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How do I choose the correct size shirt?
The best way to choose the correct size is to follow these guidelines and take some measurements, then refer to our fit charts that accompany each shirt's description in our online store. If you simply order a size based on some shirts you have in your closet, or because "I have always worn a size __ ", then you run a greater risk of ordering shirts that do not fit properly. When in doubt, consider ordering two different sizes or styles, then simply return the shirts that don't fit. We cannot guarantee a perfect fit every time or for every body, but we can provide a fast size/style exchange or refund within 30 days of purchase. [return to top]
Do sizes vary among different shirt brands?
Absolutely. Each manufacturer specifies the various dimensions of their shirts, including the shape and construction of the collar, as well as the shoulder, armhole, chest and waist dimensions, and sleeve length. So each brand of shirt will feel and fit differently, even if the marked size is the same. Also, be aware that many dress shirts are made oversized, so you might wear a size 16 1/2 dress shirt but need a size 17 in a pilot shirt. [return to top]
Can I assume my new shirts will fit correctly?
It's best not to assume. If you follow our guidelines, take measurements and refer to our fit charts, you will likely get the proper fit on the first try. But do the sensible thing and try on the shirts immediately upon receipt, BEFORE laundering or packing for a trip, and be sure to allow for some collar shrinkage. If for any reason the shirts don't fit properly, they are easily returnable for exchange or refund within 30 days as long as they have not been laundered or worn. However, once you wash or wear a shirt, it is not returnable. [return to top]
How much will new shirts shrink?
Heat from hot water or the dryer or from commercial pressing will shrink cotton fibers. High cotton shirts (60% cotton Oxford or Pinpoint) will typically shrink up to 1/2" in the collar and 1/2" on a long sleeve. Overall tail length might shrink as much as 3/4" over time. Low cotton (35% cotton Poplin) or tightly woven broadcloth shirts will shrink up to 1/3" in collar and sleeve, and 1/2" in tail length. The shrinkage generally occurs incrementally during the first 6 to 8 launderings, not all at once.High heat and over-drying will induce the most shrinkage. You can lessen the amount of shrinkage somewhat by laundering in cool water and by air-drying shirts. It is important to allow for some collar shrinkage when trying on new shirts for fit. If the collar fits just right when new, it may be too tight after shrinkage. Because of the weave orientation, the body of a shirt will typically NOT shrink much in width, so chest and waist fit will not change appreciably due to shrinkage. [return to top]
Will my new shirts look, feel or fit exactly like my old shirts?
No, and here's the primary reason: Your old shirts have changed from when they were new! After repeated washing, drying and wearing, your old shirts have shrunk and stretched over time and the fabric is worn; they are no longer identical in look, feel or dimensions to when they were new, especially if the shirts are 2 or 3 years old. Consider how a new pair of jean looks, feels and fits compared to an old, broken-in pair of jeans - the old jeans are softer, more flexible and have almost a "personalized" fit, whereas the new jeans look different, feel stiffer and just don't fit quite the same. Likewise, a new shirt will look and feel and fit noticeably different than an old shirt.
Additionally, actual design changes to the pattern or fabric of a shirt may have occurred since your last purchase, especially if it has been a few years or longer. We occasionally revise the specifications of our Pilot House shirts based on customer feedback we receive, so while newer versions of our shirts are similar to previous versions, they may not be identical. Our "brand name" manufacturers occasionally make changes, and their shirts may even vary depending on the factory where the shirts were produced. Furthermore, fabric mills occasionally change the thread count or finish of the fabrics they produce, or update the equipment used to weave the fabric. In recent years several U.S. fabric mills have gone out of business, requiring us to re-source our Pilot House shirt fabrics numerous times.
Therefore, new shirts will never look or feel or be identical to your old ones. So rather than make impractical comparisons, we ask that you simply evaluate your new shirts for appearance, fit and function. Look them over and try them on, even if you have purchased the "same" shirt before. If for any reason the shirts are not acceptable to you, we offer a 30 Day Return Policy. [return to top]
Why does the fabric seem different?
