I’m tall, comedically so. At 6″6′, with the wingspan of a bald eagle, it’s challenging to find clothes that will properly fit me. Sure, I can hit the racks at most major department stores or other mall retailers and find shirts and pants that will get the job done, but rarely do I come across something that’s a genuine, hand-in-glove, well-fitting option.
Searching out custom shirt options typically ends up being my go-to, but quality can vary from brand to brand. I was particularly interested in checking out Rowing Blazers, a beloved favorite here at SPY, and the brand’s first foray into custom clothing with their made-to-order shirting. Released last fall, Rowing Blazers sent over a sample for me to try.
My thoughts on the process of ordering a shirt, as well as the final product, below.
Rowing Blazers Made-to-Order: What We Liked
Rowing Blazers founder Jack Carlson stated he wanted to make a shirt worthy of the (now vintage) Brooks Brothers oxford cloth shirts he wore back in his college days, a shirt he donned as a field archeologist in Italy. Likewise, he wanted the shirt to be something he could wear out in the evenings. The result is this made-in-America shirt that comes in a stripe or solid options, with a handful of different colorways to fully express your personality. Since it’s made to order, you’ll select your neck size, sleeve length, and then overall fit (Trim, Standard, or Full) based on your individual needs. I picked the solid white oxford cloth in a neck size 17, a 37 sleeve length, and a trim fit.
The shirt arrived after a bit of a wait (production time is about four to six weeks). The first thing I noticed about the shirt was its texture and feel; it is definitely premium quality, well worth the $175 price based on its fabric alone. Additionally, Carlson stated he spent a lot of time working on getting the collar right; the “S”-roll button-down is inspired by the pinnacle of pop culture prep, The Talented Mr. Ripley, and provides a perfect roll to the collar.
More importantly, however, the shirt fits. There was no need for extra tailoring; it was as if I’d finally found a shirt for me off the rack. I can’t express how nice it was to have a shirt arrive that was ready to go without having to pay more for extra tailoring.
Rowing Blazers Made-to-Order: What We Didn’t Like
I feel a lot of people reading this are likely going to balk at the price tag. That’s understandable, especially when made-to-order and made-to-measure options are available elsewhere at more affordable price points. However, the quality of material used in creating those shirts will likely pale in comparison to what Rowing Blazers is providing. I can confidently say that the shirts provided by Rowing Blazers are on the level of what you’d expect from a high-end men’s clothing store or your local tailor. You will, however, need to be 100% confident in your measurements, as the brand has a strict no-return policy on made-to-order shirts, which means you’ll be out of luck if it’s too small. So when in doubt, size up. You can always take it to a tailor to alter it if needed. Additionally, there aren’t many customizable options at the moment, but options for different collars, cuffs, pockets, and even monogramming options are on the way.
The Verdict: Rowing Blazers’ Made-to-Order Shirting Makes a Bold First Impression
It’s clear that the made-to-order wing of Rowing Blazers is just getting started, yet even so, the foundation established here is pretty tremendous. A well-fitting, well-made shirt is hard to do. What’s more, finding a way to mass-produce it in a way that allows for this level of customization at scale is incredibly challenging. Nevertheless, the brand is off to a roaring start, and we can’t wait to see how Rowing Blazer’s MTO line will grow and evolve over the next few years.
Rowing Blazers Made-to-Order Oxford
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