Bespoke Shirts for Your Bow Ties
Bespoke – related to an article of clothing tailored and made to order
Bespoke is something that I wish I could afford more. Sigh… Most of the time I need to settle with mass produced clothes that fit alright. For instance, when it comes to dress shirts, they typically blouse on me. Sometimes I have someone hem in the sides to make them balloon less on me. Although I’m not extremely skinny, perhaps I should feel grateful that I’m more slender than the typical dude, right?
Either way, I got an e-mail from Wingar Li at Dongguan Dingya Shirt Factory suggesting that I purchase and review a bespoke shirt for just under $65 USD. This intrigued me. I’m always looking for shirts that go well with my bow ties.
Thanks to my Facebook news feed, I’ve heard horror stories of people buying cheap fashion from abroad that didn’t fit or look great as the pictures they’ve seen. In fact, I fell victim to this when I bought a cheap coat online last year. I want to make one thing clear, this is not meant as a complaint about goods from abroad. In fact, I have enjoyed many products made in other parts of the world from my neck of the woods, but just as with products made in other countries — including my own, sometimes a product is lackluster. I think that the key factor here is cheap — not the country of origin. Cheap from anywhere can (but not necessarily) mean trouble. So, with some trepidation, I decided to give it a try.
The process involved Wingar sending me a spreadsheet with various measurements; fortunately, there were diagrams. So, I found a seamstress in a local mall who measured me for $10. After I had the measurements, there were multiple of options for the shirt’s collar shape, pocket, buttons, cuffs, and other parts of the shirt that as a fashion blogger I need to learn. Ha! Further, there was the fabric to select, and there seemed like hundreds of options. So much to choose from…
Here’s where I was really impressed. Wingar was great in helping me understand what I needed to provide him. He definitely was great at hand holding via e-mail from the other side of the world, and let’s not forget his excellent English. While working with a tailor (or haberdasher perhaps) in person is ideal, Wingar definitely helped put me to ease.
Once I provided my measurements, made decisions on different shirt elements, selected a fabric and pattern, and remitted payment, the Dongguan Dingya Shirt Factory crew went to work. In just under three weeks (partly due to me selecting the cheaper and slower shipping), my shirt arrived.
So, how did it turn out? Overall, well.
To start off, the fit is a bit snug, but there are a few factors at play here. First, who doesn’t have 10 pounds that they would like to lose? Who wants mine? Second, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m used to ill-fitting shirts. So, it’s like Americans and chocolate; they’re so ruined by the waxy substance that passes for chocolate in the US that when they eat actual chocolate, it tastes off to them. I’m not used to shirts that are tailored to my measurements. Third, this is when having Wingar there in person would’ve helped, but as I said, he’s great anyways. The snugness is about the only downside, but I think that this also boils down to personal preference.
Shifting away from fit, there are things that I really like about the shirt. First, I like how the fabric feels. It is soft and comfortable, and not starchy like most dress shirts are. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like wrinkles, but starchy shirts are so uncomfortable. Second, the stitching, buttons, and other craftsmanship appears high quality. I would pit this against the quality of my shirts from more established brands. When I put the shirt on and moved around in it, I felt confident that nothing would easily tear or show signs of wear too soon. Third, I really liked the price. For the cost of what I could spend on a mass produced shirt, I got one more tailored to me. These factors made this an overall positive experience for me. While the price was nice, I got a quality shirt.
In conclusion, I recommend using Dongguan Dingya Shirt Factory for bespoke clothing. One thing to keep in mind clearly communicating your fit preference when you provide your measurements. Be sure to let Wingar and his crew know if you like things snug or more on the loose side. Other than that, I feel that you should get a high quality product at a very reasonable price.