Fabric mills occasionally change the yarn size, thread count or finish of the fabrics they weave, or update the equipment used to produce the fabric. Furthermore, in recent years several U.S. fabric mills have gone out of business, and the remaining ones have reduced their offerings, requiring us to re-source our fabrics numerous times. Therefore, the fabric used in any of the shirts we sell may have changed a bit since a previous purchase.
Additionally, fabric undergoes considerable change in actual use, so it is not uncommon to notice a significant difference between new shirts and 2 or 3 year old shirts. The old shirt fabric has endured countless washing/drying/wearing cycles that have stripped it of it's original (when new) characteristics. First, the factory finish applied at the mill has washed out. Then, the fabric has actually lost density. If you've ever cleaned the lint trap on a clothes dryer, you've seen the remnants of fibers lost from the fabric during the drying cycle.The washing cycle also depletes fibers, but they go unseen as they get flushed down the drain with the rinse water. Add to that the pulling and stretching and microscopic abrasion that occurs while the shirt is being worn. The result after a few years: a fabric that has so changed in appearance and feel that it barely resembles it's former self. But the change has occurred slowly enough as to go unnoticed until it is held up next to a brand new shirt. So, just like that faded old T-shirt, comfy broken in pair of jeans, socks with thin soles, and sweatshirt that has lost much of it's fleecy interior, your old shirts no longer resemble new ones.
Rather than make impractical comparisons, we ask that you simply evaluate your new shirts for appearance, fit and function. Look them over and try them on, even if you have purchased the "same" shirt before. If for any reason the shirts are not acceptable to you, we offer a 30 Day Return Policy on unused, unlaundered shirts. [return to top]
Do you make shirts in 100% cotton?
We do occasionally get requests for 100% cotton shirts, but we feel that the higher tendency for wrinkling and greater shrinkage of all-cotton fabrics makes them less suitable for the rigorous environment of uniform shirt usage. Keep in mind that, in spite of heavy marketing by the Cotton Industry, polyester blended fabric was originally created to help rectify the wrinkling and shrinkage problems associated with 100% cotton. Furthermore, all-cotton fabric would raise the price of the shirts substantially, and that is rarely well-received among a price-sensitive marketplace. [return to top]
What's with 'Velcro' closures on pocket flaps?
Nylon hook & loop pocket closures have been proven in use on uniform shirts for police, fire, postal and other demanding professions for many years, and have been used on our Pilot House shirts since 2002. The Wings brand shirts have also been made with velcro closures in recent years.The hidden velcro provides a secure closure while allowing quick, easy access to the pocket, and helps avoid soiling of the pocket and flap that occurs when repeatedly wrestling with a button closure. A velcro pocket flap appears exactly like a conventional button-down flap, and looks much neater than an unbuttoned flap. The velcro on Pilot House shirts is located directly under the button of the flap. The velcro on Wings shirts is under each corner of the flap. The Velcro feature costs a bit more to manufacture, but it is extremely durable in laundering, pressing and use, and will typically outlast buttons, buttonholes and the shirt. The notion that the velcro closure is somehow "unprofessional" is unfounded. While we've encountered a few who simply refused to try it, our experience is that even those pilots who were initially very reluctant to accept the velcro pocket closure have been very pleased with the function... so much so that they requested the feature on subsequent orders. [return to top]
What is a pencil slot vs. a pencil stitch?
A pencil slot is a small horizontal opening in the functional flap of a pocket to allow quick access to a pen without opening the flap.The pocket itself is still full width, to allow placement of wide items such as a pocket logbook. A pencil stitch is placed at the top of a false flap which divides it into two sections; a narrow section for pens/markers, and a wider section for items like a cell phone or sunglasses. A full-length pencil stitch is a continuous stitch running vertically from the top to the bottom of a pocket. This divides the pocket itself into two separate sections; a narrow section for pens/markers, and a wider section for items like sunglasses or a cell phone which are therefore protected from getting scratched by a pen. [return to top]
How can I wear pilot wings on my shirt?
