Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Hemingway offers quality custom shirting with limited options

Editor's note — This is part of a continuing Pinstripes and Tweed series on custom clothing

One of the many internet-based shirtmakers offering custom shirts is Hemingway Tailors.

Located in England’s West Yorkshire, Hemingway’smade-to-order shirts take about a month to make and deliver. (A traditional bespoke service, which includes traveling tailor visits on this side of the pond, is also offered.)

For purposes of review, Hemingway provided this correspondent with a made-to-order shirt (£112.50 or approximately $170) at gratis.


The ordering process was fairly straight-forward, though options — be it cloth or extras, such as monograms — were limited compared to competitors.

The biggest issue that arose was sleeve length.

With made-to-order, you get to specify certain things and the shirt is then made to those albeit limited specifications. This puts made-to-order at the lower end the custom spectrum.

Hemingway’s limited options were a problem, as the standard sleeve length for shirts in Europe is generally 34 inches. By comparison, shirts aimed at Americans typically are 32 or 33 inches in length and are therefore ideal for this correspondent’s sleeve length of 32 ½ inches.

Unfortunately, Hemingway couldn’t accommodate a request for a precise sleeve length and as a result the shirt that arrived was nearly 3 inches too long.

This is a significant issue, as many gentlemen, at least outside the major U.S. cities, struggle to find competent tailors who can properly shorten sleeves.

Notwithstanding, the finished shirt — a pink herringbone made of very soft two-fold cotton with French cuffs and a moderately spread collar — was of a very high quality and exceeded Veneto and Deo Veritas.

The bottom line: Increasing the number of customization options as well as giving customers the ability to 
specify a precise sleeve length would move Hemingway up the table of custom shirtmakers. 

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