It is often proclaimed that the best ideas rest at the intersection of art and science. It’s in this area were companies who can harness both of these tremendous fields develop products that are far and beyond better (and drastically different) compared to their competitors.
When this massive step in evolution takes place, young and nimble companies begin to supplant the old stahlwarts of yesteryear – and at this might be unfolding before our very own eyes when looking at Ministry of Supply.
Sure, on the surface, they might seem like just another men’s clothing company with a bunch of marketing-speak laid on top.
However, as you will see in just a quick minute, this is anything but the case.
In this article we are going to give you an honest and in-depth review of Ministry of Supply. Which we will cover their history, corporate ethos, review some of their flagship clothes, unique policies, if they offer discount codes, and much more.
Let’s get started.
Overview How Ministry of Supply Started & Their Corporate Ethos
For whatever reason, once a founder(s) departs from the company or transitions to a more observatory role (i.e. chairman of the board), the wheels start to fall off the wagon.
Perhaps its due to a rough transitionary phase, or simply that the person who is now running the ship just simply doesn’t care as much since it isn’t their baby.
Whatever the reason, having founders involved in the daily operations is a big deal.
As we found out when researching heavily for this piece, Ministry of Supply once started with four founders: Kevin Rustagi, Kit Hickey, Aman Advani, and Gihan Amarasiriwardena who all met each other in 2011 at the MIT entrepreneur center (source). It was at this meeting where they found that they all had this problem with clothing and how it functioned.
While both Kevin and Kit no longer have active roles with the company (at least from our understanding when looking at the team page on the Ministry of Supply website), both Aman and Gihan are still active in the company with each taking on the CEO and President role respectively.
Beyond the cosmic collision of events that lead to the initial meeting in 2011, Ministry of Supply tested their concept of a better dress shirt with a Kickstarter campaign.
While the goal of the campaign was to only raise $30,000, Ministry of Supply smashed that goal and ended up raising a whopping $429,276 (source).
Fast-forward to present date, Ministry of Supply has since raised $9.2M (according to Crunchbase) and has opened up several retail locations across the United States.
The more you get to know about Ministry of Supply, the more unique and captivating that this company truly is.
With the founders having a deep set of knowledge when it comes to engineering, given their MIT background, they take their approach to clothing design to a whole other level.
A quick visit to their Technology page and you will see the impressive amount of research and testing they do to every product before it is launched.
This includes pressure mapping, durability and performance testing, and interviewing actual people to talk about their interactions with the clothing, body habits, and more in order to get an idea of what the real problems are when it comes to uncomfortable or ill-fitting clothes.
If this weren’t enough, Ministry of Supply uses NASA-developed Phase Change Materials in order to better regulate temperature by efficiently storing or releasing heat based on your surroundings (pretty crazy).
Sustainability & Donated Clothing
While it’s one thing for a company to say they are great at making quality clothes, its another to do it in a responsible and ethical way.
In order to alleviate the stress on the environment and to keep clothes out of landfills, Ministry of Supply designed their clothes to be durable and last longer while also using modern manufacturing methods to reduce scraps and waste.
Furthermore, with their 1 In, 1 Out program, when you receive your Ministry of Supply box in the mail, you can email their support ([email protected]), and get a free return label to send back your donation.
It’s a smart and easy way to make an impact on the world that we think more companies should do.
If you want to learn more about their sustainable business practices along with the donation program, check out this page.
Shirts, Trousers, Suits, & More
When looking over all the details thus far, Ministry of Supply has everything going for them:
- Clothing made through rigorous testing and technology
- A company that makes clothes in a sustainable manner
- Donates tired clothes for those in need
So, this begs the question, does this result in a quality product, or something that just simply misses the mark?
Let’s find out:
Ministry of Supply Apollo Dress Shirt Review
The shirt that started it all is the Apollo Dress shirt. Claimed to be the “world’s most radically engineered dress shirt”, Ministry of Supply hits all the right notes when it comes to performance and comfort.
Relying on the Phase Change Materials that was developed by NASA, this dress shirt is 19x more breathable than traditional cotton. While this sounds impressive, what does it mean for you?
Whether you are in an important business meeting or interview, this shirt will adjust in real-time to allow your skin to get the right amount of air flow for comfort.
Beyond being insanely breathable, the fabric within the shirt itself allows for four-way stretch. This results in more comfortable and natural movement for your body.
Given that this is a man-made fiber, care instructions are easy – machine wash and tumble dry.
When it comes to finding the right shirt for your body and style, the Apollo Dress Shirt comes in 11 different colors along with a size range between XS and XXL.
Lastly, Ministry of Supply offers their shirt in two different fits – slim and standard.
Overall, if you want an upgrade to your standard dress shirt, we think that this is a fine pick given the amount of technology and research that has been put into making this shirt.
Ministry of Supply Velocity Dress Pant Review
What we really like about Ministry of Supply is that their attention to detail and engineering is carried across all their products. This couldn’t be more evident than with their Velocity Dress Pants.
Constructed from a blend of polyester (61%), viscose (33%), and spandex (6%), it offers many of the key moisture wicking and comfort properties that wool has to offer and takes it even further.
Unlike wool that must be dry cleaned, these dress pants can be tossed into the washer and hung to dry. This not only eliminates the need to visit your dry cleaner regularly, but also is much friendlier on the budget, while also lessening your impact on the environment – as dry cleaners are notoriously harmful for the environment (source).
In addition to their care-friendly nature, the Velocity Dress Pants by Ministry of Supply are also wrinkle-free. Therefore, if you need to travel often for work, you won’t have to worry about packing them in a separate garment bag. You can simply toss them into your carry-on and confidently wear them straight from the bag without the need for an iron.
As is the case for many dress pants, these will likely need to be brought to your local tailor to have them hemmed as they only come in one length.
But don’t worry, Ministry of Supply will reimburse you for the cost – just make sure you keep your receipt.
When considering color, size, and fit – these dress pants offer the following:
- 5 conservative colors to choose from
- 5 waist sizes ranging from 28 to 36
- 2 pant cuts/fits available – slim or standard
Overall, if you want a dress pant that can withstand the daily abuse, keep you cool, while also having friendly care instructions – then they should be moved to the top of your consideration list.
Ministry of Supply Velocity Suit Jacket Review
In all my years covering men’s fashion, I have never come across a suit jacket that was machine washable – until now.
Carrying on the same fabric technology and composition that was found in the dress pants reviewed previously, this suit jacket relies on a high-tech fabric that is both soft and strong.
Where this suit jacket really shines compared to many other alternatives will be its movement and construction. With a high composition of spandex (6%), you can easily bend over or simply stretch in this suit without feeling overly restricted in the arms or back.
Whether you are attending a business power lunch, or you are planning on attending a wedding, the movement provided in this suit won’t be restrictive at all.
The design of this suit is standard – a notch lapel coupled with flap pockets which is timeless – allowing it to be a staple in your wardrobe for years down the road instead of just a seasonal fashion piece.
Now if you do want to bring the suit in a bit and have a more tailored look, in true Ministry of Supply fashion, the option is there to account for this.
Lastly, this suit comes in seven different chest sizes (36 to 48) and five colors.
Before Buying: Visit the Fit Guide
Buying clothes online is always tough. With companies always varying slightly from one another when it comes to sizes, it can be tough for some men to find the proper size for them.
This is made more difficult should you be between sizes. In fact, according to a recent survey, it is estimated that 50% of online clothing purchases are eventually returned (source).
To ensure that a proper fit arrives in the mail, we strongly recommend that you check out the fit guide that Ministry of Supply has put together. There you can find the appropriate sizes for all their clothes including shirts, pants, polos, sweaters, jackets, and even socks!
Ministry of Supply Brick & Mortar Stores
The major drawback to many upstart online retailers is that trying on their clothes is a timely process. While sure, you can get what you ordered within a few days and the returns are usually free, it still is a time sink – especially if you are just wanting to try out a dress shirt.
While we will cover the shipping and return policies of Ministry of Supply in just a quick minute, we first wanted to talk about their retail presence.
While the company is relatively young, they have smartly expanded into some of the major cities around the country.
As it stands at the time of initial publication, Ministry of Supply currently has stores in the following cities:
- Washington, DC (Georgetown)
- New York, NY (Nolita)
- Boston, MA (Back Bay)
- Chicago, IL (Wicker Park)
- San Francisco, CA (Lower Pacific Heights)
- Santa Monica, CA (Santa Monica Place)
While most of these locations are likely not nearby for many, should you ever find yourself visiting any one of these cities or perhaps work in one of them, checking out a Ministry of Supply store could be worth the visit.
Be sure to check out this page for future stores that may open up outside the list provided above.
Ministry of Supply Shipping, Exchange, & Return Policy
As we eluded to earlier, when buying products from a store that you don’t already have a relationship with can make some a bit apprehensive.
Not only do you want to make sure that the store is legitimate, but that you won’t get burned on some weird policy that they might have.
Therefore, we wanted to do a bit of the work for you, and deliver a few key bits of information that you should know before handing over your credit card info:
At the time of publication, Ministry of Supply offers free shipping on all orders placed in the U.S. and Canada:
Exchange & Return Policy
One of the policies that really sets Ministry of Supply apart from many other online fashion retailers is their gracious return and exchange policy.
