Unlike my more sartorially educated How To Spend It colleagues Nick Foulkes and Tom Stubbs, for me the idea of enduring a bespoke fitting for a suit or any other form of garment holds little appeal because, quite simply, I don’t like spending time in “gentlemen’s outfitters”. In fact, the last time I had a suit made for me was in 2001 by the now-acclaimed tailor Tony Lutwyche. Back then he called himself “the suit-er on a scooter” because he would turn up at one’s home on his Vespa, do the business with his tape measure and return a few weeks later with the almost finished product in order to make any final alterations.
All the same, I do understand the appeal of having clothing run up exactly to one’s specifications, so it was with some delight that I recently discovered an e-store called Apposta, which makes it possible to order a custom-made shirt without leaving the comfort of your keyboard. The business behind Apposta (Italian for on purpose) is a century-old Ancona-based firm that has been making shirts for many of Italy’s leading fashion brands for decades. Lifelong shirtmaker Gianmarco Taccaliti has taken his tailoring know-how into the 21st century in partnership with digital economics entrepreneur Gianluca Mei, whose brilliant online configurator makes it possible to choose from a remarkable 2,865 fabrics and six body fits before going to town on details such as collar style (there are 30), type of cuff (eight) and even button types, placket designs and styles and colours of stitching.
Categories cover everything from black-tie formal to business and casual, with more than 100 pre-designed starting points, ranging in price from £60 for basic cotton to £740 for shirts using the “special reserve” fabrics – silks and luxurious blends of cashmere. It’s also possible to choose separate lining materials for collars and cuffs and have shirts embroidered with initials – something I plumped for on the fairly conventional violet-stripe cotton number (£102) I recently configured with a host of specific details, including a spread collar with short points and angled cuffs. After choosing the style, I added detailed measurements (neck, chest, waist, shoulders, shirt and sleeve length and cuff circumference) and placed my order. My new shirt was shipped from Italy after 16 days and arrived three days later – the quality is great and it fits absolutely perfectly. And all without crossing the threshold of a single gentlemen’s outfitter.