to help you look your best.
Know your Fabrics
Do you know exactly what you'll be needing your shirt for, what the weather will be like, and the kind of setting you plan on wearing it to the most? When you have the answers to these questions, then you can easily think about the fabrics that are most appropriate for your custom dress shirt. For most men it is either they'll need something for the office and formal meetings and lunches in air-conditioned restaurants, or they might need something more athletic and on the sporty side more suitable for outdoor environments. Whatever the case is for you, it is definitely important that you're aware of the different fabric options available for you. Fine cotton is lightweight cotton that's woven in a way that provides good moisture and heat conduction. It feels quite smooth against your body and it easily takes space while being ironed. Cotton types such as Sea Island and Egyptian cotton are considered among the best raw material for dress shirts. Man-made fiber is another and this can come in the form of nylon, polyester and so on. It doesn't have the same desirable properties as cotton. But it does create men’s shirts which are wrinkle-free, stain-resistant, and very affordable. Cotton chambray or linen – a more comfortable alternative for casual button downs or sports shirts.
Check the Fit
It is the fundamental rule in men's style…in fact in all style. So always remember that if it doesn't fit you properly, it's surely not worth your money. That's a truth that generally applies to most clothing items and your dress shirt is no exception. A dress shirt that fits you perfectly is one that ensures comfort and freedom of movement, shows off your body in a flattering manner. But somehow this tends to be the main problem for men who try shopping for off the rack dress shirts. The reality is if you can afford it, you are always better off going for a bespoke dress shirt that's specifically meant for your body and hand tailored by a pro. You should also see which fit, fits you best. The slim fit for athletic guys who have a rather slim or non-muscular torso. The normal fit for men on the muscular or buff side. The loose fit mainly for those with a fuller torso. A few other things to check for in a dress shirt would be that the gap between the men’s shirt collar and your neck should be big enough for two fingers to slide through. The shoulders of the shirt should end at the point where your shoulders meet your upper arms. Your Armholes should be high up so as not to limit the movement of your arms in the dress shirt. The sleeves shouldn't be too tight or too loose, just firm enough to still allow for natural movement. The sleeve cuffs should end at the point where your palms meet your wrists. And most importantly, the men’s shirt should fit comfortably.
Finding a Tailor for a Custom Shirt in Your Area
It's rather sad that so many tailors are suffering with the bad economy that is plaguing the country right now. Many of the most reputable shops in the world have had to close their doors. They are suffering along with everyone else, and since many of their customers just can't afford to have great custom tailoring anymore, the business is all dried up.
The good thing, though, is that there are plenty of world class tailors that travel to every major city in the world. If you are willing to make a small trip, you can find one that will be near you in the near future, and he can help you figure out exactly what type of custom shirt you need.