I'm tall. Those of you have met me know that this is an understatement - I'm probably the tallest person that you know - and accordingly, I have a hard time finding clothes that fit without paying a significant amount over the retail price of normally sized clothing. When a pair of slacks that fit cost $50, you start to consider other options.
As a result, I've been buying clothes online for quite a while. Though I drooled over the amazing selection of sizes offered by internet clothing retailers in the late 90s, before they realized that they couldn't make much more money than by just offering a standard range, I never purchased anything from them. Most of the clothing that I've purchased in the past couple years has come from eBay. The items have all been new, but purchased there because it's easier to find what I need and cheaper than buying through the usual retail outlets.
When I read Sharq's review of this business, my heart leapt. Though I'd heard about various businesses in Hong Kong, India, and Thailand that offer cheap custom suits, most of them lack an internet presence or require measurements and fittings by tailors stateside, which drives up the cost. Make your own jeans seemed to be what I needed. Though his review didn't say anything about suits or dress shirts, it seemed possible that they might be willing to make such things. Their website revealed a nice array of clothing at reasonable prices. Jeans, of course, but also slacks, shirts, and suits in linen, wool, and corduroy.
When my wife informed me that an event we would be attending in a few months would probably require a black suit, I decided that it was time to act. I ordered a black pinstriped single-breasted three button suit and three shirts. My initial plan had been for a single shirt, but at the price, $22 each, I couldn't resist.
The total for the order came to $254 - $150 for the suit, three long-sleeved dress shirts at $22 each, and $38 for shipping. At the time of my order, total production and delivery time was quoted as 4-6 weeks. The package arrived at my door two weeks after the date I placed my order.
The clothing was packaged carefully, with each item placed in a clear plastic bag, of similar quality to what is used for such things in a retail store. The shirts were folded carefully, as was the suit. All items had high quality hang tags, with my order number on them. Each item also included a makeyourownjeans.com keychain. The whole order was double-bagged to prevent damage during shipping. The package was shipped UPS second day air from an address in New York City.
The fit of the suit and shirts was extremely satisfying - it felt so good to find clothes that were both long enough and yet not baggy.
As Sharq states above, numerous measurements are taken so that the tailors can provide the proper fit. This can sometimes be difficult when one does not have a perfectly fitting garment to take the measurements from. The fit of the shoulders could be a bit better, but this is likely due to the measurements that I provided - where, exactly, does the shoulder end and the sleeve begin? Perhaps they could provide some way to see this on their website, or perhaps it is something that you just have to know where it is to be able to see it. Overall, the fit of the suit was excellent. This order was a learning experience, and now that I can see how this suit fits, I'll be able to tweak the measurements a bit for the next order, for an even better fit.
The fit of the shirts was also quite good. The shirt cuffs could benefit from a little bit more space, but this seems to be due to my measurements - I measured for the cuff a bit higher than I should have.
The shirts come with two buttons on the cuff, with an additional buttonhole if you wish to remove the buttons and use cufflinks. The pocket is matched perfectly with the rest of the material. The stitching is very good - there are a couple small imperfections, but none that can be noticed unless you really try to see them - I don't think it would be worthwhile for them to spend more time (and money) to improve the quality here. The cloth, 100% cotton, is excellent. On the website, the swatches make the material look like what one might expect in a casual shirt, but the material as delivered looks much better - this is definitely a dress shirt. At $22 each, I will be buying several more, even though this means that I will have to start ironing my shirts again, that most loathed and dreaded of tasks.
The fit and design of the suit are excellent, though I do have a few issues. The lapel buttonhole was just a piece of thick thread, knotted at both ends. I will have to have a local tailor replace this with an actual buttonhole. The cuffs were listed as having four buttons - they were delivered with three. I ordered the jacket with a single vent, but received it with two. I didn't bring this up with them, as I couldn't remember which way I had ordered it, but my order email reveals that I had ordered it with a single vent. This isn't a huge issue, but I feel the need to mention it. Additionally, there are no buttonholes. I don't expect functional buttonholes at this price point, but it would look much better with non-functional ones, and it is generally assumed that these would come standard. I emailed them, noting these problems, and recieved the following response, less than twelve hours later:
Can we send the buttons with your next order because courier cost is
We have noted your suggettions, infact you will be able to choose the
number of buttons and cuff type from each product page.
If any other suggesttions do let us know, we will implement it.
The website had been updated by the time that I recieved the email, and they now have functional buttoning cuffs included in the price of the suit, if you are so inclined. With these changes, I feel that the suit represents an excellent value.
Though there are some minor issues with some of the products, as I have outlined above, makeyourownjeans.com offers an excellent product at a very reasonable price - I plan to order from them again in the near future. The short sleeved dress shirts look attractive, and I do need another pair or two of slacks. Oh, and a sport coat might be nice...
Note: some photographs of the aforementioned suit and shirts can be seen at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cbustapeck/sets/72157600772039603/detail/