Monday, 30 November 2009

My made to measure (part one)

Ready for made for measure.

Long time readers will know how often I have dreamed of entering the world of bespoke and made to measure suiting. The thought of having a suit made to my own personal specification and desire has appealed to me for many years...now, thanks to my recent trip to Hong Kong the wait is finally over and the dream is realised. Despite being told of the numerous wonders of Hong Kong, I have always been drawn to the idea of exploring the countless little tailor shops scattered throughout the city. However, as my last minute post asking for your help demonstrated, I was more than a little bewildered by the abundance of willing and able craftsman at my potential disposal and I needed to make a choice between them. Thanks again for all of your recommendations, when I return to Hong Kong next year I will be sure to explore them fully (first on my list is the oft recommended W. W Chan) but I just ran out of time this trip. As it turned out I managed to stumble across the perfect tailoring shop to guide me through my first made to measure suit via an eye catching guide book, j.a. daye. I was intimidated by the choice of having to pick out my tailor but my find bridged the gap between what I am used to and what I needed. j.a. daye is my idea of what a good twenty first century tailor should be, a bespoke experience for a generation raised on the ease of ready-to-wear shopping, with classic styles made with a distinguishable modern point of view in unexpected fabrics. From the moment I stepped in to the store and met the owners I knew that this was the place for me. Having found my tailors, let me take you through my journey in to made to measure. Here I choose the suit, get measured up and work out the initial design features with my tailor but tune in later this week for the next stages...

Finding the suit that inspired it all...

The studio and store are both in the heart of old Hong Kong and all suits are made by a small network of expert tailors. After stepping inside their store it was not long before I had established the perfect suit to kick start my first foray in to made to measure tailoring. The suit jumped right out of the clothes rail and I knew that it would make my ideal lightweight Sunday best. Following a quick chat with proprietors Ellis and Alex, I discovered that the suit is made from a crosshatch-like weave which appears both traditionally Japanese and very modern at the same time. From a distance, it might be denim, but it is so fine and delicate to the touch that no doubt I will actually lament taking it off at the end of the day. Following this inspired choice I excitedly trotted off to the tailoring studio to get measured up.

The first measurements. Here I am being measured by the lovely Ellis. Fittingly, I am wearing my handmade in england shirt (closing down sale purchase from Jas M.B) for the very first time.

One of the reasons for choosing either a bespoke or made to measure suit is that the end result is certain to make the wearer look so much better than anyone else in the room. Not only will you look slimmer, taller and more pulled together, but you will move much more freely and feel totally at ease. You should feel as relaxed in it as you would in your favourite pair of jeans. To reach this level of ease, the first stage requires the tape measure. I have to confess to being a little nervous as the first batch of measurements were recorded.

Compiling statistics.

This was the first time that I had been measured up and I really didn't know what to expect. Thankfully, old hand Ellis soon made me feel at ease and I found the whole experience enjoyable whilst learning a thing or two. If you are a little unsure of the process, the pair have created a series of fourteen videos documenting how you can take the required points of measurement yourself. After the measurements were recorded the real fun began as Ellis and I began to sketch out our shared vision of what the suit could and ultimately would be...

Ellis sketches out our shared vision.

Prior to my Hong Kong visit I had given my ideal suit a great deal of thought and I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. That said there were a few points I needed the tailor's guidance on and Ellis was extremely talented at probing for my input and turning my responses in to something tangible. With pen in hand, his sketches soon took shape and I knew that he would create my perfect Sunday best.

Working out the finer details

There was so much to consider but as I chatted with Ellis my imagined suit took shape. As I had fallen head over heels for the cross hatch voile two piece in store I didn't want to change too much. In short, I wanted to keep the one button closure at waist, the three patchwork pockets at front and the three inside pockets. For me, this is relaxed tailoring at its finest. However, I had to inject my own personality in to the finish of the jacket in particular. After discussing the options, I decided that the sleeves would be lined in a polka dot silk and the body would be complimented with a striped silk. Having made this decision I could not have been more excited about donning this suit for the very first time. This of course had to wait. At least one fitting (more likely two) was required before the suit could be fully realised and created. to my specifications. We left the first meeting there and I left the studio eager to return for the next stage...

The imagine suit..soon to be realised...

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What an amazing experience but it sounds like you need to know what you want before you go in - otherwise you could be swayed (that is the only problem with this sort of service). You need to keep true to your vision. On a different note I have been given tickets to the world premiere of Nine on thursday but the invite says dress glamourous - what does that mean if you're a man? It's a fine line I feel, and would value your comments on this particular subject. Is black tie the same as glamourous for a man?

Ernest

Izzy said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing that suit. The idea of striped and dotted lining is genius, the fabric swatches look sumptuous!

Style Salvage Steve said...

Ernest: Well said! My advice to anyone looking to buy this kind of suit is to have a damn good idea of what you want before you even speak to your tailor. As for glamorous dress...it is an odd dress code. However, I would start with a tux but suggest looking to Tom Ford for inspiration. He is a man who looks pretty darn glamorous. Keep us posted and have fun!
Izzy: Thanks so much! I can't wait to see it either but it was delivered today so my wait will soon be over. The next post will include even better fabric swatches for your enjoyment.

Percy said...

Here comes the jealousy! Sounds like an amazing process i've always envisioned getting measured up as being a rather stuffy and old fashioned affair in some dark store involving copious amounts of wood paneling.... The Hong Kong way sounds much more fun! Look forward to seeing the finished product.
Percy

pauperthreads.wordpress.com

Mat said...

this is such an exciting post, i can't wait for the lead up. ive been wanting a suit now for ages, everyone i try on in shop, never really happy with the all round fit, in particular button fastening and waist area.

be interested to hear the price of this too. anyways, i look forward to seeing the full shabang

Mat said...

oh and sample swatches, thats a must!

hard liquor; soft holes said...

ooh, i'm psyched to see the results!

TheSundayBest said...

You live a charmed life Salter.

Giancinephile said...

And that looks like a very wonderful experience. Maybe, I'll try that myself when I end up in Hong Kong.

Style Salvage Steve said...

Percy: Oh no, I don't want to make you guys jealous. I've been saving up to embark on something like this for ages (just ask EJ) but I can testify that the experience is well worth it (having just tried on the finished suit for the first time). This particular Hong Kong experience was ideal for me. :)
Mat: Thanks! The next post will go up tomorrow and I'll post the finished suit later this week. I am so pleased with it. As for the price, it was around the £400 mark.
Hard liqour, soft holes: So was I! I just need to wait for the weather to improve before posting the finished pics.
The Sunday Best: I do, come live it with me though.
Giancinephile: It was and you should. I fear I could become addicted to this world...

Christopher said...

around how much did the suit cost in hkd?

Style Salvage Steve said...

Christopher: Just shy of HKD 6000...sounds alot more than it is! Ha!

Christopher said...

Thanks, makes it easier for me to convert the HKD to $$.

I'm in HK about 3 times a year so all very good info.

And yes, not a lot at all for what it sounds like youre getting.

Giancinephile said...

Steve, nothing bad in getting addicted to this kind of thing! haha

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