How to Make the Most of Your Proper Cloth Purchase in 2023


I love Proper Cloth. I’ve been ordering from them over nearly 10 years, and each of the shirts of theirs is in heavy rotation within my wardrobe. Top place goes to a blue OCBD popover, a light blue cotton-linen Oxford cloth with soft cutaway collar, a beautiful varied light blue stripe cotton-linen with cutaway collar, and a shadow stripe business-y shirt.

Over the course of the years, I’ve learned some things that help me ensure each order is set up for success. Those lessons fall into two categories: Design Considerations and Fit Considerations

[Use this link and code MUSINGS10 for 10% off your first order from Proper Cloth, and I’ll receive a bonus from them, too] 

Proper Cloth shirt in cotton-linen Oxford cloth with Soft Roma Cutaway collar, Eidos jacket and Brooks Brothers tie.

Design Considerations

My go-to outfit is a sportcoat with denim or chinos and suede shoes—usually without a tie. I am inspired most by the Southern Italian sense of rakish style that’s unafraid to be a little dramatic. But I am also inspired by traditional Ivy League, with its comfortable familiarity and approachability.

Proper Cloth has a ton of different collar styles, but I find that I’m drawn to two collar styles in particular, which represent the two opposite ends of my style spectrum—the Soft Ivy Button-Down (or the soft Roma button-down if you’re really extra) and the Soft Roma Cutaway.

I use the Soft Ivy Button-Down on Oxford shirts, primarily, though I would consider it on a washed chambray or denim shirt. It makes sense to me in this context, since Oxford cloth as a fabric is sturdy and would feel out of place with a fused, dress collar.

Proper Cloth Oxford shirt with the Soft Ivy Button Down collar, Eidos brown donegal sportcoat and Kent Wang knit tie.
Proper Cloth Oxford shirt with the Soft Ivy Button Down collar, Eidos brown donegal sportcoat and that same Kent Wang knit tie.

I use the Soft Roma Cutaway for nearly everything else. When I wear a shirt open-collar, I feel that the tall band and long, swept-back points are an attractive, stylish look that frame my face well. This collar looks good buttoned-up, too, though it may not be to everyone’s taste worn with a tie. [By the way, this collar design is nearly identical to the Eidos Marcus sport shirt collar design, which was the primary sport shirt collar Antonio Ciongoli designed for Eidos for all the last year or so of his tenure there. I genuinely miss the Marcus sport shirt. PC’s Soft Roma Cutaway is a good second-best in its absence, though.]

The third collar style I like, though I haven’t used it nearly as much as the other two, is the Soft Roma Spread. It has the exact same measurements as their fused Roma spread, but the interlining is soft. I prefer soft interlinings in general for the more relaxed attitude they give off, and feel that they work well worn casually without sacrificing the ability to be dressed up well, too. This collar would be my go-to for shirts I knew I’d wear with a tie 90% of the time. It looks good open-collar, too, but it has less character and Italian charm to it than the cutaway version. However, if your circumstances require you wear a tie often, this is the collar I’d recommend.

Proper Cloth wide-stripe Oxford shirt with Soft Roma Spread Collar
Proper Cloth wide-stripe Oxford shirt with Soft Roma Spread Collar.

Similar to the soft Roma spread, but just bigger, is the soft Milano. I have one shirt in this collar style and I like it quite a bit. I probably will stick with the Roma cutaway, because I like the collar spread a little more on that, but the Milano is a great one for that super-tall-collar-band look. The possible downside is that the collar band has two buttons in front to fasten it.

Fabric: Thomas Mason luxury broadcloth. Collar: soft Milano collar.

Shirt Front

I like the soft wide placket for Oxford cloth or washed chambray/denim (also consider the popover for these), but for shirts in dressier fabrics like broadcloth/poplin I find the French front to look cleaner. I lower the second button 1/2”, too, but that’s a personal quirk.

