Sometimes a jacket really impresses you from the off - the try-on, the fitting, everything just beautifully done from the start.
It doesn't happen very often, and it doesn't necessarily make a difference to the finished garment; but it's a very good, very reassuring sign.
This jacket, made by WW Chan, was one of those.
I'll get into the details of the review in a moment, but just to say I'll also spend some time talking about WW Chan and their journey. Because they've really evolved in recent years, in terms of style and structure, in a time when most other tailors haven't.
I’ve known WW Chan for a long time, ever since I used to travel to Hong Kong with my old job. But it wasn’t until 2018 that I really spent time in the workshop there, with Patrick (Chu), Arnold (Wong) and the team.
When I did, I was impressed at their attention to detail and their open-mindedness. They were more aware than most tailors of other traditions around the world - and how those were affecting what their customers wanted.
Still, I was a little unsure about the style that resulted. It seemed a little early stage and I wasn’t sure it was for me.
That changed when WW Chan joined our pop-up shop on Savile Row, as part of the Bryceland’s residency. I tried on a jacket made for Kenji Cheung (of Bryceland’s), and loved the cut: wider in the shoulder, a little drape in the chest, straight but open in the foreparts.
It wasn’t a lightbulb moment, perhaps more of a click, a checkbox confidently ticked. I could see how I would wear this style and why I would like it.
(More evidence for what I’m always banging on about: that all tailors need try-on garments showing their style(s). It means the customer has a clear idea of what they’re buying, and their expectations are much more likely to be met.)
There was a reason I liked that WW Chan jacket so much, I think, and that’s that Kenji and Ethan had been working on it for years.
Every time he made something for Kenji, Patrick would tweak it based on their feedback: a little more roping in the shoulder, perhaps, or a slightly longer jacket. It’s a testament to the value of having customers with taste - something that has arguably influenced tailoring over the years more than the style of the cutters themselves.
Ethan also points out that Patrick at WW Chan is relatively young compared to other head tailors in Hong Kong - and is actually into his clothes, which isn’t the case with many tailors.
Still, I did end up changing some aspects of the style during the commissioning process. We removed the roping to achieve a more natural shoulder line, and used a curved or ‘barchetta’ breast-pocket shape, rather than the straight one on Bryceland’s tailoring.
I’m happy to do that, once the fundamentals of a style I like are in place. What’s much harder is making a dozen such changes, chasing some theoretical image in your head.
So, Patrick took measurements from me during that pop-up in London. We had a fitting during WW Chan’s regular trunk show here (they normally come twice a year) and then one more this past Autumn, when travel was no longer possible.
This was my first experience of bespoke done remotely, but I’m not sure it’s that representative, as the initial consultation had been done in person and the first fitting was extremely good: pretty much perfect balance, shape and line. There was little to tweak apart from the style details.
That meant that when we did the second fitting over Zoom, there were only small tweaks like the length of a sleeve, and adjusting the drape in the back.
One thing I am definitely learning from remote fittings (shoes and suits) is that the big problem is often quantifying changes. It’s easy to see that the waist needs taking out, or there’s too much space in the arch of a shoe. The hard thing is for the craftsman to see how much that needs to change, or for the customer to communicate it.
The final jacket fulfilled all my expectations. It was a lovely, clean fit, with natural shoulders and nice 3-roll-2 in the front. In fact, I think my slightly messy collar and handkerchief here belie how neat that make is.
There is no padding in the shoulder, just body canvas, and the chest has three layers, but light ones: a wool/camel hair layer all the way down the jacket, horsehair to just below the armhole, and then cotton canvas on top of that.
WW Chan have been on a journey with this structure as much as their cut. Their traditional structure, originating with the ‘Red Gang’ of tailors in Shanghai, came from the British, and so had heavier layers, horsehair down below the first button position, and felt over the top of that.
In the past decade they’ve replaced the felt with cotton and shortened the length of the last two. They still offer three different levels of structure though, depending on what the customer wants (and the intended formality of the piece).
The same goes for the shoulder expression too: it can be padded with different degrees of roping; unpadded with a flat, natural sleevehead (mine); or a Neapolitan ‘spalla camicia’ construction.
I really like that shoulder expression on mine, although I think it’s borderline whether it and the cut mean the jacket can work with jeans and casual chinos.
The spalla camicia expression might help there, but I also think it’s telling that Ethan and Kenji use the style more for suits than casual jackets, for example. Tailored trousers will be safer, and that’s what I’ll wear it with.
The jacket has a relatively low buttoning point: 18¾ inches from the neck point, which Arnold says is ⅜ of an inch lower than their standard. The pockets have been rounded more, to fit with the natural style overall. The Milanese buttonhole in the lapel is now a standard feature.
If I was going to see Patrick and the team soon, I might look at whether the sleeve could be wider. I wouldn’t say it was slim, but I do prefer a more generous sleeve these days, and that’s the only tweak I can think of.
The quality of the finishing is very good - as good as any normal English tailor (the likes of Chittleborough or Michael Browne counting as abnormal).
And I adore the cloth. It’s a W Bill shetland, 12-13oz; robust but not too hairy, with body but certainly not too heavy.
It’s the colour that’s the killer though: a mix of black and russety browns, which at scale gives the impression of a dark, rather urban brown tweed.
The code is 12110 and it is available still, in the Classic Shetland bunch.
There is one other advantage of WW Chan, and one disadvantage.
The advantage is that they’re good value, being based in Hong Kong: suits start at HK$18,230 (about £1,800) and jackets at HK$13,000 (£1,300). My jacket was HK$14,830 (£1,480).
The minus is that even outside of a pandemic, they don’t travel most places frequently. They do visit the US East and West coasts three times a year, but only come to Europe twice a year. So if you’re in London, as a first customer, it’s going to take over a year. Less than that in the States.
Other destinations are Zurich, Stockholm and Paris in Europe, and Sydney, Melbourne and Singapore in Asia. All twice a year.
