When I was fourteen, I dressed myself for my first formal banquet. The experience rattled me. I hadn’t had much prior need for formal wear, and I was still growing into my body. I ended up borrowing one of my dad’s dress shirts that he’d outgrown over the years. It was a poor choice: I walked into the hall wearing saggy pants and a shirt that was far too long and too wide to properly fit me. Throughout the evening, I became more and more aware of how inadequate my clothes were for the occasion.
Shortly after that experience, I went out and bought my first dress shirt. Rather, I tried to buy my first dress shirt. A sales clerk at a department store measured my neck, then attempted to talk me into the purchase of a plain white button-down that, like the one I borrowed from my dad, was too roomy on my slim teenaged form. Surely there had to be a better way to buy clothes.
I wish I could go back to those earlier years and tell my younger self that custom-made dress shirts would solve many of my frustrations. I can’t, but I’m here to help you learn from my past mistakes. Allow me to convince you as to why you need bespoke dress shirts in your closet.
Men’s Dress Shirts and the Baggy Truth
Baggy clothes can be comfortable and reassuring, but your tailored shirts shouldn’t fit like your pajamas. If your dress shirts make you feel like a kid playing dress-up in his dad’s clothes, step back and realize that fit is an issue that must be addressed.
In my first few experiments with dressing like an adult, I imagined that poorly-fitting clothes simply needed a bit of judicious tailoring. In truth, that’s not a bad approach: A good tailor can shorten the sleeves of an oversized shirt, or take in the sides a couple of inches, or add a few shoulder darts to give you a more flattering silhouette. For skinny guys like me, tailoring was a pretty decent solution.
But “pretty decent” isn’t the same thing as “perfect,” and I quickly discovered that tailoring wouldn’t fix all my problems. If your fit issues are the opposite of mine—if your upper torso is too big or too muscular to fit into most off-the-rack dress shirts without straining the seams—having your shirts tailored isn’t going to be a viable option. Even in my case, tailoring didn’t ensure a perfect fit. I’d still be left with a shirt with a too-roomy collar, or one with oversized armholes.
Thankfully, a better solution was awaiting my discovery. A few months after I first set out on my quest for better-fitting men’s dress shirts, I attended a charity event sponsored by my mother’s favorite publishing house. I was introduced to an acquaintance who had the answer I was looking for: bespoke clothing. No longer would I have to sort through racks of shirts and trousers that were manufactured en masse to fit some mythical idea of an average body.
Ready-to-Wear Versus Bespoke Dress Shirts
Off-the-rack men’s dress shirts are factory-produced in a ready-to-wear manner. They’re usually designed around one measurement—typically the neck size, though some manufacturers will also list a sleeve length and/or a waist size. The problem with so few measurements being used to determine the fit of an item of clothing is that bodies vary widely. Someone’s neck size doesn’t necessarily define their overall shape.
This is where modern bespoke tailoring comes in. Bespoke dress shirts—shirts designed, patterned, and sewn to an individual’s specific preferences and precise measurements—offer an alternative to settling for clothing that almost fits. The combined efforts and experience of professional stylists, designers, and tailors ensure that you end up with a dress shirt that fits and flatters you perfectly, regardless of your body type.
Bespoke clothing may be exactly what you’ve been searching for to make your wardrobe complete, whether you’re looking for something comfy and casual to throw on before running out to brunch, or something more refined and formal to help you impress the world at an important gala.
Bespoke Advantages that Go Beyond Fit
“Impeccable fit” is a compelling argument in favor of the advantages of custom-made dress shirts. Once you’ve stepped out in your first item of clothing that was made expressly for you from your measurements, you’ll understand what you’ve been missing all your life. The advantages of modern bespoke clothing, however, go far beyond that perfect fit. Think of all the options available to you when your clothing is designed and made to your preferences. With custom-made clothing, you’ll have your choice of imported fabrics from the world’s finest mills in a vast array of colors and patterns. Above and beyond the basic cut and style of your bespoke dress shirt, you’ll be presented with options for customizing every element—cuffs, collar, buttons, buttonholes, placket, and more. At the end of the process, you’ll have a dress shirt that fits you better and feels more uniquely yours than any clothing item you’ve ever worn before.
Explore Modern Bespoke Clothing for the Perfect Wardrobe
Since adding custom-made shirts to my closet, it’s made wardrobe choices for any event a breeze. Whether I’m planning to wear casual pants and a loose linen shirt for an easy weekend at home or a three-piece suit for a presentation for an important client, I have bespoke shirts ready for the occasion. The rest of my wardrobe? It’s all custom as well. Bespoke dress shirts were my gateway into a world of unparalleled fit and style. When I open my closet, I’m treated to the sight of suits, blazers, trousers, and shirts that fit me flawlessly and help me present the best possible version of myself to the world each day.
Every step of the process of purchasing modern bespoke clothing is an experience. From the moment you first step into a showroom to meet with your personal stylist, the focus will be on you: your likes and dislikes, your social engagements, your work life, your leisure activities, your fitness routines, your personality. All this information aids in the creation of custom-made garments that suit you beautifully.
For an introduction into the world of modern bespoke, visit a Knot Standard showroom. Whether your personal style is more classic or contemporary, your stylist will set you on the path toward custom-made clothing in which the impeccable construction and fit are matched only by how well it suits your lifestyle.