Archives for August 2012

A Comprehensive List of Online MTM (MTO, Custom-Made) Shirt-Makers

Online made-to-measure (made-to-order, custom-made) shirt industry is one of the fastest growing in menswear. The idea is simple in theory: you pick the fabric and design of a shirt, provide your measures, place an order, and in 15 – 45 days you receive a custom-made shirt that fits you perfectly. It could be like that in practice too, but you must choose the right shirt-maker, provide the right measures and have a bit of luck. Searching for reviews of a shirt-maker service before doing business with them is a good idea. Search function of style forums like and will help you with that.

Below is a pretty exhaustive list of online MTM shirt services. There are many not listed I’m sure, but do you really need more…

1. Amaa-Fashion –

2. Alexander West –

3. Bawden Bespoke –

4. Barrington Ayre –

5. Belisario –

6. Bespokeway –

7. Biased Cut –

8. Black Lapel –

9. Blank Label –

10. Brass Bones –

11. Cad and the Dandy –

12. Cottonwork –

13. Deo Veritas –

14. Exec Shirts –

15. Fit Custom Shirts –

16. Gary Tailor –

17. Gino Tailor –

18. Giorgenti –

19. Green & Jacks –

20. Hall & Madden –

21. Hamilton Custom Shirts –

22. Hemingway –

23. Henry Herbert –

24. Highcliffe Clothiers –

25. Indochino –

26. iTailor –

27. Jantzen –

28. Joe Button –

29. K J Beckett –

30. Knot Standard –

31. Luxire –

32. Made Tailor –

33. Manning & Manning –

34. Margutti –

35. Mark Christopher –

36. Maxwell’s Clothiers –

37. Moda Republic –

38. Modern Tailor –

39. MTM Shirt –

40. Mytailor –

41. Natty Shirts –

42. Nero Note

43. NiAlma –

44. Nicholas Joseph –

45. Piacemolto –

46. Proper Cloth –

47. Pick A Shirt –

48. Ratio Clothing –

49. Ravis Tailor –

50. Ritikhush –


52. SavileRowOnline –

53. Shirts My Way –

54. Solosso –

55. Tailor 4 Less –

56. Tailored shirts –

57. Tailored Suits Paris –

58. Tailor Store –

59. Tailor Threads –

60. The Custom Shop Clothiers –

61. VM Clothiers –

Introducing Equus Leather or How I ‘Made’ my First ‘Bespoke’ Belt

Equus Leather is owned and operated by Charlie Trevor and Dawn McCormack in the Northumberland region of the UK. Charlie manages the leatherwork and Dawn handles photography and the business administration. Charlie has been producing leather and bridle work since 1995 and his products can be found all over the world from Europe, to the US to the Middle and Far East and Australia.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to work with Charlie to build a custom bridle leather belt.  This was my first belt made and cut to my specifications and working with Charlie was a delight. Charlie explained the selection and cutting process step by step and offered recommendations for color, width, buckles etc. We agreed on a bridle leather belt in Australian Nut which looks brown in artificial light but in natural light has a distinguishing Burgundy finish. My belt has no stitching and or raised edges, which is available but the process takes considerably more time and effort and increases the cost of the belt while simultaneously decreasing the formality of it.

We cut a 1 and 1/4 width which is standard for a dress belt but with seven holes when most mass produced belts come with only five.  We chose a West End buckle in Satin finish which to complete the belt. Since the last belt I acquired had a shiny buckle we chose a matte finish on this piece.  We also cut the belt to a specific length to ensure the best fit. When fitting a belt the common knowledge is to wear a belt two sizes larger than your waist size or the size of your trousers.  Of course, if you’re going to go all out I recommend no belt loops at all, but side tabs on all of your trousers just seems pretentious.

So, if you wear a 30 trouser you should most likely be wearing a 32 belt.  However, as it so happens many men wear their belts to large and end up buckling the belt on the last hole which is ghastly. You should never buckle your belt on the last hole and in reality it shouldn’t have to reach further than the second to last hole. Unfortunately, many men like me are in between sizes and it can be difficult to properly achieve this without cutting the belt exactly to specifications. In steps Charlie who cut a 31.5 length which suits me perfectly.