In the shots here, I’m wearing a relatively unusual combination, with a slubby striped shirt and scrap-of-indigo handkerchief. But the jacket is versatile enough to go with a range of things, including simple blue oxfords and grey flannels.
The clothes are:
- Cotton/linen striped shirt, bespoke from D’Avino
- Stone-coloured wool trousers, bespoke from Pommella
- Brown-suede Belgravia loafers, from Edward Green
- Torn indigo cloth, used as handkerchief
Photography by Alex Natt (@adnatt)
Hi Simon, you mention that WW Chan offers a range of different shoulder & chest style options. Do they nonetheless have a distinctive house style?
Not that much, no. They are more flexible than most. However, their roots are still in that English structured tailoring that was used in Shanghai, and as such I’d say the cut is still a little more formal than the Neapolitans, for example, despite the changes in make outlined. But they can and do do most other things.
Lovely jacket Simon! This is such a great example of how stark the difference between a cloth on a swatch, or indeed on some website, can be versus seeing it made up. This one for instance looks incredibly bright, for lack of a better word, on the W Bill website, but lovely in person, with a huge amount of depth.
Nice report. I’ve had many garments made by Chan over the years and agree that they are pretty much the standout HK tailor.
Couple of points on your coat. The left sleeve looks a touch shorter than the right, and the back balance seems short.
Excellent Milanese, which I am used to.
Lastly, why do you mention the watch you’re wearing when it can’t be seen in any of the pictures?
Thanks Paul. Nice to have someone else’s personal experience. Do let me know if you have any other reflections.
As ever, I wouldn’t judge small points like that too much from some static photos. The sleeves are fine, and the back is a touch shorter than the front, but that is deliberate, more in common with Neapolitans than English.
There was a picture with the watch in, but I took it out in an edit! I’ll remove the needless reference now.
A Merry Christmas to you too
Lovely jacket. I think it might work with jeans if they’re fairly dark and neat (although as you mentioned the style would mean it’s borderline).
How would you compare WW Chan with the Anthology? How would you decide between them?
Thanks. Yes that would certainly help, but I do think the cut is a little too sharp.
I’m very fond of the Anthology style, and that tweed jacket is one of my favourites. It’s also a more significantly different style from this WW Chan than it could first appear, with the rounder foreparts, more curved and open look. That does work with jeans. However, the WW Chan jacket is better made, and might marginally be a better fit.
I’ve tried Anthology and WW Chan. I love the Anthology cut – which is a bit more distinctive – but WW Chan got the fit perfect and so the jacket is a bit more comfortable. I guess another commission from the Anthology would improve the fit over the first.
You’d hope so, though why not use WW Chan again?
“So if you’re in London, as a first customer, it’s going to take over a year.” That is far too long for me. How can a customer build up a personal relationship with such infrequent visits? It will take years to build a wardrobe of bespoke tailored garments.
There are several British tailors who offer quality bespoke tailoring at similar prices, e.g. Sims & McDonald in London and others in the regions. It makes more sense to work closely a good local tailor rather than several foreign tailors, especially if you can only order and have fittings at trunk shows.
I wouldn’t put Sims & McDonald – from what I’ve seen – in the same bracket as this either on make or style. But there certainly are advantages to having someone local, most particularly in my experience, the ability to have something fixed or altered without waiting months.
Based on the strength of this jacket, I would be prepared to order through WW Chan and just have one fitting, which would mean something could be ready within a few months, no longer than a local tailor.
But of course it does mean you have to wait for that particular visit – you don’t have the flexibility of starting the process whenever you want. And that only applies to repeat customers, not first-time ones. It is a pity WW Chan can’t come more often.
Thanks for the reply. My friend, a city lawyer, recommended Sims & McDonald to me but I have not used them. WW Chan’s prices are very good value and, as you say, it’s a pity they can’t come more often.
How would you compare them to Graham Browne or MacAngus & Wainwright? Would it be possible to get a similar level of quality from them even by paying a bit more?
No, I would class those three City tailors at around the same level
I am also an existing client of W W Chan and have only positive things to say.
Can I ask you to comment on the reasons why wearing this jacket with jeans would be less appropriate than your Elia Caliendo jacket from 2014. I think they are both fantastic and I am seeking to understand the style reasons that make one more casual than the other.
Good to hear Damian.
It’s the cut, basically. It’s not too dissimilar to what happens when English tailors take all the structure out of their jackets, and the shoulder pads, but the cut doesn’t change that much – see my Richard James jacket for example. The foreparts stay straight and not rounded, as does the lapel. The jacket is also pressed to be sharper, rather than rolling and more casual.
Your descriptions characterize this WW Chan jacket as a successful commission and your Richard James jacket as less so. Given their similarities, may I ask why?
I think that’s a little unfair on the Richard James one – it was a lovely jacket. I think it probably comes from the fact that the RJ one was aiming at something more casual, and didn’t really achieve it because of the cut. For what it was it was done beautifully though.
There’s probably also an extent to which you’d expect this quality from a Savile Row tailor, but wouldn’t immediately from a Hong Kong one, even if well established. Particularly given the price differential.
Would it be fair to say your expectations for the WW Chan jacket were more realistic than those for the Richard James jacket with regard to how casual a garment a tailor with a more formal house style could make?
I think so, yes, though perhaps more because I had tried that jacket of Kenji’s and so had a better idea of the style
What a beautiful jacket! I’ve been eyeing up that W Bill tweed for a while and these photographs really show it off well. I feel that with the touch of black it links in with last week’s article on cold colour palettes nicely.
A couple of questions:
I’m slightly confused by your remark that’s it’s slightly too smart to work with jeans/chinos. What would you alter to bring down the level of formality?
I’d love a jacket in this tweed but maybe in a year or so. Would you suggest buying a length of the tweed separately now to ensure availability?
Thanks for keeping up this great blog and have a good Christmas.
See comment above on the formality Evatt – it’s the cut and some aspects of the make, rather than texture, colour or structure.
