Monday, February 8, 2010

Review: Biased Cut Custom-Tailored Shirts for Men

The lovely gents at Biased Cut approached me several weeks ago about plugging their wares for Valentine's Day. The company offers custom-tailored men's dress shirts in an array of colors and styles, and they looked fab online ... but I make a policy of only plugging stores and items I've selected myself, or sampled in person. So I said, hey, how about Husband Mike orders a shirt and reviews it instead?

We've definitely missed the V-Day window, as the custom shirts take two to three weeks from order to delivery ... but, as you'll see from HM's review, you might want to consider a shirt from Biased Cut for another gift-giving occasion.

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If you think about the guys in your life, or - if you are a guy yourself and you are being reflective - you probably realize that your button-down dress shirts don't fit very well. Go pull out that picture from the wedding this past summer. You'll see what I'm saying.

Dress shirts are like pop music - designed to fit most tastes. I am picky about my shirts in the same way I am picky about my music. For me, they must have a certain style of collar, a certain thickness so that the shirt lays well, and not pooch out in the stomach or in the back. For me this means that I need an athletic fit shirt. I usually get a JC Penney brand Stafford oxford. EVERY OTHER OFF-THE-RACK SHIRT HAS TOO MUCH ROOM IN THE BELLY. They make me want to wear a cumberbund to compensate.

So here is me jumping at the chance to review a free custom-made dress shirt from Biased Cut. They have a dozen or so styles of shirt to cover whatever taste, but I went right for the traditional white:

The Perfect White
$85. Medium weight poplin.
No pocket.
Central pleat back.
Shown with spread collar and button cuffs (You can get French cuffs if you would like)

The first thing they have you do is have you upload your measurements on many parts of your body. This is a lot more sophisticated that looking for a 44/45 sleeve with a 16 1/2 neck. Easy enough to do with Sally on the tape measure. I puffed up a bit so I could grow into the shirt if I needed to.

My perfect collar, though many styles are offered.

Two weeks later, I get a nicely-boxed white poplin shirt in the mail. I put it on and I look awesome. No poochiness in the front or back, the neck fits just right, and the materials are very high quality. I felt kind of classy.

The leap from Stafford to Biased Cut is pretty steep. Having worn a custom-tailored shirt, I immediately felt that I could not go back to my old shirts and I did the math in my head: I will pay up to $75 for a zipper cardigan; I'll pay $300 for hand-cobbled shoes. Why wouldn't I pay $85 for a shirt that fits me perfectly?

It looks like I lost 15 lbs, just from eliminating the poof in front and back.

My most surprising realization after putting back on my old Stafford stand by? The sleeves are too big and roomy. Maybe that is the trade off with an athletic fit shirt that the sleeves are built for muscles, but it looked sloppy compared to my custom-made dress shirt.

My old shirts had extra roomy arms that made for a sloppy look.

My suggestion, if I could really make a shirt custom-made for me? Replaceable collars. I am tough on my collars. The rest of the shirt may be in good shape, but the collar soon turns to gold. If I could send my shirt back in to Biased Cut for a collar replacement, I would completely commit to a custom-fit shirt every time.

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Would your man/brother/dad/best friend shell out $85 for a custom dress shirt? If not, how about $55? Biased Cut is offering $30 off just for creating a fit profile online! You'll have to collaborate with said man on getting those measurements - the perfect fit requires accurate numbers - but I still maintain these shirts would make great gifts. Especially since many men balk at spending big money on their clothes.

Thanks to Husband Mike for a great and thorough review!


Mrs.M in MI said...

Hi Husband Mike-

My husband has similar issues with dress shirts and similar discerning tastes. He is a preppy attorney and he wears a dress shirt every day.

He is also 100% Dutch (which means he does not enjoy spending money). He buys his Stafford shirts and then takes them to Nordstrom Rack and has them tailored. A custom fit for $25.

Michael McGraw Photography said...

I never thought of getting an off-the-rack shirt tailored. Not a bad idea.

katy said...

i'm definately bookmarking this site for my husband! right now we don't have any money for clothes, and his job doesn't require fancy dress for every day (he wears vintage western shirts), but I know some day he'll have to wear a nice button down, and as he needs an X-Small, X-Tall (which doesn't exist, it can't even really be tailored form existing, because of the length from shoulder to wrist...), he'll never be able to get anything off the rack that looks nice. Although I can sew, I really hate making button-ups, so being able to order a custom size like this, and hearing a good review first - is great!
thanks for doing a post geared towards the men in our lives :)

Anonymous said...

Mrs. M in MI, I totally agree on your remark that your husband being 100% Dutch - he doesn't like to spend that much money. LOL. My husband's 100% Dutch too and he's the same way. But he's the extra tall with the extra long arms type so he can never find a long-sleeve shirt "off the rack" that can fit him here in Malaysia & surprisingly not even in Europe. So, he still has to have his dress shirts custom made & only back in Holland. Have tried a few tailored made ones here but they still don't fit very well. I think the tailors still can't believe the measurements even though they measured him themselves! On the other hand being an engineer who spends most of his time on work sites he can still get away with short sleeves & they are "dirt-cheap" here :).

Courtney said...

When you say your collar "turns to gold" are you talking about ring around the collar? The best way to clean that is to scrub it with shampoo. (It's oil from your hair and neck picking up dirt.) It's best to do so when you first notice that the collar is getting grungy, but it can make them last longer. I don't know if this trick can fix a shirt that you would otherwise discard as unwearable, but it might be worth a shot on a favorite shirt.