For those of us with a penchant for custom clothing, living a community far removed from the centers of bespoke tailoring can be a disheartening prospect.
Fortunately, for the sartorially-inclined in Southeast Texas, there’s an oasis in the desert: Hamilton Shirts.
Hamilton has been around since 1883, two years longer in fact than Britain’s Turnbull & Asser.
Today, the firm is run by siblings David and Kelly Hamilton. Their shop is located west of the Houston Galleria in a fairly unassuming location on Richmond Avenue.
The showroom is appropriately clubby in appearance and atmosphere. Although you can relax and thumb through the books containing small swatches of fabric, the real action is right off the showroom floor, in the shelves lining the factory. Here, bolts of fabric await–herringbones and plaids, tattersalls and solids–and there’s something about looking at a wide expanse of fabric that adds to the verisimilitude of the bespoke process. I’m a sucker for checks, and Hamilton has them in abundance.
I have nine Hamilton custom shirts, purchased at various points over the past seven years. All are still in regular rotation, although my oldest button down is beginning to fray about the cuffs. No matter–it only adds to the shirt’s allure, giving it that well-lived-in feeling.
The shirts have much of what the clothing cognoscenti fetishize, including a split yoke and thick mother-of-pearl buttons. My lone complaint is the lack of pattern matching on the sleeve gauntlets, but it’s a fairly minor lament.
In addition to their custom business, Hamilton produces ready-to-wear shirts, all, to my knowledge, made in their Houston shop. They also offer a line of tailored clothing (suits, jackets and trousers) made in conjunction with an unnamed “American tailoring firm.”