Y Combinator’s Vastrm Promises The Perfect Fitting Polo

You know that frustrating feeling when you order clothes online and they fit really poorly, like the target demographic is some weird mix of Kim Kardashian and Yao Ming?

Vastrm, a Y Combinator summer 2012 company founded by Jonathan Tang, hopes to give you the perfect, customized fit, starting with polo shirts.

Tang came up with the idea for Vastrm, which is a Sanskrit word for cloth, when a customer told him he had purchased a perfect shirt in Italy and has never been able to find the same fit again. He was considering flying back to Italy to track the shirt maker down, but Jonathan managed to adjust Vastrm shirts to the same fit.

“If you could simply order online (like music and books) and ensure you are getting the right fit, e-commerce sites would probably sell a lot more product and get a lot less returns,” Tang says.

While a number of companies, like BleuFlamme, J. Hilburn and Blank Label, offer very similar services for dress shirts, Vastrm focuses exclusively (for now) on polo shirts, targeting golfers and corporate clients.

You can go on Vastrm’s site and take a short quiz, entering height, weight, body type and waist size, to “optimize size selection.” Vastrm has an algorithm that recommends 2-3 of their fit types (slim, sport and relaxed) to suit your body type. The company then ships you a few sample polos for free to try on.

Once you know your fit, you can go online and make any other size adjustments you want. Tang says they mostly receive adjustments to add or subtract an inch or so from the shirt and sleeve length, but are capable of doing far more alterations. Vastrm saves your fit so you don’t have to do the measuring process every time you want a shirt.

You can then select the fabric and different styles for the collar, cuff, pocket, vent, buttons and even an optional golf tee pocket. After you finalize your order, you’ll get your customized polo in about three weeks.

The company also gives you a few suggested shirts in case you’re overwhelmed by all the options. Sadly, there’s no Shooter McGavin look, though (I checked). Tang tells me they are just doing polos for now, but expects to expand to long-sleeve polos, henleys, t-shirts and more in the next six-twelve months.

Tang showed me the process in our San Francisco office and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed. The prices aren’t cheap, but they aren’t ridiculous especially given what other companies in the space charge, and the customization is very cool. Waiting three weeks for the shirt is the biggest negative to me, but luckily it’s always golfing weather in Palo Alto.