This review is about to talk CottonBrew online clothier.
Being able to buy a custom suit online is a blessing and a curse, which is why many guys have a love/hate relationship with online made-to-measure clothiers.
On one hand, you can get a suit that looks almost near bespoke for a fraction of true bespoke prices.
CottonBrew logoThis post was made possible by CottonBrew, an online custom clothing brand for men. You can shop their current collection of suits, shirts, blazers and accessories right here. Use the code MODEST at checkout for a free shirt with any suit purchase (ends 5/31).
On the other hand, the whole process is riddled with problems. From taking your measurements to waiting for your suit to arrive to getting it tailored, there’s just so much room for error.
Many guys give up on MTM after their first attempt because they have such a bad experience (i.e., their suit fits terribly).
All things considered, I think buying made-to-measure suits online is still one of the best ways for guys with non-average body types to get suits that actually fit well.
But I always try to set people’s expectations because, the truth is, it’s not a hassle-free, magical solution that just works.
Every custom suit maker knows this, and they all have different strategies to try to mitigate problems and ensure proper fit (or at least a good enough fit that can be tweaked by a local tailor).
After all, they don’t want customers returning their suits and requesting remakes. This would kill their profit margins.
So they try different things to really hone in on the perfect fit.
For example, this shirt was made by a company who claimed they could ensure “perfect fit” using just one cell phone selfie (lol).
Some brands just ask for a ton of detailed measurements. Others try to use body scanning technology to get your measurements for you.
And some even claim that they can guess your measurements just by looking at one selfie – which is ridiculous.
An underlying theme is the use of technology. Most MTM companies have some sort of sizing algorithm that helps predict your exact dimensions based on a set of inputs.
CottonBrew is no exception.
In fact, they rely more on their data collection process and their algorithm than they do on traditional body measurements.
This isn’t surprising, considering the fact that founder George Li used to work at Google, a company who knows a thing or two about algorithms.
But still, I never have high expectations for a new MTM brand, especially one that relies heavily on tech.
In fact, I sent George (founder and CEO) a bunch of screenshots of my measurements from various MTM profiles, pics of me wearing other suits, and bunch of other data he didn’t ask for.
He basically told me to trust their process, and I reluctantly agreed.
Rather than trying to measurement yourself or having a friend help with your measurements, CottonBrew asks for a handful or more reliable data points, including:
Your typical off-the-rack suit jacket and trouser sizes
2 photos of you wearing a dress shirt from a popular brand (like J. Crew or Hugo Boss)
Comments about how that shirt fits your build
They claim that, using this information, they can make the perfect fitting suit and shirt, and that their system is more accurate than self-measuring.
This isn’t too far fetched, as taking one’s own measurements is difficult, and there’s a lot of variance between how each person measures – especially if you’re not trained on proper technique.
Still, thought, I was a bit skeptical about this claim…
As a first time customer at a relatively new MTM shop, I’m surprised to say that my suit fits pretty well.
It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely ready to wear out of the box (which is not often the case, even with MTM):
Not bad, huh? The fabric is beautiful. It’s a dark navy with light subtle light blue stripes, and I love the way it catches natural light.
So nice! You really can’t go wrong with a subtly patterned navy suit and a light blue shirt.
Sleeve cuff and watch
Whoa, got a little carried away with the pictures there. Sorry about that! Let’s get back to the review.
What I Like About the Fit
Here’s how this suit fits right out of the box – no alterations or ironing:
CottonBrew suit fit out of the box
The pants are slim, tapered and have a relatively high rise, which is flattering on most shorter men.
The jacket has just enough suppression through the torso, and the sleeve length is spot on.
There’s no collar gap, which is a pet peeve of mine, since this jacket’s collar sits snugly against my shirt collar.