Custom Dress Shirts Guide: Brands, Cost and Fabrics

Putting on a custom shirt is a simple but effective way of pampering yourself. At the start of a day or just before you head out for the evening, you can look yourself over in a mirror and revel in the fabulousness.

Custom dress shirts hang perfectly and flatter every inch of the torso. They’re also totally comfortable and they’ll support every movement you make.

What should you know about these shirts before you go shopping for one? What materials and procedures are involved in the making of these uniquely attractive garments, and how much do these shirts cost?

Precise Measurements, Perfect Shirts

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As you might expect, the first step in making a custom dress shirt is the fitting.

Tailors take quite a few measurements at this stage, including the neck width, the chest width and the lengths of the arms ― which, by the way, are often unequal.

This session is often quick and it provides a good opportunity for you and your tailor to start getting to know one another. Plus, the tailor can inform you about various brands that are available. Many labels make outstanding shirts and among the best of them are Brioni, Bugatchi, Canali, Coppley, Eton, Hickey Freeman and Ravazzolo.

Choose Your Material

It’s now time to decide what kind of fabric your shirt should be made of. Of course, you have all kinds of options, including cotton, linen, Oxford cloth, silk and flannel.

Maybe you already know which material you want. If not, feel free to tell your tailor the price range you’re aiming for, how often you plan to wear your shirt and the activities you’ll be doing when you have it on. That way, the tailor can identify the fabric that best suits your purposes.

At this stage, you’ll also decide if you want a solid shirt or one with a pattern or print.

Specify Your Fit

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With custom dress shirts, you can choose your fit. Perhaps you want a slim shirt or one that feels looser. Alternatively, you might request a combination. For example, your shirt could be loose around your neck and wrists but slim everywhere else.

Keep in mind that extra fabric is needed to make a shirt looser, so a loose style may cost a little more. If that’s the kind of shirt in which you’d feel the most relaxed, though, it is more than worth the extra expense.

Details, Details

For many consumers, selecting all of the small features and adornments is the fun part. You can exercise your creativity and let your shirt express your particular tastes.

You might start by pondering the shape and style of your collar. Collars come in two basic varieties: point collars and spread collars. A point collar, which is far more common, has points that face straight downward, whereas the ends of a spread collar point down and to the sides.

The matter of pockets will also come into play. Pockets cost extra, but if you like to store things in them, they can be indispensable.

Would a squared or a rounded bottom be more to your liking? The round version is more appropriate if you’ll be tucking in your shirt and the square version looks more presentable when it’s worn outside the pants.

Then, there’s the task of picking a button material. Plastic is the most affordable choice, but deluxe materials like onyx and mother of pearl are stunners that can last for a long time.

Incidentally, your tailor should be able to provide you with photos or samples of these and other details ― initialing, the type of cuff and so on ― to help you create your new favorite shirt.

Readying Your Shirt

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At this point, you just have to wait as your shirt is being prepared. If it’s a made-to-measure piece, a tailor will alter an existing shirt to fit your measurements. If it’s a bespoke product ― one that’s being made from scratch ― artisans will create a pattern and craft each element to precisely match your dimensions.

The people who construct your shirt will scrutinize the fabric beforehand to ensure it’s of the highest quality. If there are even the tiniest imaginable flaws, it won’t be used. On top of that, their stitches will be very dense, which will make your shirt stronger and improve its overall appearance.

Eventually, your tailor will contact you so you can come in, try on the shirt and see if any small alterations must be made before you take it home.


Custom dress shirts typically range anywhere from $150 to $500. If you can find one that costs $150 or less, consider it a steal, but keep in mind that the quality won’t be quite as impressive. Note that custom shirts, if they’re taken care of properly, will almost always outlast their off-the-rack counterparts. They may even be around 10 times as long.

The contrast between an off-the-rack shirt that’s in your size and a custom shirt that fits every body part precisely is drastic. You have to try on both types of shirts to get a sense of that vast difference and to fully appreciate all of the steps that go into making the customized kind.

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