Shirt Cuff

Soft long one-button. It is the only option I use for everything.


I like the angled pocket on Oxford or washed chambray/denim, or no pocket for everything else.


If you’re going budget, get the Roma buttons—they look nicer than the normal ones. If you want to spend extra on buttons, go for the tall MOP—it’s a small but worth-it additional $5 above the cost of the normal MOP buttons.

Size and Fit Considerations

Proper Cloth is great about remaking shirts that don’t fit well. Your first order is almost just considered a trial shirt (though hey, if it fits perfectly, great). My first shirt was a mess, and by communicating with their customer service folks, I was able to dial in measurements on a shirt that was one of my most-worn until I grew out of it (a light blue Oxford popover).

My suggestion is to take a shirt or two that you love the fit of and use the measurements from those to create a custom shirt size. That’s what I did and have tweaked to get perfect fit every single time. There are a few things I recommend you slightly alter, however, to set you up for the most likely success, based on my experiences.

For most shirts, a note about shrinkage allowance

Proper Cloth builds in some extra fabric on their end to accommodate for shrinkage. In February 2023, they updated how they do this, and explain it in detail on this page right here. In every aspect except for the collar, I find they add just the right amount and it’s perfect. On the collar, though, I feel that they add too much. As such, I reduce my collar measurement by 0.4”, since I build my Proper Cloth fit profile using measurements from an old shirt I want to match exactly measurement for measurement. So in my case, where an ideal collar would measure at 16.4”, I order 16.0”. If you’re a 16, I’d recommend you order it as 15.6” (seriously). With the updates in Feb. 2023, you can choose to allow them to add standard shrinkage to all fabrics, or turn it off entirely (they explain how on that post). Since I’ve been ordering for years and feel I have my precise size dialed right in, I’ll probably just leave things as they are.

For overshirts and other casual shirts you want to wear partially untucked (or fully untucked)

An overshirt or casual shirt should fit a little shorter than a normal shirt that you tuck in. So you shorten the length. But the number of buttons stays the same unless you find the magic point where it automatically changes. For example, my dress shirt length is normally 32 inches, which it makes with 8 buttons. I like an overshirt around 30 inches long, which will also result in 8 buttons. That’s weirdly too many buttons, in my opinion, especially on a casual shirt like a workshirt or overshirt. So I discovered that in fact, just under 30 inches is the magic break-point, and if I specify 29.9 inches, it reduces the button count to 7—making them properly spaced.

Experiment with the length that makes sense for you to discover where the break points are for you.

Definitely give Proper Cloth a try if you haven’t. I’d recommend starting with something like an Oxford shirt, as their $95 price point is very competitive and lets you dip your toe in the water.

Fabric: Thomas Mason Goldline end-on-end. Collar: Soft Roma Cutaway.

This post was originally published in January 2018, and has been updated yearly since.

(Help support this site! If you buy stuff through my links, your clicks and purchases earn me a commission from many of the retailers I feature, and it helps me sustain this site—as well as my menswear habit ;-)  Thanks!)

If you’re just getting into tailored menswear and want a single helpful guide to building a trend-proof wardrobe, buy my eBook. It’s only $5 and covers wardrobe essentials for any guy who wants to look cool, feel cool and make a good impression. Formatted for your phone or computer/iPad so it’s not annoying to read, and it’s full of pretty pictures, not just boring prose. Buy it here.

Proper Cloth cotton-linen stripe with Soft Roma Cutaway collar.
Proper Cloth cotton-linen stripe with Soft Roma Cutaway collar.

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  1. Proper Cloth…really?
    I am 25yr veteran of the garment industry. I learned patternmaking, grading, draping, & flat patterns by hand. And then, later I learned to do it digitally. Needless to say I am not a fan of so-called, fast-fashion. I have bought 4 shirts from Proper Cloth. And although I am impressed by the quality of the fabric, (i.e. weight, hand-feel, etc.), the way they keep their cost down is by NOT pre-washing the fabric. They also, DO NOT mention on their care labels, “DRY CLEAN ONLY”. This allows them a faster turn-around and cheaper manufacturing cost, but the shirt is of inferior quality because it will eventually shrink. Even if you only send it to the dry cleaners.