And yes, it’s probably worth buying a length if you want it. Always easiest to do that through a tailor rather than yourself though – remember, most mills are set up to sell cloth to individuals
Do you mean, ‘…not set up….’
You write that “the quality of the finishing is very good – as good as any normal English tailor” yet the price is significantly cheaper than the average English tailor usually reviewed on PS. Is this due to WW Chan having less overhead costs, being made in HK? or is there a compromise in the quality/construction? Will you put WW Chan in the same league as the more “affordable” bespoke tailors you’ve previously recommended? or would they be a step above?
I ask because I’m interested in commissioning a suit from them. Your positive review of informs me that I should expect a good suit, but where exactly in the spectrum of good suits would theirs fall? (the same way C&J Hand grade and EG are both “good shoes” yet one is cheaper and the other more expensive for a reason).
I hope my question makes sense.
Yes, I imagine it’s largely the location of the tailor, their overheads and labour costs.
I’d put them a step above most ‘affordable’ tailors probably, but let me know who you have in mind, just in case.
They’re not at the level of say a Cifonelli, Michael Browne etc. But similar to a more normal Savile Row name like Dege, Poole etc probably.
I was actually interested in how they compare to The Anthology and to Prologue. Thanks a lot Simon, I got the answer I was looking for here and in your repsonse to another comment.
Any chance for comparison to your other brown tweed jacket (Caliendo)? How much difference lighter weight gives? Which colour is more useful? I hope once London gets out of tier 3 in summer, this tweed will still be available!
Also would be nice comparison article between anthology, prologue and ww chan!
See comments above on comparison to the anthology.
I’d say the Caliendo tweed is more useful, but it’s also just a different look and style.
The lighter weight I wouldn’t say makes a big difference, unless you’re particularly sensitive to such things.
Very nice jacket! I quite like the mix of UK/Italian influences, a bit like your Richard James jacket. I think it’s not extreme in any way (i.e. not too structured, openings are not too open etc.), which makes me think it’s a very versatile cut which would be appropriate in an extremely wide range of situations. Lovely cloth as well, how would you compare it to the brown harris tweed you have (or indeed other brown jackets) in terms of usability?
Thanks Nick, an I think that’s spot on.
See comment above for comparison to the other brown tweed
Very nice jacket, and lovely colours too. I do have a question about the sleeves:
In the second and fifth photographs, the sleeves show quite a bit of creasing, especially for material that is a woollen tweed. My experience is that tweeds generally spring back into shape quickly after being bent or even crumpled. I am wondering if this simply because you had been wearing the jacket for some time, or because of the tightness of the sleeve ( you do mention possibly widening the sleeves a tad).
I think it’s a combination of those things. It is a little slim, I have been wearing it for several hours at this point (I always shoot things that way), and actually a relatively light, open tweed can crease like that too. There’s a fairly big range under that one umbrella
Fantastic jacket. WW Chan has made two business suits for me, and they are both great. The second was better than the first as the fit was refined and I listened more to their suggestions. Even if they don’t have the most distinctive house style, they have good sense about what will look best.
Does the black in this jacket make it too formal to be worn with jeans?
How would you describe the difference in use between this shetland brown/black tweed jacket versus something like your Escorial brown jacket? Which one is more versatile?
The Escorial, and that more saturated, warmer colour range, is more versatile.
The attraction of this jacket is that it’s a different look to most tweed – not its versatility.
It is too formal for jeans I think – but because of the cut, not the colour. See comments above on that.
That’s a very modern tweed,Simon. I think people will look twice.
I’m convinced that the sharper, more angular tweed is a great improvement.
I’ve been a WW Chan customer for almost, gulp, 30 years.
Never been disappointed in a product.
If something needed tweaking, they handled it.
I’d say 75% of my bespoke garments are Chan.
The other 25% Anderson & Shepard.
With the position of the £ against the $ now, I’m using Chan even more.
Yes, there is down time, but at the price difference….I can wait.
Simon, the lower button on the jacket looks good on you.
It gives you a “V” that is often lost in your jackets.
Just my dos centavos…
Simon, I always think a lower button stance is both much more comfortable and gives a more elegant appearance. So I would be in complete agreement with Arnold Wong.
I can only echo your experience Simon. I’ve got now 8 garments from WW Chan and keep ordering. The last 3 were done without fitting at my request and are superb. A couple of tweaks one some of them will be needed but nothing major. Patrick is a superb tailor and delivers constant quality. And the value for money is extraordinary.
I’ve also found that they’re the most flattering cut on me.
Sorry, as this comment is rather an off topic query. I’ve been looking for a cloth for trousers similar to the vintage Fox navy serge shown here:
Unfortunately, nowhere to be found. Thus my question: do you think this Fox Exmoor twill could be a good alternative? See here:
Thanks in advance for your help.
I don’t know that overcoating I’m afraid John. I’d be wary about using an overcoating for trousers though – it can work well, but it’s risky
Thank you very much for your advise,
Superb look and fit. Well done!
Beautiful jacket, well done WW Chan. Excellent cloth choice – love the light weight tweed. It gives you a ‘calm and collected’ appearance, if that makes sense.
One style aspect that I would throw up for the discussion is the lapel width. I do not think the lapels are necessarily too wide on this jacket or for your body and I know wider lapels have been a trend for some time (e.g. your recent A-I commission). But would you agree this lapel width is on the cusp of being a bit too much? Put differently, could this or another similarly styled jacket perhaps look a bit more restrained and timeless if the lapels were a tad slimmer?
Yes I know what you mean, and I do think they are at that limit, yes. They’re not so big that people would notice, at least quickly, and of course nothing is completely timeless, but if the trend were very much for skinny lapels in 10 years’ time, there is a chance these would stand out more than one a quarter inch slimmer.
Per my comment above and various other responses it seems that there is significant interest in the palette and material, albeit maybe in a slightly softer cut that is conducive to a more casual usage, including with jeans. Do you think that is a matter of making the foreparts less straight, more open, or is there more to it than that? Forgive me if that is a simplistic question! Also, do you think WW Chan could make the softer version?
