CottonWork Shirt Review

CottonWork Shirt Review

cottonwork shirt review

cottonwork shirt review

A few months back I was contacted by Kelvin Lam, one of the gents behind CottonWork, one of the many internet based custom shirt operations.  Kelvin offered to send me a few shirts to review.  I accepted and decided to purchase a third shirt with my own money.  Anyway, CottonWork has been around for a few years and has established itself as one of the better online shirt endeavors.  And as I now know, this reputation and respect is well justified.

As I noted, I ordered three shirts.  I ordered a third shirt because there were too many things I wanted to test at CottonWork for just two shirts.  This was also partially driven by the fact that I wanted to test the ability of CottonWork to meet my often high maintenance requests (I should also note that they have an extremely extensive selection of shirts at every price range).  Anyway, I provided the exact measurements for the shirts and the relevant specs for the three shirts were as follows:

Thomas Mason blue houndstooth ($145) – full spread collar, french cuffs, thick MOP buttons, monogram on the sleeve placket, 3.25″ collar points.

Luxury collection white poplin ($85) – spread collar, Neapolitan cuff, MOP buttons, monogram on the sleeve placket, 3.125″ collar points.

Executive collection pink oxford ($75) – button down roll collar, button cuff, MOP buttons, monogram on sleeve placket.

After a few weeks time I received notification that the shirts had been completed and shipped and then a week or two later I received the shirts in the mail.  And this brings up my only critique of CottonWork, the slow shipping.  I personally would prefer a shipping time of a few days, which I feel is more the norm, as opposed to a week or more.  But in the long run a few days of not having a shirt is inconsequential and it is more important that the shirts are of a good quality than the shipping.

Upon opening the package the shirts came folded and presented in a presentable manner.  Upon initial review each of the shirts were made to my specifications.  Both the measurements and details.  Which this may mark the first time an online shirt/suit maker has gotten all of my specification correct; so CottonWork gets huge points for that.  Additionally, the measurements were consistent across all three shirts, which is a good sign for CottonWork’s quality control and consistency.  You can see the fit of the shirt in the photos below, which is not as relevant considering I provided all of the measurements for the shirts but it is important to realize how you can get a shirt to look using custom measurements (the shirt has been washed a few times so I do not expect any more shrinkage).

cottonwork shirt review

cottonwork shirt review custom shirt arms raised custom shirt fit

The construction quality of the shirts was also on point.  The quality was the same for each of the shirts, that is, there is no difference in construction quality and method for shirts of Thomas Mason fabric over shirts from the executive collection; which is considerably less expensive.  The stitching along the sides was clean, consistent and most importantly sturdy.  The buttonholes were clean and the buttons themselves were quite nice; both the thick and thin mother of pearl.  Each of the three shirting fabrics are nice, the Thomas Mason has the nicest feel, however, the two less expensive fabrics were also nice and I do not see myself ever complaining about them.

So the question arises, is it worth it to pay twice as much for a shirt from Thomas Mason fabric as opposed to the lesser collections.  In short, if spending the money is not an issue than it is worth it.  But if you are on a budget, I doubt you will be let down by Luxury or Executive collections; from what I have seen.

I would like to make particular note of four things that CottonWork did a particularly good job of impressing me with.  The first is the roll on their ‘button down roll collar,’ as you can see in the photos above it indeed has a nice roll to it; which is even better when worn with a tie.  Second, the Neapolitan cuff, which is sometimes referred to as a cocktail or James Bond cuff (Connery wore them in his early Bond days).  From what I have seen CottonWork is the only online shirt maker that makes these cuffs and they are badass cuffs.  I plan to order some more shirts with them.  Third, in the additional notes section of my order I specified the collar point length for the turndown collars, and to my delight this request was met without error.  Fourth, also in the additional notes section I requested that my monograms be placed on the sleeve placket; which is not a standard option.  And again, my request was met without error.

