Custom Made in the U.S.A.: Ratio/Clothing Handcrafted Shirting
There’s no shortage of online custom and MTM (made to measure) shirt companies these days, but each have their own take on why they offer a good value proposition. Ratio/Clothing, based out of Denver, CO., speaks to the significant portion of the menswear universe that favors clothing that is made domestically right here in the U.S.A.
Additionally, Ratio/Clothing offers a custom sizing system that is much less of a hassle than many other online shirtmakers in that you don’t have to provide as many measurements in order to end up with a shirt that fits you like it was custom made. True to its name, Ratio/Clothing has a no-measuring-required 5-point variable sizing formula that they use to determine the measurements of a shirt that will fit you better than any off-the-rack shirt. Off-the-rack shirts are generally designed for the most commonly denominated figure, and based on only two measurements: neck size and sleeve length, Ratio/Clothing bases its shirts on 5 separate aspects of a customer’s build.
When ordering a Ratio/Clothing Shirt, you need only provide a few measurements (i.e., jacket size, jacket length, neck size, etc.) and choose a fit (Classic Fit, or Slim Fit), and then move on to choosing from a bevy of custom options regarding collar style, cuff details, and so on. It definitely makes the process of ordering a more customized shirt much easier than many other retailers who require multiple measurements. But this can have its down side as well—sort of.
Though I was offered a complimentary shirt, true to brokeandbespoke form I went with one of the least expensive and least formal fabric options, a simple grey Oxford cloth. I wanted to take a fairly common, relatively informal, and quintessentially American fabric and choose options that would give it a slightly more refined look—like a cutaway collar (Ratio calls this option the ‘Londoner’ collar, and you need to request it in writing, as it’s not yet available as an option in their online ordering process) as opposed to the more common button down collar one would expect to find on an Oxford cloth shirt. I’m quite pleased with the result, as it takes advantage of the customizable options Ratio/Clothing offers and I now have a shirt that, while pretty informal and in line with my day-to-day needs, still has some character and detailing that separates it from more commonly available shirts.
Once I’d chosen my fabric and was ready to begin the ordering process I just followed the Ratio/Clothing sizing questionnaire and received a shirt that fit quite nicely in the shoulders, arms, and chest, but was far too tight in the stomach, where, as readers know, I carry a bit of burger weight. Luckily, Ratio/Clothing’s customer service is top-notch, and they are true to their ‘First Time Customer Guarantee,’ so I just emailed Ratio/Clothing, received a prompt reply from the company owner Eric (the company is still small enough that customer’s can interface with the actual owner to sort out any fit issues), and we set about on a very smooth series of emails where we dialed in the measurements that needed to be altered in order to have a shirt that fit perfectly.
Though I wish I’d been in contact with Eric from the get-go (which is, as far as I can tell, fully an option as well if you’re concerned the no-measurements-required approach won’t dial in your fit on the first try) because it would have saved Ratio/Clothing the expense of making me an initial shirt that was too small in the waist, the fact that I didn’t afforded me the opportunity to see Ratio/Clothing’s awesome customer service in action. The end result is very nice indeed: the shirt fits perfectly, the fabric is both robust and soft, the stitching is perfect, the construction excellent, and the packaging was beautifully presented.
Of the many online custom shirting companies whose websites I’ve perused, Ratio/Clothing seems to offer the most rugged fabric options for those customers whose style tends more towards Americana/workwear. They have a nice selection of fine flannels and chambrays that set their offerings apart from other companies who aim more towards a dressier clientele. Ratio/Clothing’s prices run from $89 for their most basic fabrics up to about $160 for their finest, and at those price points there’s something for everyone.
Even though I am as budget-conscious and deal-savvy as they come, I recognize that $89 for a custom shirt that is made right here in the U.S.A. is a great deal, and highly recommend checking out Ratio/Clothing if you’re in the market for a custom shirt.
Thanks again to Eric of Ratio/Clothing for his consummate customer service, and for running a company that manufactures its products right here in the U.S.A.!