The Perfect-Fit Blog

Made to Measure Menswear

The Difference Between a Custom-Made Dress Shirt vs. Made To Measure

The terms Custom Made (also known as tailored or bespoke) and made to measure (MTM) are often confused with being the same. The truth is, both terms have completely different meanings and represent a totally different practice. When you refer to something as “Custom or Bespoke”, you usually mean that something is made from scratch. In our case, dress shirts for men. Whereas the term “made to measure” is referred to clothing that has been pre-fabricated or pre-manufactured and is basically ready to be altered or adjusted to achieve a certain fit.

Let’s explore the difference between these two terms a bit more.

The Process

Made to measure or MTM clothing is typically a blend between off the rack and custom. The process starts by selecting a shirt that has already been manufactured and the way it’s selected is by the customer’s neck and sleeve size. The customer then tries on the shirt and the shop representative takes some very basic measurements to make some alterations and achieve the desired fit.

With custom made dress shirts, there’s nothing off the rack. Everything starts from scratch. The tailor usually starts by taking some very detailed measurements off the person’s upper body. Neck, yoke, tail, cuffs, arm length and shoulders are just a few of the many measurements required to create a completely custom dress shirt.


This is the big one, where custom-made and MTM differ the most. Tailored dress shirts are fully customizable. This is where the customer’s creativity comes in play. A customer will be able to choose from many different options. To mention a few:

  • Fabric: Royal Oxford, Twill, Herringbone, Chambray, Pinpoint Oxford, Dobby Oxford, End on End, Linen.
  • Patterns: Stripes, Checks and Plaids, Solids, Novelty Prints and Textures.
  • Collar: Button-down, Widespread, Cut-away, Modern, Classic, Straight.
  • Cuffs: French, Angled, Round, One or Two Button.
  • Tails: Drop tail, Square, Low.
  • Plackets: Standard, French Front, Pressed Front, Hidden Button Placket.
  • Pockets: Point Pocket, Angle Pocket, Straight and Round Pocket.
  • Backs: Double Pleat, Smooth Back, Box Pleat, Inverted Pleat.
  • Contrasts: Inside Cuffs, Inside Collar Band, Inside Sleeve Placket, Side Seam Gusset.
  • Other Customizations: Buttons and Monograms.

These are among the most popular choices when creating a dress shirt.

Since MTM shirts are pre-manufactured from a standard pattern, you are very limited as to the number of customizations the shop can provide. Your only options are limited to whatever they have available at the store in terms of style, fabric and size. If they don’t have what you were looking for, then you would either go with a different style or to a different shop.

At eTailors, each shirt is custom made from scratch. We follow the custom-made process of taking your exact measurements by sending one of our tailors to your home/office, making an appointment to come to our location in Weston, FL or by submitting them digitally (don’t worry, we’ll guide you through every step of the way). To make things easier for you, we do have a great selection of pre-designed shirts that our experts have put together, but a lot of our clients prefer to go through the tailoring experience of creating their own design by selecting the type of fabric and different options to really make it unique.

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