Finally Some Good Shirts!
I was looking for good, affordable RTW Shirts for a while now. And I finally think I found them through Canadian Retailer Spier & Mackay. With so much going on these days I put this article on the back-burner but it’s finally here! This Review in particular is about a lovely Slim Fit Cloud Blue Poplin Shirt from Spier & Mackay and my first ever purchase from them.
I heard a lot of good things about their shirts before and it was a relief to find out they are true. Interestingly I am wearing this shirt right now as I type these words! As always I will talk about things like the fabric, the feel and of course the fit of the shirt. By the end of the article you should know if Spier & Mackay is worth your money.
Who Is Spier & Mackay?
Not so long ago I wrote a rather in-depth article about Spier & Mackay. They are a Canadian Retailer of mainly shirts and suits, with competitive pricing and great following online. During the Covid-19 craze most companies including Spier & Mackay had some pretty sweet deals on their suits and shirts.
It was a great opportunity to try both! I must admit they have some really cool options available and many consider them a good alternative to Suitsupply.
Choosing A Shirt
Initially I chose 4 Shirts to refresh my wardrobe (more on that later) but I ended up keeping only this one. I actually placed my order through the old website of Spier that was god-awfully slow. Thankfully they now migrated to a modern, faster version. For me it was very clear that I wanted 4 Shirts:
- 2 Blue Dress Shirts
- 1 White Poplin Shirt
- 1 Pink Shirt
I wanted at least a couple button downs, but with production ceased due to the pandemic stock was limited. But the biggest problem was the sizing as I never bought from them before. Spier & Mackay has 3 fits at the moment:
- Contemporary Fit: Your classic regular fit
- Slim Fit: Slimmer around the torso
- Extra Slim Fit: The slimmest fit of the 3
Differences can be pretty significant around the chest and waist between them. Spier & Mackay has a great comparison table with all the measurements but these are for a 15.5″ Shirt:
|In Inches||Contemporary||Slim||Extra Slim|
It is very helpful to see the differences that can be rather significant around the waist and chest. I do like a comfortable slimmer fit but not too tight so I chose Slim Fit and it turns out it was a good choice. Poplin is my preferred weave followed by Twill but gauging the color online can be challenging.
Turns out that Cloud Blue is really light and often hard to distinguish between white and blue. Before I look at the details though, I want to address some issues I had ordering.
Ordering & Size Issue
I had two issues while ordering from Spier & Mackay as a European customer. The first was that shipping costs a bit and there are import taxes you need to pay. UPS handles the shipping and it took 7-9 days to receive my initial shipment.
The second issue was sleeve sizing. Initially I chose 15.5″ neck and 33″ sleeves but when I measured them at home they were 32″. Add to that the fact that after washing they will shrink 0.5″ and they would end up unusable.
They couldn’t make the same mistake 4 times could they? I reached out to Spier & Mackay and the owner was very helpful and let me know that they use a different way to measure the length. Not straight from the middle seam of the yoke under the collar, but instead following the shoulder then going straight to the middle of the cuff.
So I sent back the shirts and asked for an exchange, which took a considerable amount of time only to find out that the sizes weren’t available. Wanting to support a smaller company I decided to keep today’s review shirt which was the only one with a 34″ sleeve.
Unfortunate, but something worth mentioning if you are in Europe or far away overseas.
Unboxing & Packaging
Packaging was nice and simple and big enough to fit 3-4 shirts. Inside you typically find your receipt and invoice and of course your shirt. It was neatly folded and wrapped with in a plastic bag.
Style & Design
As aforementioned this is a classic dress shirt with a nice subtle blue tint to it. I am a huge fan of Poplin and Business Collars so it made me happy I could find one like this. Spread and Extreme Cutaway Collars are definitely not my favorites but it’s just a matter of taste.
In retrospective I would probably choose a more sky blue color, but the cloud blue grows on me by the day. It also makes it rather formal since it looks borderline white.
A very nice shirt that I will put into good use often with both casual and dressier outfits.
The shirt immediately impressed me especially after handling the TM. Lewin fabrics. It feels extremely nice for the price and I could honestly not say that the Suitsupply one is better even though it costs double.
It’s astonishing how different two shirts can be and that you can get good value at lower prices too. I filmed myself unboxing this and touching the shirt for the first time and it confirms my feelings.
There are no special features or anything out of the norm here but it’s a shirt, you cannot reinvent the wheel.
