When you buy cheap or poorly-constructed clothing, you don’t have high expectations for them.

You figure it will do the job (for now) and might hit a 5 or 6 out of 10 on the satisfaction scale.

But it’s fine, you didn’t pay much, and it probably won’t last long anyway — maybe the fabric stretches out and doesn’t bounce back, stitching is shit and seams fall apart, etc. — and by then, you’ll have to replace it.

When you buy something of quality, you expect a bit more.

Buying the best formal clothing you can afford

When we talk about formal clothing — dress shirts, trousers, suits, sport coats — I always urge you to buy the best you can sensibly afford.

It’s easier to get away with looking good in cheaper casual clothing like tees and denim. But cheaply-made trousers, shirts, and suits? Not as easy, because there are more obvious, tell-tale signs.

mill no 8 review - outfit set

And while there are plenty of ready-to-wear options, it’s a slog trying to figure out which brands fit your body type best — the brands with fits and cuts that accentuate your strengths and minimize… the stuff you don’t want to accentuate.

If you have a hard time finding great stuff that fits, I always suggest going made-to-measure. It’s a nice bridge between ready-to-wear clothing (stuff you find on the racks in stores) and fully custom or bespoke clothing (where patterns are made specifically for you from scratch).

Cheap “dress clothes” vs. Made-To-Measure

Think about buying a $15 dress shirt or a pair of trousers that cost $39.99 at a cheap department store versus ordering custom or made-to-measure garments.

When you order made-to-measure, 6 out of 10 on the satisfaction scale no longer cuts it. You have high expectations because you pay for something great.

You not only demand a perfect (or very close to perfect) fit and drape, but also high-end fabrics that bounce back and feel good on your skin. And you expect straight, tight stitching that looks professional and won’t break or come loose after a few wears.

In short, you expect top-notch customer service, quality materials, and a well-executed and thoughtful process.

And above all, you expect a great fitting shirt or pair of pants. You expect to feel like the sharpest, best-dressed man in the room wherever you go!

First, the things you expect from custom

I recently took a closer look at Mill No. 8. Based in Chicago, the company offers a range of high-quality dress shirts, pants, and accessories.

At first glance, Mill No. 8 seems like your standard MTM upstart. But after reading more about them and emailing with the founder, Nehal, I’ve found a lot of careful attention to detail that’s going on behind the scenes.

mill no 8 review - fit of clothing

Custom shirt and pants from Mill no. 8. My proportions (wide back and chest, [relatively] smaller waist, and larger thighs) can make it hard to buy dress shirts and pants that don’t pull and actually drape nicely. Mill No. 8 did a nice job minimizing those inconsistencies for me.

1. Better-fitting custom shirts and trousers

Every garment you receive from Mill No. 8 is based on your measurements and body specifications. Duh, that’s the beauty of custom. You’re no longer trying to fit into existing clothing; you’re having clothing made to fit you.

They’ve also carefully developed their dress shirt and pants silhouettes, which is important. I’ll get into the details of why and how later.

2. Made-To-Measure with the customizations you love

mill no 8 review - buttons

Mother of Pearl buttons and 100% Egyptian cotton shirting fabric – the BEST

Prefer a rounded cuff over a square one? A slight taper and a 2” cuff on your trousers?

The beauty of made-to-measure is not only a precise fit, but also the ability to customize your garments with the exact details you want.

I always suggest keeping it simple—no cutesy, wholly unnecessary additions like contrasting color / pattern cuffs, collars, and plackets, or triple the amount of buttons—because simple and classic endure the longest in terms of style and wearability.

3. Intuitive, easy-to-use online site

I’ve seen a number of promising custom / MTM shops that have a horrid online experience. They make the shopping process painful — or worse, impossible (hellooo, lost sales).

Maybe it’s my web design and dev background, but great user experience and site flow are the first things I notice when trying a new service. Mill No. 8 has an easy-to-use site that makes customizing and placing orders simple and straightforward.

4. Excellent customer service

What scares most guys about custom or made-to-measure clothing, especially online, is that you may not be measuring or ordering correctly. Then you’ll be stuck with an ill-fitting garment.