To conclude this CottonWork shirt review, I give a strong recommendation for CottonWork.  Although the shipping time does not mesh well with my impatience it is more than overshadowed by CottonWork’s ability to deliver a consistent product at a very reasonable price.  And by very reasonable I mean as good of prices as I have seen anywhere.  Additionally, CottonWork has proven its ability to meet special requirements, which for a more discerning customer like myself is crucial.  If you have any questions, comments or would like to share your experience please sound off in the comments.


Justin L Jeffers

cottonwork stitching outside cottonwork buttonhole cotton work button down collar barrel cuff shirt placket monogram neapolitan cocktail cuff cottonwork thick mother of pearl button regular mother of pearl button notations in graphite split yoke french cuff

Note: FYGblog did receive compensation in the form of free product, however, the utmost effort is taken in holding an unbiased and objective position on the brand in review.  Additionally, it is noted that shirts were also purchased at retail price.

PS – Big thanks for Vineyard Vines for sending me the shorts.


  1. I recently purchased my first three MTM shirts. One each from Cottonwork, Propercloth, and Moderntailor. The Cottonwork was the only one I would consider to be excellent. The Proper cloth came with sleeves to the elbow, which was my own fault for ordering the sleeve length from shoulder seam to cuff rather than middle of neck to cuff. I would think most companies would catch a measurement so far out. As a matter of fact, i believe they were the one that questioned my chest measurement. The replacement is excellent and customer service was great. Moderntailor left a lot to be desired on fit; just baggy like I am used to getting OTR. I will absolutely buy from Cottonwork again, especially after reading your thoughts on consistency and service.

  2. I purchased a shirt from Cottonwork as well as Luxire, to find out which would be my preferred tailor. I have chosen Luxire for a couple of reasons.
    1. With the CW shirt, the button holes, as well as the back of the buttons were made quite unclean. Lots of loops hanging round and the endstiching of the holes were inconsistent in really kind of ugly. The remade it, but still loops on the back of the buttons. Luxire were clean and neat from the beginning. Also the actually shank the buttons, not so CW.
    2. CW measures the size of the cuff from end to end, not button to middle of the button hole. I learned the hard way (so it was my fault) and they offered to fix it. I told them that I’ld like to have the sleeve also 1 cm longer and the could simply make the cuff 1 cm longer since then there is no need to remake the entire sleeves. Well, the cuffs came back with 2 buttons each. I did not want that, they did not ask if this is desired by me and there reply was “well, that is standard with a cuff this size”. Now I am stuck with a 2 button cuff shirt I did not want. And no, no offer on alterations.
    3. With the same measurements for the body, the Luxire shirt just fits and looks way better. But that is personal preference.



  3. I purchased a shirt from Cottonwork in 2011. I sent it back due to a poor fit. (Perhaps my own fault with measurements.) The replacement shirt fit but was white instead of the colors I ordered. I contacted Cottonwork. They said they would send me the correct shirt. They never did.

    Shipping was extremely slow, as this review observes, but obviously the bigger problem is that they never sent me the correct shirt. I will avoid Cottonwork going forward and would encourage others to do the same.

  4. they have a problem with tracking their orders. My first order was first cancelled, without my knowledge. I found out after checking the account, a few weeks after I placed the order. They apologized, etc, then sent the shirt. I have to say that the shirt is very nice. Now, with my second order, placed on June 24th, more than a month after I receive no shirt, I check the account and again, order is cancelled. And they had my money for a month. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, they make excellent shirts, but so do others who can manage their work better. I’m not ordering again until I receive assurance that such issues are sorted.

  5. Received my first Cotton Works order three days ago. Without a doubt, the WORST shirt I ever purchased.
    The seams are stitched such that they pucker. There are dangling threads at many sites. The fabric is so thin one can see through it.

  6. I came across your review about them few months ago, so I decided to give it a try and purchased a shirt for my husband. He absolutely loved it, the colour, fabric, everything. It was a perfect fit and totally worth the money that I paid. Also, the customer service was excellent. I have purchased few more shirts from Cottonwork since and I will continue to buy from them.