I think there’s more to it than that. Neither the cut nor the make of bespoke is simple to understand or prescribe. There is, for example, the ‘rolling’ or 3D feel that Neapolitan garments often have, which partly comes (as I understand) from the way they are pressed as they’re made.
I would never suggest trying to make a tailor do something they don’t do naturally, and this would be an example of this. There’s just too great a chance you get something halfway between, that you don’t like, that’s a waste.
Looks to be very nicely made and I love the cloth. Personally I wouldn’t hesitate to wear this with denim from the darker, smarter end of the spectrum. Also, from what I see, the fit is just as good as with all but your absolute best-fitting bespoke, despite the relative lack of in-person fittings. Indeed, it looks better to me than a number of your commissions that were the result of numerous fittings.
For your final fitting, I take it the jacket was mailed to you and then you sent it back, after the Zoom call. Am I right?
Lastly, I’m not clear on whether the company is set up to offer this sort of remote bespoke intentionally, or if it is just the result of restricted travel during Covid. Is it intended that they will have customers whom they don’t meet or only meet once for measurements?
Yes that’s right on the arrangement around the Zoom call.
And that’s a good point about future arrangements, I hadn’t thought about that. I suspect they will want to avoid digital fittings as soon as it’s possible to do so, as it’s never the same as doing it in person. But I might be wrong.
Great article, Simon. I’ve been using WW Chan for bespoke jackets/trousers for the past 8 years and have been very happy with the results. They’re consistently very pleasant to deal with.
“I really like that shoulder expression on mine, although I think it’s borderline whether it and the cut mean the jacket can work with jeans and casual chinos. ” Simon, can you elaborate on how shoulder expression relates to whether a coat can be worn with jeans or chinos?
Well, how the shoulder looks is one of the main things that makes a jacket look smarter or more casual.
There are several variables here. The padding of the shoulder is the most obvious one, making it higher or lower, squarer or more slanted. But more important for casualness are probably how the shoulder ends – roping or no; any pad at the end of the shoulder or a straight, natural drop down into the sleeve; and then to a lesser extent a spalla camicia construction, or any gathering at the top of the sleeve (shirring) that causes ripples. Plus there’s the extension of the shoulder – how much it runs past your shoulder bone.
It’s hard to summarise all of these, and which combinations are casual or not. But when you start looking at them on a jacket, it’s fairly easy to understand how smart or casual things are
Reviving this thread since this tweed jacket came up in a recent post. I’m just a bit curious about the shoulder fit on this jacket, is the jacket sholder extending past your shoulder bone? And in that case, by how much? (I’m guessing it does extend, but it is hard to tell by the photos in the post)
Hey. No worries – threads are never old on PS, they’re always alive and kicking.
Yes, it does extend beyond the shoulder bone, but only just. I’d say by 1cm. I find it’s a very subtle thing – certainly makes the shoulders look a touch bigger, but the shoulder line doesn’t start drooping.
The quality of communication between tailor and customer is a huge success factor, and Patrick Chu is probably the best communicator among the tailors I have dealt with in 30 years buying bespoke. I ordered a fresco blue coat and later a grey worsted 3-piece suit, both in a 3 roll 2 style. The ordering and first fitting done in HK, the final product shipped to me. Patrick was very clear, firm but tactful in guiding my choices, including steering me away from choices he did not like. He did a particularly good job with the waistcoat, where I favor an older style that sits higher with a narrower opening in the front that parallels the line of the jacket. I am a difficult fit, but the fit was as good as I have experienced even without multiple fittings. My base of comparison is Anderson & Sheppard, a former A&S cutter of high reputation, a New York firm, and a DC firm. In comparison with those makers, the jackets are a more two-dimensional–lacking the gentle roll to the lapels that really like. I generally associate this feature with hand sewing. My impression is the Chan product has little hand sewing. The under-collar at the notch appears to confirms that, though I am no expert and may be wrong. Simon, your jacket does have a nice roll, though the heavier cloth probably plays a big part in that. The amount of handwork, if indeed much less than other makers, would account for a large part of the price difference.
I also ordered shirts with which I am extremely pleased. Chan has a specialist women’s tailor who made my wife a magnificent coat.
I would be interested to know your observations on the amount of hand work and the practical effect this has in the fit and appearance of your orders.
Hi. Thanks for the points, very interesting.
I can’t see much difference in terms of hand work to be honest. I haven’t taken the jacket apart – and can’t remember back to when I visited the atelier – but if anything there is more hand finishing than from some Savile Row tailors. The lining is all top-stitched, for example, the material cut to run around the inside pockets, which I always think is a nice touch, and there is the Milanese buttonhole.
What were you referring to on the under-collar – are you saying the melton was sewn on by machine where it meets the notch? It seems to be done by hand on mine (though of course this attaching is not much of a structural point, more just an indicator of work done elsewhere).
Yes, the melton appears to have been sewn by machine where it meets the notch. The commentary on even the top HK tailors usually states that there is little to no hand work. I value hand work to the extent of functional benefit. One of those benefits, in my understanding, comes from the hand forming/padding of the chest and lapels that creates the 3D quality of a coat in the form of a gentle roll of the collar above the button point and the way the jacket molds to the body over time. Finishing details are nice but less important to me.
My Chan jackets, in a Lesser 11 oz and a Loro Piana open weave Super 130 mold nicely to the chest but the lapels sit quite flat. Heavier fabrics facilitate more roll, which shows in your jacket. I commissioned a suit in the same Lesser fabric from my ex-A&S tailor, which has the greater lapel roll and 3-D quality.
If the Chan work has comparable amounts of handwork in the key areas as the best of Savile Row and elsewhere, it’s a real service to both your readers and to Chan to know this. If you can confirm this is the case, it would reinforce my inclination to place more orders with Chan.
Interesting, thanks. I wonder whether they’ve changed at all recently on this point of work.
