Custom dress shirts are not something the average guy really thinks about too much. After all, the shirts that most men get at the department store for $40 serve their purpose well enough, right?
If you’re a man with discerning taste and a quality wardrobe, those department store shirts really don’t cut it because they aren’t made for your body.
They’re made for an imaginary man or mannequin with a body type that is somewhat similar to yours. While the size might be close, it will never be exactly right for you when you buy a dress shirt off the rack or in a package.
However, you might think that custom dress shirts really aren’t affordable, even if you have a wardrobe that’s top-notch already. The truth is that there is a wide range of prices when it comes to having custom dress shirts made for you because there are so many variables.
Use this guide to help you learn more about the process of making custom shirts, the cost of custom dress shirts and whether or not you should be adding a few to your closet this season.
Precise Measurements, Perfect Shirts
When you buy custom dress shirts the first part of the process is a fitting. The fitting process is obviously not something you go through when you buy a shirt off the rack. At the most, you might get somebody in a menswear store or department store to pull out the measuring tape and tell you which size is best.
When you have measurements taken for custom dress shirts the process is somewhat similar to having a jacket tailored or made for you. Your tailor will measure your arm length, the width around your neck and chest and a few other areas to make sure they have every exact dimensions of your body.
Taking measurements for custom dress shirts doesn’t take too long, but the product you’ll get in return will have an exceptional fit. Most tailors include the cost of measurements into your shirts if you place an order – meaning that the fitting itself is going to be free.
Choose Your Material
The cost of having custom dress shirts made for you has a great deal to do with the fabric that you choose. While you might think that the people who make custom dress shirts only work with incredibly expensive materials, the truth is that most makers will have a range of fabrics from high-quality linen to natural cotton to blended fabrics designed to be durable or reduce visible wrinkles. Shirts with prints or patterns or plain solids are also available.
When choosing your material, your tailor will be able to help you pick something in your price range that will also appeal to your personal style. You can even specify a material for a specific suit or outfit to complement the texture of each item.
That’s one of the wonderful things about choosing your own material – you can really find something unique that you won’t be able to get from a menswear or department store.
Materials for custom dress shirts start at fairly low price points, from a few dollars per yard, up to very fine materials that could cost considerably more. Your tailor can help you pick the perfect material based on your needs.
Specify Your Fit
Custom dress shirts are always going to have a superior fit to shirts you buy off the rack in a menswear or department store. However, when you buy a custom dress shirt, you’ll also be able to specify exactly what type of fit you want to have – even if it isn’t a standard fit that you could find in a traditional off-the-rack dress shirt.
For example, many men prefer slimmer shirts but don’t like a tight neck that feels like it is choking them all day. Other men prefer a shirt that is more comfortable and a bit more flattering on their body type.
Whatever type of fit your prefer, having custom dress shirts made can help you achieve that. While some cuts may take a little bit more work because of their precise nature – and this will cost you a bit more – the fit of the shirt won’t greatly alter the price of having custom dress shirts made for you.
It should be pointed out though that looser shirts or shirts that are longer will require more fabric, which will obviously make your shirt a bit more expensive. Still, that extra few dollars will help you to get the shirt you’ve always wanted, which is absolutely worth the extra cost for well-dressed men.
Pick Your Details
The next part of choosing a custom shirt is figuring out what type of styling you want. For example, you might prefer a classic collar, an Italian spread collar or even a button-down collar. If you’re unfamiliar with the different types, your tailor should be able to show you a chart or some pre-made examples.
Once you’ve chosen your collar you can decide if you want to have a pocket on your shirt or not. Many men find the classic pocket to be quite appealing and useful, while others feel that it isn’t necessary and takes away from the look of the shirt. In general, adding a pocket will cost more because of the extra labor cost, but that cost is quite negligible if you’ll find the pocket useful.
Choosing your own buttons is also one of the benefits of purchasing custom dress shirts for yourself. While you can choose basic plastic buttons, your tailor will be able to show you a variety of options from the very simple to the very expensive versions made of materials like onyx. You also have the option of French cuffs or standard button cuffs – with the button of your choosing, of course.
The last detail most tailors ask about is whether you prefer a rounded or squared bottom. Most men that wear dress shirts with suits or tucked in prefer rounded, but if you tend to wear your dress shirts out with jeans, a squared bottom will provide a neater look.
Should I Buy Custom Dress Shirts?
Buying custom dress shirts can seem like a big leap and an added expense to your wardrobe. However, the average custom dress shirt isn’t going to cost you that much more than buying one of very high-quality from a department store.
When you buy custom shirts, you’ll be getting the right fit each time and the exact specifications you’ve always wanted when it comes to everything from fabric choice to neck type to the buttons on the shirt.
You will also end up with a high-quality shirt that’s made to last. Once you have your measurements taken, you can also re-order from the same tailor, saving you time and money from searching through department store racks only to end up with a poor-fitting shirt.
For most men that want a fine wardrobe and to look their best each day, buying custom dress shirts just makes sense. Why pair fine clothes with average shirts?