The rise of the bespoke shirt

The idea of having your suits personal made to your very own specifications is something that most men find terrifying, for numerous reasons including the “ah Suits for sir” characters from the TV Comedy The Fast show, obviously, the cost, but also the lack nowadays of the availability of reputable tailors. Now having you suits bespoke tailored to your own vital statistics might be out of your budget at the moment, but have you thought about a bespoke shirt ? Increasingly, in this gloomy economic climate men are turning to bespoke shirts to add a little piece of luxury to their lives. So, as always, we at Clothes make the man, like to make the lives of our loyal readers a little easier so here are a selection of the best around from difference sections of the market. But before I launch into one I do need to explain three things when it comes to Tailoring and they are;

i) Ready to wear – This literally means Ready to wear now, you come into the shop see it, like it, buy it and leave with it.

ii) Made to measure – This is taking a ready to wear piece or the pattern or block for it and tailoring it to your own measurements.

iii) Bespoke – This is to make a garment from scratch using your own personal measurements and constructing the piece to fit you perfectly.

1) Savile Row – Richard Anderson

Now this really is a bespoke experience, these shirts are exclusively made for Richard Anderson, in London, by one of the finest shirt makers in the whole of the UK. As the shirts are only available ‘to order’ they are all individually cut to the clients specification and finished by hand. The fabric selection is made up of the very finest Egyptian cotton which, for the most part, have been woven in Italy. The lead time is approximately 4 – 6 weeks (from time of order to delivery). If required, the shirts can also be personalised by adding an embroidered name or initials. Prices start from £240 with an average price of approximately £260 – £280. Now Anderson also offers a Made to Measure service on ready to wear shirts The lead time is approximately 4 weeks (from time of the order to delivery) and clients cannot only order a shirt that fits perfectly but the shirt can also be personalise by embroidering the clients name, or initials, on the cuff, chest or midriff. With Prices for this garment as £200 approx.

2) The Expert’s choice – Mr Start

Now when researching this piece I did think who should I ask, I thought a designer like Paul Smith or Tom Ford, but wouldn’t they be bias, the same for a Savile Row Tailor. A Celebrity ? Well I might as well speak to their Stylist, because behind every well dressed Celebrity is an equally well turned out Stylist, no matter how much they protest they dress themselves. Then it came to me, go for a Style Journalist who isn’t afraid to speak their mind and  tell 100% of the truth, plus know what they’re talking about. Of course ! Style Director of Shortlist & Editor of Mode Adrian Clark, who replied straightaway when asked where he would go to ? “Mr Start !!!! Without a question of doubt.” Now Mr Start is Philip Start a man who has a sterling reputation within the Menswear industry and was behind the Mens retailer Woodhouse until 2002. Philip set up his own men’s tailoring label, Mr Start, in 2008, which specialises in suiting both off the peg and made to measure. The fit is described as subtle yet certain, creating an everyday elegance. It has its own store in London’s East End Temple to style Rivington Street and has representation in Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols amongst others in the UK and world wide. Their made to measure shirts, start at £180 each and run up to around £240.  Included in the price is a matching pocket square with each shirt.  They source fabrics from great shirtings factories around the world including Thomas Mason, Albini, and Mileta They have a selection of small, mod-style collars, our famous round collar, and a new forward point collar and the turn around time for this service is approximately 5 weeks.


3) The New business – Harrington & Thomas

Harrington & Thomas was founded after, Tom Griffths who was working in the city, up to last year, got fed up by the quality of shirts the general  high street had to offer. The quality of the fabric was generally pretty poor, and a whole bunch of his shirts developed holes in the elbows from sitting at the desk (admittedly for 18 hours a day but that’s another story).

He found it a struggle to get a shirt that actually fit well, and with the jacket on the back of the chair for most of the day, it was the shirt that was on show most of the time. They thought there must be a better way than having to shell out over £150 to a bespoke tailor, but to still be confident that you were getting a great fit and top quality fabric. They strive to provide a made to measure service where people could really be confident that they were getting a really good quality shirt, that wasn’t going to cost the earth. Plus, they wanted to keep it simple so that someone could order a shirt in a matter of minutes, without necessarily having to take out a tape measure.

4) The High St Opinion – Marks & Spencer

Probably not surprised to see this High Street name in this position to be honest, it is the number 1 most popular suiting supplier to the UK male population. Marks & Spencer offer a made to measure shirting service in four simple steps, with prices starting at just £45, you can create a shirt from a choice of over 25 fabrics, design details including collar, sleeve and pocket options and a choice of fits, including the super slim fit. Using biometric technology, your correct size and fit is worked out ensuring the shirt is created just for you! For a unique look, each part of the shirt can be a different fabric, if you so please, from the front panels to the collar and cuffs, plus intricate details such as button colour and monogram create your shirt just the way you like it.

5) Tailor Made – Dale Rhodes
Dale Rhodes is a Yorkshire based tailor who splits his time between the Dales of Dewsbury and the Metropolis of London. His company was launched by his Father Bert over 60 years ago and now boasts a client roaster that includes Barristers, international Business men, Members of Parliament and celebrities. Earlier this year he launched a new online system of measuring the clients based on off-the-peg sizes which are then adjusted to the individual. He has fascination of technology and its effect on the way people interact. Rhodes has assembled a team of tailors and a specialist IT team who have combined these elements and reacted to the feedback of their clients and designed his unique way to shop online.This site allows people to choose and design perfectly fitted shirts online with a simple to use interface that engages the customers and allows them to preview how putting together different designs and combinations will look on a shirt before choosing to order. With a simple to use order system you can buy shirts in ready to wear sizes or at a no cost option adjust them accordingly to make them available to the large, small, tall, short, athletic and portly, basically adapting them to the individual.
Hope this has thrown some light on this ever increasing trend and maybe even given you an idea for a potential gift for a tricky fella to buy for, or even something for yourself ! Nonetheless, will be offering you indispensable guides to gift buying and making your life a little easier over the Yuletide.



  1. Floyd Gary Clyne
    23/07/2013 / 01:20

    Excellent! This post is really informative and a delight to read. Heading over to Dale Rhodes now – better late than never! Thanks again.

  2. 06/01/2014 / 08:17

    Hey, very nice post! Really informative.. Thanks for shared & keep posting

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