If you’re intrigued by the idea of custom dress shirts or pants, you’ve probably heard about made-to-measure…and maybe even tried it yourself.
But if you aren’t familiar, the basic idea is that rather than creating something completely custom to you (which can be expensive for obvious reasons) made-to-measure involves starting with a basic pattern and then tweaking it to your specific measurements.
It’s a great option since it has many of the benefits of “fully custom” without the steeper price tag.
In this post, I’m going to talk about 4 reasons you should at least try made-to-measure if you haven’t already. Plus, I’ll share my experience with a new made-to-measure company called Mill No. 8.
Watch the video below or continue reading.
Big thanks to our sponsor Mill No. 8 for making this post possible. Mill No. 8 offers better-fitting, men’s custom dress shirts and pants with no hassle. Use offer code BetterFit at checkout to save 30% off. Visit site.
1. The Fit Far Surpasses Off The Rack
For most off-the-rack clothing, manufacturers are trying to serve as many people as well as possible—but without having to make 100 different sizes.
The thing is, for that to work out perfectly we would all need to have cookie cutter physiques.
Take dress shirts for example. With the typical dress shirt, you get just 2 measurements to judge by: neck size and sleeve length.
That doesn’t even take into account the size of the chest or the mid-section…which are kind of important, right?
I don’t know about you, but I’m not shaped like a perfect Ken Doll or a male model. I’m 6’ 5” so I’m a pretty big guy and I have long arms. So when I get a shirt that fits my neck and sleeve length, the mid-section is always huge.
I’m not saying I have 6-pack abs, but c’mon! I do NOT need this much extra fabric for my gut. It’s like they’re just begging me to eat more cheeseburgers…
What’s nice about made-to-measure is that you can customize the size of the garment in multiple places. With my custom dress shirt from Mill No. 8, I was able to not only choose the size of the neck and sleeves but also:
- Shoulder width…
- …And even the wrist
They even went a step further and allowed me to specify whether I wore undershirts and whether I wore a watch (and on what wrist).
2. Once You Get Your Measurements, You Can Keep Reordering Your Exact Size
You might be thinking: what a hassle to deal with multiple measurements each time I buy a new shirt!
But once you get your measurements the first time, if you stick with the same company, they keep your info on file. That means you can keep reordering your custom size each time—without having to re-measure.
There is a little upfront work to get your measurements. You can do it yourself, but it’s always much better if you can have someone help you.
Mill No. 8 has a series of videos that help tell you how to get your measurements, and they were actually really helpful. But I still had my wife help me verify my numbers.
If you don’t have another person around, one great thing that Mill No. 8 offers is a free video consultation with a live person. One of their stylists can video conference with you and help you take correct measurements and even provide style tips.
The process of getting your measurements is interesting. One thing you learn is that many off-the-rack manufacturers use what we call “vanity sizes” where they don’t exactly correspond to real measurements. Less so with dress shirts, but definitely with the waist of pants.
For example, in addition to my shirt, I also got a set of custom dress pants from Mill No. 8 (The Randolf Dress Pants). I typically wear a 36” waist for pants, but when I measured myself, my waist was actually 41”!
But the pants fit great. They’re 100% Australian Merino Wool. Super soft, naturally wrinkle-resistant. And they’re very breathable, so you can wear them in Winter or even once it gets warmer.
The other interesting thing about Mill No. 8 trousers is they have a curved waistband so the waist matches the natural curve of your body, which is a nice touch.
3. You Can Customize Way More than Just the Size
The other thing that’s fun about the made-to-measure experience is that you can express your creativity and create a piece of clothing that represents you and your lifestyle.
It’s not just about selecting a shirt, entering your sizes, and pressing a button. You have options.
With Mill No. 8, they do offer some pre-configured styles so you don’t have to worry about the details if you don’t want to. But of course, I wanted to be able to play around with the full experience and customize mine.
