25 January 2010

Made-to-Measure Shirts (sophomore outing)

A while back, I was graciously given a free Made-to Measure shirt from Deo Veritas, a Chicago based online shirt service. The shirt I had them make for me may have been a bit (dare I say it) flashy, over the top, even. What do you want from me? A greenhorn move to be sure. But honestly, I don't have any problem finding white and blue shirts that fit, so why waste the opportunity? In any case, I was very impressed by the fit, material, and construction of that shirt. So much so that I decided to blow my Christmas bonus on a couple more. They arrived today:

A tad more laid back than my first foray into Made-to-Measure, though not by much.

These two feature contrast club collars (read:rounded points),

and a two button rounded edge cuff.

I paid $150 for these two shirts. An extravagance, to be sure. But the way I figure, such are the occasional rewards of the thrifty life. In general, I disdain retail, and I buy everything second hand for incredibly low prices. The older I get, the more I see this as a way to justify an infrequent big expenditure.

Back when I reviewed my first Deo Veritas shirt, some of you expressed misgivings at the fact hat it was made in Hong Kong. Allow me to address that concern.

"Made in China" has come to be a phrase akin to a dirty word. It often means "Made in Sweatshop". True, Americans tend to consume a lot of junk at the expense of sweatshop labor, but this isn't necessarily always the case. For a better look at what I mean, read here.

Hong Kong actually has a long and revered history in the production of bespoke and hand tailored menswear. Even my nemesis can attest to this. In my thrift adventures, I have often come across serious "Trad" vintage, custom made for somebody else in Hong Kong. When these shirts arrived today, I checked the return address. Tailored Shirts Ltd. looks to be a stand up operation, if their website is any guide. Look 'em over.

The shirts are well made, and fit beautifully. They have an eighth button, preventing them form ever coming un-tucked. The fabrics, mostly made in Italy, are top notch, smooth and soft to the touch, but seemingly long wearing (I'll update you in a year). At $75 (including such superfluous peacokery as monogramming), they may not be what you would call cheap, but they certainly are within reach, for a treat. And for as much as I enjoy donning some fabulous old thing bought for a song, there is something to be said for not only being the first to wear something, but also the guy who ordered it made.

Companies like Deo Veritas and tailored Shirts Ltd. provide us normal guys with the means to spoil ourselves every now and again. Much appreciated and highly recommended.


Striped Shirts said...

I'm really liking the rounded collars!

The Tyrant said...

Nice photos.

Anonymous said...

If I said what I honestly think of those collars, I'd be accused of being a racist.

Giuseppe said...

Rounded club collars? What's the big deal?

Anonymous said...

Those are not club collars. They are long point spread collars that have rounded tips.

David V said...

I thrifted three club collared shirts in the last week.
That's three more than I have ever had in my life.
I wore one, pinned, Saturday evening and like it so much I ran out Monday to grab the other two from the thrift store.

Anon: Just what is the problem? You really need to brush up on classic styles.

James said...

Great looking shirts. I use your philosophy of thrifting allowing big buys on occasion. Like you I don't get Anyo-mouse's comment.

davidsl said...

love a club collared shirt! these are lovely and a fine investment in quality. at the risk of sounding like an english old fogey, good show, old man. good show.

Anonymous said...

The rounding of the collars aside, the white contrast collar is a style abomination. This "look" is attempting to mimic removable, interchangeable, and washable collars made for shirt bodies over 100 years ago. Plainly, there is no practical application for such collars in 2010 - giving this sort of collar an immediate faux, "trying too hard" look....like wheel hubcaps made to look like alloy rims. To me, this look should be buried...along with all the daytime soap opera actors and game show hosts who sported them in the late 80s. Such a shame at $150.00!

Anonymous said...

Nice shirts. You are a bold cat. Now we want to see the outfits. I think you're going to need one snappy suit to do them justice.

Sean said...

I am wearing a MTM shirt today, too, and am impressed how muscular and handsome it makes me look.

