A Closer Look: Ratio Clothing Custom Shirts

Photos by Nathan Michael.


When I first came across the Ratio Clothing website, it seemed too good to be true. A made in USA custom shirt for under $100? How was such a thing possible? So, when the label offered to send me one of their shirts for review, I was happy to accept, if only to put my curiosities about the brand, and their product, to rest. Having had the shirt for a few weeks now, I can tell you, despite my earlier skepticism, Ratio’s shirts are actually pretty great.


Eric Powell, Ratio’s founder, explained how the co.’s pricing works to me in an email. He wrote, “the reason we are able to offer a comparatively lower mark-up than the retail standard, is because we’re not producing products until they’re ordered by a customer. One of the big reasons that the retail mark-up is so large is because the retailer and manufacturer are taking significant risk up-front producing a product that they can’t be certain will sell at full price…we’d rather just not create the extra stuff in the first place.”


Ratio’s ordering process is about as simple as it gets, thanks to the brand’s exceptionally user-friendly website. As Powell describes it, “we aim to be different by making the process really easy for our customers. 85% of our customers get a perfect fit without using a measuring tape by using our “Ratio Sizing” system – five simple variables that most people already know, like your suit jacket size. For those that don’t get a perfect fit on their first shirt, we offer a very liberal returns and alterations policy.”


My order, I’m happy to report, was part of the 85% right-the-first-time majority. The fit’s spot on, as is the quality of the construction. If I have any complaint, it’s that the fabric is a bit thin, but, then again I’m sure I’ll appreciate that this summer. Otherwise, a great product at a great price. As Powell put it in his email, “We think it’s a winning combination for everyone – customers get a great fitting shirt, we get to run a company and try to make a living doing something we love, and we get to support apparel manufacturing jobs in the US.” What more could you ask for?


A big thanks to Nathan Michael for the photo help.

For price and purchase info, visit Ratio Clothing.

  • Andy

    I’m a little skeptical about this entry; it looks more like an ad than anything else.

    You don’t really go much into reviewing the actual shirt itself, considering it’s supposed to be a closer look at the product.

    Also, you pointed out that the material is thinner than you liked/expected. Doesn’t that impact the value? I noticed all their oxfords are 50′s single ply. That’s pretty thin wouldn’t you say?

    How would you rate it compared to say, the Baron Wells shirts you spoke about yesterday? Or any of the many other shirts you’ve posted about here? And what about the price points?

    This seems more of a PR piece than anything else.

    I still enjoy reading your blog of course, keep it up.

    • http://well-spent.com Brad

      @ Andy

      I opted to quote Eric’s email, as opposed to going in depth about the shirt’s construction, because anything I could have said about how the shirt is made and what features it possesses is already on the Ratio website: http://www.ratioclothing.com/t-about-company.aspx.

      To me, the more interesting story is Ratio’s business model. That’s why the piece is written as it is.

      To answer your questions directly:

      Yes, the fabric is a bit thinner than what I’m used to, but, as I said in the write-up, by no means is that a deal-breaker. I have no comment about Ratio’s oxford cloth, as I haven’t gone hands-on with it.

      Design and fit-wise, it’s hard to compare my Ratio to Baron Wells or any other brands, since my Ratio is custom, so the details and measurements are of my own choosing (and not a company standard). Construction-wise, I’d definitely say it matches up to Baron Wells. As for other shirts I’ve posted, there have been so many that you’d have to give me a specific maker / model.

      I’m afraid I don’t know what “And what about the price points?” means.

      I’m sorry the post read like a PR piece to you. I assure you it’s not meant to be. At least, no more than anything else that appears on this site.

      Thanks,

      Brad

  • Eli

    The thing that keeps me from ordering from Ratio–which is otherwise pretty intriguing–is the fused cuffs and collars (even, apparently, on oxfords). Why fuse a button-down collar, which should be soft? Really, a button-down oxford collar shouldn’t even need a lining, let alone fusing. (I like soft straight collars, too, but I realize this is more a matter of opinion.)

  • http://www.ratioclothing.com Eric Powell

    Eli –

    We actually use soft, unfused interlining on all OCBD’s and can do the same on other shirts by special request. We can omit the softer lining by special request, as well. Fused is just our default.

    Andy –

    Re: our oxfords, 50′s is actually a thicker yarn and our oxfords are very heavy actually – about as heavy as you’ll find them. They are pretty comparable to what you’d find at Brooks Brothers, less the garment washing, so ours come a little more raw and break in over time.

    Eric (Owner, Ratio Clothing)

  • Craig

    I ordered one of their oxford cloth shirts recently and it is really a wonderful shirt with beautiful fabric. As far as the fitting, I am a wierd fit and Eric worked with me extensively through email to figure out how to order the shirt. When the shirt came and still needed some tweaking, again, Eric is working with me extensively through email to get the fit just right. I will be sending my shirt back (no shipping charges) to get the tweaks we discussed and I’m sure after that I will have a perfectly fit beautiful shirt for under $100! Once I get the formula for the fit right I’m sure I’ll be ordering several more. Kudos to these guys for amazing quality and customer service.

