The Challenge of a Huge Bargain and Complex Fulfillment
Having just returned from London—and an avowed Anglophile—I watched with relish the ceremony of the Queen's speech at the opening of Parliament.
The horses, coaches, costumes and rituals were brought off with absolute perfection, because it is scripted down to a gnat's eyebrow. The key: a checklist going back to the 16th century.
If Brit commercial enterprises treated customers with the same care and attention to detail as Her Majesty's Government expends on Her Majesty, the EQ (exasperation quotient) would be non-existent.
My Shirt Problem and The Custom Shop
I have a revolting body—fat neck (17") and short arms (31" and 32"). Off-the-shelf dress shirts fit me like a spinnaker—the enormous sail billowing over the bow when you're going before the wind in a yacht race.
I first heard about The Custom Shop in the early 1960s. I read somewhere a fitter from the Washington, D.C. shop routinely went to the White House to measure John Kennedy—and later Lyndon Johnson—for their dress shirts.
I tried The Custom Shop and loved it. I would go into the Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan—and later on Philadelphia's Walnut Street—to choose the style and material from a big book. A fitter took my measurements and I would be out in 20 minutes. The shirts always fit beautifully and I felt good wearing them. For custom tailored shirts, the prices were absurdly low. I was a customer for 40 years.
Alas, Mortimer Levitt, 95, founder of The Custom Shop, assumed room temperature in 2005. The Philadelphia store closed. I was devastated.
Enter Thomas Pink and Charles Tyrwhitt
I ordered some shirts from Thomas Pink of London. The sleeves needed shortening but they looked real good. The price was $120 when I started. Now dress shirts from Pink are $165 to $195. They're out of my league—especially since I work from home, am a pensioner and seldom play dress-up any more.