One of the most recent Styleforum affiliates is Apposta, a shirtmaker based in London. With its origins in Ancona in the Marche region of Italy and a family-run camiceria—or shirtmaker—Apposta is the, for lack of a better description, the result of Italian custom shirtmakers meeting the digital market. In English, the term Apposta translates best as “how it should be”, or intentional / on purpose. As such, the shirts from Apposta have a heavy focus on precision and quality as per the instructions provided by the client. After having the privilege to order from them, I find Apposta to be a refreshing online sartorial experience, one that I would recommend to many Styleforum users.
Apposta is looking to build a long term relationship with each client, offering storage of your personal fit measurements so that a pattern can be developed to meet your specific body, which will allow for perfect fitting shirts with each order.
The first time you place your order, you’ll be asked to list your measurements, either from a shirt that you find to your liking, or taken on your body. As a third option, they will also allow you to ship them a shirt and they will clone its fit, pattern, cut or a mix of all three.
Apposta’s online user experience is straightforward and refined. The company offers a substantial selection of fabrics, and albeit lacking swatch numbers, they are still discernable for the fabric clotheshorse: a fair amount of their fabrics are Canclini or Albini milled.
Now, if you are like me, you want to feel the hand of the fabric and see how sheer it is. Unfortunately, at this time Apposta will not ship out fabric swatches; however, from my knowledge of the different fabric ranges especially from Albini, I find the descriptions on the website to be true.
I opted for a shirt made from a Thomas Mason / David and John Anderson fabric (brands owned by Albini). The fabric is the 170 Zephir Lino, which I have to admit, is probably one of my favorite fabrics I’ve ever had the pleasure of ordering. The price from Apposta in on par with what I would expect for this fabric, and overall it is a stellar example of what cotton-linen fabrics bring to the table. Compared to some other online made to measure companies, Apposta seems to have excellent pricing seeing as how they are located in Italy and have availability to Italian milled fabrics at cost without export fees.
After selecting your fabric, you can design your shirt by defining the features that make up the process (e.g. collar, placket, pockets, buttons, stitching). I opted for a pretty normal aesthetics, with the exception of a spread collar with two buttons, which I’ve always wanted to try. Your personal style should shape your decision, but I’d suggest to always opt for mother of pearl buttons (something that isn’t standard but also doesn’t cost more).
Upon designing your shirt, you then input your measurements. They offer two options—measurements from another shirt, and measurements on your body. I opted to provide measurements based on a shirt that I have; I chose a bespoke shirt from another maker in Italy because this particular shirt has a pattern designed for my body and it addresses issues like shoulder slope, barrel chest, and forward-leaning stance.
Because the bespoke shirt is one of the best fitting shirts I own, I figured it would be interesting to see how Apposta does with measurements derived from something that has other nuances.
At the end of the design process, you can add some notes (and perhaps add a few other measurements such as armhole, hip, and bicep circumference). After that, all you have to do is wait two weeks for the shirt to be delivered to your door. If you are located in the United States, the shirt will be delivered by UPS.
I was pleasantly surprised by the results. Although I knew that the shirt I used for measurements fits pretty well, I didn’t know what would happen without telling them anything else about slope or stance. In the end, the shirt fits better than I would have imagined when first going into the process especially considering all my personal physical defects. For a normal or athletic guy, I would expect the end shirt to be amazing.
The measurements on my end result were identical to what I provided Apposta. They had created a product with exacting measurements based on my input to the millimeter.
When I placed the order, I didn’t have certain measurements on hand, and I ended up updating the order with some notes at a later time. Even though I updated the order before the shirt went to production, the system must have taken the measurement profile as it appeared during the order and as a result, the hip measurement ended up being a little too narrow. I would suggest waiting until you have all the measurements on hand before placing the order, so you don’t risk additional notes being lost along the way.
On the other hand, the armhole circumference, which I had put it at the time of the order, ended up being on point.
I am usually hesitant to order a shirt that has linen in its weave without knowing how the manufacture is going to cut the shirt because these fabrics tend to have a higher shrinkage. I must say I’m rather impressed because it appears the fabric was preshrunk on account that there was no noticeable, nor measurable shrinkage after three washes on the end product.
To alleviate any sort of worries you might have, Apposta has an excellent satisfaction guaranteed policy: they will remake your shirt if it does not fit or does not meet your fit needs. As a company, they want to create the best fitting shirt you can buy. I believe that with a few minor tweaks, Apposta would be ideal for creating really well-fitting shirts for most guys.
Trimmings-wise, the buttons are a thin mother of pearl. Apposta offers a thicker mother of pearl option, but I am uncertain how it looks seeing as I can only view it front on. The thin mother of pearl reminds me of the pearl buttons that are used by Kamakura. There is a sort of refinement to these buttons, as they are not ostentatious nor overwhelming, appearing rather subtle and appropriate for both casual and business-oriented shirts.
The collar has soft interfacing, which is not unwearable and seems decent enough to not bubble and separate after some washes. I had hoped to get sewn interfacing, and my contact at Apposta stated that you can have that, but my shirt ended up with some fusing nevertheless. Am I disappointed? Not in the least. It doesn’t seem to be like the generic poor interfacing that you would normally see in off-the-rack products.
The construction is pretty good: there is single-needle stitching and the seams are all clean, albeit not particularly narrow. Overall, the construction is a step up from most manufactured shirts you buy in the United States.
When compared to a true bespoke shirtmaker, the biggest differences come from the pattern and handwork. Apposta will use the measurements to create pretty traditional patterns.
For instance, with my bespoke maker, I have a larger torso cut across the front of the shirt compared to the back because my stance and chest encourage this; this adjustment lowers the likelihood that the front buttons will pull when moving my arms. Similarly, I ask for my collars to have more roll (I tend to opt for unfused collars with a specific type of interlining to do this). My shirt from Apposta uses a more standard, equal distribution between the front of my chest and back; when reaching out to Apposta to ask about modifying the collar, they informed me I was not able to adjust the collar dimensions. As such, you have some limitations in your orders here.
However, I’m sure that if you sent them a shirt with a particular pattern, because of how exacting they are with measurements, they would recreate it.
The other difference comes from the lack of handwork. With a lot of bespoke shirtmakers in Europe and Asia, you tend to see handwork throughout different components of the shirt.
If a lot of handwork is on your list when looking for a MTM shirt, you might have to look elsewhere, as at the current moment Apposta does not offer these options: they focus on providing single-needle stitched seams that are firm, strong and with a decent density (not the highest I’ve ever seen, but by no means poor).
On the whole, Apposta is an excellent shirtmaker. They offer an exacting level of precision, a strong fit and customer satisfaction guarantee, a substantial fabric selection at reasonable pricing, and a wide range of stylistic options, both more classical and a little bit more adventurous. In addition, they have an excellent user interface, and the ability to clone your shirt by mailing them in a shirt that you want to recreate or emulate.
Their end products are made entirely in Italy, and they provide a rapid turn around from order placement to delivery.
Would I order from Apposta? Absolutely. I think that they offer a wide range of products that I feel would be excellent for daily wear; the quality and fit of the end result is good enough to provide me with shirts that are appropriate for both work and play while staying in my wardrobe for an extended period of time.
This is not a sponsored article. The writer received the items for free in exchange for an honest review. To read Styleforum’s review policy, please click here.
e. v. Empey
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