If I stand side-on to the mirror, it almost looks like a real suit. Of course, it only has one arm and the front and back panels are covered in stitching. But you can’t see that from the side.

I can’t stand like that for long, as Edward Tam is hovering with intent. I’m having my first fitting for a double-breasted suit in Hong Kong, and he thinks there is a little too much give up the back. Quick as a flash, he pins up a half inch, pinching it in a long dorsal fin.

I’m trying to remember all the fit points I should mention. And writing them down in advance is my top tip to you. I was arrogant and thought I wouldn’t forget any. I did. Most of the important ones came to mind, however – the break of the trousers (to my taste, so there is no break in the back line, just the front), the length of the jacket (my taste is a little shorter than normal, about in line with the middle of my thumb when my hands are at my sides) and the length of the sleeves (again, I like it a little shorter, with half and inch of shirt showing with my arms at my sides, over an inch when the arm is at my chest).

Interestingly, Mr Tam and his colleague were sceptical about the sleeve length. In Asia they tend to be rather longer, apparently. But they were happy with my demands and didn’t seem too unimpressed with the result. It is probably as important to be confident in your demands as it is to know they are correct.

Aside from not quibbling over sleeves, the best way Mr Tam showed his quality to me as a tailor was picking up on aspects of my body shape that I was already aware of. For example, I have wide but sloping shoulders. In many off-the-peg suits this has the annoying effect of letting the shoulders of the jacket droop a little, creating folds under the arm. Edward picked up on this when we discussed the “natural” curve of the unmade suit I had on – if the shoulder were any more unpadded, he pointed out, it would reveal my sloping figure and be uncomplimentary.

Edward got a mental tick in my head for picking up on that. And it is probably worth you bearing something similar in mind were you to go through this experience. Go into any high-end suit shop and ask the oldest member of staff for his advice on how a jacket fits. If he knows his stuff he will list all your pluses and minuses, making you fully equipped to rate your tailor.

The suit should be ready this afternoon. I’m rather nervous about it – particularly as the half-made suit I tried on didn’t have its deep purple lining. It might look awful.

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asdrubal76

Just curious, because no one ever talks about this: how much does it cost, on average, to have a suit made for you? In US dollars.

asdrubal76

Thanks–very helpful. Read your blogs on bespoke/made to measure, also very helpful. I spend most of my days struggling with the never-quite-right adjustments tailors make to the few nice off-the-rack suits I’ve been able to find for reasonable prices. I’d love to get a bespoke suit, but aint gonna be near Hong Kong or England any time soon. I live near Charlotte. Any tips for good tailors around there?

john

I was in HK last year and went to A Man Hing Cheong. I am in the US Navy so travel there a bit and they are the best I’ve had from HK. London, Milan, and NY…probably not up to the quality of the suits I’ve had made there, however for the fabric used much much cheaper. I purchased two last time there and both of them have worn as well as other bespoke suits I own. Paid about $1000 US which is much more than most places in the SAR but well worth it.

pk

I have been following your blog for some time and this is my first message. I am spending some days in Hong Kong on my way to Australia and would like to have a couple of suits made and some shirts. I am toying with the idea of trying Edward Tam whom you recommended. May I ask a couple of questions:
– have you tried him since you had the suit made?
– any chance of uploading a photo of the suit (am sorry, I know that this is a cheeky thing to ask, but it would be helpful – I appreciat ethat this might not be possible)
– have you heard of any other success/disaster stories about him?
– how many fittings did you have?
– how much did you pay for it?

Many thanks in advance for any help and am sorry to bother you.

rapsak

I am going to Hong Kong in a matter of days. Good you give me a tip on which are the best tailors in Hong Kong.

Im new to teh world of bespoke. I love it.

You seem like the authority!

whats the sp as regards HK v SR?

Also made by postal directioons?

43

I’ve had considerably bad experience with Edward. Very nice guy, but the clothes I received are very disappointing.
I’ve heard so many good things about him, I cannot believe that I got so unlucky with this guy. Please let me know if you’re interested in seeing some of his work. I’ll be more than happy to share my experience in more detail.

43

I have to say he listened to every detail I asked him for. Everything fits very well and trousers and shirts I picked up in the shop are flawless. I had one fitting for the trousers and one fitting for the jacket. The jacket was shipped and just didn’t turn out good at all. I’d be very interested in hearing more from other people’s experience.
I was so happy after the shirts and pants and fining a guy who actually listens to what I want instead of trying to push a deal, but then that …