For my Wabash dress shirt, I selected the Classic Blue Gingham fabric—not just because it rhymes with my last name, although that is a plus. Then I got to select the collar (there were 6 different options). I chose the more traditional “point” collar.
There was an option to have a pocket, so I said, why not?
I decided to have a placket—the extra layer of fabric on the edge of the shirt by the buttons. Some people like a cleaner, less structured look, but I actually like the placket.
The shirt fits really well. It’s 100% Egyptian cotton, which is probably the best cotton in the world. It’s softer on the skin, more durable, and low-maintenance. And the shirt also has mother-of-pearl buttons. Most of all, I like that it has a very sturdy collar, unlike some other made-to-measure shirts I’ve owned.
Mill No. 8 also does something interesting, where they rotate the sleeve just slightly. For most mass-produced shirts, the seam of the sleeve is lined up with the side-seam—it’s just easier for pattern-making and manufacturing. But by rotating the sleeve slightly, even though it makes it harder to manufacture, they found that the shirt fit better and that there were fewer wrinkles around the chest and armpit. I haven’t been able to verify this for myself yet, but as I continue to wear it, I’m going to watch for that.
4. Made-to-Measure Can Actually Be More Cost-Efficient
I know, it sounds crazy. How can that be?
Sure, on the surface, you are going to pay more for a made-to-measure garment. But over time you end up getting more utility out of your closet.
First, it’s pretty rare to find an off-the-rack shirt, for instance, that fits as well as one that’s made-to-measure. Typically you’d have to buy the shirt at retail, then pay a tailor to adjust it. So already you’re paying almost as much as you would for a made-to-measure shirt, assuming you care about proper fit.
And if you’re not getting your off-the-rack clothes adjusted by a tailor, then there are probably a lot of clothes where you’re just “settling.” They sort of fit, but they definitely don’t look as good as others.
In that situation, what often happens is this: you tighten your rotation to focus on the 2 or 3 shirts or pants that fit really well, and everything else gets neglected.
I know that’s how I was. My first glimpse of customizing clothes was when I got a few shirts altered. All of the sudden I went from having a closet of 7 mediocre dress shirts to having 2 amazing shirts…and 5 shirts that I totally hated. The 5 non-altered shirts just seemed shabby in comparison.
Now I pretty much only buy made-to-measure dress shirts. Because I’d rather have a smaller handful of perfectly fitted shirts—and feel equally good wearing all of them—than have one or two favorites while the rest of my shirts just gather dust.
My Overall Experience With Mill No. 8
Overall, my experience with Mill No. 8 has been really good. The ordering process is totally painless. They offer free shipping on all their products with no minimums.
One thing that was a little bit annoying was that after I entered in my custom measurements, it wasn’t totally clear if all of the extra measurements were still part of the order—only the neck size and the sleeve length were showing up in the confirmation page before I added the item to my cart. It ended up being fine, and I’ve mentioned this to the owner. He pointed out that all the sizes are included on the payment pages, just not on the intermediate pages.
Otherwise, I think it was a great experience, and I really love my shirt and trousers. They fit great, and they’re really well made.
One of the things that people worry about with custom clothing is, what if I make a mistake and measure wrong? Mill No. 8 offers a return guarantee up to 45 days on all their orders. So even if you mess up—or if you just decide you don’t like it—you can send back your garment for free.
Probably the most refreshing thing is that Mill No. 8 is still a relatively small company, and you see that personal touch. Each shipment still comes with a handwritten letter. For every purchase made, they also donate $5 to a charity institution like SF Marin Food Bank, which is a local organization right in my area.
As you can see, there are a lot of great benefits in ordering made-to-measure, and going through the process can actually be a lot of fun.
If you’re interested in checking out Mill No. 8, you can save 30% off by using offer code BetterFit at checkout. Visit Site Now
You can also get an extra $25 for each friend or family member you refer who makes a purchase. Learn more.
Have you tried made-to-measure? Let me know how your experience was in the comments below.