Before we start, there's a video (above) and a look book that goes with this article. Click here.
Truth be told, I've never heard of Deo Veritas until recently. Actually, it was a fellow blogger and friend, Khoi from The Gentleman Within, who put me on to them by doing an article about them that made me curious.
So imagine my surprise when I got the opportunity to work with them on a custom shirt at a time I was thinking about them and quite frankly I needed new shirts because the ones I had from my Men's Wearhouse days seem a little tight (I'd like to believe those bicep curls were paying off).
Now the Deo Veritas website claim to deliver my custom made shirt in 2 weeks to which I rolled my eyes like yea right, I know from my experience at MW that anything custom takes at least 3-4 weeks. So I place my order placed on April 18 11:19pm, received it May 2 8:30pm(technically it was supposed to be delivered on May 1st but Fedex had a snafu that left a really bad taste in my mouth). That's less than two weeks as promised! Whoa! Ok, impressive delivery winning cool points with me, but it was time to unbox it and wear the shirt. So I did. And I wore the shirt. And.....
My Initial Reaction
............dare I say this is the most perfect fitted shirt I own? yes indeed!!! Not only it fit perfectly, holding the shirt as I unwrapped it introduced me to the bamboo/cotton blend which makes it super soft and lightweight, perfect for the warm weather.
I've never owned anything bamboo, so that intrigued me to get that fabric which was a big gamble because I'm a creature of habit and stray away from anything "new" but I thought what the heck, try something new and I'm glad I did!
At this point if you're thinking how did this online custom made shirt company get my perfect size without having a tailor with me to take my measurements? Well let's dabble in the buying process.
Buying Process and The Details
Before you create and buy a shirt from Deo Veritas, take a look at their website and see oh easy it easy to navigate through it, which is important to me as a shopper. Heading over to the shop section where you can design a shirt (if you wish to get the bamboo cotton shirt like I have, click here to go right to it).
You start of first by picking out from a array of fabrics and patterns one to your liking,I'm a gingham kinda guy so I opted for that one.
It's important to note that on that particular section is where you'll see the starting price point of a shirt, $70. Depending on what fabric and pattern you choose, it goes up from there.
The next section is where you start to have fun with your shirt design.
A shirt collar should accentuate your facial structure. The English Collar is a good neutral collar so I could have gone with that but I chose the forward point collar, that best suits my oval shaped face. So identify your facial structure and choose the best collar, hey, you are making a custom shirt might as well take advantage what off the rack shirts don't offer.
Most off the rack shirts have either the narrow point collar or spread collar but Deo Veritas offers 13 different types of collars, yes I counted. So have fun, get a collar you don't see much of like mini club, but again, if that compliments your facial structure.
I opted for the two button angle cuff. Again, it's a custom shirt so you get to create something you don't much of. I haven't seen any off the rack shirts with that type of cuff.
Didn't give this part much thought, most of my shirts have a front placket, so I went with that option.
Ok, I prefer my shirts to be simple. With sport coats, the types of buttons I could choose from is endless. Plastic is a safe bet.
The dress shirts I own are for work and any formal engagement I may attend. I prefer my collars to be perky and firm to hold a tie or to go tie-less if I choose. With that being said, I went with the fused collar which basically means it was heated and glued together by a machine.
The other option is sewn, which is done by hand, adds to the cost and provides a much relaxed collar that I would put in the casual category.
Working at MW, I never really got taught the technical details of clothing, just how to sell so it was fun researching on things i wasn't aware of like interlining and growing my knowledge in menswear. I found this blog post at Deo Veritas website very helpful.
THE PART I WAS WAITING FOR! This is the cherry on top of anything custom, putting your name on it! You can put up to 3 letters on your shirt, now I had the choice of putting my initials on there A.I.R ( my full name is Ayodele Ian Riley, and yes it spells AIR) or just IAN, I chose the latter.
The position of the monogram was obvious, sleeves of course. Placing it on my chest would seem like a company shirt (an awesome company shirt but didn't want that) and placing it in the collar won't be seen my anyone. I wanted it to to not be easily conspicuous (chest) but still noticeable in close interaction.
I have cuff links with my initials A.I.R on it in a diamond shape and I believe it's industry standard to have your last initial enlarged in the middle so it looked like A.R.I, Deo Veritas didn't specify that would be the case with the diamond. I don't quite like the diamond shape based from that experience so I stayed safe and went with transcript.
No Fabric Contrast- no need for it
Alright so here is where the magic takes place. There are 4 ways to go about this:
1) Standard Sizing - This is where you enter basic info you know off the top of your head like height, weight, neck size and sleeve length from the shirts you already have. Quick, easy, done.