We offer several shirts with a wing eyelet feature, basically a pair of small horizontal buttonholes stitched above the left pocket to allow the placement of metal wings or an ID badge. Our Pilot House eyelet shirts also employ a unique interior padded backing which provides comfort and extra thickness to support the wings. As an alternative to shirts with a wing eyelet feature, we offer a durable Iron-On reinforcement Patch that allows the use of metal wings on any of our other shirt styles. If you require sewn-on wings to be applied to your pilot shirts, you will need to take your shirts to a shop with the special equipment needed to do embroidery work.Currently we do not have the ability to perform that service. [return to top]
When is my credit card charged?
Your credit card is NOT charged at the time you submit your order.Your card is only charged when the order is actually shipped. There is a 3 step process to the credit card charge:
Step 1 - Pre-Authorization: At the moment you submit a web order to pilotshirts.com (Pilot House Inc), your credit card undergoes an automated "pre-authorization," which electronically verifies the authenticity of the card data (name, address, card number, expiration date, security number), and funds from your account are set aside for the purchase. If viewing your credit card account online, the pre-authorizations will show up as a "pending charge" and will reduce your available credit, but NO FUNDS have been removed from your account.If viewing your debit card account, your available balance will be reduced but NO FUNDS have been removed from your account.
Step 2 - Capture: After we review and process your order for fulfillment, we print the invoice/packing list and shipping label and we "capture" the pre-authorized charge. This capture confirms that the charge will be applied to your card, but at this point, NO FUNDS have yet been removed from your account.The capture of a pre-auth can only occur once.
Step 3 - Settlement: At approximately midnight of the day the charge is captured, the Settlement transaction occurs.This is when the funds actually move from your account to our account, and will eventually post to your card account as a recent charge/transaction.
- Credit and Debit card accounts will show "activity" or a "transaction" for both Step 1 and Step 3.This may lead a cardholder to incorrectly believe that two charges were made to their card. In reality, the pending charge from Step 1 will be replaced by the actual charge from Step 3, and only one single charge to the card has occurred.(Many companies charge your credit card immediately at the time you place an order - those charges usually result in only one single transaction record.)
- In the event that all merchandise is backordered, the card charge process stops after Step 1, and the capture and settlement (steps 2 & 3) do not occur until the order is filled and shipped. In the event of a partial backorder of merchandise, the "Captured" amount in Step 2 will be less than the pre-authorized order total, and a separate charge for the balance will occur at a later date when the backordered item is shipped.
- If an order is cancelled before it is shipped, the card charge process stops before Step 3 and the card is not charged - therefore no refund transaction is required. [return to top]
a) Can I get an airline discount?
b) Can I get a quantity discount if I buy "X" number of shirts?
c) Can I get free shipping?
a) Our sell price is already discounted right up front - the list price is displayed next to the discounted sell price to show your savings. All airline and corporate pilots receive the same discounted price.
b) No, but you will save on the per-shirt cost of shipping if you order more shirts. For example, the UPS cost to ship 4,5 or 6 shirts is usually less than $1 over the cost to ship 3 shirts. 1 shirt or 100... you always receive our best price.If we could afford to sell for any less and still stay in business, we would.
c) Except for Santa Claus, there is no such thing as free shipping... no one at UPS or the Postal Service works for free, nor do they ship our packages for free.We itemize the shipping charge apart from the merchandise price as a more accurate and honest approach, rather than hiding the cost by adding two or three dollars to the price of each shirt.Our shipping charges reflect the actual cost to transport our goods to your door, including carrier costs, insurance and packaging.Our shipping charges are lower than most other mail order companies, and we do not profit from our shipping charges. [return to top]
Do you offer "Rush" service?
