Buying my first Bespoke....suggestions?

khelliott

Starting Member
This forum helped me pick out a RTW tuxedo a couple years ago when I needed it quickly. It turned out great except:
- I wish I had been able to find a peaked lapel at an affordable price....I had to settle for the notch
- I never did get good at tying a bow tie ;-)

Anyway, I've lost weight, got in shape and I'm now replacing my wardrobe. I needed a charcoal suit a few months ago and once again bought it RTW. But it turns out that I have to be in Hong Kong for a few days next week, so I've decided my second purchase will be a Bespoke suit from WW Chan.

The main focus for the suit would be weddings/dancing/evening wear, but it would also be nice if it could do double-duty for travel/business when needed; but I don't know whether that's too much to expect. I've learned a lot by searching the posts over the last few days, but could sure use some assistance.

I am:
53 yrs old, 5'9+", 180 lbs, somewhat muscular (~40" chest, 33-34" waist), athletic rump/thighs. I was thinking:
----------------------------
Coat
- single breasted, 2-button
- peak lapel
- two piece
- Navy solid or navy with subtle (near invisible?) windowpane
- light-weight wool for year-round in Dallas
- Matching Navy lining
- High arm holes (for the dancing)
- slim-fit (but not exaggerated) .... is this European style? I've seen some with a huge curve that I'm just not found of
- functional cuff buttons (4 buttons)
- horn buttons
- hacking (same thing as slanted?) pockets
- Flap pockets
- Business Card Pocket Inside Left Coat Front

Pants
- waist a little below the navel (1-2 fingers)
- plain front
- zipper fly
- no back pockets
- cuffed (1.75")
- slight break on the front of the shoe
----------------------------

I'd appreciate any suggestions on any of the above choices if you think they are inappropriate. But there's a whole lot of other features that I just don't have a clue:

1) Lapel width: I don't know, any suggestions?
2) Flap pockets: if I can tuck these in, does it transform a business suit to more of an evening style?
3) Would a pleated style pant be better (single? dual? normal? reverse?)
4) Should I rethink the lack of back pockets. I never use them, preferring a a money clip in the front pocket
5) With my height, should I go for slightly smaller cuffs (1.5"?)
6) I specified the high arm holes so that the coat doesn't bunch up too badly when in a ballroom dance position (my existing RTW suit bunches up terribly when my arms are up in the dance position). Are there any additional tailoring details that would help keep the suit looking good while dancing?
7) Should I consider adding a right-side ticket pocket? I've never had one....and I'm curious to try it out, but I honestly don't know whether this swings the suit more towards business or entertainment
8) I don't know fabric ! any clues what to look for?
9) For my physique, should the shoulders be natural? Lightly padded? Heavily padded?
10) Vents: what's appropriate for an athletic figure/rump? dual-side vents?
12) Would the suit be more business/entertainment flexible if I went with a 3-piece and left the vest at home for entertainment? Or is a 3-piece tailored so that the vest is mandatory for the suit to "look" right?
13) Sleeve buttons: normal? or kissing?
14) I've NEVER been able to show the proper amount of cuff with RTW......don't know if my suit is too long, my shirt is too short, or both (hopefully, the tailor can help me out here)

Whew! anything else I'm missing?

From what I've heard of WW Chan, I can't imagine they will let me make really bad decisions, but I'd sure appreciate any advice that you might have on the styling before I head to Hong Kong.

Sorry for such a long post and sooooo many questions. Thanks in advance.

Best Regards,
Keith
 

cpac

Senior Member
Keith:

My only real suggestion is this (and it's something my meeting for my own first bespoke suit with Des Merrion helped me realize):

Think about what you want from the suit - what you want it to be, and don't worry about whether a bunch of clothing-obsessed people would think of the width of your lapel or the height of your cuff.

Most of the fun of bespoke is being able to get exactly what you want without having to put up with too many suggestions from others. It sounds like you've put a great deal of thought into most of your suit, and all that's left is (1) making a few style decisions (e.g. ticket pocket or not) for which the only person's opinion that matters is your own and (2) some construction issues (e.g. fabric, vent, shoulder padding, pleats) that are best decided by having a conversation with your tailor when he can see you in person.

Enjoy the experience!
 

a tailor

Honors Member
new suit

if your seat measure is about 42, your average for a size 40.
tropical 10 oz. or less, dont know what that is in grams.
high armholes yes but forget the hacking pockets. double piped is dressier.
and no ticket pocket either. why not 2 lower inside pockets.
instead of the window pane liven it up with a fancy lining.
side vents of course.
1.75 cuff your the right height for it. if used for business do you need back pockets? reverse pleats i think look good.
hidden and or watch pocket/s.
 

a tailor

Honors Member
very light shoulder pads.
for the dance position be sure the back is easy fitting not tight.
if you want to go all out, have a matching vest for business wear.
then have a pearl grey or blue grey double breast vest for dance wear.
 

khelliott

Starting Member
......................Most of the fun of bespoke is being able to get exactly what you want without having to put up with too many suggestions from others. It sounds like you've put a great deal of thought into most of your suit, and all that's left is (1) making a few style decisions (e.g. ticket pocket or not) for which the only person's opinion that matters is your own and (2) some construction issues (e.g. fabric, vent, shoulder padding, pleats) that are best decided by having a conversation with your tailor when he can see you in person.

