I delve into the world of made-to-measure shirts with a product from Cottonwork. As this is my first try with online MTM, I will have to compare it against my off-the-rack shirts, specifically my dress shirts from Turnbull & Asser.
Cottonwork’s selection of fabrics and especially their 3D shirt builder are exemplary. The fabric gallery is enormous with ample options from such renowned mills as Thomas Mason, Leggiuno and Tessitura Monti. In what might have been a risky endeavour, I ordered a full-dress shirt with a high, detachable collar as I was in need of a well-fitting one. For this I opted for a warm white poplin from their unbranded “Executive” range, with a “Sea Island” label though I cannot say with certainty how valid that claim is.
Cottonwork offers the delightful chance for free worldwide shipping, with approximate delivery in 14 business days. I chose to pay more for the fastest 3-5 business day courier service, but as my shirt was delayed for inspection - I hear Cottonwork’s quality control is quite tight - I ended up waiting for over a week in business days since the reported completion of my shirt. The customer service apologised profusely in advance and agreed to refund the shipping cost as store credit. In general the customer service was excellent throughout, and complied promptly with my wish of a tall (2.25”) wing collar.
But then onto the shirt itself. It arrived this Monday morning in a discrete box, in which a tasteful cloth carrying bag protected the shirt itself.
The Executive range fabric feels very smooth and silky. It is quite thin, but under a tailcoat that is only a plus. The marcella front is soft but adequately reinforced, and following in the Duke of Windsor’s footsteps I may well leave it unstarched. The collar is stiff enough to look respectable but soft enough to be comfortable. It being machine washable and ironable is a plus; that much modern convenience I can allow myself.
The beautiful mother-of-pearl buttons in the bottom of the shirt are not as thin as to be flimsy, like the ones in my T&A shirts, but not so thick to be clumsy either. In a word, ideal. They are hand-stitched on with more than enough thread to keep them sturdily in place. The seams in the shirt are at least as dense and neat as in my Turnbull & Assers: 22 stitches per inch, they boast. They are so small that the task of counting is quite hard, but they do not lie. They are very well done. The buttonholes may be better finished in the T&A’s, but the difference is not great.
My initials are carefully stitched on the inside of the collar, unseen to others and inspired by vintage evening shirts, where this area would be marked with laundry signs regarding the owner’s preference for the stiffness of the shirt front.
Last I address the fit. For my first made-to-measure shirt with measurements taken by myself, I could not have hoped for better. It is almost perfect; the only one I’d change is the hip measurement, which is a wee bit too small, but only my measuring skills are to blame for that. The most important measurements are all perfect: collar, sleeve length, shoulders, and cuff circumference. In the body I went for a slightly looser fit, as I do not like extremely tight clothes, and the result is comfortable but not baggy.
Cottonwork offers excellent quality for a very decent price, and with their airtight quality control and great customer service I will not hesitate to place another order. The only minus is the shipping, which means I’ll likely opt for the free service next time, but for this kind of product I am more than happy to wait.