Indochino Ups Their Shirt Game - Premium Shirts worth it?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

There was a time when Indochino basically only sold their shirts when they gave them away for free with a coupon - those early times are certainly over and Indochino moved on as a brand and probably also caters towards a slightly different customer group now. We have seen the introduction of premium shirts, using fabrics from famous mills such as Thomas Mason, Supima cotton ("World's Finest Cottons") or other well-known Italian mills. 

Of course, this development came at a price. Indochino's shirts are normally priced between $79-$99, that's already priced considerably above many other online shirt makers. 

The premium shirts cost as much as $169 and while a higher price also raises the perceived quality, many customers ask themselves if it is worth it. 

I got one of the premium shirts with my last suits, it's a Thomas Mason Typhoon Gray White & Indigo Striped Shirt. The fit is great, but not different from my normal Indochino shirts - because they fit great as well. 

The fabric does feel much nicer. Softer, more luxurious - simply better. But is that enough to justify $169? Is it worth that much to have the brand "Indochino" on your shirt?

Some recent news give us some more insights on where Indochino is going with their shirts. Remember last year suits got updated with better components and more attention to detail. Shirts now got the same treatment - a host of new options combined with quality improvements. Let's have a look at the new options and improvements:
  • Contrast collars and sleeve cuffs (inside colours)
Opinion: an interesting feature, previously already available from many other shirt makers
  • 18 stitches per inch
Opinion: I don't know how many they used before, but yeah, this sounds like a right thing to do
  • Longer back
Opinion: I'm a big fan of this one, but would actually be nice to have a choice for e.g. casual shirts
  • Last button placed horizontally
Opinion: definitely a positive development, small detail but big effect
  • No placket option
Opinion: nice addition to the customisation options, always good to have choice
  • Freudenberg interlinings
Opinion: same company they use for suits, seems to be of high quality - I have to confess, I wasn't aware of shirts having interlinings at all
  • Streamlined collar selection 
Opinion: Indochino was missing a cutaway collar for a long time but seemed to have tons of medium point collar styles - much simpler now and everything essential is there
Of course, these points above are true for all shirts, standard and premium. Again, this leaves the premium shirts with only one real advantage: fabric. At the end, it's up to every individual to decide if that justifies to spend more than double as much. I just received a shirt from CottonWork a few days ago that is priced similarly to Indochino's Premium Shirts - let's see how they compare in a review next week.