Mandatory was founded in Wellington in 1997. Back then, what had been for a century or so a strong local menswear industry was all but threadbare. While women still enjoyed a choice of stylish and sought-after fashion designed and made in New Zealand, there were few design makers catering to men. Clare Bowden and Fiona Voisey established Mandatory to work the traditions of menswear; quality/robust tailored/considered pieces to create fashionable, fun-functional, local menswear, that could be fitted to the local guys and local scene.

Opening in Cuba Mall, Mandatory quickly established the ethos that has seen it become one of New Zealand's best-loved fashion labels. Many clients have been with them from the start, their loyalty was won by a commitment to creativity, quality, honest advice, and value for money. Mandatory served its ever-growing clientele from its landmark Cuba Street store for 20 years before making the exciting move to Ghuznee Street in 2018. This realised the long-held dream of combining the store and off-site workroom under one roof – a heritage building originally opened as the New Zealand Union Clothing Company's sewing room in 1933.

Clare continues to lead a passionate staff of six. You'll find her on the floor most days, advising and fitting clients, measuring tape in hand. Fiona co-designs Mandatory's new collections and directs the development of knitwear.


Size Guide

The table below sets out garment sizes that correspond to each other and regularly fit together. Eg. A size Medium guy typically fits a 39 or 40 cm neck dress shirt, a 96 or 100 cm chest jkt, an 88cm dress/casual pant, and this will correspond to good brand jeans as 33 inch (there are a few dodgy sized 32” sold elsewhere these days confusing the issue!) 

Medium can be the hardest area to define as guys can be on the smaller or bigger side of this. Buying dress shirts; collars and neck sizes are absolute, but brands can vary in roominess, length etc. Please enquire, we stock a variety of brands and styles to cover shape and taste below the neck!

Our top sizes are considered to be good fair standard sizes and a Medium guy fits our medium casual shirts, tees and jackets generally without issue.

Our trouser sizes are true to measurements. Due to our extensive involvement in tailored wear where centimetres matter, we are not generous with our waists. Ease is added to allow for pants sitting low but neat. The table is a good guide to what is likely to work on a guy whose frame is fairly in proportion.


Please measure a belt you are currently using, this will give you the best indication of the correct size you require.

Measure from the beginning of the buckle to the strong indentation line between the holes. That is the measurement to ascertain what is the best belt size for you. I.e. this belt measures 77cm, so you would need the 76-83 belt.

Massa Shoe sizing: