Are custom dress shirts still relevant?
America’s office dress code is changing, and fast. Is it time to stop buying dressy custom shirts and start buying casual shirts that are still custom fit, but are more versatile?
Office dress codes are changing fast
Earlier this year, Goldman Sachs changed its dress code. Its suit and tie policy was replaced with a ‘flexible dress code.’ The company said it was due to “the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment.”
Goldman Sachs made the change to appeal to a younger workforce and to be more relatable to its clients. Offices across the US have been making the shift towards casual dress codes, but Goldman’s announcement accelerated it. Goldman is a leader, and once an industry leader makes a change, others follow.
Do you still wear a suit to work?
This is the biggest question in determining your need for custom dress shirts. If the answer is no, then you probably no longer need custom dress shirts. You probably already have one or two for the few occasions each year when you need a dress shirt.
But old habits are hard to break. If you’ve been buying custom dress shirts your entire career, it’s easy to do the same each time you need a new shirt.
So what do you do now? You’ll need good-fitting shirts that match up to jeans, khakis and trousers – the pants you can now wear to the office. We recommend making a shift to custom casual shirts.
Custom casual shirts are nice enough to wear to a professional office, but versatile enough for life’s other occasions – like date night and dinner parties.
What’s the difference between custom dress shirts and custom casual shirts?
Custom dress shirts have a ‘vibe’ – polished, serious, professional. In most cases, the fabric has a sheen that matches the sheen of a suit. The collar is often stiff and structured. Custom dress shirts communicate attention to detail and precision, they aim to show competency in business, but can come off as cold. They are not designed to communicate relatability.
Custom casual shirts have a different vibe. They are tailored enough to show you’re paying attention and you care about your look. But they look more natural, and the collar is softer. These shirts communicate relatability and down-to-earth sensibility. Because it’s custom tailored, a custom casual shirt communicates competency in the office and a positive awareness socially.
The importance of custom shirts
Industry standard shirt sizing is set up to fit average sized men. But even men with the same height and weight, who choose the same shirt size will have different shoulder widths, stomach sizes, and arm lengths. Both choose the best size available, but the shirt fits each of them differently – and most likely improperly.
A custom shirt addresses these body variations, giving a man a fit that addresses his unique needs. Custom shirts communicate you’re ‘paying attention’ to details in life – it can help set the tone for how you address other details in your life.
People pay attention to how a man behaves, and dressing is a part of his behavior. The people paying attention could be coworkers, children, or a partner. It’s important to set the right example. If your clothing fits haphazardly or inconsistently, what message does it send?
Does Todd Shelton make custom shirts?
Every shirt we make is made-to-order, made for one man to address his specific fit requirements. We’ve made custom dress shirts and custom casual shirts in our East Rutherford, NJ factory since 2012. And we’ve learned a lot along the way.
We know pure custom is no longer necessary. Flexible custom is necessary. A pure custom shirt, once made, is final sale and can’t be returned. But what happens when a customer isn’t pleased with the custom shirt (btw that happens)? The answer is…he’s stuck.
Flexible custom works off a menu of fit options a man can choose to meet his specific fit requirements. These options give him the ability to dial-in his fit without the anxiety of ‘I have to get this right’ and without regret if he doesn’t. Flexible custom is more customer-centric than pure custom.
Start a conversation with us through the ‘Start with One Product’ quiz or by email. Let us know the issues you face, what you’ve done to address the issues, and let’s talk.