I’m not sure where the point comes from about HK tailors not having any hand work? Obviously there is a vast range of HK tailors, from the cheap 24-hour kind to the likes of Chan. And I’ve only covered very few.
You’re right that the hand-padding can be used to create that nice roll, but that doesn’t mean the lack of it means there isn’t the hand padding, if that makes sense. It’s a style choice how much roll you put in – hand work just gives you more freedom/potential in what you want to do.
I’m pretty sure the handwork in the Chan suit will be similar to many on the Row, though not as I said perhaps the same as the highest. I can do try and cover that in more detail at some point though.
Nice jacket – looks like great fabric/colour.
On an unelated matter…how do you think the quickly rising concerns about “carbon footprints” will play out – even for bespoke?
Will people want to risk potential shaming by flying to Milan, or Naples a couple times to get fitted? Will it be acceptable to express freight a jacket back and forth a few times between far flung cities for some “zoom” fitting sessions?
I know the restaurant trade, the watch trade, and all sorts of related (luxury/discretionary) items are undergoing a range or “re – evaluations” on what they do, how they do it, and will people still want it as we continue to come to terms with or various challenges….
I know you believe in the long term prosperity of the bespoke industry, but how different do you see it 5, 10 years from now?
I think there will be some re-evaluation there, but really the biggest issue is volume of consumption. Flights for fittings become irrelevant if you wear that jacket for 20 years. And all the products are made to order, so there is no waste at all. Compared to the volume of clothing that is consumed from cheaper brands, and then often discarded after a year or two, plus the amount that is never sold, bespoke flights are small potatoes.
That said, I think everyone still has a responsibility to look at the amount of clothing they consume and rationalise it. Just take a slightly more responsible look at it, and consider that everything that just sits there, not worn, is a waste to the natural world.
I bought oatmeal Escorial fabric from Joshua Ellis this past July after reading your article at that time regarding the jacket which you had fabricated by Prologue in Hong Kong. Due to Covid, the fabric still awaits the attention of a tailor. Since Prologue does NOT visit the USA, where I live, I had intended to use the services of Steven Hitchcock, whom you highly recommend, during one of his trips to the USA. My question, in short, would W.W. Chan be a viable alternative to Steven, assuming that W.W. Chan resumes USA tours again? I do valuable your opinion considerably. Thanks, and Merry Christmas.
I certainly think they’re a viable alternative, although the style is a little different – I’d focus on that first
Looks like Chan is in a similar price range to Whitcombe and Shaftesbury. Leaving asked location, how do they compare in terms of style, fit, and quality of make?
Style is a little different – Whitcomb usually having a little drape, more padding and structure generally by default. They also don’t do quite the same range as Chan on those points.
The fit and quality are similar, both very good. The only difference there probably is the additional touches Whitcomb does sometimes using the India workshop, like lapped seams, leather additions etc.
I’d pick between the two largely based on access and style.
Simon, in your artisan of the year post on W&S, you said they are looking at more unstructured versions of their jackets. Are there any updates on that which would be relevant here?
They are making them, and I have seen them. I haven’t had anything made myself.
From what I’ve seen, this will be what tailors like Richard James, Thom Sweeney, Gieves have offered before, which is an English cut with very little shoulder padding and a natural sleeve head.
This is great if you like the style, but it is not a casual jacket as the cut is still the same. And it’s not anything similar to a Neapolitan one either
How do you think that soft English cut would compare with what WW Chan would make?
It would be quite similar. Small variations with different tailors, but the overall cut and structure wouldn’t be that different.
Are you sure you the reference number is 12110?
The color here looks completely different:
Yes it is, that picture isn’t great unfortunately.
@ Anonymous. I just received the W Bill Classic Shetland Bunch book from my tailor. The dark brown tone of WB12110 in the swatch book is true to Simon’s jacket as pictured in the review. I also question whether the swatch you linked to (which appears much lighter) is actually the same. The tones aren’t even close.
How well do they do spalla camicia?
Im in the US and it’s hard to find someone who can do Neapolitan style well. You mentioned they travel regularly to the East Coast?
Yes – three times a year, as mentioned.
The spalla camicia I’ve seen is nice, but bear in mind all the other comments above about other aspects of Neapolitan style. Even with spalla camicia this would not be a Neapolitan jacket.
Great review and nice pictures that show the jacket well. (Only exception is the last one – I don’t get posing in front of a laundromat in tailored clothing, with the distracting bright blue sign and red garment in the background…)
I just liked the sign
I personally prefer to see shots in these more ‘real life’ settings. Far better than some terrace on Lake Como or in front of a Maserati. Cant think of anything more off putting. Next stop Ridley Road!
The price is very good considering it is bespoke. I am currently using a Naples MTM service that costs around the same. The benefits are that its delivered in around 6 weeks and i can get measured here in the UK within walking distance of home. Could you confirm if the price detailed is inclusive of cloth and if so what the cost of this cloth is?
Yes, the price includes the cloth. I don’t know what the wholesale price for the cloth is as a result.
Based on the photos, the back looks cleaner in this jacket than in some of the ones you’ve gotten at double the price or more. To what extent would you attribute this to the particular fabric used versus quality or style of cut?
The fabric is certainly a little easier in that regard – compared to a light worsted or linen for example.
I’d say it’s mostly just the cut, perhaps a small amount the quality. Most of the time when I have suits with backs that aren’t this clean, it’s not because the tailor has made a mistake, it’s just that they cut that way – they allow for more movement there
So if I understand you correctly, jackets that “allow more movement” tend to look less clean in the back because they have extra fabric in the back?
Given that this particular jacket does have a very clean back, how is it in terms of comfort? Do you feel restricted?
And a follow up question: leaving aside questions of formality / style, would you have a jacket made to be worn at the office cut differently from one cut to be worn for occasions? Eg, if you’re going to wear a particular jacket all day long and be sitting fit long periods of time (as opposed to just wearing it fit a dinner or cocktail party)? Presumably, you would prioritize comfort for an “office jacket” as opposed to having a clean back / sharp appearance? What sort of compromises would you make?
