suit-photoWith the explosion of affordable custom tailors in recent years — led by venture-backed behemoths such as Indochino and bolstered by fledgling, well-regarded entrants like Black Lapel — Modern Fellows has released a guide to buying made-to-measure suits and shirts online.

While the proliferation of online custom tailors may be thought of as a natural outgrowth of the traveling tailor who, twenty years ago, came from Asia or Europe to major U.S. cities, this new generation has a couple of advantages.

One is that many of the new companies — see Black Lapel, Blank Label, J. Hilburn, Proper Cloth, and Proper Suit — are headquartered in the United States, making them more accessible than far-flung tailors from prior generations. (Some, like Ratio Clothing and Read Wall, even manufacture in America.)

Digital media can also foster the kind of trust and community that were difficult to pin down twenty years ago, as social platforms like Facebook and Twitter and boards such as AskAndyAboutClothes and permit satisfied or unhappy consumers to log their views publicly and provide comfort or warning to potential customers.

And while there are those who would suggest that you should never buy a suit online, the reality is that, if a man is willing to take the time to get measured up properly, there are companies around who are similarly willing and able to work with you to get the fit and style right and produce a phenomenal product.

See Modern Fellows’ reviews of the Black Lapel suit and Proper Cloth dress shirt for examples of two companies that get it right.

Modern Fellows’ directory of online custom clothing companies is online now.