Prior to our working together I was not aware of the all the properties of bridle leather. Fortunately, Charlie is an expert. Bridle Leather refers to the way that a piece of leather (cow hide) is finished at the tannery. It is used in saddlery for horses and is typically expected to last for 10 or more years of use. It has both the Flesh and Grain side of the leather stuffed with greases and finished with wax. This is generally a labor intensive process, and thus expensive. Only the best grades of leather are treated in this manner.  It would be uneconomic to treat poor quality leather in this way. Today, few tanneries produce good bridle leather. Equus only utilizes leather from J & E Sedgwick  and J & FJ Baker who are widely known to produce the best bridle leather in the world.

There are three major characteristics of bridle leather.

1. It must have good depth of color and be attractive to look at while aging well and it must not have natural imperfections that weaken the leather.

2. It is expected to be smooth, comfortable and flexible to handle.

3. It is expected to be both strong and durable.

All Equus hardware is made from a solid metal, such as brass, stainless steel, nickel or sterling silver. Charlie does not use plated fittings that inevitably rust over time. All hardware is sourced from Walsall or Birmingham in England and is engineered for the purpose intended. All but one of the belt buckles goes through a polishing process that produces either an exceptionally high gloss finish or a satin finish, depending on requirements. The majority of the buckles used are actually harness buckles and include the West End which was my personal choice.  I’ve worn the belt both in casual and semi-formal occasions for work. I’m sure it will continue to wear in well. I just hope my waist does the same.

Linkroll: Foster & Son, Summer Suits, Middle Age Style…

• Beautiful new bespoke models by Foster & Son  (

• How to wear summer suits. Though I can’t promise your colleges won’t suspect you’re secretly a fashion blogger if you do.  (

• Style influences for a middle aged man. (

• Advocating heavier cloths for summer. (

• Die, Workwear! goes weird, wants single-button sleeves on sport coats. (

• Hardwick, an Ivy clothing seller advertising imagery from the 60’s. Hint: ‘sex sells’ counted back in the Ivy heyday too. (

• Richard Anderson RTW Autumn/Winter 2012. (

• This is how menswear enthusiast’s cycling-wear looks like. (

• goes French, but luckily there are some illustrations from Monsieur Magazine that don’t require translation. (

• As seen in Florence: blue odd jackets paired with grey trousers. (

• Maturing style and ‘Sprezza-tourism.’ (

• Summer weekends call for loud jackets. (

• Luciano Barbera’s idea of summer vacation: mountains. (

• A Swede’s guide to menswear stores in Barcelona. (

• Isaia’s Aquaspider jacket. (

• Proper Cloth mtm shirt review. (

Introducing | Luxire Custom Shirts

Luxire shirts is an online custom shirtmaker headed by Arnaud Rosseau, Parisian and founding partner of Avacci Telagio, the parent company of Luxire headquartered in New Jersey with factories in England and India.  I first learned of Luxire shirts through my friend Andy Gilchrist of Ask Andy About Clothes but it was not until Luxire contacted me directly that I had the opportunity to wear their product.

The initial contact from Luxire was polite and unassuming from a man or woman (I don’t know which) by the name of Ashish Arya.  From the initial contact until the post of this writing I have never had a customer service experience such as this one.  It seemed as though Ashish never slept and my emails were answered (by a breathing human being) within a matter of minutes; truly a delight in this day and age of automated and belated service.

Ashish explained the measuring process which is similar to many of the online shirtmakers offering both standard sizing and up to nine body measurements encompassing every aspect of the anatomy of a shirt including bicep, bottom hem, chest, waist, yoke, sleeve, length, cuff and neck.

Luxire offers over 100 fabric choices extending from standard 2 ply medium weight Oxford weaves to the “warzone” Oxford which can hold up under 240 plus washings, to superfine “zero gravity” 240s lightweight cotton from the Italian Zambiatti mill. We chose our shirt in a lightweight summer chambray in a deep ocean blue.

After selecting the fabric, there are a limited number of style selections available.  I’ve personally seen many more options available from other online MTO shirtmakers like Modern Tailor or Cottonwork, but more options are not always better options.  Luxire keeps it simple with color, cuff, back, pocket, and placket options.  None of the fancy interlinings and such.  Fortunately they do offer the option of lined or unlined collars and cuffs.  I’ve become accustomed to the soft collar option and a soft collar certainly wears lighter and more comfortable during the heat of the summer.

Luxire boasts a quick turnaround time and they hold true to it.  My shirt arrived in less than a week which is the fastest I’ve experienced.  Many times with fast service the quality can be subpar but I’ve found Luxire to be formidable in comparison to my other shirts which took several weeks to arrive.

