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 soughtafter fashion designed and made in New Zealand, there were few design makers still catering to men. Clare Bowden and Fiona Edwards decided it was time to change things up, establishing Mandatory to create high quality ‘directional’ fashion – tailored menswear full of urban flavour.

Opening in the heart of 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 won by a commitment to creativity, quality, honest advice, and value for money. Mandatory served its ever-growing clientele from their 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 trou 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.

Massa Shoe sizing: