A stylish and well fitting shirt is not only essential for existing, working, and socializing in the real world as a grown up, but it can make you feel good too. There's something about buttoning up that handsome shirt and finding that it fits just right and looks just like you imagined.
If you've never experienced this sensation, you're not alone. It can be hard to find a shirt that can bring out those feelings. You either end up spending a small fortune to look good and have to pass on eating while wearing it for fear of a stain or you purchase a cookie cutter shirt off the rack. Often they don't fit your frame the way you want or they're nice looking, but lacking that little bit extra that really turns a good shirt into a great one. Perhaps you've even found yourself holding up the shirt and thinking “if only this one aspect were different.”
In the last couple of years the custom tailored dress shirt business has really grown on the internet. These sites included Indochino, Gitman Brothers, Proper Clother, Modern Tailor, MyTailor.com, Shirts My Way, Inditailored, and the list could go on. Many allow you to customize not only the fit but the design and style.
Blank Label asked us if we'd give them a test run, and being a guy who has a hard time finding shirts that fit off the rack, I looked forward to the opportunity.
Blank-Label.com allows you to customize forty different shirts. Yeah, that's right — they're not just pitching you on one shirt you can add some fancy buttons to. You've got forty different options, from solid colors to varied stripe patterns, and that's just your base.
Next the site guides you through a wide variety of options, allowing you to customize the cut and color of the collar (inside and out), the color or lining of the cuff and the number of buttons at the wrist. If you so choose you can then add adornments to the shoulder, select the number and style of the pockets or even change the style of the placket. Next, customize the color of the buttons, add a monogram to one of three locations and, if you choose, even add your own label to the shirt.
Now that your style has been picked, Blank-Label offers a few ways to customize the fit of the shirt. First you use a series of silhouettes to show your body type, then select a traditional size and give your height and weight, and finally you get to specify how you'd like the shirt cut in terms of overall length.
I selected the Fresh Poplin Blue Brown as my base. Wanting to customize the shirt without overpowering it with too much color, I changed the lining of the collar and the cuff to “Sensitive Guy in Pink.”
I also requested two buttons at the cuff instead of just one. The pocket is a single notch; I didn't change the shoulders or the placket. My buttons are lavender for two bucks more and they make a world of difference in really making the shirt pop. I didn't pick a custom label, but my cuff bears my initials in white, very subtle. When all was said and done, my final price tag came to $73, far less expensive than a custom tailored shirt or even most of the stuff at many major retailers. It's more than some random shirt off a Target rack from Mossimo, but I supervised every aspect of its creation; creating a shirt that looked like me and fit me.
Shipping was surprisingly quick for all the effort involved in customizing my shirt. On first unveiling, the shirt was attractive. I'd accomplished part one of my goal, it looked even better in person than it did on the website. Now it came time to wear it. As a big, blocky guy, it's almost impossible to find a shirt off the rack that fits really well. They're often too tight in the arms or the arms will fit well but the chest is loose and baggy. This shirt fit well, it was a tad snug in the arm area, but far better than most of the shirts I wear on a daily basis. The fit in the chest and neck was perfect, and the length was great – not too long to wear untucked, and not so much fabric that I was stuffing fistfuls of fabric into my pants.
I was very pleased from start to finish with the entire process. The website is intuitive and easy to use. It guides you through every option, so the odds of you missing something cool are slim. The prices are as low as $45 depending on what you want to do with it. The average customized shirt probably runs around the $65-70 mark, which isn't much when you slip on a well fitting shirt that looks amazing.