Last year in July, I was contacted by Modern Tailor to review one of their online made-to-measure shirts. The representative suggested that I pick out one standard fabric first,and have a shirt made before I choose a second shirt of a more expensive fabric. Since we review shirts on a regular basis, I agreed to do so even though I did not have the highest hopes in their quality; their least expensive shirts start at just $19.95 plus shipping.
By comparison, take a look at our other shirt reviews.
Modern Tailor Online Shirt Review
First, I had to create an account online, which is easy and straight forward. Afterwards, I could pick from one of the numerous shirt fabrics, provide my shirt measurements and instructions, and we were ready to go.
For my first shirt, I ordered a classic, mid-weight, no-name striped fabric for $69.95.
Modern Tailor has an extensive cloth selection available. Their search form allows you to search by price, color, material, and pattern, among other options. Overall, I thought it was rather easy to use, but the categorization is occassionally off. For instance, some plaid fabrics would fall just in the regular category and not in the plaid category, which necessitated browsing all the categories. In most cases, they provide a single thread count, e.g. 140 and two ply, although it is not clear if it is a 2 x 2 ply or 2 x 1. Surprisingly, some of the fabric descriptions will say something about the weight, while others won’t. The pictures are of average quality but sometimes you can find pictures of a completed shirt in addition to fabric photos! I found this very helpful, because it displayed the colors and size of the pattern in the appropriate context.
Once their standard fabrics are sold out, they are gone for good, and so I always had to provide a backup fabric choice. This turned out to be a good idea, because they actually ran out of my first choice fabric and made the first shirt with my second choice.
Overall, you can choose from thousands of fabrics ranging from $19.95 to $189.95. I would strongly advise to spend at least $60, because otherwise you simply have to compromise too much in terms of fabric quality.
Shirt, Collar, Cuffs & Details
Once you have picked out the fabric, you are presented with a range of 20 different collar styles. While the interface looks a little outdated, it is functional and you can even choose between a common, a stiff and a soft collar lining, which I found great. Unfortunately, and for reasons I do not know, only 3 out of the 20 collars can be ordered with removable collar stays! That aside, you can chose between 9 cuff styles and like most other companies, they offer all kinds of contrasting fabric options, which I do not really care for. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a huge button selection for their shirts, and while most of them were plastic and hence of no interest to me, there were 3 different mother of pearl buttons – thin, thick, and black thick – as well as a few wooden buttons! For a reasonable surcharge of $5, I opted for the thick white mother of pearl buttons and skipped the contrasting color thread. Afterwards, I settled on a classic placket style, skipped the chest pocket, added darts in the back in addition to a traditional rounded hem and a split yoke for an extra $5.
Finally, I was able to upload a picture of my torso and provide comments, which I thought was a good feature to help achieve a nice fit.
Altogether, Modern Tailor provides essentially the same options as most other manufacturers, plus a few more choices.
Shirt Sizes & Measurements
In the next step, I could provide my measurements as body measurements, shirt measurements, by sending in personal shirt or by choosing a standard size. Since I would not be comfortable mailing one of my good shirts to an address in Shanghai, I followed their suggestions and provided shirt measurements, just like our Deoveritas and mytailor.com reviews. In terms of reviewing a shirt, this is the best way, since it does not allow for any kind of measurement deviation. If I provided body measurements instead, Modern Tailor would have to apply it to their formula but I could never test if they worked accurately, since some manufacturers add six inches, while others might add four. As you can imagine, I chose the option that provided me the most control over the end product.
- Once I ordered the shirt (shipping charge was $18), I received an order confirmation and just about 2 weeks later, Modern Tailor sent a picture of the shirt to me by email, telling me that the shirt was ready to ship. They also wanted to confirm the shipping address and 4 weeks after the initial order, the shirt arrived at my door.
The fabric was coarse but perfectly fine, and the measurements were also accurate. Just like other shirt reviews, my sloping shoulder was not considered properly, although I showed them a number of pictures beforehand and told them that this was an issue. Since no alterations were made, I get a distinct group of unattractive shirt wrinkles below my right shoulder. Other than that, the workman ship was good. All the seams were very straight, but the stitches were not as fine as they were with the mytailor or the Deoveritas shirt. The cuffs felt a little stiff, but I guess this is what their common cuffs are like. The buttonholes were average and nothing to rave about. Because of the shoulder wrinkling issue, I asked them to correct it, to which they offered to make a new shirt.
Since I did not want to end up with two shirts in the same stripe (and I still wanted to wear the first shirt under sweaters) , I chose a slightly thicker tattersall fabric for $ 59.95. I also changed the spread collar to a button down collar and the cocktail cuffs to regular 2 button cuffs.
Just about 2 weeks later I received pictures of the shirt again and 4 weeks after the second order the shirt had arrived. This time, the shoulder wrinkles were almost completely gone, and I liked the fit much better. However, it felt more constricting and when I measured the shirt, I noticed that the yoke width had been altered by an inch.
When I told them about that deviation of the measurements, they again offered to make me another shirt!
Once again, I opted for a different fabric – this time one of their Thomas Mason fabrics for $189.95. It seemed to me that these fabrics came from the Thomas Mason Silver Line and as such, the price quoted seemed a little high. Along with the fabric change, I also tweaked the measurements slightly (just 1/2 inch in places) in order to achieve a good fit, and when the 3rd shirt finally arrived, it was definitely the best of the three. While not perfect, I think it was a good fit for an online shirt. The level of workmanship did not vary with the fabrics, and so your $19.95 shirt is on par with the $189.95 Thomas Mason fabric shirt.
So far, the shirts have laundered well, and the interlinings show no bubbles or signs of wear. Only time will tell how durable they really are.
In a nutshell, Modern Tailor offers a huge shirt fabric selection with mostly no-name fabrics starting at very low prices. If you are on a tight budget but want a better fit than off the rack, Modern Tailor is a great option. Of course, you cannot expect top notch workmanship, but considering how little you pay, it’s a good value for the money. However, I would refrain from ordering shirts with high-priced fabrics here, due to the average workmanship and certain limitations such as the lack of removable collar stays for the majority of their shirt collars. All shirts are made in China and you deal with them exclusively online. Their policy with regard to their own mistakes is very customer friendly, and their overallservice was prompt and effective.
Modern Tailor is a good choice for the price-conscious shopper who wants a good shirt for around $60. It’s best to avoid both the super cheap fabrics and the most expensive options; neither will provide a good price-to-quality ratio.
You can visit the website at www.moderntailor.com .