Process: ThereAreGiants found J.J. Threads through the wonderful world of Twitter. They are an online company specializing in men’s dress shirts offering a massive variety of patterns in their selection to choose from.
After a brief conversation and an invitation to try out their online customization, I decided that I would take them up on their offer to make my very own collared shirt.
Upon visiting the ‘dot com’ you are given the option to buy a pre-designed shirt (what fun is that?), or to design one of your own. As you click through to the ‘make’ section, you are given selections of patterns to apply to the body, collar, cuff, and placket; 180 patterns and colors to be exact – from oxford to pin-stripe, to paisley – the choice is yours.
The process of picking out patterns is quite simple, and very fun; especially because your collar, cuff, and placket, inside and out, can all be different colors or patterns. However, I am a huge fan of keeping things simple, so don’t go too nuts; it’s not New York Fashion Week every day, after all!
DESIGN ADVICE: Because the option to pick different patterns for different touch points of your shirt is available, if you pick a certain pattern for your collar, make sure it is the same for your cuff. The same goes for the inner collar, cuff, and placket.
Once all of your patterns are mixed and matched, you move on to picking your button style and color. Button or button snaps? Sure! There are 16 types of buttons to choose from for your placket and cuffs.
Stitching is something that rarely anyone notices. One of my favorite things about collared shirts is when the threading around the buttonholes varies in color.
DESIGN ADVICE: If your shirt has a lot of pattern or opposition of color throughout, you should probably stick to a basic button and stitch detail. You don’t want to over do it and look like a Faberge Egg.
Once the creative side of this journey has come to an end, it’s time for the technical part of things – measurements. Click ‘choose size & fit’ in the bottom right and select ‘made to measure’. Sign up on the site to create your own profile and enter your measurements into the JJThreads database that is saved for your future orders. HERE is how to take your measurements the right way to ensure that your shirt fits the best it possibly can. A+
Speediness: My Shirtbuilder experience was done on November 26th 2012, and was received on December 11th 2012. For a custom shirt, that’s pretty darn acceptable to me. A+
Packaging: JJ’s packaging was a real stand out for me. After opening your standard run-of-the-mill FedEx box, you get a really nice brown box with the logo engraved on the front. Upon opening the box you are greeted by and perfectly folded shirt wrapped in cellophane and presented to you as if on a velvet pillow. Everything about opening up this box was exciting because it excellerated. I was happy to have gotten the shirt in the mail, then the first box got me excited to see what was inside, and then opening up that box was more exciting than having the ability to design my own shirt. Packaging = NAILED IT! A+
Accuracy: All of the main touch points of this shirt were dead on. The sleeve length was long enough, the shoulders were broad enough, the torso landed precisely where it should have and was tailored just enough that it fit – not too tight, not too boxy.
The oddities that occurred with this shirt were not in the usual problem spots, but in places that I’ve rarely had issue before. The neck was about a quarter-or-so of an inch too big – even with a tie on, there was a little bit of droop. Unfortunately I had a sleeve predicament, which resulted in something that looked like it came out of a Seinfeld sketch. I felt as if though who ever assembled this shirt took the arm circumference measurement and kept it the same length all the way down; very billowy.
Though I will say, where the sleeve met the cuff, there were three pleats, which were obviously put into place to take up fabric, but I actually really liked them – a lovely touch.
Needless to say I emailed the JJTeam and asked them what I should do. They took notes of what the miscalculations were on my shirt and in less than 10 days I had a brand new shirt that fit to perfection; absolute and utter perfection.
Quality: Regardless of measuring hiccups, the fabrics that JJ Threads is using are very clearly top of the line. The shirt I designed included the ‘Fulham’ pattern on the over-all body and cuff and then the ‘Giacomo’ pattern (floral on corduroy) on the inner collar, cuff, and wide piping placket.
This shirt has been dry cleaned twice now since I received it, and there are no signs of wear, tear, fading, or fraying on any of the vulnerable points where that typically happens. Clearly JJ is using the sturdiest materials he can find. A+
Over All Grade: The problem with doing sight-unseen custom clothing in general is that it is still in its early and experimental stages. Some nail it the first try, others need a second go because their fit model is not standing right in front of them.
There will always be some variation of fit and there will always be variables that go into these pieces. If you have someone else take the measurements for you verses taking them yourself the results will be different. And of course the ever changing ‘who’ is assembling your shirt factor – not every tailor has the same precision as the next guy.
My experience with JJ was incredibly positive. The design process is fun, easy, and exciting to accomplish and when there was a bump in the road, the team handled it with compulsive customer service; I felt very taken care of. Despite the puffy shirtsleeve incident, the speedy recovery to getting the right fit beyond made up for the actual blip itself. So from ThereAreGiants to you – when a tall needs a well-fitted shirt for a well-attended event this is definitely an option for a GIANT to explore. A-