Yes that’s right.
This is OK, but there’s certainly less room.
Yes, I might have a closer fit on a piece that was more ceremonial, or more structure. My Chittleborough & Morgan suit, for example, would not be an easy one to wear in the office all day. Neither are most double breasteds.
But with that ceremonial piece, it would be mostly about what I thought looked good, and close fit might not be a high priority in the different factors that led to that. You might want, for example, quite a louche look perhaps
I had a coat made from them a some years back, I wasn’t impressed. Initially I thought this was because it was from a visiting show. I think you might have gotten the 5 star VIP treatment, which is not what the average person ( who pays the same) gets . Needless to say I’m surprised that this turned out well for you given the zoom fitting!
Thanks Michael. I am often afraid of that kind of treatment, but seeing what has been made for others I know, and the various recommendations from others on this thread, makes me think it wasn’t that.
Would you mind letting me know what you weren’t impressed by?
You mentioned details of how the lining is stitched – did you go for a full lining here? Thanks
Yes I did. I pretty much always do these days except on summer tailoring
The jacket does look good although I might have gone for a slightly higher buttoning point. I’m curious about why you chose WW and not A-Man Hing. Was it just convenience with the former traveling and the latter not? Or was there something more? Thanks
I don’t know A Man Hing well, but my impression is they have not evolved in either the ways detailed here on structure and padding, or the style points
very interesting how much they have changed over the years, I think the first time I heard of WW Chan was 2009? Back then it definitely did not look like this.
I have an issue with jacket length, as I’m rather tall. I’m wondering if I might have ordered too short jackets for a while…
Do your jackets normally cover the entirety of your seat, or is there an area of the seat, where it curves inwards towards the thighs, that’s not completely covered? I.e. the bottom part of the seat.
I think it’s worth having a look at this video – it demonstrates the lengths and points best
Does the same go for jeans, however? Are the back pockets completely covered by the jacket?
Jeans can have a slightly shorter, slightly more casual length. But yes, generally the back pockets would be completely covered
Simon, adding to the questions about quality at this price point, how would you rate WW Chan bespoke shirts versus Whitcomb and Shaftesbury? Thank you!
I haven’t tried them I’m afraid, so couldn’t say
Would you recommend a two button over a three-roll-two for a shorter person’s casual Neapolitan jacket because a three-roll-two would decrease the lapel length (and presumably one wants a longer lapel for someone short)? Or not necessarily?
That would certainly be the effect it would have, yes. However, that doesn’t mean it’s ‘wrong’ to have a 3-roll-2. It just means you’re prioritising the style over that flattery aspect. They’re both factors
During the first bespoke jacket fitting, is it possible to change a 3 roll 2 to a two button jacket, so then the lapel can be elongated? Or does that have to be done at the initial cutting stage?
Does a 3 roll 2 just give the jacket that rolling effect at the buttoning point? Can you have a two button jacket with a roll still?
Is a 3 roll 2 more casual and thus better suited for casual Italian jackets? Which jackets have you had Simon that are strictly two button? Sorry, many questions!
It depends on the fitting, and how it’s put together. It may well be possible, but I’d strongly advise that you decide before that first fitting. You likely won’t be able to tell much about the style at that point anyway.
A two-button jacket can have a little bit of roll as well, but never as much. If you want that effect, go for a two button.
Yes, a 3-roll-2 is more casual and generally looks better with Italian jackets – but more just because the Italians (mostly south Italians) are used to making that style.
I’ve had several two-button jackets – all English. All my Steven Hitchcock jackets for example – have a search for those. Also this from A&S
I looked up the cloth on W Bill’s website. It looks totally different in your images to the sample they display on their site: https://www.harrisons1863.com/product/wb12110/
From their website I would never have chosen that cloth and yet from your jacket I would. This is a great shortcoming in seeking out cloth on the web.
True, often the photography of these cloths is not great. Really those cloth sites are not set up for customers to buy lengths – at the most, it’s to do so once you’ve seen something in person first.
Hey Fastship- As I posted elsewhere I received the WB Shetland bunch from my tailor to select fabric for a jacket. The WB12110 tweed in the bunch is true to the pictures in Simon’s review (rich dark brown, great depth, quite lovely). You are correct, the actual fabric seems to share little similarity to the swatch linked above.
…and that’s the issue; how do you get to see all these fabrics to make your choice. At a tailor you are limited to the books they carry so you miss out on so much.
Yes it’s hard. In theory a tailor should have everything, but smaller ones often don’t
Nice jacket Simon – my only observation would be the jacket appears to be raked forward – not sure if that’s how it is or it’s just the way you are standing at the time.
I have a couple of Shetland tweeds from the same bunch and do love them very much. The one you chose looks absolutely amazing.
By raked forward, do you mean looking at the bottom of the jacket, the front seems lower than the back? There is a reply on that at the top, if you’re interested. The top isn’t sitting forward, otherwise there would be a good deal of creasing below the collar.
It’s a preference issue – I prefer jackets that are dead straight at the bottom (parallel to the ground if you will). To me the fronts seem dropped a fraction – it’s a look and not necessarily a balance issue and should not cause any creasing. I could not find the earlier comment.
Thanks. Interesting, yes that’s more an English or North Italian thing, more casual and southern European tailors have a tendency to that slope. Looks perhaps a bit more casual as well
I am a client of WW Chan and have several business suits from them, each time looked after by Patrick Chu and Dick. Each one fits very well and they were able to accommodate the style and details I want in all my suits – it is a shame during lockdown I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them. I totally agree that Patrick is into clothes and it was great on each occasion to have him fussing over getting the details and fit absolutely right.
That is an excellent jacket. Love the fabric. However that shirt and jacket combination is superb. I’m looking to being able to travel to Hong Kong again next year and perhaps check out a few tailors (I live in Shanghai).
