True Quality CleaningStraight talk about caring for fine garments & household textiles from an expert who calls it like it is. In plain English.

How to select a shirt maker

Shirt makerAs the owner of a high-end dry cleaner and shirt laundry, I'm frequently asked "who makes the best custom shirts" or "can you recommend a good shirt maker?"

I've often tried to formulate a "best answer," typically involving measurement, fabric, construction, service, and so forth.

That was until I came across a 2004 post on the Ask Andy About Clothes forum.

In that post, Will Boehlke, style consultant and author of A Suitable Wardrobe, a blog devoted to fine men's garments and style, posted this advice on a thread entitled "How to select a bespoke artisan":

"Advice. Start with shirts. Choose someone who makes a shirt that you like and let him make the first one without your guidance as to the 337 details you fear he may overlook. It's a shirt, not a main battle tank.

After the first one has been washed a few times, see the maker again for adjustments to the fit. Order at least three more shirts. Go through the process again.

Six months to a year later you are set until either your maker retires or you have a drastic weight change. Tell him the fabrics and collars you want and pay the bills when they are due.

If you seek something simple like a gray pick and pick suit you might be ready to visit a tailor at this point."

Interestingly enough, Alexander Kabbaz, arguably one of the very best shirt makers in the USA, responded as follows:

"I think that is the most succinct, sage advice I have ever read on this forum."

Ever since then, instead of providing my "best" stock answer, I provide any client who asks about shirt makers with a copy of Will's advice.

How can I help you?

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