Unfortunately, upon arrival the shirt did not fit.  It was too small, too tight, and to short all around.  The only thing that did fit was the collar.  I contacted Ashish post haste to state the problem.  Ashish was disappointed and offered to correct the issue right away.  We went back to the drawing board with the measurements and worked together to ensure the second shirt would be much improved.

To my dismay Luxire has halted selling the chambray fabric the second shirt they sent came in a mid weight Oxford which is their best seller.  I selected a spread collar with barrel cuffs, no placket, and MOP buttons.  Simple and easy.  This time the shipping took a few days longer but I chalk that up to the shirt having to be remade.  This time the fit was much improved.  Along with Luxire’s MTO experience they also offer more detailed services in which you can create your own shirt specific to your details.  I think next time I will widen the width on the yoke a bit and ask for a longer collar.  While the points of the collar meet the shirt nicely under my jacket, I’ve been experimenting with the idea of wearing longer collar points which can enhance and frame your face tenfold over the skimpy shrunken collars many men wear today.

Each Luxire shirt arrives with a collection of stainless steel collar stays, and price pints range from $59 for Oxfords and plain weaves to $199 for zero gravity featherweight cottons and are shipped within 5 business days.  While the selection of fabrics and styles are more limited than I’ve seen in the past, the customer service and willingness to correct mistakes at an affordable price point compared to off the rack shirting, Luxire makes a strong case to be the next addition to your shirt wardrobe.

Brand Review: Ralph Lauren Rugby

I recently visited the Ralph Lauren Rugby Store in Covent Garden. I happened to be in the area with my friend Barima as we were waiting for a friend and, deciding not to spend the idle minutes poking around in the Apple store, we thought we’d have a look.

It occupies a spectacular Georgian double-fronted mansion that was formerly home to LK Bennett, the women’s fashion brand. Facing onto the bustling and increasingly upmarket Piazza (London’s ‘little bit of Tuscany’, cornered by the Royal Opera House) it is an ideal location for the brand; young, but still smart.

When Rugby was launched in 2004, the first thing I heard was that it was a facsimile of Gant. I remember people gushing with ill-deserved confidence “Basically, they’ve just…like ripped off Gant completely!” So, the brand that revived waspish prep (RL) and was then copied by others (including Gant) is doing a little copying itself. I suppose that’s fashion karma. “No!” they responded “you don’t understand; the brochure, the looks – they’re the same!”

At the time, it seemed incredible to me that a massive juggernaut like Ralph Lauren would copy a moderately successful but well-known high-end fashion brand in the aesthetic and delivery of an entire sub-brand. However, we all know that very few good ideas are completely original, and Ralph Lauren’s entire brand is based on redelivery of older fashions.

Having never seen Rugby’s wares – shameful, but I just assumed an updated version of the now-defunct Polo Sport – I didn’t know what to expect.

After a mere thirty seconds, I realised that I hadn’t been missing much. Rugby would perhaps have been more relevant to me back in 2004, when I was a mere 21 years of age, but for an old man like me, it was like the Disney store. Like other youth brands such as Hollister, Abercrombie & Fitch and SuperDry, almost every garment has some form writing on it; RL this, Rugby that, meaningless numbers, bogus heritage – the usual fake-collegiate bumf.

The worst thing about it was that the real touches of Ralph Lauren were few and far between. There were some beautiful Madras and knitted ties, one of which I bought, and some splendid self-tie bow ties, but they seemed bizarrely out of place. This was like a theme park store, in the (evil) spirit of Abercrombie & Fitch. I thought the days of shameless branding were over for Lauren with the decline of Polo Sport but this is far more brazen, and possibly worse.

Admittedly, some of the goods are marginally more tasteful than other brands, and some of the colours and patterns are classic Ralph, but I couldn’t help feeling that the online lookbook, painting Rugby as the errant-but-stylish son of Polo, misrepresents the brand. Considering that RL Rugby is attempting to appeal to a demographic that views Polo as something their golf-playing dad would wear, this is the strangest part of the marketing.

This is not only about taste, it’s about age too. I felt old in there, and not just because I was one of the only people looking through the ties. The brash furry lettering, the excessive use of jersey, the lack of tailoring; perhaps it was an unusually awful collection? It was all too much for me, and I found myself doddering out with my tie, feeling life had passed me by. Rugby Ralph Lauren was clearly not meant for me.