Having already taken an in depth look at what makes the perfect suit, we’ve recently turned our attention to helping fashionisers purchase the perfect made to measure shirts to go with said suits. Of the list of all the online menswear store concepts that are growing in popularity, custom shirt manufacturers sit towards the top, with one of the early entrants into the ‘new’ market, Shirts My Way, right up there.
Shirts My Way have a lot of numbers behind their popularity. And I’m not talking sales numbers; those I’m not privy to. But rather I’m talking the sheer number of shirts one could order from them: they state that there are over 7 trillion possible shirts that you can buy from them courtesy of any number of customisations and configurations.
To be certain, 7 trillion is a big number; one so big it borders on the ridiculous. But big numbers and market popularity don’t necessarily translate into a shirt of the quality that a fashioniser expects. So what are Shirts My Way offering and, should you do business with them, what are our tips for ordering from them? We go in depth after the break.
About Shirts My Way
I suspect that the 7 trillion possible combinations of shirts that you’d have at your disposal as a customer of Shirts My Way has probably stuck in your mind. Don’t let it. Such a figure is either paralysing or distracting. Rather concentrate first and foremost on the style of made-to-measure shirts that Shirts My Way offers: while they have the odd casual cloth on offer, this is an online store designed largely to cater to the chap after a corporate or day shirt (I use ‘day’ loosely – most of Shirts My Way’s offerings can be worn well into the evening, though some may carry too much of a ‘after work drinks’ air).
Breaking down their offering further, Shirts My Way offer around 60 fabrics at any given time (they have seasonal cloth offerings) that can be finished off with 7 different collar and cuff options. Of course, 60 cloths, 7 collars and 7 cuffs do not total 7 trillion shirt combinations. For that you have to look to their other personalisations, which offer everything from details such as contrast collars through to epaulettes.
Such options will see you spend anywhere between $75 to $175 on a made to measure shirt from Shirts My Way.
Cocktail cuff from Shirts My Way
Reviewing the shirt I ordered
From Shirts My Way I opted to order a classic white shirt. To avoid the corporate look and to give the shirt a sharper look at evening events I ordered a high-necked collar with 3 buttons. Completing the statement, the shirt was made with a cocktail cuff (effectively a folded back cuff that doesn’t require cufflinks). As for the cloth, I selected a double ply, full cotton, 80 yarn count, white woven herringbone.
If I hadn’t opted for a sharp, white shirt I suspect my choice would have come down to either the Grey Goose cloth, one that would look great set against a black suit from an Italian fashion house, or the Apollo Purple cloth, which is a great shirt for travelling with given its purple and white contrast stripes will work with many of the colours one is likely to pack.
How I did it
Most online shirt stores give you three options when you’re purchasing a made to measure shirt: enter your body’s measurements, select a stock-standard size, or enter the measurements of your favourite shirt. Shirts My Way is no different and, as I’ve done with all the made to measure shirt stores under review, I opted to for the latter. That saw me base my measurements upon my favourite Tom Ford shirt whose fit and wear I can’t fault. I’d recommend this as the best starting point for ordering any shirt online: always use a shirt whose fit you love as the basis for your measurements.
Before marrying the desire of the perfect fit with Shirts My Way’s checkout process, however, there was the not-so-small task of researching precisely what kind of shirt I’d favour from them. Given their conservative slant, I opted to experiment with buying ‘the perfect white shirt’. As far as white cloth goes, Shirts My Way offers a number of selections from the plain to a herringbone-weave. Unfortunately here I hit a snag: I’m an avid researcher of products I buy online and the detail on the origin of the cloths that Shirts My Way use are light on the ground. While you can easily access information on the thread count and the ply, information on the origins of each cloth aren’t a part of the checkout process. If I’m fair, that’s true of most any bricks-and-mortar store where a gent might buy his shirts. However, in the realm of the made to measure shirt manufacturers I’ve reviewed, Shirts My Way are one of the few not to implicitly state where the fabric originates. Thus I married my desire of a white cloth with the most relevant information on hand, considering cotton count and ply and using the price point as an indicator of quality (something I generally hate to have to do).
The ordering process
Shirts My Way certainly have one of the more polished check out options, and you’ll be comfortably guided through the ordering process and given a visual representation of what your personalised shirt will look like.
During the ordering process ensure you:
- Look at the photo of the fabric that you select – it gives a much better sense of what the fabric looks like in person than the small preview automatically provided.
- Remember that you’re buying a shirt that ought to look a lot better than what you can purchase ready-to-wear, thus don’t shy away from points of difference particularly in the collar and cuff.
- Order rear pleats if you’re after a shirt with a slimmer fit.
- When selecting a cloth remember that the higher the thread count or ply, the heavier the shirt will be. It’s only a rule of hand, but higher yarn counts generally last longer too.
- With the above in mind and given you don’t have any information on the origin of each cloth readily available during the ordering process, when selecting a shirt cloth from Shirts My Way use price as the last determining factor – particularly if you’re a person who opts for the highest price believing it’ll return the greatest product to you.
The shirt itself
I’ll confess that the largely conservative leaning of Shirts My Way’s approach to made-to-measure shirts left me feeling that I was more likely to receive a shirt that was better suited to the office than a night on the town. What was delivered was certainly more of the latter and less of the former, and everything from the collar to the initialled monogram has an eye catching appeal.
More impressive, however, was the fit. I haven’t opted to review the measurements between the Tom Ford shirt I based the measurements upon and the shirt that Shirts My Way delivered, but I can say that of the shirts reviewed this one fits extremely closely to what I’d imagined and hoped to get.
What I’d do different next time
Nothing springs to mind – Shirts My Way have replicated to a tee the measurements provided.
What you should consider before ordering
- Ensure that you’re happy with the personalisations on offer. While I don’t personally see a need to research the colour of threads available for contrast stitching, the selection of collars, cuffs and cloth that each made to measure store offers is important to me – there are the things that’ll make you stand out, or not. Thus I’d say review these first and ensure that you’re happy with Shirts My Way’s more conservative offering – if you have your heart set after a severe cut-away collar akin to the Keaton collar from Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label range, Shirts My Way aren’t for you.
- Ensure that you’re happy with not knowing precisely where the fabric Shirts My Way is sourced from.
- Definitely review all of Shirts My Way’s fabric offerings – it’s a good selection, but if you’re after something else don’t allow yourself to be pigeon-holed.
The all important question
At a glance Shirts My Way have a highly corporate and highly conservative approach to what they do, and to be honest I expected that I’d receive a shirt that was in line with most corporate shirts: nice enough, but a little bit stale on the sartorial side of things. And without any bias I can say that was I was pleasantly surprised. The white Shirts My Way shirt that I received not only exceeded my expectations in its fit and feel, of all the shirts I reviewed it was also the shirt that came closest to replicating the fit of the original Tom Ford shirt upon which I based its measurements.
The all important test for me is whether I’d opt to shop with them again – and I can say that I would.
Shirts My Way can be found at www.shirtsmyway.com.