Deo Veritas Custom Dress Shirt Review (Part 1): Ordering Process, Fitting, and Bamboo Fabric
Disclaimer: This shirt was sent to TPL for free for the purposes of this review.
There are a whole number of great online companies now offering custom made dress shirts, designed to your exact specifications, and made to fit your body specifically. Each one offers slightly different pros and cons, and, as always, some are better overall than others. Here at TPL we are going to try to cover as many of these companies as possible, to give you the lowdown so you know what you’re doing when you decide to place an order with one of them (or a few!). We’re starting with Deo Veritas.
(For information on how the fitting process works, see the section on fit below.)
When you’re ordering a custom dress shirt, you can design it to be exactly how you want it to be. This includes the fabric, of course, but also things like the collar style, wether there is a chest pocket or not, the buttons, contrast stitching colors, adding a monogram, and so on.
Some custom dress shirt companies offer more in certain areas than others. Deo Veritas has a truly fantastic overall offering. Their range of fabrics is extensive, and exotic, though more on that in a minute. Their collar selection is also superb. Some other companies (like Ratio shirts) have much more limited collar options. Deo Veritas, though, offers just about every sort of collar you could ever imagine, allowing you to pick exactly the kind of spread, width of spread, and point width that you desire. I much prefer bigger, more substantial collars to the more modern tiny collars, so this is truly fantastic to see. It lets you create a really classy looking shirt — something that is becoming increasingly harder to find outside of certain brands. So, kudos to Deo Veritas on a great collar selection. I went with the Full Italian Cutaway collar, which is a gorgeous, substantial spread collar with a wide spread and longer collar points. It looks fantastic with a tie, and has a nice roll to it when worn without a tie and unbuttoned as well, something I have been looking for in a spread collar for a while.
Their fabric selection is also pretty great. There are all the standard fabrics you would expect — the solids, basic ginghams, nice plaids, and so on (though I think their full selection is a tiny bit weaker than some other companies, like Ratio) — but they also have some more exotic materials offered as well that I have never seen anywhere else. They have a few cashmere blend shirts (review forthcoming), but perhaps the most intriguing was a bamboo blend shirt. These shirts are made with, you guessed it, bamboo which is supposed to reduce wrinkling from a wash substantially — more on this below. They cost $120.
Finally, Deo Veritas offers super quick shipping. This is perhaps their most unique and special selling point. No other custom dress shirt company offers even close to the same shipping speeds. While most companies need about 4 weeks to deliver your garment, Deo Veritas can do it in under two weeks — which is just a bit longer than ordering from most big box retailers. How do they do it? The CEO explained to me as follows:
“We benefit in one regard that we’re shipping from Turkey (vs. China / S.E. Asia — like most of our competitors) which is a shorter duration journey and subject to less customs / import scrutiny both when it departs Turkey and when it arrives in N. America or the EU (where 90% of our sales originate from). Additionally, our production lines are optimized exclusively for MTM shirts. Many competitors run with both MTM and Off the Rack on the same lines — which results in a bunch of unnecessary (timely) equipment change-outs and mistakes amongst the workers. We also submit all our orders electronically to our production team directly (vs. email or hand written notes — as is commonly done in the industry). Every order's detail is translated into a build spec for that customer’s specific shirt order. This process streamlining helps us shave off a few days as well.“
I can testify to this all first-hand. I ordered my shirt on Nov. 22nd, and it arrived by Dec. 3rd. Pretty crazy, no?
When it comes to online custom clothing, perhaps the most important aspect is the fit of the garment you receive. After all, you can get high quality shirts from any number of places, but do they fit you perfectly? That’s what is so great about custom clothing. Your arms a bit long? No problem. Want slimmer sleeves but a wider chest? Sure, consider it done. And on and on.
The way most of these online custom dress shirt companies work is that they ask you a few basic questions — like height, weight, age, preferred fit, and so on — and then construct a measurement profile for your body based on your responses. Because they have so many clients, and such a huge database, they can get pretty damn close to a perfect fit on their first try with just the answers to those few questions alone. However, almost all of these custom dress shirt companies allow for one remake — meaning, if that first shirt needs a bit of tweaking still (and it almost always does, so count on it), they’ll make you a new one with those tweaks for free, no questions asked. Deo Veritas is no different, and this is exactly their process. Their little questionnaire they call “QSizing” and it works really well, as we shall see. (You can also have them make a shirt to a standard size, to match a shirt you currently own, or to a full set of body measurements you provide. When starting with a new custom brand, though, I recommend going with their fitting questionnaire and adjusting from there for best results. This is what I did.)
