Pacific Issue Review: A Custom Popover Dress Shirt
Disclaimer: Pacific Issue sent The Peak Lapel this shirt at a 50% off discount for the purposes of this review.
Well, consider Pacific Issue to be yet another contender in the field of custom, online, made to measure men’s dress shirts. What separates them from the rest of the pack? They claim that they lean more West Coast, and offer more unique, fun fabrics than the rest of the guys. And, in our experience, that is exactly true. They also promise a pretty quick turnaround time. Here’s what we thought.
Style & Design
Pacific Issue only offers shirts. No pants, no suits, nothing else to clutter the site or their offerings. And they do indeed offer unique, fun fabrics that you won’t so readily find elsewhere. (Whether this alone is enough to sustain them in this competitive market remains to be seen, but their claim does hold up!) They don’t have a ton by way of more classic shirts, so if you’re looking for something more conservative, this is not the place, nor is it trying to be. These are unique, fun, well-made shirts meant to be worn a bit more casually. They have a whole bunch of options, some more radical than others, so there is sure to be at least something there for everyone. Some options are super nice, too!
For this review, we went with the Grayson fabric ($139.00) and made it into a popover shirt. The fabric is a 100% cotton/linen blend and has a very nice depth and texture to it. In a way, it almost looks like an Oxford cloth. It’s light and breathable, though a bit scratchy even after a few wash cycles. I like the lighter blue color that leans, in a way, almost a bit grey depending on the light. Very versatile and interesting to look at and pair with other colors. I think this could look just as good with khaki or brown as it could with navy or a dark grey. The popover styling is nice, and a great summer/spring option, though their collars are all styled very small (even smaller than J Crew), which is a bit too trendy and casual for my taste. Overall, though, the fabric looks quite nice, and the overall look of the shirt is well done. The curved hem on the bottom is the perfect finish to the popover look as well, so attention to detail was paid. A-
Ordering Process & First Fitting
There are not so many customization options when you order, and you also don’t get to see your choices reflected in any sort of online simulation. The website, though, is neat and easy to use since there really is not too much there to confuse you. On the site itself you can adjust only the collar, cuffs, and pockets of the shirt. That’s it. You can also choose to make it short or long sleeved. However, Pacific Issue is quite quick to reply to emails, and they will personally accommodate any requests you might have, so don’t feel limited by the interface on the site. If you want something customized beyond that, just reach out to them.
And that is exactly what I did in my case, and asked for them to do a popover with a spread collar, which is just what I got. Again, I wish I could have seen some mockup of what it would look like before I ordered, but Pacific Issue is far from the only custom shirt site to not have this feature.
The fit when the first shirt arrived was a good starting point, but not quite there yet either. I generally consider the first of any custom clothing item from a new company to be a “basting” garment (even though they’re not, really), so I was not thrown by this. The waist and chest needed to be let out a touch, and the length was too long. Other than that, there was not too much else to fix.
The shirt did, indeed, arrive quite quickly in just about 2 weeks. In our experience, this was one of the faster online MTM shirt companies out there. So, if speed is what you’re about, factor that in. B+
The Final Fitting
After processing the remake (something very easy and offered for free by Pacific Issue), the fit was a lot better. If I could quibble, I would say the arms became a bit roomier this time, something I would trim down just a tad. But, overall, the fit here is solid. The wider chest and waist allow the popover to be able to more easily be put on and taken off. If this shirt fit slimmer, as most of my normal shirts do, I would never be able to get it on or off. Popover shirts are, by definition, looser, more casually fitting shirts. (Only with a stretch fabric could you cut the shirt as slim as a standard, button down shirt.)
I also do not love the collar. I opted for a more spread collar as I was hoping that it would be larger than the one I saw on the first fitting, but the more spread option ended up being even smaller. In hindsight, I should have stuck with the first collar option. A-
Quality & Construction
This shirt was neither the best-made nor the worst-made custom shirt we have tried. The fabric was a bit scratchy, and the construction was middle of the road. For the price, we expected better, in all honesty. This shirt — stitching, fabric, buttons — is a step below Proper Cloth, Ratio Clothing, Deo Veritas, and Articles of Style, but a step above Hockerty. The price, though, is super expensive for what you are getting as far as quality. B
Value & Conclusion
Pacific Issue Custom Shirts: The Grayson fabric — $139.00: This shirt was pricey. The quality is simply not worth the asking price when viewed from that perspective. On the other hand, their fabrics are unique, their customer service is excellent, and their turnaround time is amongst the fastest out there. That is, we suppose, what you are really paying for here. The shirt itself will end up fitting you well, look good, and be very solid, but not excellent, quality. We think these shirts should be a bit less expensive, from a value standpoint, but they do what they say they do and the end product is worth considering before you place your next MTM shirt order online. Final Grade: B+