Manhattan has a new destination for made-to-measure shirts––a small shop in Tribeca called ManuelRacim––and after trying the company's service for ourselves, we suggest you run, no, race to take advantage of this very personable atelier. Conceived by co-founders Manuel Guardiola, above, and Racim Allouani, the store offers all the perks of a bespoke experience with absolutely none of the stuffiness. Whether you make an appointment or walk in off the street, you're guaranteed a warm welcome––and once you've had the pleasure of designing your own shirts, you may never buy ready-mades again.
A great shirt starts with great fabric, and ManuelRacim has dozens of European cottons and linens to obsess over. In our case, the deed was done: we'd visited the store a few days earlier and spotted this cotton print, above, tucked among the swatches. It was love at first sight.
Fabric in hand, it was time to work with ManuelRacim's in-house stylist to be measured (prominent collar bones, freakishly long arms) and to choose the details. A print this bold doesn't need much embellishment, so we took her excellent advice and opted for a small, trim, modern-looking collar and simple barrel cuffs, above; no chest pocket; a clean French placket; and very handsome, dark grey buttons.
We always ask for monograms on custom shirts, and ManuelRacim is happy to oblige. Our stylist showed us fonts and colors, above, and suggested positioning the initials on our left cuff rather than the torso, where the fabric's pattern would probably render them invisible.
Two weeks later, we were back in the store, trying on our new shirt. ManuelRacim works hand-in-hand with a small French factory, guaranteeing short production times––and they've streamlined the process so effectively, they can sell made-to-measure items at lower prices than ready-mades found elsewhere. In short, this little shirt company offers lots of bang for your buck, not to mention smiling service, without any nose-in-the-air attitude. We're thrilled with how our first shirt turned out: it fits perfectly, of course, and has that distinctive air of being a one-of-a-kind garment, never to be seen on anyone else. But don't just read about ManuelRacim––pay them a visit soon, and indulge in your own healthy dose of personalized style.
Photographs by Noël Sutherland.