Before & After Tailoring: Merona Ultimate Shirt

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Target Merona Ultimate Dress Shirt: $22.99 + $20 in tailoring = $42.99

Target’s Merona Ultimate Dress Shirt gets tons of mentions on this website, and for good reason. It’s widely available, it’s affordable, the collar is nice and substantial, and despite being a cotton poly blend, it’s not too scratchy. But the fit can leave a little bit to be desired.

Despite launching a “slim fit” version not that long ago, then dialing it in even closer in the last few months with an almost all cotton stretch version, these shirts can lean towards roomy. If you’re wearing a tailored blazer or suit jacket? No one will really know but you.  You may feel that extra cloth shifting about underneath, but that’s not a huge deal. Or is it?

Took two Ultimate Dress Shirts to my tailor, who for $20 a shirt did two things:

  1. She brought in the sides so the waist + chest fit closer
  2. She also slimmed down the sleeves. A lot. The sleeves on these things are awash in cloth. Altered shirts are on the right, with separate, unaltered shirts on the left:

Before and After White and Striped

Left: solid white unaltered.  Right: striped white after alterations.

I’ve worn the heck out of the solid white for at least 3 years. It keeps coming back for more, and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Out of all of these shirts, this one fit the best off the rack, so I opted to not take that one in to the tailor. It was the fine striped shirt on the right (also seen at the top of the page as well as over here) that got pinned up and taken in. And the $20 was well spent. The difference isn’t wildly noticeable visually, but man does it feel different on. It feels like a shirt that fits, because… well it does.

Before and After blue and grey cham

Left: light blue “slim fit” unaltered.  Right: grey after alterations.

Easy to see the before and after here. The light blue on the left has always fit wonky. It’s not awful under a jacket, but there’s a lot of shifting going on throughout the day. Meanwhile, the grey has worked it’s way into my rotation more than I thought a grey shirt ever would. Looks a little “clubby” to some, but I never wear it solo. More often than not, this “railroad” grey in a polished up chambray-like fabric is layered under a navy suit.

The Bottom Line

Dropping twenty bucks to trim up a $22 shirt from Target is going to be seen as a waste by some. But there aren’t a ton of $40, truly slim fitting off-the-rack shirts out there with the collar and durability of the Ultimate Dress Shirt from Merona, so it’ll be a steal for many. Prices for alterations can vary wildly, so your tailor’s prices may be totally different. Also, know that all four of these specific shirts were made in Bangladesh. Didn’t notice they shared that same country of origin until now.

Do you take all of your off the rack shirts to the tailor? Or just the ones you wear solo without a blazer, sweater, or suit jacket over them? Leave it all below. Meanwhile, before the visual nitpickers go hog wild in the comments, yes… the belt is long. Lost a little weight recently.  So, there’s that.