So, how well did Deo Veritas’s “QSizing” do on its first try? Pretty well. It was definitely overall quite accurate, though at the same time — as is 100% to be expected — needed a bit of refinement to get things just right.
A quick walkthrough of my fit:
- The chest and waist were pretty spot-on.
- The armpits were a bit tight, which meant that the sleeve needed to be just a touch less trim at the top, and the chest needed to be let out just a bit as well.
- The bottom of the sleeves had a bit too much extra fabric — this was the tweak that was oddest to me. The upper sleeve was a bit too tight, while the lower sleeve was a bit too loose.
- The neck was perfect.
- The length of the shirt was much, much too long. This seems to be a Deo Veritas thing, as I have seen this with a few reviews of these shirts. They prefer to cut their shirts a bit longer so that they stay tucked in better. I am all for this, but this first shirt is a full 3.50” longer than what I normally wear, and looks a bit comical untucked. So, needless to say, that needs to be dialed back just a bit on the next iteration.
So, overall, they did a pretty impressive job for a first swing at it — especially given how seemingly magically little information the original survey asks of you. With a few tweaks, we should be well on our way to a perfectly fitting shirt. (I should also say that this first shirt that I received is actually still wearable. It’s a bit tight in the armpits, and a bit too long, but if I needed to, or really wanted to, I could wear it no problem. Usually, Deo Veritas requests you send the first shirt back to them if a remake is necessary, but they were kind enough to let me keep mine.)
One gripe: The online measurements profile page needs a bit of work. The Golden Standard here is Ratio shirts (review coming soon!), which has settings and explanations for every tiny little tweak to a shirt fitting you could think of. Deo Veritas has far, far fewer, with only the major measurements available for a user to tweak. Anything else — like the needing to slim the lower portion of my sleeves — has to be entered into a text box. The CEO has told me that improvements to the QSizing system are coming real soon, though I am unsure if these changes will be included in that. This is not at all a huge deal, especially if the shirts fit just as well on the other end (which it seems so far they do), but it is something to consider when selecting an online shirting company to order from.
Quality, Construction, and Fabric
As I mentioned above, I went with a white shirt in the bamboo fabric to see what it was all about. The overall construction of the shirt is fine, though I cannot honestly say anything stands out as being truly stellar. The buttons are nice, though a bit thin compared to other high end (or custom) shirts I own. All the stitching is neat and tidy, and the collar uses a sewn construction as opposed to fused which makes it a bit softer and more comfortable.
Now, on to the bamboo fabric. This is a mixed bag for me. The fabric is super lightweight and airy, and is, without question, one of the most comfortable shirts I have ever worn in my life. It does indeed resist wrinkles, and looks pretty good coming out of the wash. It would still need a bit of ironing, but just a bit. It also dries super fast. On the other hand, the fabric is extremely thin and lightweight, and pretty see-through as well — which, while might just be a necessary evil of the bamboo, and is also even sometimes the mark of a high quality fabric, feels a bit below the $120 price tag of this shirt. From just looking at the shirt, if I didn’t know better, I might think it was much cheaper than it actually is.
This is all to say, the quality of the shirt is solid. The construction of it passes all the usual quick tests, but it’s nothing so impressive by way of construction and quality as to stand out. The bamboo fabric, though, is quite uniquer and special, and has its amazing pros and minor cons. It’s something I recommend trying at least once, though (maybe in your first, “trial” shirt, to see if you like it). Personally, I think I’ll be trying a different fabric next time as I am keeping this bamboo fabric shirt anyway, so I would prefer to use the opportunity to try some more fabrics out.
So far, Deo Veritas is overall seeming like a truly solid custom dress shirt company. They offer some impressive and unique fabrics, an excellent selection of collars — amongst all the usual shirt customizations — and an unheard of delivery time turnaround. Their construction and quality is fine, though nothing absolutely stellar. Their fitting process is quite magical and does a great job, and with a few tweaks after your first shirt, should give you some great-fitting garments.
Indeed, this is all just the first part in our two-part series covering Deo Veritas, so stay tuned for our review of the updated shirts coming soon!