My New Favorite Button Down
Buying custom clothing is a great way for short men to avoid the hassles of ill-fitting, brand-name clothes. After all, what guy wants to spend hours in a department store just to realize that nothing there really fits? Shopping is bad enough as it is, but us short gents have it the worst.
These days, there are a ton of custom shirt makers that operate online to keep costs down. It’s impossible to know which ones are quality and which ones should be avoided. Your best bet is to do your research and take a chance with a reputable made-to-measure clothier.
Denver-based Ratio Clothing is one shirt maker that I’ve heard a lot of great things about. Founder, Erik Powell, recently offered me a discount on a custom button down of my choice. I took him up on his offer and chose the Purple Mini-Gingham.
Getting the Right Measurements
Ratio’s measuring process is less involved than most companies. You have two options:
- Choose your measurements based on previous experience (jackets and shirts you’ve bough in the past).
- Use this guide to measure your best-fitting shirt.
This is great because you don’t have to measure yourself. Which means you don’t need to get tailor’s tape, you don’t have to ask anyone for help, and you won’t mess up.
But, for the guys who have no idea what their measurements are and who don’t own any dress shirts that fit well, it gets tricky. Ratio recommends that you go to a store and try on some shirts to figure out your measurements.
Delivery Time and Customer Service
My shirt arrived in three weeks. It needed some minor alterations, so I shipped it back to Ratio Clothing in Colorado. Ratio will make adjustments to your shirt for no extra cost, but you have to cover shipping. The remake took less than three weeks to arrive.
Customer service was exceptional. I dealt directly with Ratio founder, Erik Powell, whose responses were prompt, professional and helpful.
I originally ordered my shirt to the following specifications:
- Semi-Spread Collar
- One-Button Barrel Cuffs
- Seamless Placket
- No Pleats
- No Pocket
…and these measurements:
- Neck: 14.5″
- Sleeve: 30″
- Chest: 36″
- Length: Short
- Fit: Ratio Slim Fit
It fit well through the chest and torso, but the sleeves looked a little puffy. Not pirate Jerry puffy, but definitely noticeable enough to warrant alteration.
To fix this, Erik recommended slimming up the bicep, raising the armhole by one inch and moving to their slim forearm pattern.
I also asked that the sleeves also be shortened by one inch, from 30″ to 29″. As you can see in the photos, the remade shirt fit great.
It works well with a tie too:
Ratio Clothing shirts aren’t cheap, but you get what you pay for – high quality and a great fit. Plus, the shirts are made in the U.S.A., and the customer service is terrific.
Their sizing system is almost too simple, so make sure to ask plenty of questions about fit before ordering.
Here are a few tips I picked up from my experience with Ratio Clothing:
- They can make sleeves shorter than 30″, even though it’s not an option in the sizing menu. Specify a shorter sleeve length in the “Special Instructions” area while placing your order.
- If you are on the slim side, go with the Ratio Slim Fit, and request the slim forearm pattern.
- After you get your shirt, take pictures from the front, side and back, and email them to Ratio Clothing. They can help you critique the fit and fix any problems you might have with your new shirt.
Ratio Clothing is absolutely one of my favorite custom shirt makers. I highly recommend giving them a try.
See Also: Where to Buy Dress Shirts for Short Men