Joe Button Is An Online Tailor That Lets You Try-Before-You-Buy

Joe Button Is An Online Tailor That Lets You Try-Before-You-Buy

Joe Button is an Australian-based online retailer that specialises in affordable fitted suits for men and women. What sets it apart from other online tailors like Institchu and Buttons ‘n’ Threads is its physical Sydney showroom. This allows customers to get a professional fitting while checking out the suits in person — without flying to Asia for the privilege.

When it comes to online shopping, tailored suits are a risky proposition: supplying your own “DIY” measurements is a recipe for disaster and you can never be sure about the fabric or cut until it arrives on your doorstep. On the other hand, it removes the hassle of visiting a swanky fashion boutique and the prices are usually a lot cheaper.

Joe Button is a hybrid business model that attempts to combine the best of both worlds: it provides the assurances of a brick-and-mortar retailer while still offering the low prices and convenience of online shopping. The suits are made from French and Italian wool and come in a range of styles and colours; all of which can be viewed prior to purchase.

Customers can either order online by inputting their own measurements or go in store for a professional fitting. (There is currently one showroom in George Street, Sydney with plans to open a second storefront in Melbourne next year.) Once fitted in-store, a customer’s measurements are kept on file which makes the next online purchase much easier.

Last week, we checked out some of Joe Button’s wares (wears?) during the official launch of its Sydney showroom. Despite its masculine moniker, the company was actually founded by Modi Song and Melissa Lee; two female entrepreneurs who started the business fresh out of university. In hindsight, the personified branding was probably a mistake — both women frequently receive business calls asking for the non-existent “Joe”.

As with most budget online tailors, Joe Button sources its clothing from factories in China. This required Song and Lee to move to Asia for six months to liaise with potential partners while simultaneously learning Mandarin. The tricky part was finding suppliers that would agree to take minimum orders that were suitable for a lean Aussie startup.

“Building our manufacturing contacts wasn’t easy: these factories are used to dealing with minimal quantities in the tens of thousands, whereas we wanted a minimum quantity of one,” Song explained.

A Joe Button model shows off one of their tailored suits.

The upshot of all this wheeling and dealing is cheaper suits for Australian customers: its suit range starts from $550 for tailored offerings that would ususally cost twice that. Tailored shirts, meanwhile, start at around $100.

The whole process from ordering to delivery takes around three weeks. If something goes awry with the fitting, Joe Button will also provide alterations locally free of charge.


  • Does the $550 include fitting?

    I remember getting a fitted suit (as in made to order) from Fletcher Jones, and that cost around $400. Mind you that was about 5 or 6 years ago now, but still, I’d expect a lot less when you don’t have as high retail overheads.

  • “…is its psychical Sydney showroom.” – I think you meant ‘physical’ – either that or it’s a wierd showroom! 🙂

    • A psychic showroom would be cool.

      “Hi, I’m John, and-”

      “You’re a size 40 shirt, a Saggitarius…and have real daddy issues.”


  • Actually the last time I used them Institchu also had a showroom (also on George St in Sydney) and they took regular trips interstate to show/fit. I paid good money to Institchu for a personal fitting and fabric selection. The suit then took about 8 weeks to arrive, had a female cut (I am a male!), and was generally poorly made. The cuffs on the shirts were all too tight, the lining of the suit hung down on both the original jacket and the new one they made. I paid to get the suit fixed and tried to contact them for reimbursement and they never got back to me. So I suggest you avoid Institchu…

    • I went to Institchu and got great service and the suit fitted well, they tell me that some customers have unrealistic expectations.

      • If “unrealistic expectations” means that blood flows to my hands when the cuffs on the shirt are buttoned up, then yes – they are correct. If “unrealistic expectations” means that you expect to NOT see the suit jacket lining hanging below the suit jacket then again – they are bang on the money.The long time to make the suits was due to the factory shutting down in the Chinese New Year period – but just the fact that they had no visibility of this beforehand, to me was odd – do they have much contact with the factory in China where the suits are made? I paid good money for the suit and shirts and have not worn them a single time… Seeing as I wear a suit 2-3 times a week, that is a pretty disappointing outcome. And as a follow-up I don’t work at Joe Button or any other suit/clothing/retail company. And as a 2nd follow-up, I have no idea why it took me so long to respond to this comment 😉

  • I would not recommend Joe Button, unless you fancy trying on your bespoke suit in the communal toilets (they do not have a change room), or are well versed in how your shirt/suit should fit and are prepared to stand your ground with regard to alterations. Despite being measured in-store, some (although not all) of the clothes I had made, did not fit properly.

    You may have a different experience than I did, if you provide your own measurements. Though I can’t imagine anyone enjoying the experience of trying on a $550 plus suit in the communal toilets.

    • The showroom in George Street has a fitting area (which admittedly is just a wall divider). Not exactly swish but not a toilet either.

    • Some online retailers will come to your home or office to measure you up like Institchu, they do this for Real estate agents who are heavy users of suits that need to be comfortable as well as look good. $ 550 is at the very budget end of custom designed suits so i would not expect too much at that price. If you want to be measured in style try Hugo Boss Bespoke division where suits start at $3,000 but can climb much higher and you will get your own fitting room.

  • Maybe the people complaining about Joe Button are Institchu staff and those complaining about Institchu are Joe Button staff.

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