Actually, we rush to fill every order we receive.Most orders for in-stock merchandise will ship out the very same day if the order is received by 3pm ET Monday-Thursday and by noon on Friday. UPS ground or Priority Mail generally take 1 to 6 days transit time depending on location.Please view our Shipping Information and scroll down to the UPS Transit map for specific time/location information.With the cost of Next Day Air service now reaching $60 for a box of 4 shirts, we do not offer expedited shipping options. [return to top]
Why don't you ship outside the U.S. ?
Our order fulfillment, address verification and shipping procedures are highly automated, streamlined and secure.Conversely, shipping to APO's/FPO's, Territories or locations outside the U.S. are rather cumbersome, time-consuming, relatively expensive and incur a high loss rate - plus there are customs issues, unknown costs associated with import duties, and the complications of possible size exchanges. Therefore we do not currently ship Internationally or to U.S. Territories. If you anticipate travel to the U.S. or if you have a friend or agent who can make arrangements for overseas transport, we would be happy to ship to any point in the 50 states and DC to facilitate that. [return to top]
How can I exchange or return shirts?
New, clean, unlaundered shirts are returnable within 30 days; no return authorization is needed.Item should be placed in it's original plastic bag for protection during return shipping.A Return/Exchange Form is included with each shipment, or you can use our printable Return/Exchange Form.Returns and exchanges are processed promptly and a confirmation notice will be e-mailed to you.You can speed the exchange process a bit more by re-ordering your replacement items online in a new order, then simply return the unwanted items for a refund.The customer is responsible for all shipping costs associated with returns and exchanges.Please note: A restocking fee may be charged if returns require substantial refolding/repackaging. [return to top]
Do you offer a warranty on your shirts?
We offer a 6 month warranty on all of the products we sell.Please check your invoice or online order history to verify that the shirt or other item was purchased within the last 6 months, then simply send us an e-mail describing any problem you experience with an item.Depending on the problem, we will make provisions for the return and examination of the merchandise.Any shirt or other item that we determine to be defective within 6 months of purchase will be repaired, replaced, or refunded, at our option.This warranty does not cover against normal wear or poor appearance due to improper laundering or care. [return to top]
Why can't I return shirts I bought "a few months ago"?
We feel that 30 days is an adequate and reasonable amount of time to make an informed decision about the purchase of our products.If receiving a refund or exchange for your pilot shirts is important to you, then it is important enough to do within the required 30 days of receipt. Shirts kept for over 30 days may not match the newer stock we have on our shelf, and the likelihood of degraded condition while not in our possession is also a concern. When our customers pay for new shirts, they expect to receive new shirts, not shirts that have been sitting in someone else's house for months or even years. Attempting to return shirts many months after purchase is a bit like clearing out your pantry of last year's canned goods and expecting your grocery store to buy them back. Likewise, we do not accept returned items that were originally purchased from another supplier, even if we sell the same product. If you cannot use your non-returnable items, we suggest you make them available to a fellow pilot or perhaps donate them to charity and take a tax deduction. [return to top]
Can I have pilot shirts custom-made?
Well, if you want 600 shirts, we can special order them for you, since that is the minimum quantity to manufacture.Realistically, we offer many different pilot shirts, with various patterns, fabrics and pocket styles, so with a bit of compromise you should find a style that will suit your needs.However, there are tailoring shops that specialize in offering true custom-made dress shirts, and some may be able to make pilot shirts as well.Be advised that the typical price for custom-made shirts will range from $75 to $100 per shirt.A more reasonably priced alternative might be to buy standard pilot shirts, and have the shirts altered at a tailor shop to meet your special requirements.We do not offer this type of service. [return to top]
Do you expect me to read all the stuff on this website before I buy pilot shirts?
We provide a large amount of detailed information about our products and our service in an effort to help you make an informed purchase, and to make our sales policies clearly understood. We hope that you avail yourself of this information by reading about any details that are important to you. To paraphrase a common expression; "You can lead a horse to water... but if he chooses not to drink, you are left staring at the backside of a thirsty horse." [return to top]