While so much of the Internet seems hell-bent on finding ways to keep you in ratty, coffee-stained sweatpants all day, menswear brands old and new are using that same space to bring perfectly tailored bespoke shirts and suits to your door while eliminating all the irritating parts of the shopping process—including the tailor.
Kyle Vucko, CEO and co-founder of Indochino.com, says the brand’s online custom shirt and suit experience grew from his desire to create a system where you could buy a made to measure suit without having to interact with anybody, and at a price you can afford.
Indochino’s clothing is fully customized with about a dozen measurements you can take with a friend. “We designed it for two clueless people to get measured. So you and your buddy, you and your partner or girlfriend…it just requires two of you and a tape measure.” And yes, they thought of that, too: “We’ll send you a tailor's tape for free if need be.”
Six Steps for At-Home Measurement
Neck: Wrap the tape measure about an inch below your Adam's apple, tight enough for a decent fit, but loose enough so you can still breath. Round up to the next half-inch.
Shoulders: Measure from tip of one shoulder to the other, across the top of your spine and at the base of the neck. The tape should follow your back's natural curve.
Chest: Stand normally and comfortably (without flexing) and have your partner measure at the broadest part of your chest, inline with the nipples, leaving enough room to breathe.
Sleeve: Measure from the shoulder bone to the wrist bone. Simple.
Waist: While avoiding the temptation to suck it in, wrap the tape around your waist at the navel. Slide a finger between the tape and your body to allow some room. Then, buy a belt.
Inseam: Figure out where you want your pants to end, then lose your shoes and find a significant other (or true friend) to measure from your crotch to that specified point.
Simple, guided video segments on Indochino's site show you how to take measurements, and warn you of the possible pitfalls, like sucking in your gut, flexing muscles, and not knowing the difference between your waist and hips. They can also suggest measurements based on algorithms: “We have over 120,000 customers, so based on your weight and height… we can get pretty close, and as you put in different measurements we get even closer.”
Original Stitch offers similar levels of customization, with the added benefit of a Pinterest-style community board that shows recent customers’ designs, so you can get ideas from other, like-minded guys hunting for their style from home.
If it still sounds like a job fit for expert hands, Hamilton Shirts' bespoke experience mixes the old school approach of having to be measured in-person by a trained tailor with online customization that allows you to create shirts and suits to your exact size, shape, and specifications from scratch using their curated library of styles and fabrics.
“If you’re really going to deliver that quality product, it’s best done with somebody that has the judgment and the experience to guide you through it,” explains owner David Hamilton.
The system ends up being pretty infallible when you factor in easy returns and the fact that some companies will cover the cost of additional alterations once you receive your suit. They’ll also save your data so the next time you can just click and buy. “We’re really committed to making a great garment that fits you,” says Vucko. "We want you to be a customer for life.”