As noted in the footer of their pages, they offer 100 days for any return:
The process is straightforward and painless as evident on their dedicated Happy Returns page.
Of course, the items returned to Ministry of Supply must be unwashed, not tailored, not worn or taken for a ‘test-drive’ – which we think is pretty fair.
You can also read more about their exact terms around returns and exchanges here.
Ministry of Supply Discount & Promo Codes
Now paying full price for anything online can be tough for a lot of men out there, especially if you want a quality article of clothing while on a restricted budget.
Instead of hunting around and testing expired promo codes endlessly before making your purchase, we wanted to do a bit of the research for you to see what we could and couldn’t find.
Here are the results:
When it comes to promo codes, Ministry of Supply does offer these regularly. Unfortunately, there are no ‘hidden’ pages on the Ministry of Supply website that we could find while doing a bit of online sleuthing.
This leads us to believe that the best route is to sign up for their email list.
Found on the bottom in the footer of their site, you will see a box that hints that deals are delivered this way:
Now after trying out some clothes from Ministry of Supply, should you be impressed by their quality, you might want to know about their unique reward program.
Unlike other fashion retailers that require you to spend several thousand dollars in order to get any ‘Exclusive’ access to their product lineup, Ministry of Supply takes a smarter scaled approach and unlocks great benefits the more you spend with them.
Now if you are just looking to get one of their dress shirts or wrinkle-free suits and that’s it – that is still more than enough to save on purchases going forward.
In the picture below you can see a table explaining what you unlock at their various levels:
Refer A Friend
The last way to score some great savings on Ministry of Supply is through their referral program.
The terms are simple.
Share your unique link with a friend and they will get $50 off their first order. Then if their total purchase was $100+ you get $50 off your next order:
Given that Ministry of Supply is mostly made for men in an office setting, we would highly recommend sharing this with a few of your co-workers. This way everyone can get a wardrobe upgrade at a fraction of the price.
Ministry of Supply vs. Mizzen+Main vs. State & Liberty
With the internet lowering the barriers of entry when it comes to starting a business, as soon as something becomes remotely popular, competitors inevitably begin to pop up.
Therefore, we wanted to just touch briefly on a few other companies that compete head-on with Ministry of Supply:
Founded by Kevin Lavelle in 2012 (two years after Ministry of Supply), Mizzen+Main was one of the pioneers in the performance dress shirt space.
A worthy alternative to Ministry of Supply, Mizzen+Main has also started to recently increase their brick-and-mortar presence with stores quickly popping up across the USA.
In addition to their own branded stores, Mizzen+Main also struck a deal with Nordstrom and has their shirts on display there as well.
Beyond product availability, Mizzen+Main has a more limited product catalog when compared to Ministry of Supply. With no current offerings below the waist (although they did sell a chino at one point), their expertise lies around formal to semi-informal men’s dresswear.
Which brings us to the next point – unlike Ministry of Supply which also offers women’s clothing, Mizzen+Main only makes clothes for men – further restricting their potential audience.
State & Liberty
The youngest of the three companies will be State & Liberty (founded in 2015). Like Ministry of Supply, they have a wide catalog offering which covers all the major dress categories for men – dress pants, blazers, polos, sweaters, and more (still no women’s clothing however).
While their product offering is fairly strong, State & Liberty is widely known for their performance dress shirts. By having a bit of stretch coupled with performance fabric, they offer that great four-way stretch that many men are currently looking for in a modern dress shirt.
Their tailored athletic cut allows for plenty of movement on the upper body without looking too boxy to the appearance.
You can learn more about their research and development process here.
Final Thoughts on Ministry of Supply
With more companies entering the performance dress shirt space, it can be hard to sift through all the options and to find out the best shirt for you.
With that being said, we think that Ministry of Supply offers one of the most well-researched shirts in this market.
Whether it was through the unique fabric that they licensed from NASA or the careful attention to detail when it comes to the cut of the shirt itself – it appears that they have thought about everything.
When you couple that with the fact that the two of the founders are still with the company, their sustainable manufacturing processes, and even a unique program to donate you old office clothing with the box you got your new shirt in – you have a company that is likely going to become very successful.
Therefore, if you came to this guide wondering whether Ministry of Supply was worth it, the answer is a resounding yes.
We don’t think you will be disappointed in the quality of their clothes.
Shawn Burns is the founder and senior editor of Tools of Men. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. Shawn’s expertise includes in-depth product reviews and how-to articles. Shawn was recently featured in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise.