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Whether you’re getting dressed for a day at the office or a night out, a custom dress shirt is a perfect touch to take an outfit to the next level. Bespoke shirts are created solely for your unique fit, flattering your shape and highlighting your best features. 

What should you know about custom dress shirts before you go shopping for one? What materials and procedures are involved in the making of these uniquely attractive garments? How much do custom dress shirts cost?

We’ve compiled our custom dress shirt guide to help answer these questions for the man looking for the perfect shirt.

Precise Measurements, Perfect Shirts

As with all custom clothing, the first step in making a custom dress shirt is a fitting with a tailor.

A quality tailor will take all the necessary measurements at this stage, including the neck width, chest width, and the length of the arms, which are often slightly uneven. These precise measurements are what separates a fine, off-the-rack dress shirt and the perfect fit of a custom dress shirt.

This session is often quick and provides a good opportunity for you and your tailor to build and grow your relationship. Plus, the tailor can inform you about various brands that are available. Many labels have outstanding shirts that can be customized for your unique fit. Among the best of them are Brioni, Bugatchi, Canali, Coppley, Eton, Hickey Freeman and Ravazzolo.

Choose Your Custom Dress Shirt Material

It’s now time to decide what kind of fabric your custom dress shirt should be made of. Of course, you have a wide variety of options, including cotton, linen, Oxford cloth, silk, and flannel.

If you aren’t sure what material you want, talk with your tailor about your price range, how often you plan to wear your shirt, and what activities you’ll be doing when you are wearing the shirt. That way, the tailor can identify the fabric that best suits your purposes. If you have a fabric you prefer or have in mind, let your tailor know and they can help you make the final decision.

At this stage, you’ll also decide if you want a solid shirt or one with a pattern or print. As with all clothing, the more formal the event or situation you’ll be wearing the shirt, the more conservative the pattern should be.

Specify Your Fit

With custom dress shirts, you have the ultimate control over the fit of your shirt. You may want a shirt that is slim-fitting if regular shirts tend to be baggy on you. Alternatively, you may want a more loose-fitting shirt if you find shirts tend to be too tight on you. One of the best things about custom dress shirts is the ability to combine fits to your exact needs. 

You may need a shirt that is slim-fitting through the arms but looser in the chest and neck. Your arms may be an uneven length meaning you’ll need to lengthen one of the sleeves. Whatever the case, your custom dress shirt will be fit just for you.

Keep in mind that extra fabric is needed to make a shirt looser, so a loose style may cost a little more. If that’s the kind of shirt in which you’d feel the most relaxed, though, it is more than worth the extra expense.

Details, Details, Details

For many men, selecting all of the small features and adornments of their custom dress shirts is the fun part! You can show off your creativity and let your shirt express your tastes.

A good place to start is the shape and style of your collar. Collars come in two basic varieties: point collars and spread collars. A point collar, which is far more common, has points that face straight downward, whereas the ends of a spread collar point down and to the sides.

There are a wide variety of collar types that you can choose from, and each fits a different face shape. Your tailor can help you choose the right type of collar for your face shape and situation.

The matter of pockets will also come into play. Pockets cost extra, but if you are the type to keep pens, glasses, or other items in your pocket, they can be indispensable.

Are you a shirt tucked in or untucked man? Depending on the answer, your tailor may suggest a different bottom to your shirt. A rounded shirt bottom is more appropriate if you’ll be tucking in your shirt and a square bottom looks more presentable when it’s worn untucked.

This tucked or untucked conversation will also determine the length of the shirt. A custom dress shirt meant to be worn untucked will be shorter, to avoid looking sloppy, while a shirt meant to be tucked in will be longer to avoid the embarrassing moment of your shirttail becoming untucked. 

Finally, there’s the task of picking a button material. Plastic is the most affordable choice, but deluxe materials like onyx and mother of pearl are options that can last for a long time and make a statement when featured on a custom dress shirt.

Your tailor should be able to provide you with photos or samples of these and other details ― including monogramming, the type of cuff and so on ― to help you truly make your custom dress shirt your own.

Readying Your Custom Dress Shirt

Once all the details have been ironed out, you just have to wait as your shirt is being prepared. If it’s a made-to-measure piece, a tailor will alter an existing shirt to fit your measurements. If it’s a truly bespoke shirt ― one that’s being made from scratch ― artisans will create a pattern and craft each element to precisely match your unique dimensions.

The artisans who construct your shirt will scrutinize the fabric beforehand to ensure it’s of the highest quality. If there are even the tiniest flaws, it won’t be used. In addition to their attention to detail and quality in the materials, their stitches will be much denser than an off-the-rack shirt, which will make your shirt stronger and improve its overall appearance.

Once the process is complete, your tailor will contact you so you can come in, try on the shirt and see if any small alterations must be made before you take it home.

Price of a Custom Dress Shirt

Custom dress shirts typically range anywhere from $150 to $500. If you can find one that costs $150 or less, consider it a steal, but keep in mind that the quality won’t be quite as impressive. Note that custom shirts, if they’re taken care of properly, will almost always outlast their off-the-rack counterparts, making them an investment that will stand the test of time.

Getting Started with Custom Dress Shirts

When you’re ready to invest in a custom dress shirt, we’re here to help! Stop by the store to speak with one of our expert tailors about beginning the process of crafting a custom dress shirt that you’ll love!

Custom Dress Pants in Northern NJ

Ralph Lauretta

Ralph is a co-owner of Sal Lauretta for Men. His areas of expertise include custom clothing as well as being the primary clothing buyer for the store. When not at work you can find him hanging out with his family, reorganizing his garage or watching a Denver Broncos game.