custom garments

Veteran travellers to Hong Kong had recommended that we investigate custom tailored suits during our visit. Based on a recommendation for a specific tailor (there are hundreds) from a very senior executive at my company several of our team members had pants and jackets made for them. Since my trip was two weeks I decided to wait and use their goods as a baseline for my purchase.

After whitnessing the process and deciding that everything was on the up and up, I took the plunge. I knew I wanted a very dark blue suit and proceeded to hunt through the fabric book. The difficult part is making the conceptual leap from a 6″ x 5″ swatch to a finished suit. I certainly could have used a little more authoritiative advice from the shop owner, but I generally know what I like and don’t like garment-wise. Measurements are taken – mercifullily little crotch-grab. Next I am led through a series of design questions on flaps, lapels, buttons, pockets, everything. It is all juat a little stressful and very much like Mongolian BBQ – you really can’t blame the guy if it comes out shitty.

The thought also occurred that since we had all the design power, shouldn’t we use the opportunity to really make it “custom” and add like 30 pockets all over the thing. Channel the inner fashion designer. The added benefit of pretty much everyone constantly asking where you got the short-sleeved suit.

A couple days later I went back for the first fitting. They bring out what is essentially a half-finished suit, no zippers, no buttons, one arm only on the jacket. This is where the magic happens. They micro-adjust every seam and fit detail.

Back for the final fitting and payment another couple days later. The finished product looks quite good so far, but I’ll know better once I’ve worn it out. Total cost of all this is heavily dependent on material selection, but basically it is about half the cost of a standard Hugo Boss off-the-rack starter suit.

Out of curiosity and a surprising lack of properly fitting dress shirts in my wardrobe I decided to go for a custom shirt as well. These guys specialize so its off to Ascott Chang’s upstairs. This time there are many more exacting measurements (no separate fitting here) and a few more design choices.

Both these places keep your measurements on file so if I love them I can order up a few more colors as needed.


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