Our Made-to-Order program has finally made it to the website. I am so, so excited about this. We have offered MTO shirting in our shops for a few years now. Pick a shirt, pick a fabric, pick a size, presto. What could be more fun?
the 2010 yellow gingham popover returns
When I first started my line in 2010, all I knew how to make was shirts. I hopped on Sid’s production line and we made feminine versions of his shirting. (Remember, he was the designer — I was the editor.) So the earliest design work, for me, looked a lot like this program does. It wasn’t that hard... I went through swatches and decided which fabric would go with which shirt body. This plaid wants the popover, this stripe needs to be in the boyfriend. Such happy memories of trying to figure it all out.
We didn’t get it exactly right every time. In the earliest days of the shop, I was on the floor every day and got to hear immediate feedback… both good and bad. So many opinions about the shirts we should have been – but were not – making. We’d have a Wiltshire Liberty Fabric Popover and someone would say “So cute, but I really need a full placket — too bad it isn’t in your classic style.” To the gingham Icon shirt, “Mm, I’d buy it if it were the Boyfriend.” A black shirtwaist dress: “I just wish it were navy.” And so on and so forth. You can’t make everyone happy. So when we first rolled this program out in the stores, I thought, this is the solution. A chance for YOU to be the designer, to make exactly the piece you want (or the one you told me I should have made!) And I will say… they really are fantastic. Not just the MTO shirts, all the shirts we make. I dare you to find ones made better. Gorgeous fat buttons, with the extra small one on the sleeve placket that is the mark of the very best. (It may seem useless to you… but when you know… you know.) French seams so that the shirt looks as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. 22 stitches per inch on the sewing… all the ingredients that make it worth the space in your closet.
You can thank Sid for most of those awesome details. And you can thank our crack design team for setting up so many beautiful silhouettes to just… plug and play. Now all that’s left is the fun part. For me, what all these fabrics represent is possibility. That is what I remember most about the beginnings of our shops. What could be. In your head you see these beautiful patterns and you imagine how they will look made up in the shirt (or dress) of your dreams. As with so many creative endeavors, it is first fueled by the ingredients: cooking, decorating, writing. Possibility was how you felt with all of your new pencils and notebooks before the school year started. A trip to the paint store sorting through all of those colorful chips. I love to read cookbooks even knowing I won’t attempt most of the recipes inside. Possibility is pretty intoxicating.
We will add and subtract fabrics seasonally… so if you love one, snag it (especially the ones marked “limited yardage” – we have already sold out of a few in the week this has been online!) And if it goes well… you can choose another and do it all over again. Who wouldn’t want the classic Shirtwaist dress in chambray? Or the exact floral to suit your summer plans? A classic Icon shirt in white poplin, you can get anytime – but we have NEVER made a dress in it. I think it could be so great. The perfect backdrop for all the colorful cardigans in your closet. I can imagine someone getting it made up in ivory silk shantung for an elopement… easy dress for easy wedding! And oh my goodness… the yellow gingham would be fantastic. (I STILL wear the yellow gingham popover shirt that was on the very first round of shirtings we produced.) To my memory, I don’t think we have ever made a Mandarin Tunic in a Liberty Fabric. Mitsi is my all-time favorite print and I think it would be so charming made up like that. I need it! And it can be the perfect way of addressing any shopping regrets. (What is the opposite of buyer’s remorse, anyway?) My girlfriend Mimi has the Boyfriend Shirt in a chocolate brown poplin that we did ten years ago. I never bought it and feel jealous EVERY time I see her in it.
You get the idea. There is not enough room on the line for us to keep making our favorites every season… but you can find yours and make it just for yourself. MTO is possibility. You need it. I promise.