Ratio Clothing Review
How about something made in the USA this American Independence Day weekend? Some weeks ago, I arrived at my apartment door to a hotly anticipated Fedex box. It was my first custom shirt from online made-to-measure shirtmaker, Ratio Clothing.
Out of necessity because of my small frame, made-to-measure is basically the way I shop for shirts nowadays, amongst other things (I’ll soon enough post about suits and outerwear). While I really like Joe Hemrajani’s MyTailor.com, there are a lot of new players to the scene, and I’ve been keen to try them out. One of the noteworthy ones is Ratio Clothing, which I heard about courtesy of the Indochino Review blog.
Ratio Clothing was started last year by Eric Powell in Colorado, and distinguishes itself from other made-to-measure online shops by doing all of its shirtmaking in the USA, while remaining competitive on price. Their most affordable fabrics clock in at $89 and scale up to around $150 or so. Their fabric selection is slim, but well curated, with a great array of basics and some patterns I haven’t seen elsewhere.
Their website is a little light on options, especially if you compare it to MyTailor.com (honestly, I shouldn’t make that comparison because MyTailor’s comprehensive to a fault). But again, good basics are there in terms of collars, cuffs, pleats, pockets, and plackets. Might be notable that there’s no point collar option; maybe things are trending to wider spreads? (In my mind, not a bad trend, if it is one.)
Ratio accepts a couple of methods of sizing you up. One is to specify five major measurements via a small form: neck, sleeve length, chest, shirt length, and “desired fit” (two subjective categories of “Classic” and “Ratio Slim”). The other is to send Ratio (either via e-mail, or as I did via the “Special Instructions” in the order cart) a far more detailed set of measurements using either yourself or your best fitting shirt as the basis. Since my last MyTailor shirt was measured by Joe in person, I used measurements off of that shirt with some tweaks.
Like with orders from other companies, I picked out a fabric that I didn’t already have — a distinctive plaid called “Ogden.” And some of my normal personalizations: English spread, no pleats or pockets, mitred cuffs, and a plain placket. Ratioclothing.com is rather minimal and straightforward to use, but if I really had to nitpick, they’re clearly missing photos. There’s a compelling “My Design Preview” tab presumably based on the customizations picked that I haven’t seen work yet at all. Ah well, spread collars are spread collars — what could go wrong?
The order took somewhere over two weeks to completely manufacture, and thanks to fast interstate (as opposed to international) shipping (from North Carolina, interestingly enough), I had the shirt about two days later. Three weeks from order to shirt is none too shabby, I think; hopefully, they can keep that pace as orders scale.
Ratio sure packages their shirts with care — again, an improvement over MyTailor in this department. The well-folded Ogden plaid shirt was wrapped carefully in plastic, wrapped again in tissue, closed with a branded sticker, and lain in a lovely branded cardboard box. A care instructions card is tucked underneath the shirt. Spoiler alert: Don’t use a drying machine!
The shirt is made well, the plaid aligned well throughout. The Ogden plaid fabric is thin — appropriate for summer. Fit-wise, it might be my favorite feeling shirt yet — the closest to a second-skin like feel, without being restrictive. The light and non-stiff fabric likely helps here, too. Joe’s measurements held up well with my tweaks for the most part; but if I’d committed one mistake, it’s the collar, which I generously increased because I get futzy with too tight collars. Turns out I overestimated, and there’s a lot of space if I button all the way up. That said, I won’t button this casual shirt to the top very often.
Speaking of collars, Ratio includes two stiff and weighty plastic collar stays. Not brass, but far better than the wilt-prone stays from off-the-rack.
Like many made-to-measure vendors, Ratio offers generous sizing guarantees: you can return a shirt paying only for shipping to Ratio for free alterations (
not sure if they’ll remake completely) within thirty days. I might be more comfortable if they instead offered to pay for local alterations (like another favorite of mine, Indochino), but I presume Ratio would rather its product go under only their own needles and I’d be easily convinced to agree. Shipping within the US is relatively cheap, anyway, especially for a perfect fit. That said, I don’t feel a need to take advantage of the guarantee with this first shirt.
Eric confirmed to me that they will remake a shirt if it’s that unsalvageable
In a nice touch, about a month after ordering, Ratio’s Eric Powell emailed me to follow up on my satisfaction. I shorted him on details pending this post, but it was thoughtful to reach out in such a personal way.
I saw that your shirt was delivered, and wanted to see how the measurements we discussed turned out. If you have any fit issues at all, please let us know. We’re pretty serious about getting you in a perfect-fitting shirt, and sometimes (though not often) it takes a round of alterations to get to that point.
Just let us know, and thank you for becoming a Ratio customer!
This definitely won’t be my last order with Ratio, and since getting my first shirt, I’m excited to see that they’ve added a host of new fabric options. I look forward to what’s to come to Ratio Clothing.