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The New Comfort is Fit
The New Comfort is Fit
There’s an old saying that half of feeling good is looking good. That has never been more true than it is in today’s quickly evolving world of men’s style. You don’t have to be a fashion guru to understand the concept of clothes that fit better look better. However there have always been obstacles for guys that are looking to achieve a better fit, most notably price. Historically custom clothing has been expensive and often hard to find. Just 10 years ago if you were looking to procure a custom made suit you needed to know a good tailor and even the most basic designs would cost you thousands of dollars. Today that is no longer the case, there are lots of great custom clothing options in Boston at price points that rival their off the rack competitors. However, I’m not here to talk about price, I’m here to talk about fit.
Guys come in many shapes and sizes and very few of us can walk into a department store and find a suit that looks good, never mind great. I can’t speak for everybody but personally I want something that looks great. I’ve graduated from “these pants are the perfect length…it’s too bad the waist is 2 sizes too big” or “I’ve always loved this shirt…too bad I have to roll the sleeves up because the arms are too long.” Who wants to think about how loose your pants are or the fact that you don’t want to take your jacket off because your shirt doesn’t quite fit? For me, half of feeling comfortable is knowing that I look great. Whether it’s meeting with a prospective client or at a social gathering, I know that the way I look has an impact on the way I interact with other people and ultimately can give me a leg up in the pursuit of my goals. Sure, sometimes comfort means sweat pants and flipflops, like if you catch me on any Sunday around 10am…not so great…but when I’m doing my thing, I want to look great – no question about it.
To this end, I’ve been thrilled to learn about several local brands that are pushing forward the concept of better fitting clothes. One of those brands is Blank Label. I am the proud owner of a dress shirt from Blank Label. It is far and away my favorite dress shirt because it fits perfectly. I know my shirt size but even with that knowledge, I’ve walked into other quality shirt makers on numerous occasions, grabbed my size and found out later that it doesn’t quite fit how I want it to. Now I take that chance out of the equation. Blank Label knows how a shirt is supposed to fit and since they have all of my dimensions now they know how to make it fit me…and yes, that makes me feel very comfortable.
I recently caught up with Davis Vanderlin, Director of Merchandise at Blank Label, to learn more about the vision and process for making their awesome threads:
What types of Fabrics are most conducive to creating a great fit?
DV: We source our fabrics from mills and small fabric vendors from all over the world. Rather than just picking fabrics out of a swatch book, we put in extra leg work to find some fabrics that are only available in limited quantities. For our year-round shirting we use 100% cotton fabrics that are soft to the touch and a comfortable weight for any season. Our seasonal shirting ranges from flannel to cotton linen blends. The core of our suiting is made of 100% wool fabrics at a all season weight. We also carry wool flannel, tweed, cotton and linen fabrics for the appropriate seasons.
Fabrics are not the main driver of creating the best fit. Some of the rich twill shirt fabrics and silky 4 season wool fabrics drape nicely but great fit lays within the construction and measurements made to spec. We take 10 detailed measurements for shirting to get your fit to be exact. Suiting takes even more measuring and is made with 100% horse hair canvasing which molds to your body after time.
Do you think Custom is resonating with Men in Boston?
DV: In the past decade Boston was recognized as the “worst dressed city” in the US – GQ Magazine. Whether men saw that article and decided to make a change, I have found that menswear in Boston has come a long way in the past few years. The idea of custom has an upscale connotation to it but we are here to disrupt the off-the-rack shopping experience and make the custom more approachable and affordable. We think custom will become the new standard and Boston is certainly catching on.
Why do you think Fit is so important in Men’s Style?
In most cases, men can relate more with something that fits rather than trend or a fashionista approach to menswear. It is so easy to elevate a charcoal or navy suit with great fit. Menswear trends will come and go but something that never goes out of style is fit. Fit is just as much of a styling component as patterns, color or texture. You can show so much of your style and personality through your fit preference.
Why is Washington D.C. ideal for your second location?
We thought a lot about where the next city would be for Blank Label. We wanted to stay fairly close to our headquarter office in Boston and looked closely into a lot of our e-commerce traffic. D.C. is very much a suit and tie city and since we are only able to offer shirts online, we are excited to share the rest of our product line with customers in D.C. in a brick and mortar model.
Blank Label has a new campaign launching called “Made to Fit” can you tell us a little about the concept?
Blank Label’s perspective is one of adaptability, not exclusivity. We believe the best feeling is when things fit together, in this case with clothing that’s carefully custom-made to fit real people. What better way to articulate this individually-affirming experience than with portraits of our everyday customers? From all sizes and walks of life (finance, design, fitness, science, etc.) the common thread is obvious: realizing a new level of personal ease with Blank Label as their “second skin.”
Check out Blank Label’s “Made to Fit” campaign here.