LADY READERS: If you fear falling prey to the burning dictates of you passions, beware men in made to measure shirts!

Anonymous said...

I just hope these customer shirts aren't a slippery slope... we won't catch you stumbling out of the Polo mansion in New York with half a dozen shopping bags or sneaking into a Savile Row tailor to have suits make?!? ;>

Anonymous said...

No one is doing Guiseppe any favors by supporting this look. These are terrible - from the "fake removable collar" contrast look to the long, pointed, faux-club collar styling. I've never seen collars like this because this may be the first time something like this has ever been designed! A true "club" collar is short and very rounded - these are neither. Yikes!

Zach said...

That's not a club collar. If you like it, go to town, no judgement here. I've certainly seen stranger collars. But this:


is a club collar. What you've got looks like a point collar with rounded edges.

Young Fogey said...

One of the anonymice bemoaned the look of the contrast collar, citing its origins. As Guiseppe pointed out earlier, by this logic, we ought not to wear center-vented jackets if we do not ride horses, nor should we wear brogued shoes if we do not muck about in damp moors.

Sheer poppycock.

If you don't like the look, that's fine. Don't wear it, and feel free to constructively criticize. But the "based-on-earlier-functions-now-absent" argument holds no water whatsoever. After all, is there any article of clothing less "functional" than a necktie? Yet the necktie is the indispensible element of a proper outfit: without it, the outfit lacks both dignity and authority. The necktie provides the requisite oomph--yet, according to anonymouse's argument, it's not "practical"!

Sophie said...

The tailoring in Hong Kong is usually first rate. My dad would always get a suit made on his travels through. Good to see you having fun with your purchases.

David V said...

Nobody else has commented on this: I like the placement of your initials on the inside of the collar.

Shidi said...

I love the club collars. I have one contrast collar striped club oxford in my closet. It's J.Crew but I got it from a thrift store in Williamsburg (Brooklyn).

I've been wanting to dive into online MTM, I just haven't taken the plunge as of yet. Mush easier for me to head to the thrift store, or a discount store (Marshall's, TJ Maxx, etc) and pick up something.

Good selection.

initials CG said...

Anon. Who the hell cares if they're not the exact kind of rounded club collars that are considered "correct"? Arrow shirts produced similar collars at the turn of the century. In fact, they may or may not predate the more traditional club known today. Who cares anyway?

Contrast collars look good, when combined well. That's why they are still with us more than a hundred years later. INMHO, the "Giuseppe" design is quite original. I'm looking forward to seeing how he works it in his wardrobe.

Originality, within the limits of good taste, should always be welcome.

initials CG said...

Forgive my blog hogging here:

In spirit of what I think AAW is, a MTM or bespoke shirt gives more bang for the buck, as it were.

Collars fray. They get soiled badly. Once that happens, you can go casual with them, or just replace the collar for under 10-15 dollars. White collars when you can't find the same bolt of cloth.

Replacement contrast collars are still very much in use today as they were over 100 years ago. When you get a bespoke shirt or a MTM you'll drop a load of cash, but it will always cost you less over time. You'll get "attached" to your MTM/bespokes, because they will always be that one individual piece.

Even folks who'll take order for more than a couple of thousand on shirts, they're favorites are usually, those crisp, elegant shirts with new contrast collars that they've had for years. Often their firsts.

Percy Chatsworth said...

$75 for a made to measure shirt is certainly affordable and certainly belongs on your blog.

In a world where off the rack shirts from designers and stores like Club Monaco are more than $75 retail, you certainly found a deal.

Good show.

Partly inspired by you, I am doing my best to only buy thrift, vintage and eBay this year (I can't only do thrift, it is far too difficult for a tiny man my size!). Funny too, I work at Gap part-time. I would rather have fun shopping for great items at much lower prices than use my discount on terribly made, cheap products.

Scott Alexander said...

Sadly, I'm without a single club collar shit, though I'd love to have one. The look is truly classic and pulled off easily if the rest of the outfit goes well. Excellent choices, G!

pasquale said...

