One day, a former project manager for the Chiquita banana brand and current technology/consulting professional looked around at the office and thought, “These guys need better-fitting shirts.” He then adjusted in his ill-fitting shirt and realized, “I need a better shirt.”
Eric Powell, founder of Ratio Clothing, quickly took to Amazon with the inkling he might be able to make those better shirts and purchased a book on how to sew. After diving into the rabbit hole of shirting fabrics and collar variations, Powell found his calling. Fast forward six years, and Ratio Clothing has boomed from an e-commerce-only tailored shirt provider to a brick-and-mortar specialty retailer for high-end, custom-made, and measured-to-fit menswear.
“My central thesis in starting Ratio, and still today, is that guys care about how things fit,” Powell tells The Manual while showing us around the flagship Ratio Showroom in Denver, Colorado. “But it’s not a cultivated habit to go to a tailor.”
With Ratio’s biggest competitors being Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, J. Crew, and Banana Republic, the brand offers not only a final product, but an experience that is unrivaled to the aforementioned stores.
“Even at these higher-end retailers — and many tailors — custom-made shirts come from the same one factory in Malaysia,” Powell continues. “And, beyond that, clothing today is made with the cheapest possible materials in the fewest sizes possible to maximize retailers’ profits.”
Ratio does things a little differently. First of all, each and every garment is tailored specifically to the man ordering it. Everything, from the print to the fabric to the sleeve length, is customized by preference, meaning Ratio doesn’t tell men how to dress, but allows them to maximize his unique style.
If you like your pants a little higher, you do you. “Some guys like to show a little ankle, even,” Powell says. “We see the full spectrum, from very particular clients to guys who just want a little guidance.”
The best part? Many of Ratio’s customers never have to enter a tailor’s door to wear a custom-sized button-down. That’s all thanks to Ratios’ online measurement system, which allows a man to take his own measurements, input them on his computer, and select between a wide range of dress shirts and tuxedo shirts in a wide variety of prints. Your measurements are kept on file so the next shirt you order is automatically cut to your shape and nobody else’s.
For most tailors, custom usually means a book of traditional swatches yielding conservative business attire, but Ratio adds in modern spice for the guy who not only wants to look pulled together at work, but on the weekends and in social settings.
Ratio curates seasonal offerings, keeping with the leading trends in men’s fashion. “This season, we’re focused on textures,” Powell says. “For a while, big bold plaid was on trend, but instead of big graphic checks or plaids, we’re focused on detail — when you look closer at the fabric, it reveals a rich texture.”
In the Denver Showroom, you can also get a tailored suit jacket, blazer, and pants. While suits aren’t offered yet on Ratio’s online site, 7 Regent Lane has you covered if you can’t get into a store and need a dress suit.
Another big difference between Ratio and the rest is Ratio’s method of production, which is all done in the U.S. Fabrics are imported from Italy, Japan, and the likes, but the custom product is made entirely in a North Carolina factory.
“We built the software for the factory and cutting the shirts before the factory itself,” laughs Powell, recollecting the early days of Ratio’s conception. “We’re fanatical about the end product and want to prove that custom can be just as easy as buying off the rack.”
Check out the nine measurements Ratio uses to tailor your unique shirt, and let us know: Does it fit?
We thought so.
Feature image courtesy of Ratio Clothing/Instagram.
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