  • Eli

    Eric– thanks for the additional detail! It looks like I’ll have to give them a try.

  • Craig

    Brad — just out of curiosity, which shirt is the one your ordered and speak about in your post? Poplin or Broadcloth, etc? Thanks.

  • Craig

    Oh and curious about which fit yours is also — regular or slim fit?

  • http://slimandnone.wordpress.com Danny

    I have a white OCBD from Ratio and I love it. The fabric has a nice heft to it, and the construction feels super solid.

  • Mike

    I’ve ordered from Ratio in the past and I have to say Eric is fantastic when it comes to working with you to get things just right.

    When I nabbed one of the blue campus oxfords he was kind enough to add a locker loop onto the box pleat on the back (woo!) and a custom shoulder measurement. The cloth is great and has been breaking in really well over time. Hands down, I’d say it’s my favorite shirt in my closet right now.

    I am definitely looking forward to placing another order soon.

  • Brett

    Brad, thanks for the heads-up on this. I just ordered a shirt and I look forward to seeing how it works out.

    Also, I should mention if you like their Facebook page, you get $25 off. Pretty awesome incentive to try them out if you ask me.

    • http://well-spent.com Brad

      Good call on the Facebook promo. Thanks Brett!

  • Pierre

    I am nothing more than a happy Ratio customer—I have three shirts and I’ve ordered a fourth. The oxford is superb. As Eric says, it’s closer to BB than anything else I have, but it’s crisper and whiter and it’s breaking in perfectly. I have two plaids that are also excellent. But what really distinguishes RC is the astonishing customer service. I’ve now ordered three times, and while I was pleasantly surprised to get a note thanking me for my first order, I was more than impressed to get notes after order 2 and order 3, all from the company CEO, who worked to understand exactly what I wanted so they could craft it perfectly. I don’t usually spout on sites like this, but this company is head-and-shoulders above others I’ve tried. Look, if you don’t like the marketing, you can go elsewhere. If you order and don’t like your shirt, you can return it. But my experience suggests that’s pretty unlikely. I hope Ratio is around for many years; they are a model for other companies to emulate.

  • the passenger

    Hi Brad: just out of curiosity, what size is this shirt? Not trying to get too personal, I just think it would be helpful to many of us to combine that information, and the knowledge that it is Ratio’s slim fit, with the photos of you wearing it to help us get a better feel for how their shirts fit. Thanks.

    • http://well-spent.com Brad

      @ The Passenger

      My order was as follows:

      Neck: 16.00″
      Sleeve Length: 33.50″
      Chest: 39″

      For reference, I wear a medium in Gitman Vintage, which is probably my best off the rack bit, except the arms tend to be a bit short, and a 16-33 in BBros Extra Slim-fit oxfords.

      Hope that helps,

      Brad

  • http://google.com yogi

    This is awesome site. It is appreciable job

  • Susan

    Brad,
    Ratio, might be a decent shirt but it’s not really “MTM”. The actual measuring and fit process that is involved in a real MTM shirt is much more extensive. I think the true problem is that the word “MTM” and “bespoke” are thrown around loosely and it confuses most of the general public. Ratio shirts are a perfect example of this miscommunication. It’s not a slam on the brand in anyway. The misconception of what is “MTM” and what’s not ‘MTM” is what needs to be addressed.
    I really enjoy your Blog, Brad. Keep up the great work!

  • Brett

    Just a follow-up. I received my shirt this morning and I’m definitely happy. The thing I want to point out is that the button placing is perfect on these shirts. I love my Gitman Vintage shirts, but opening a single button on them is way too buttoned-up and and a second button opened on them is too wide-open for me. Fit is great on this shirt and I love the ability to pick the collar I want (I went cutaway). Next time I’ll see if they can shorten the length an inch or so on the regular length, but that’s a minor issue.

    Thanks again, Brad for highlighting these guys. I’ll be buying again.

  • http://www.ratioclothing.com Eric Powell

    Susan –

    Per you comment regarding MTM: We actually can accept a full suite of measurements beyond the few we accept through our website. We designed the website for maximum simplicity and ease of use, and our core sizes result in a perfect fit for about 80-85% of our first-time customers. For the others, we work with them over email using the extended set of measurements (11, to be precise) to get a perfect fit and then keep them on file for future use.

    So, while I agree with your comment that “Bespoke” and “Made to Measure” are often used incorrectly, I would classify us as a “Made to Measure” shop.

    If you’d like to work with us on building a shirt to your sizes and preferences (beyond what is listed on the website), just shoot us an email and we’ll help you out.

    Thanks!

    Eric (Ratio Clothing)

  • http://daveheal.com Dave

    Just want to come back to this thread since this was where I first heard about Ratio. I’ve since ordered two shirts (one oxford and another poplin) and they’re phenomenal. And Eric has said yes to every single request I’ve had for additional alterations. I don’t own shirts that fit better than these. They’re a steal at the FB coupon discount price and well worth your money at retail.

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