NEW YORK — The only standard in women’s sizing exists in bras — and that infuriated Rebecca Winn and Drew Paluba.
Winn and Paluba considered the women’s button-down shirt to be one of the most ill-fitting garments in women’s clothing, so they set out to create button-down shirts that were sized according to bra size, eliminating any guesswork when it came to buying off the rack or ordering online.
The key was to calculate both bust size and height resulting in a more individualized, less boxy, fit, Winn and Paluba said. Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing will launch its first collection for summer and open a 700-square-foot boutique in June at 342-344 West 13th Street in the Meatpacking District here. Also in June, Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing will launch on neimanmarcus.com.
“We wanted to standardize sizing and make sense out of it,” said Paluba, co-founder and designer for Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing. “I found that, for so many women, sizing is a huge point of confusion and leads to ill-fitting clothing.”
The shirts will be sized from 32A to 38D and will be available in two lengths, regular or long, resulting in 28 total sizes per style. Winn, president of Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing, was one of the founders of the Alice & Olivia brand. She and Paluba spent the last year conducting focus groups asking women what would make dress shirts fit better. The sizing technique Winn and Paluba employ is called the Close to Custom Fit (C2C Fit). They are in the process of obtaining a patent. Winn and Paluba expect the wholesale volume for the first year to “come close to $1 million,” said Winn, who met Paluba five years ago when he had his own retail boutique here on the Lower East Side, called ASP.
“There was a tremendous problem with the button-down shirt,” said Paluba. “We listened to what women wanted in terms of different body parts.”
Most women, Paluba said, had issues with the placement of the top button. “Girls were really unhappy with the first button. Either it was too low or too high.” Paluba fixed the problem by placing two buttons under the top button giving women a choice whether they wanted more or less coverage.
The wholesale price range of the collection is $80 to $90. Styles include long- and short-sleeved, 100 percent cotton shirts in a number of patterns ranging from solids with ribbon-trim to stripes and prints, such as polkadots and gold star-studded patterns.
“Our collection of shirts have no stretch,” Paluba said. “Designers get around the fit issue by using stretch.”
Though Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing is launching for summer, Winn and Paluba said they’re not interested in following the conventional schedule of shipping for a specific season. “We want it to be a buy now, wear now, type of thing,” Paluba said.
Tunics are a part of the summer collection as well as shirts with designs such as a unicorn, parrot, tiger and an angry chicken. All are created by Paluba, and some styles are screen-printed on the back. Eventually Rebecca & Drew Manufacturing hopes to introduce outerwear into the collection, based on the C2C Fit technique.