A common complaint that I’ve had over the years has been that any dress shirt I bought seemed to be baggy. There were few things I hated more than seeing my shirt “blouse-out” around my waist and give me the appearance of weighing 20 pounds more than I did. I would look at the designer shirts, but was just discouraged to find that a slim-cut designer shirt started at the $200 mark… and even then it would still be “off the rack”. Then, about 15 months ago, I discovered the Brooks Brothers made-to-measure and my world changed forever. Hands down, it is the best deal out on the market.
To begin the process, check out the closest retail Brooks Brothers store (factory stores do not have M2M). Unless they are having a slow day, you may have to set up an appointment to get your initial fitting. The measurements take about 45 minutes while you fine-tune the fit that you want. If you are like me, explain to the specialist that you want a very slim waistline to minimize blousing. The more you explain what you are looking for, the more accurately he can tweak the numbers. Once you have the measurements, you can begin the shopping portion. They have a broad variety of fabrics ranging from the opening-price-point of $150 clear up to over $390 for rare sea-island cotton. After the fabric has been selected, you chose every styling detail possible… cuff, collar (over 10 styles available), placket, and pleating. At the end of the process you have a shirt that is completely customized to your body and tastes… down to even one cuff being larger than the other to account for your watch. Then, in just a few short weeks, you will receive a call to come and pick up your glorious shirt.
Now you may say that $150 is a lot of money and I would totally agree, but it is well worth it. First, I would recommend getting your shirt(s) during one of the Friends & Family or Made-to-Measure sales. That way you will save upwards of 25% off your entire order… which brings the price down to $112.50 a shirt. Secondly, if you pick a regular-finish fabric (anything but non-iron) and take care of the shirt, you can get a solid 10 years out of the shirt. That’s only $12 a year, or 3 cents a day! It’ll be more likely that you’ll outgrow the shirt before it runs out. Thirdly, a perfectly tailored shirt makes an amazing impression. I can’t count the number of compliments or comments I’ve gotten from wearing my made-to-measures. You even carry yourself better because you just know that the shirt looks great. Finally, the cost is only a fraction of what it would be to get an off-the-rack shirt from a designer like Ralph Lauren Black Label (which runs about $230)… just think if we started talking Armani or Tom Ford.
Final verdict: get out and try just one and I promise you’ll never look back. On a side note: stay away from the non-iron fabric just for the simple fact that it doesn’t breathe well and with the shirt being so fitted, you may overheat.