Thursday, May 2, 2013

Getting measured: The J. Hilburn experience

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

Recently I was measured for a new shirt from J. Hilburn.

The whole process was a real pleasure — seriously.

Unlike other internet-based custom shirtmakers, J. Hilburn has a battalion of trained style consultants across the country who meet with you to take your precise measurements. This invaluable service greatly adds to the personalized experience of ordering a shirt that falls somewhere between made-to-measure and bespoke in the spectrum of custom clothing.

In my case, I met with Lena Piskorowski, a Detroit native who like many her age returned to the Wolverine State after jump-starting their professional career in places such as Chicago or Los Angeles.

While I occasionally have reservations about taking menswear style cues from women — just as yours truly refrains from opining on what women should wear — Piskorowski's knowledge and service was superb.

She knows her stuff because it's in the blood: Her grandmother was an established Detroit dressmaker and tailor.

In addition to measuring me for a shirt, Piskorowski also took other measurements as J. Hilburn has expanded beyond shirts and now offers a range of custom clothes, including suits and sport jackets made by a well-known Portuguese tailoring house that also makes clothing for a very prominent, high-end brand.


Flipping through the book of fabric swatches, the light blue herringbone cloth from the Italian mill Tessitura Monti caught my eye. I went with this and further selected an English cutaway collar (13 other styles are offered), French cuffs and a slimmer fit.

Prices, which range from $99 to $169 depending on the cloth, make J. Hilburn competitive with both off-the-rack offerings at upper-end department stores and other custom shirtmakers, who often require customers to measure themselves.

Once the finished shirt arrives in a couple weeks, a comprehensive review will be undertaken.

One thing, however, is clear: With its exceptional service, J. Hilburn has carved itself a niche in what is becoming a rather crowded market of custom shirtmakers.

  Dennis Lennox

1 comment:

  1. Dennis,

    As a J. Hilburn Style Consultant, I was thrilled to find this and see how happy you were with your appointment! I hope all of my customers feel as valued and cared for as you when I'm done with them! I did want to mention, though, that our shirts are completely custom and not made-to-measure. Our trousers are, since we only use a few measurements (but more than off-the-rack, which may not fit very well in the seat or thighs). But the shirt that you purchased will be hand-cut from fabric using a pattern that was hand-cut from your measurements. Our shirts are the only item that are truly custom, but they definitely are! I just wanted you to know that you are getting an incredibly priced shirt that is made exactly to your measurements. It's a luxury most men think they couldn't afford! You chose a gorgeous fabric, and I can't wait to read the post you write after you get your new favorite shirt! :)