2) Q-Sizing - hmmm, wasn't sure about this one. All you have to do is answer 8 simple questions like age, height, weight, etc and they'll have your measurements.
Not sure if this is right for the athletic man since we fall under three types of body types Ectomorph, Mesomorph and Endomorph, with distinct body size differences. The reason why I prefer The Existing Shirt method is because you already have a shirt you love and you can get precise measurements from it like the waist and bottom according to your physique.
This option doesn't offer measurements for those areas that can be crucial to the fit man. Who knows, maybe my next Deo Veritas shirt I'll go with this option.
3) Existing Shirt Sizing - This is the option I chose. There is one shirt I have that is my absolute favorite (up until I received my Deo Veritas custom of course) that I used to measure the required measurements need for this section. It was a JCPenney shirt that I had tailored at Men's Wearhouse and it fits right.
The beautiful thing about this section is they virtually hold your hand and show you through picture how to measure the required measurements with a tape. If you're going this route, use a shirt that you love. Can't go wrong here! Hey, it worked for me
4) Body Sizing - Similar to the Existing Shirt method, with this option you records the measurements according to you body size. This is the traditional way of taking measurements where a tailor does the measuring for you.
You can go to a Men's Wearhouse have a tailor record the necessary measurements Deo Veritas is requesting and give to you (for free btw), or you can grab your mom, dad, bro, sis, grandma if she's up for it and have them measure you. This one can be the most accurate measurement of them all because your size is being recorded at that present moment (we all know our body change frequently from our fitness routine) but you're going to need assistance.
That section shows some measurements you can do by yourself but I'd rather have someone do it for me, I didn't and also didn't want to drive to MW (they were closed by 11 o'clock anyway), so that's why I went with option 2.
Go over the details of your custom carefully, make sure it is exactly what you want, how you want it, you're going to spend more than you would on an average shirt so get your money's worth.
The ending price of mine was $135 so you better believe I was going over everything twice, three times, four times etc. Then boom, make the payment and wait! Over at the Look Book section, I screen shot the details of my order.
Why Is This Perfect For Athletic Guys
Now this is the meat and potatoes of this blog post because relates directly to you, the fit athletic man. Why should you care? What makes this better than off the rack shirts? Allow me to expound.
As I write this part of the blog, I'm actually wearing the shirt, giving you real time data. Fit and comfort are what I look for in clothing. The majority of off the rack dress shirts have a sturdy rigged feel to it, making it uncomfortable at times for us athletic men to move. With the Deo Veritas bamboo shirt, I can feel a bit of stretch to it as I count money (I work at a bank), cross my arms, drive, or any active movement outside of the gym. So that's a big plus.
Oh you want more wiggle room for your broad shoulders, back and chest? Cool, a DV custom shirt comes with a split yoke which pretty much is two of the same fabrics being woven together at an angle giving the upper back of a shirt a "split" look. The angle at which it is sown simulates a sloped shoulder giving you more room than the standard single yoke found in off the rack dress shirts.
Oh wait, you're a mesomorph (like me) or an endomorph and you want more wiggle room? Well the box pleats found at the back of the shirt gives you that extra room you need. Just like pleats on slacks give your muscular quads room to move(I recommend pleated pants for men like me with a sizable quads), so do pleats on shirts. The more pleats the more room to move.
So you have the stretch of the bamboo fabric, split yoke and box pleats to accommodate your large upper body and the movements associated with that and if you accurately put in the measurements of your favorite shirt in the buying process section, you'll have the lower torso of the shirt tailored right. Perfecto!
You might be thinking "hey Ian, awesome blog post, made some great points but I don't know about spending that much on a shirt, I mean it's just a shirt" Ok, I hear ya but let me handle that objection from a different angle. I've worn a $20 shirt and I've worn a $135 shirt and trust me there's a difference. Remember what I said about fit and comfort? Those are very important to us athletic men, you've worked hard to chisel your body that can rival the greek gods, you deserve to wear something that fits comfortably. Let's quickly go through the benefits of paying extra.
Firstly, Off the rack shirts are mass produced meaning they are made for the average size guy that is very common in the masses. You are not average in physique. Secondly, which department store will repair or fix the size of your shirt? For free? Having worked at JCPenney and Men's Wearhouse, none do but Deo Veritas does. Thirdly, when was the last time you wore anything bamboo? Fourthly(can I say that? Is that even a word?) Split yoke. I can't stress how much of a game changer that is to us men who have broad backs, Deo Veritas definitely set the bar of this one.
Bottom line is, you get what you pay for. Quality costs what it costs, and it's worth the investment.
Thanks for reading, once again the Look Book can be found here.