As I try to dress more like a man and less like a college kid (though I have to say it sure as hell to leave behind the ease and comfort of hoodies), I’ve started delving into the world of custom shirting.
Why custom? For sure I am in the 99% and not destined to be some rich investment-hedge-fund-venture-capitalist-banker. The thing is, I opt for the Western military philosophy as opposed to that of the Soviet bloc — quality over quantity. Rather have a few things that I really want to wear on a daily basis than the mass of unwanted, wrinkled clothing I have now that clogs my closet. And I’m not saying that off-the-rack stuff sucks…but man, almost none of that stuff fits. They’re either made for urban-lumberjack-twiggy hipsters, massive shouldered running backs, or fat end-of-the-line executives. Off the rack dress shirts usually billow awkwardly and awfully at my sides, making it look like I have epic love handles. (I assure you ladies that I don’t. Love handles are more of an Indian than a Chinese thing.)
So that’s why I decided to try out custom (or as some would like to call it, ‘bespoke’ — that seems to be the British word for custom). Got two shirts from Wilfred Newman in Chicago that I’m pretty satisfied with so far, and I have to say, I’m loathe to go back to off the rack.
Wilfred Newman ain’t the only place in town though. Seems like Chicago is a Mecca for shirting and suit-making (and historically has been), since places have been turning up under every rock I look — some rocks which have not yet been reviewed on Yelp. I am a completionist that loves categorizing and cataloging things and never found a complete list of custom shirting options in Chicago. Well, I’m going to try compiling one now.
Chris Despos (apparently the creme de la creme of not just Chicago, but the United States of America?)
I’m all ears if anyone else (who somehow manages to stumble onto this site) knows of any other places.