I always think of club collars as the ones the Beatles wore, and they are much narrower, but like a lot of things those Beatles did, they just did it so well that now we think of it as the standard even if it was originally a weird twist on the standard.

As far as the Gordon Gecko white collars, last I checked you didn't work at a bank.

Scott Alexander said...

Forgot to mention before, I've got my next several posts up at the Cable Knit Collegian, if you'd like to stop by and check them out. If it's alright with you, I've got you on my blog roll. Thanks again, G.


NCJack said...

Broke down myself and got some MTM shirts from a local haberdasher I'd known for years. My huge neck, skinny wrists, and...uhh..."smallness-challenged" tum are now handsomely draped.

In a blue shirt with white club collar.

Anonymous said...

Old Fogey: My arguments against the faux, contrast removable collar isn't one of "practicality." It's one of a style feature mimicking something it's not. A center jacket vent provides ease of movement in a range of "seated" situations - not only horse riding. Neckties have always been about style - while, perhaps not "functional", their purpose/role hasn't changed signifcantly at all.

In addition, these collars are not only imitating an antiquated shirt feature that's no longer employed, they are also long and rounded - a style I've never seen before...not a club collar, not a point...and certainly not classic/timeless...which tends to be the focus of this blog. The combination is just terrible....escpecially for the money spent.


NBice G but you paid too much money for Chinese shirts.You can get for 25 bucks

Giuseppe said...

25 bucks? I wish! Not where I come from. You're lucky to get mass production crap at Target for that money.

Young Fogey said...


Modern brogued shoes are also "a style feature mimicking something it's not." Should we toss our brogues in the trash? The same goes for button-down collars, which were created for playing polo. Should we eschew them if we don't whack balls with mallets while riding ponies?

IMNSHO, you're hung up on the origins of the feature, while ignoring its change over time. Men's shirts haven't had removable collars in forever, yet some of the features of detachable collars have stayed with us. So what?

Note also that some men have contrast collars put on custom shirts after the original matching ones fray. This is a new use for the contrast collar, one that is both practical and economical. Is this wrong?

You don't like contrast collars. Fine. You have your reasons for not liking them. Also fine. Just don't tell us that they're "historically incorrect" just because the technology of collar attachment has changed yet the fashion didn't. The fact is that many other traditional elements of men's clothing followed a similar course--and you don't seem to have a problem with those.

Anonymous said...

Fogey - all fair points, though, again, I don't see the examples you presented as perfectly similar to the faux removable collar. I.e. a button down collar isn't trying to look like a button down collar - it still is one. But, again, fair points. Please also keep in mind that my issue with this particular collar is that it's also long and rounded (!?) - which, in my opinion, has no place on a blog dedicated almost exclusively to classic, traditional clothing.

Giuseppe said...

Time for me to chime in here:

I don't wear contrast collars because I want to affect the look of a detachable collr. I wear them because I like the way they look, which is the same reason I wear everything I own.

As for these shirts not belonging here, I just don't get that. THis blog is, in fact, mostly about my clothes, so how is it that my shirts have no place here? True, my sense of style is rooted in the classic, but I'm by no means rule bound to it. Just read the post previous to this one.

I get that you don't like contrast collars, and that's your prerogative. My good friend Pasquale hates them, and never forgets to mention it every time he sees me in one. But "abomination" is a pretty strong word, don't you think?

Anyway, I appreciate your amking dissenting points without resrting to swearing and name-calling, the eternal danger of the anonymous commenter.

Young Fogey said...

Last comment for me: Thank you, Anonymous, for discussing things like a grown-up. Why don't you choose a distinctive handle and hang around? Politely dissenting voices are a good thing.

While I like club collars, I agree that these shirts don't have them: they have rounded point collars. But Giuseppe likes them, wears them well, and that's good enough for me. (Suggestion: always pin them--that will minimize the "too big" aspect.)

Sadly, among my 30 or so shirts, I lack both club and contrast collars. A temporary setback.

Anonymous said...

This is a club collar:


Anonymous said...

What a great resource!