Review: Michael Spencer Custom Dress Shirts
Disclaimer: Michael Spencer was kind enough to send The Peak Lapel this shirt for free for the purpose of this review.
There sure do seem to be a whole lot of online companies doing made-to-measure shirting these days. And that’s a good thing, through and through. So, no complaints here. But it also is difficult to navigate at times, with it being unclear what separates one company from another, and where true value actually lies. And then there is Michael Spencer. They’ve been around for over 60 years. They are made entirely in America. And their focus is entirely on quality and tradition.
For starters, their prices are in the upper realm of most other shirt companies. Meaning, most of Michael Spencer’s shirts will run you about $130 - $150, give or take. While many online MTM companies have plenty of offerings in this price tier, they also usually have options starting at lower price points. Not Michael Spencer. Though, again, this is by design. Their fabrics are all super premium, and high quality. They’re simply not in the business of selling you a $60 MTM shirt. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not Michael Spencer. Instead, like I said, they focus on quality and tradition. So, what’s that mean, and how are their shirts? For this review we went with a Blue Oxford Cloth shirt ($135) and here is what we thought.
Packaging & The Order Process
Even in my time working on this review, the website was updated a bit to be easier to use and navigate. It’s not the best site on the planet, nor is the customizer live-updating or anything fancy like that. Everything is pretty basic in these regards. Still, there was always great and responsive support, so you know you have an established and knowledgeable company behind the products. Shipping was quite slow, taking a number of weeks for the shirt to be made and arrive. It comes in a clean, white box, nicely packaged and folded so that nothing moves around during shipping. While, when it comes to quality garments like this, I don’t want to rush the process, I do think the site could use a bit of a refresh and updating to better enhance the ordering experience. B+
Style & Design
Here is where the tradition comes in. All of their fabrics are very plain, straightforward, and truly classic. There are no crazy, modern prints or anything like that. They have solids, and stripes, and that’s mostly it. And that is okay. If you’re looking for something more trendy, this is not the MTM shirt company for you. If you are looking for that truly staple OCBD, that will last for years to come, then look no further. This is that product. Our shirt itself was a beautiful, rich Oxford cloth. We went very plain with the design, with a standard placket and buttons and no chest pocket. The collar is their standard button down collar, and it’s one of the nicest I have ever seen. Just look at that collar roll! Plus the squared edges finish the whole thing off with a subtle touch of class. This is a OCBD for the ages, no question. A
Michael Spencer takes tradition into the realm of fit as well. They don’t cut super slim shirts, and, instead, opt for a more classic, fuller cut. They’ll still tailor it to your body, of course, and make it slimmer if you prefer, but, overall, they are going to lean more traditional in their fit. As you can see from the product shots in this review, the shirt is slim, though not as slim as most of my other shirts. This is most apparent in the arms and bicep area. Still, it’s cleat that the shirt fits very nicely.
Now, the images you are seeing are from third attempt at this shirt. The first attempt was much too roomy throughout, which they corrected no problem. However, the length was too short on the second attempt, and the armholes cut into my armpit a bit too much. They attempted to rectify both of these problems with this third remake, however, for one reason or another, it did not turn out. It was at this point that, since the shirt was offered for free in the first place, we decided to part ways for the time being. Needless to say, with a paying customer, they would not rest until the shirt fit perfectly. In my case, they got close, but not quite there, for whatever reason. B-
Quality & Construction
Hands down, this is one of the toughest, most robust shirts I own. And it is a difference that you can feel almost instantly. The fabric is thicker, richer, yet more breathable than most other shirts you’d be used to holding. It makes a OCBD from Banana Republic, J Crew or Uniqlo feel like a joke. The stitching and finishes is all perfect, and, as far as quality and construction is concerned, there is not a single negative thing to say. You are more than getting what you are paying for. A+
Value & Conclusion
Blue Oxford Cloth shirt — $135: Michael Spencer is an excellent company that has been around for ages. They know what they are doing, and make a quality product. If you prefer something very specific in terms of fit or fabrics, they are perhaps not the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for that staple piece to be the cornerstone of your closet, and are okay with a more traditional fit, then Michael Spencer is the MTM company for you. Final Grade: A-