In Pursuit of the Perfect Dress Shirt

I still remember the first dress shirts I bought out of college.  In New York City, I went to the Brooks Brothers flagship store and bought several shirts with pinpoint collars and button cuffs.  Technically, they were my size, but they billowed out uncontrollably.  You could have stuck two of my torsos side-by-side in those shirts.

At the time, it didn’t really bother me.  I persisted in those comically baggy things until I took a trip to Thailand and had a couple of dress shirts made for $25 apiece.  If they weren’t the finest fabrics, at least they fit properly.  It was an awakening.  When I arrived home, I immediately retired my set of Brooks Brothers regular fit shirts.

More than a decade later, it is now much easier to find slim off-the-rack options. Even Brooks Brothers has an extra-slim fit line.

Affordable custom clothing, however, no longer requires a trip abroad — or to a cavernous hotel in major American cities where Asian and European tailors have traditionally held trunk shows. Thanks to a new generation of American entrepreneurs, there are a mind-boggling number of options for relatively-affordable custom professional clothing, which is both inspiring and overwhelming.

Choosing to be inspired rather than overwhelmed, Modern Fellows is embarking on a “Custom Project.” The goal of this project is to get to know this new generation of American entrepreneurs and businesspeople and to spotlight their products, opinions on men’s professional style and motivations for getting into the business.  To follow will be product reviews, interviews and photo tours of a variety of custom clothiers, with an initial focus on finding the perfect dress shirt.

Where should we look for the perfect dress shirt?

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