Mill No. 8 provides white glove service to their clients. You get access to a specialist via email, phone, or live chat around the clock, 24/7. On top of that, they cover all products for 45 days (giving you enough time to try them on and really assess the fit) with a “No Questions Asked” return policy, free shipping, and free returns.

Seriously. I don’t know of any other online MTM company who you can reach out to 24/7. And with a generous return policy, plus free shipping and free returns, you have nothing to lose.

What sets Mill No. 8 apart

All that is great, but it’s par for the online made-to-measure course (though all-hours access to customer service is pretty clutch).

Here’s where Mill No. 8 goes above and beyond compared to other custom or MTM options I’ve tried or read about.

1. Get help immediately with their online stylists

Let’s say you think Mill No. 8 looks great, but you’re not super confident in taking your own measurements or selecting the specific customizations for your shirt or pants.

This is where scheduling an online stylist appointment can make all the difference.

mill no 8 review - pants

I chose a glen plaid fabric for these pants. All Mill No. 8 pants are made from Australian merino wool and feature corozo nut buttons (high-end stuff, not cheap plastic)

It’s as easy as clicking a few buttons directly on the site and hopping on a video consultation right in the comfort of your own home. A knowledgeable in-house stylist will join you on the video call and help you take the correct measurements in a few quick minutes.

Oh, and in case you don’t have a tape measure to take your measurements with, Mill No. 8 will provide one for you.

The online styling appointment is a complimentary service, free of charge and available to new and existing customers alike.

Worried about how to best customize your shirt and pants? Mill No. 8 has you covered in that department, too. The online stylists do offer handy styling tips. But even during the ordering process, the site acts as a virtual stylist.

Customizing every aspect of a garment can be overwhelming and unnecessary when all you’re looking for is a standard item, classic styling, and impeccable fit. While choosing your shirt (or pants) on the site, you can pick a style (modern, business, formal) and your cuffs, collar, and pockets are automatically selected for you.

2. Top notch cloth

Mill No. 8 uses Egyptian cotton and 100% Australian merino wool across their whole line of dress shirts and pants.

mill no 8 review - buttonhole

Mill No. 8 has cleanly-stitched buttonholes and tight stitching (23 stitches per inch). There’s nothing worse than sloppy stitching on a nice custom dress shirt

Quick breakdown: Egyptian cotton is hand-picked, allowing for longer, straighter fibers. They’re woven into fine yarns that are stronger and softer than regular cotton1 for a softer, yet more durable shirt.

In a similar vein, Australian merino wool is among the best types of wool because of its fine fibers. When woven into yarn, the resulting fabric has an extremely soft, supple hand feel and remarkable elasticity. Not to mention, merino wool is breathable, moisture-wicking, and great for year-round use no matter the season (it keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer)2.

3. Thoughtful design

Mill No. 8 - outfit setRemember how I mentioned their carefully-developed silhouettes a few paragraphs above? Here’s where Mill No. 8 is extra tuned-in to the importance of fit.

Over two years and hundreds of iterations, they’ve explored ways to make the shirt look and fit better with less wrinkling and more comfort.

One of the keys, they discovered, is rotating the sleeve just enough to mimic the natural arm position.

This little change allows for fewer wrinkles and a better, smoother drape around the chest and arms.

They’ve spent plenty of time perfecting their pants as well. Each pair is made with a unique curved waistband that helps the pants sit perfectly on your body, right where it’s supposed to.

These tweaks sound simple enough, but building this into the manufacturing process is anything but.

It’s similar to, say, fitting an oval peg into a circular-shaped hole – definitely possible, but not without a ton of massaging and adjustment.

Experience Mill No. 8 Yourself

Thanks to Mill No. 8 for being an Effortless Gent partner and for being generous enough to hook you up with a sweet offer. If you want to experience the brand and clothing for yourself, now’s a great time to order.

Mill No. 8 is currently offering Effortless Gent readers a 30% discount. Just enter code “CustomFit” (no quotes) at checkout.

CHOOSE YOUR CUSTOM DRESS SHIRT + PANTS »