Enjoy the experience!

Cpac,

Thanks for the advice. Regarding the style decisions, unfortunately I am a true novice......I didn't even know there was such a thing as a ticket pocket and have never seen one in person. Consequently, I don't know whether it's very businesslike (subway tickets), or entertainment (theater tickets). That's the beauty of such a great forum. I'll take everything as a suggestion, not a mandate, and I will definitely follow your advice and enjoy the experience.

Regards,
Keith
 

khelliott

Starting Member
A Tailor,

Thanks for the great suggestions from both of your posts. You've given me a lot more to think about and investigate.

Regards,
Keith
 

NZNorm

New Member
I just returned from Hong Kong where I had a suit made by WW Chan. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted, and they provided excellent suggestions along the way. I am very happy with the suit and will certianly go back on my next visit to Hong Kong. If you have a good idea of what you want, and are willing to listen to their suggestions, you will get a great suit.
 

khelliott

Starting Member
OK, I'm back with my new suit...

Well, I'm back from Hong Kong and couldn't be more pleased with my first bespoke suit. Based on forum members recommendations, I chose WW Chan for my tailor. Some comments on the whole process:
- WW Chan is located along Nathan Rd, which is known as the Golden Mile, amidst tons of high-end stores. Although the staircase up to their shop looks pretty rundown, the shop itself is very nice with, what looks like, hundreds of fabrics lining the wall.
- I met with both the salesman and tailor 4 times over 4 days. 2 fittings on Saturday, one on Monday, and the final pickup/check on Tuesday.
- The initial fabrics that they showed me were incredible but would have put the suit at ~$1300. That was a little too pricey for me and we moved to a beautiful Super110 Italian (Vitale Barberis Canonico) that brought the price down under $1K. As I mentioned here before, I really don't know cloth but it looks and feels nice to me.
- Regarding the suit itself, I had a pretty good idea what I wanted after reading the forum for a while; nevertheless, the folks at WW Chan certainly helped me refine the choices.
- They said that, for my physique, they should use very light padding on the shoulders; I knew that they would adjust the padding to match my posture (one shoulder sits slightly higher than the other), but they noticed that part of my shoulder structure sticks out slightly forward on one side vs the other. Consequently, they reduced the padding to account for that also.
- I decided against the ticket pocket and decided on double-piped pockets with flaps (which I think I'll keep out for business and fold in when entertaining)
- Instead of a watch pocket on the outside of the pants (which they felt would interfere with the fold of the single pleat), they recommended to put it in the waistband instead.
- Picking up the suit on Tuesday, I was amazed at the difference in look/feel compared to the suits I've bought in the past. The higher armholes make it feel different when putting the coat on, but once it's on, the freedom of movement is excellent and the shoulders stay in place.

Sidenote:
---------
Earlier this year, I had to rush to buy a RTW for a specific occasion. Since this was my only suit that comes close to fitting (or so I thought), that's the suit I wore to the initial fitting in Hong Kong. The tailor was kind but pointed out that the jacket was too long, the sleeves were too long, the shoulders were too wide, the 3-button style didn't look good on me, and the waist was too large. (but other than that, it was fine ;-)

Upon my return to the States, I went to the original RTW outlet to try to get my existing suit modified to fit a little better. They are going to shorten the coat and sleeves and they will also shrink the waist, but they couldn't do anything about the wide shoulders. I also took the new suit in with me to show the tailor an example of the fit I preferred. While I was settling the alterations bill, a salesman was kind enough to press the WW Chan suit and was getting ready to wrap it in plastic. I noticed that he was feeling the cloth, opening up the jacket and looking at the construction; he then called another salesmen over and they both started to go nuts over the suit. They told me that it was an an incredible suit and fabric and asked where I got it. I already loved the suit, but it was really nice to hear that from a competitor!

Anyway, thanks again to Andy for such a great website and all of the forum members for their assistance.

Best Regards,
Keith
 

Teacher

Honors Member
Ah, aren't AskAndy success stories the best?:icon_smile_wink:

Glad to hear you had a great experience. Chan seems to have a number of satisfied customers around here. Also understand this: despite their skill, custom tailors don't always create the perfect-fitting garment right away, and in fact it sometimes takes quite some effort for whatever reason. You, then, are fortunate.

As for altering your other suit, that's a great idea. And no, they can't narrow the shoulders without recutting the suit, which would be prohibitively expensive. Still, wear it and enjoy it.
 
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