Now I briefly mentioned I really like the collar on these. Spier & Mackay have both fused and unfused collars depending on the price range and both keep their shape very well. My shirt has a pair of removable collar stays and very high stitch density. If I remember correctly they have 18 SPI and a split yoke on the back which is pretty impressive for the price point.
It is also very easy to fold or unfold the collar and button the last button. I don’t know if the collars are legendary as they claim, but they are surely very good.
Cuffs, Sleeves & Buttons
The cuffs have only 1 button which I would generally complain about but not on this one. I like the flexibility of 2 buttons but the Spier & Mackay cuff has the perfect width for my hand. TM. Lewin on the other hand was much wider and made me feel like a grandpa or a hot air balloon.
The front has a clean classic placket and it’s worth mentioning they use gussets to reinforce some areas. I really liked Spier & Mackay’s buttons too. They use MOP for their higher end Purple Line and Natural River Shell for the rest. It feels very robust and sturdy but also not plasticky like on cheaper shirts. Another thing that was great with the buttons is their thickness which makes it much easier to handle.
Does It Fit?
Ah, the million dollar question! The answer is an overwhelming yes. The slim fit is perfect for my body as I feel extra slim would be way too tight on the chest and restrict my movement. It also retains a nice silhouette on the body.
The sleeves have almost the perfect length. One could argue they are ever slightly longer but after washing a few times they will be 100% perfect.
Even though I had to go through a bit of trouble to get this shirt, it is one of the best RTW fitting shirts I have. If there was something I would change that would be probably adding an inch or so to the overall length since it tends to loosen up around my sides.
Wearing the tie was a good benchmark to see how the collar performs. Overall it was rather comfortable but I will need to see how it is after it shrinks. There’s a very easy solution to that though and that’s moving the button 1-1.5 cm to create more space.
If you are wondering, I am about 179 cm and weight around 74 kg.
Pretty Good Value
When it comes to the shirt itself I have nothing but praise. If you get your size right it is excellent. For 55$ or less you can get a great shirt with good quality material, superior stitching and even bundle it for a discount. If you can get them on one of the frequent sales it becomes even better.
Spier & Mackay makes their shirts in China which is not a surprising these days. However it does not automatically mean they are bad, if anything Asia is producing some pretty high end stuff now.
There are certain drawbacks though and one of them is location. Shipping, import taxes and having to potentially return items from Europe or outside North America can be a bit of a chore. HR was extremely polite and helpful when I called them but I do feel I had to chase it a bit more.
I certainly recommend asking your questions in the very helpful and insanely popular Spier & Mackay thread on Styleforum.
It’s surprising how hard it is to find a good fitting value shirt these days especially after my terrible experience with TM. Lewin. I am a man that likes quality but also value which is why I enjoy my Apposta shirts but also give Spier & Mackay such high praise.
In fact I also managed to get a suit which I will review in one of the following weeks. It will be a great chance to compare them with Suitsupply. Honestly, this is one of the best value dress shirts I found going as low as 35-40$ and their fabrics will slay all other budget shirt-makers like TM. Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt.
I certainly hope you enjoyed this Review of the Spier & Mackay Slim Fit Shirt. If you are from North America I can only recommend Spier & Mackay for their shirts. Let me know what you think about them and how they stand the test of time. I’ll see you next week and in the meantime don’t forget to Subscribe!
Thank you for reading,
Hi Kostas – Great review and mirrors other comments I have seen
I been looking at these shirts for some time but as you say low volume of stock and additional taxes have put me off
Could I ask please what import duties and taxes did you have to pay and did you pay on collection
Hey Dave, I think I paid around 20-25$ for the import of all 4 shirts, the letter to pay came 1-2 weeks later.
They are pretty good for the money, though I can see some people being put off by the import tax in Europe for example. I will be reviewing one of their suits soon, it’s pretty good value as well.
Let me know if you get something and consider using my link! Have a good week!
Very thorough review, Kostas. Well done. I am shopping for more button down shirts, so this definitely makes the list. Thanks!
Thanks Andy! If you can find your size they are great value!
Superb review & picture, thank you! I have a question! Did the sleeves of your Spier & Mackay shirts contract a little after putting them through the washing machine? The sleeves of the Spier & Mackay shirt I purchased seem a bit too long, only by 1/2 though. Thanks!
Thank you for reading! I had the same issue actually. When I initially took the 33 Inches they were too short but the 34 was a little too long by about half an inch.
Shirts are usually made with the idea that they will shrink about 0.25/0.5 inches so I would say after 5-7 washes you might see the real length. If after 10-12 it’s still too long, then I suggest taking them to a tailor to alter them the way you want!