The fabric is beautiful. My tailor works with H & S , Dormeuil and Cerruti. Doesn’t even have W Bill swatch books. Will consider W Bill in future but I am not familiar with their fabric. Can you tell me a little about the quality? Have you used their fabric on prior commissions? Not even sure my tailor can source it in the states. Sounds boutique.
It is widely available, part of the Harrisons group – details here.
I’m not sure how they deal in the US, whether through an agent or not, but to be honest only working with three mills is rather limiting. Most good tailors would be working with closer to 10.
The quality is great, one of the best suppliers of tweeds out there.
I’m US-based, and my tailor is making me a jacket from W Bill cloth right now. The North American distributor for W Bill (and other Harrisons’ cloths) is Kemp & Hewitt (https://kempandhewitt.com/); your tailor can source the fabric from them.
Brilliant, thank you
Thanks for sourcing contact for W Bill. Very helpful. Should be able to get a couple of their books next week.
Kemp & Hewitt was very helpful about tracking down a length of the recently discontinued W Bill Lamlana, so I’m confident they can get this Shetland tweed for you.
Best of luck!
IL Pennacchio- Just received the W Bill Shetland bunch from my tailor. Lots of nice choices including fabric chosen by Simon for this commission. Must be ton of interest and not enough books for all the PS groupies. Strict orders to get fabric swatches back to NY by Tuesday. Too funny. Thanks again for your help with sourcing information.
Robert, I’m so glad I could be of help. I hope you enjoy your jacket!
Thanks for your quick response and link. Will be in touch with my tailor today. I have learned a great deal from your posts (Milanese button hole…who knew?… lol ). Can’t fully express how much I enjoy your reviews. Such a great bespoke resource. Happy New Year!
Cheers Robert, that’s lovely to hear
What do you think about leather/suede elbow patches on sports coats? Would that work with this tweed jacket?
I think it’s a hard look to pull off – it looks very old-fashioned quite easily. If I was going to do it, I’d do so in suede, not leather, and go for something very dark in colour
Super review Simon. I’ve used WW Chan for almost three decades now and will heartily second your recommendations. The workmanship is excellent (the equal, to me, of many of the more celebrated / famous English and Italian tailors I’ve tried), they are unfailingly accommodating and they do have a broader sense of the world outside the particular tradition in which they operate. Plus, the value on offer is very strong.
I also love the fabric you’ve chosen, perhaps because I have a WW Chan jacket made of the same fabric! In my increasingly casual world, it’s become a mainstay of the autumn and winter months. I find that it pairs well with plenty of fabrics and patterns. I also wear it regularly with worn in / darker LVC 1967 505 jeans, and at least to my eye, the combination works well. YMMV, but maybe worth a spin.
Either way, thanks for highlighting Chan – they deserve more publicity than they sometimes seem to garner.
Hi Simon, super cool jacket and it looks great on you. WW CHAN and ASCOT CHANG, two of the best tailoring houses in HK. What can I say?
Thank you for sharing with us this great piece made by WW Chan HK. I am curious to know what your thoughts are towards Chan having different operations in HK, Shanghai, and Chengdu all under the same WW Chan name.
As far as I know, the brand recognizes all three as parts of the larger Chan family, but as the three shops all use different local factories and employ different cutters, surely the make and cut should be widely inconsistent, right?
Was this a conversation you were able to bring up in your talks with Patrick? It would be interested to know his takes on the different Chan operations across China.
It wasn’t something we discussed I’m afraid, no. If I was going to look at having something made by one of the other outposts, I would ask about it very closely. But if in any doubt I would stick with Hong Kong, perhaps mostly because I have confidence in the personalities I know there.
This is a great look. I particularly like the shirt. May I know the details of the shirting fabric and if it’s still available? Thank you.
I’m afraid it’s not I’m afraid. These seasonal designs are rarely around for long
Between this and your H&S Harris / Sherry Tweed in mid brown, which would you say you like more cloth wise? The other has a lot of color throughout but this is more urbane so wondering which you find more wearable, as well as if you can comment on the hand of the cloth given I’ve never touched the WBill Shetland. I’ve trying to decide between the two though then again maybe I need both, ha.
I’m sure you will eventually Peter…
I find both equally useful, but I’d say this one is a little smarter and more unusual. The other is more casual and less unusual. The mid-brown is also a touch rougher.
The mid-brown, by the way, we are reweaving with H&S and will be available in a couple of months
Great review Simon. I would like to ask your opinion about this fabric as a coating (for a climate with mild winters, 10 – 16 degrees usually, so 390g is enough on that front). I’m considering this W Bill Shetland Tweeds book in this colour or in the blue with the same weave to make a topcoat. It seems to have good drape and body, and I really like the soft hand and subtle colour variation. But looking at the creasing, I wonder if it’s a bit too soft and / or thin to stand up as a coat? Perhaps it might crease in the arms or back, or show wear more quickly than one would want? I wonder if you’ve had many wears by now, how the fabric is breaking in and based on your judgement, whether it would be a good or a bad choice.
The fabric has done well for me, but you’re right it does crease more, and it is quite soft and open for a coating.
Unless you have several coats already, I’d suggest going for a more normal overcoating material rather than a tweed.
Thank you – I’ll take yoru advice, open a different book with a denser fabric for the coat and come back for a W Bill Shetland sports coat in a couple of years.
It seems this cloth is no longer available, sadly. Any thoughts on an alternative with a similar effect? The shade of brown is particularly nice.
Oh dear, really? Did you ask the mill about whether it’s coming back? We could look to reweave it with them if it’s not.
I haven’t seen any similar cloths, no, sorry.
Any word on whether you might re weave this lovely cloth with the mill?
No current plans, no, sorry
Would you be able to share your thoughts on “bespoke done remotely” in more detail?
