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How Do I Get Started

Here are the steps we recommend to start building custom clothing with us. Making an appointment is essential.  612-824-2800

1. Read the FAQ pages posted on this website first. Call us or e-mail to schedule your first appointment at our comfortable showroom.

2. When you arrive,we begin by selecting fabric. The process begins with an interview to determine the types of fabric you’ll be shown. We have 4 different fabric lines for our custom shirts, each with between 280-550 fabrics, as well as especially fine materials from Europe’s best cotton mills. Similarly, in suit fabrics, we have many thousands from the world’s best woolen mills and distributors, including Zegna, Loro Piana, Scabal, Cerruti, Barberis, and many others. Everyone’s needs and pocketbooks vary, so we try and identify what resources will satisfy the best (In sales, it’s called qualifying the customer).


One of the things that we can’t do over the web is give you a chance to feel and see up close the wide range of fabric selections that comprise the most critical decision that you will need to make. I am frustrated by the efforts I see to try and sell the finest fabrics in the world using substandard graphic renderings on the web.

3. On your first visit, we need to take your measurements. One of the way’s you can help us do a better job the first time is to bring along garments that you like, or that have been comfortable (if you have any). We’ll remind you of this when you make your appointment. When ordering suits, we’ll usually take several digital images, to form a collage that is used by our pattern makers, so they can visualize you better than just by following numbers.

4. The last step is to design your garment, based on the material you’ve selected, and what we’ve learned about your body in the measurement process. We will always try and counsel you in regards to the image that is appropriate for what you will be doing in our clothes.

5. A 50% deposit is made on the order. We will call you to schedule the appropriate fittings (shirts don’t require this step). A first time customer will typically require 1-2 fittings for suits. The entire process will usually take 4-6 weeks to complete from the time the order is placed.

What If I Live Far Away

Top Shelf maintains customers all over the United States. Once we build a relationship with our clients, we try hard to develop ways to continue building clothes that are shipped out when they are complete. However, this doesn’t work for everyone. Some people will always need to have fittings to achieve the right fit.

If we can’t deal with you personally, we may be able to recommend you to someone in your part of the world that you can interview and try out yourself. We have peers who exist in most other major cities. Many belong to national organizations like the Custom Tailors and Designers Association, and are thorough professionals. Many are unique individuals, each with a personal vision of what to create for his clients. Most of us have grown up in a business model that’s relationship based. The model relies on face to face interaction, as well as physical contact as the tailor measures and fits his customers. A good tailor gets to know his customers inside and out, fitting not just the body, but the head as well. No Internet transaction can replace the experience of developing a relationship of trust and understanding. Some tasks just can’t be relegated to the click of a mouse. Custom tailored clothing is much more than just filling out a form with people’s sizes. It is a highly personalized act of creation.

Drop us an e-mail. We’ll be glad to help if we can.