    1. Thanks for your input, very interesting insights.
      I can only speak on the shrinkage, as I’ve found they tend to over-estimate how much is needed, and my shirt collars end up huge. Pre-washing and cutting more closely to the desired dimensions would be very welcome indeed.
      I agree the fabric is great, and I think that’s their strongest suit compared to competitors, especially in the designs they produce.
      Overall I still like the company and product, but there have been enough metaphorical tiny cuts that its appeal has faded, and I’ve moved on save for an order here or there for one of those cool, unique fabrics.

      1. I don’t understand this reply. This article is dated 01/22/2021 and it’s title refers to purchases your reader may make in 2021 but your in reply to O. Jonathan on June 5, 2020 you say “Overall I still like the company and product, but there have been enough metaphorical tiny cuts that its appeal has faded, and I’ve moved on save for an order here or there for one of those cool, unique fabrics.” I’m not trying to be argumentative, I’m just trying to understand. Your article says “I love Proper Cloth” your reply says you’ve (generally) moved on. Which is it? If the latter, then to where have you moved on?

        1. Hi Patrick. I updated the article on January this year though it was originally published in 2018. The comment from 2020 holds true: I still order here and there for the cool, unique fabrics (I’m likely going to order a cotton/linen Oxford shirt in the near future for instance), but am more excited about the collar designs and fit options from other makers like Spier and Mackay. I changed the title to 2021 because SEO.

          1. I agree with Patrick, despite your valid response here, it is quite misleading to say you love something then in the response to your actual article saying almost the contrary. It’s fair of course to change opinions, but I then wouldn’t change the year for SEO or would stick to my guns and just not comment Ina contradictory fashion. It just leaves your reader confused as to whether they can trust your review.

            As someone using Propercloth for the last few months, with 3 shirts of different style and materials, I am super satisfied and am in agreement with almost everything in this article. I’m just saying, maybe you could add an edit in this article to the end and say something like 2022 update: I am not as frequent of a purchaser, here are my current thoughts and do check out this article on X company that is better quality and that I currently purchase from. It would just seem more genuine.

        2. @Phil—I’ll make some updates to the page as you suggest, good suggestions. I’m still a customer, and tbh my order frequency has probably increased in the last 2-3 years compared to 2014-2018. Actually they restored what made my favorite collar design earlier this year, which made me very happy.
          Another thing here is that I make recommendations of things I think are good, including things I may not personally be buying, but for someone whose style or taste is different from mine, I still recommend it. For instance, I highly recommend the president spread collar from PC—but I’ll never order one. I told a friend of mine order one, though, and it looks great on him. That’s a stylistic choice. PC products as a whole are solid, though, even if for 3-4 years they’d ruined my favorite collar design (in my opinion); and so I highly recommend them! Despite my personal stylistic preferences (which now have been addressed!).
          Does that make sense?

  2. Polite props:
    The final pic: “Proper Cloth cotton-linen stripe with Soft Roma Cutaway collar.” was taken in front of Roosevelt & Co. I have been known to stop in there on occasion. I encourage any of your readers that is passing through Huntsville, AL USA to do the same.

  3. For non-Oxford button down shirts, do you advise doing a Stand Up French Front when combined with the Soft Roma Cutaway collar to make sure the collar properly stands when unbuttoned? Or do you prefer a regular unlined French front? Thanks!

    1. I have never had problem with the regular unlined French front. That said, I have friends who *do* have that problem, and I can only assume it’s just a quirk of personal anatomy.
      I would suggest anyone in this situation to order the normal unlined French front and if it doesn’t stand up, you can take advantage of their remake policy.
      Thanks for the comment Philip

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