This post was made possible by ShirtCycle. As always, it's 100% honest and objective.
Is buying made-to-measure shirts a great way to get button up shirts that actually fit your body?
Is it easy?
It doesn't always work out. But one company is trying to take the risk and hassle out of buying made-to-measure shirts.
Truth is, the MTM process is riddled with potential pit falls. The biggest problem is it requires you to submit your own measurements (as opposed to being measured by an actual tailor).
This is easy to screw up, even if you know what you're doing.
From body scanners to mobile apps, many companies have tried to come up with creative or technical solutions to the self-measurement problem.
But I haven't found anything that comes close to being measured by an actual person who knows what they're doing (or basing your measurements off an existing shirt that fits perfectly).
It's difficult to hone in on your measurements, and if you're new to MTM, you might end up being disappointed with your order. Some people will get their shirt remade, and some people will simply give up on MTM shirting altogether.
ShirtCycle wants to change that.
Founded by an former investment banker (i.e. a guy who wore a lot of dress shirts), ShirtCycle sets itself apart from other custom shirt makers by including an extra step in their buying process:
They send you an initial “fit” shirt that's only meant to be used to nail down your measurements.
So the entire process goes like:
- You create an account and enter your off-the-rack measurements
- They estimate your measurements and send you a sample shirt to verify them (free shipping and returns)
- You tweak your measurements based on how the sample shirt fit
- They make your real shirts based on your revised measurements
- They send you three new styles every other month (with the option to skip months as needed)
Because this extra step is built in, you don't have to worry about that first shirt not fitting properly. Pretty cool, huh?
Note: ShirtCycle isn't the only company that uses sample shirts. For example, Modern Tailor has a similar offering.
Here's how my sample shirt fit. These are the actual photos I sent back to ShirtCycle with my initial feedback.
Pro Tip: Regardless of which MTM company you work with, I highly recommend sending detailed feedback with photos.
Needless to say, some adjustments were required. They actually sent another sample shirt to make sure my measurements were perfect, and it fit really well.
Here's how the final shirt turned out:
What I Like About ShirtCycle
Getting a shirt that fits from ShirtCycle is a relatively effortless process. It's not as easy as buying something off the rack, of course, but that's not really an option for us shorter guys.
The final product fit really well, which is not always the case with MTM, even after multiple orders.
The materials and craftsmanship are high quality. ShirtCycle even offers premium shirts cut from Thomas Mason fabrics.
The price per shirt is very reasonable (less than $85 each), but you do have to order three shirts at a time.
What I Don't Like About ShirtCycle
With ShirtCycle, you have limited customization options. You can choose from four preset “styles” or build your own, but you're limited to a handful of options (collar types, pocket/no pocket, etc.).
You don't have nearly as many options as you do with other MTM brands.
For example, I like a shorter collar point length, and I hate wide spread collars. Also, one of my pet peeves with shirts is the size and position of the chest pocket. For shorter guys, the pocket is often too big and too low.
This is a small detail, I know. But it matters, fellas! With other MTM companies, I'll have the pocket scaled down and moved up a bit.
With ShirtCycle, you can opt for no pocket, but that's about it. Not a huge deal, but something to consider if you like having plenty of options.
If you're new to MTM shirts, and you're worried about getting a shirt that doesn't fit, ShirtCycle could be a great option for you.
Or, if you've been unhappy with other MTM companies, you may want to try ShirtCycle.