I live in Australia and have had one bespoke jacket made by Massimo Pasinato when I was last in Italy. I am considering commissioning another jacket from him but have reservations about this due to a ban on overseas travel from Australia. I was happy with the first jacket (single breasted, notch lapel, 2 buttons, slightly open quarters) but would like to make some changes to the style, namely, 3 roll 2, a more natural shoulder, quarters a little more open (perhaps something more akin to the WW Chan jacket in this review).
Given the travel ban I would not be able to attend any fittings and all consultation would need to take place by phone or video call (I speak Italian so language will not be an issue). Considering the above I was hoping you could share, your thoughts regarding the process and any potential pitfalls and ultimately, a recommendation if I ought to proceed with the commission or wait until I am able to travel again.
It’s hard for me to be certain about this, because my experiences have been very limited.
But if you have a jacket you like that much already, I think it would be fine. Just tend towards changes that don’t affect the fit so much (eg the shoulders) and accept that the result you get probably won’t be as good as if you had it fitted in person. It will still be a lot better than RTW, but it’s unlikely it will be just as good.
Hi, is there a green version of this cold, dark brown you could recommend?
Not that I know of Nick, no sorry
I believe this is the book. I’ve been considering a sports coat from this book, some great fabrics with a soft spongy hand. Probably will commission one in the next year or so. Maybe it helps to look here, they’re not exactly as real life in the photos but it gives a good idea.
Hi Simon, great review and thanks for sharing about WW Chan. I recently purchased a copy of the Bespoke Style. While I loved the content and the breakdown of the different house styles, was wondering why they were all European and no Asian makers were featured? Your reviews of WW Chan, Ciccio etc. made them sound really good, but are they inferior to those featured in the book?
Not necessarily, no, it’s just that I haven’t personally used Ciccio or any other Japanese tailor, and indeed hadn’t used Chan at the time the book was written.
There are some great tailors in Asia now, but it’s still fair to say that most of the best are in Europe, and certainly that’s where you see the clear differences between house styles – which was the point of the book. I have used many European tailors that aren’t in the book as well. (See my full list here)
Simon, how do you think this jacket would work as a flexible choice for indigo denim on the one hand, and charcoal flannels on the other? Is it also too dark?
It would be a little dark for the charcoal flannels, but I think it could still work. Perhaps if the shirt wasn’t dark, and maybe with a belt or something else to break up the outfit as well?
Hi, I have been looking for a similar option in green and stumbled across this cloth in the Fox Tweed bunch https://www.themerchantfox.co.uk/collections/fox-tweed/products/dark-olive-twill-tweed
I don’t know if you have seen it, but would love to hear your thoughts.
I haven’t, sorry Nick.
Hi Simon. Would light grey or mid grey flannel trousers work well with this jacket color?
I also have a pair of flannel trousers in a type of white color that is icy cold, maybe some hints of greyish (sorry, not a great description of the color). Would that work with the cold brown of the jacket?
I’ve also been looking for cavalry twill in a stone or putty color, but it is surprisingly hard to find. I go through cloth samples when I visit W&S but I can never find anything like it. Do you have any suggestions for trousers like this, even if not cavalry twill? Thanks!
Light grey and mid-grey would certainly work, and it sounds like that washed-out white would work too. To be honest anything that doesn’t have too much colour in it would work well with the jacket.
No suggestions on that kind of colour in trousers I’m afraid – they do tend to have a little too much colour
Simon, I would love to get your advice, on fabrics and on suit style, related to my possibly resuming my relationship with Chan and ordering a jacket, trousers to go with the jacket, plus possibly a suit. Quick history: Patrick fifteen years ago made me several suits and a navy blazer, in beautiful conservative fabrics; I wore the suits a lot at work but never looked particularly good in them or in the blazer. I remain nearly as tall and slim as I was then but those Chan pieces are all completely unusable now, in their 2000s voluminousness, shoulders, etc. Having some of them expensively altered recently turned out to be a total waste of money. I have thought I am done with Chan, but your review (and the photos) of your W Bill/Kenji/Ethan bespoke jacket and your article today naming Chan one of your favourite tailors, plus your teasers about the upcoming jacket, make me realize how far Patrick has come, and that perhaps I should try him again when he next visits Washington DC, where I live (and renowned tailors do not). I love the dark brown tweed you chose, which looks so good with your similarly coloured beard, but I was thinking that because my hair is now entirely grey, I would look better in a mid to dark grey tweed or herringbone or some such. (FWIW, I already own a PS Tweed Neapolitan-cut jacket I wear with jeans and chinos.) Does a particular fabric/colour come to mind that might be good for a Chan jacket, and also do you have thoughts about trouser colours/fabrics/style to wear with? Finally, suits: I no longer wear them at work at all but I still need at least one suit and I don’t own a single good one. I could go to Sid Mashburn but I’m not inspired by what I’ve seen of his suits. Have you looked at what Patrick is now doing? I fear that if you, Kenji, and Ethan have not been helping him, his suits might not be on par with the jackets. Should I just start with a jacket and trousers and see how that goes? If a suit is worth a try too, what sort might you suggest? I would appreciate any thoughts that come to your mind.
If you’ve had that experience in the past, I guess I would start slow and just do the jacket first. I’d suggest a mid-grey herringbone wool or tweed perhaps. Great with brown, green, cream, charcoal and navy trousers.
I also don’t think there would be anything wrong with then having the same style of jacket, if you like it, as the top half of a suit. It would be a little more casual than something padded or roped, but we’re talking small differences.
Simon, thanks very much for your advice on this. Following up, I see Sian Walton and Richard Saxby of Whitcomb also travel to DC, where I live, and they’ll be here in a few weeks, with Chan to follow a couple of weeks after that. I think I’ll have Sian cut me a first pair of trousers to wear with, among other things, a mid-grey herringbone jacket from Patrick. But I think you’ve said nothing recently about suits from either. So perhaps you can’t answer this question, but if you were to own literally just one suit — for weddings and funerals — and you had to choose between Whitcomb (finished in India) and Chan, which one would you go with? And then what stylistic tweaks to their house suit style would you make?
I’d go off which you like from the jacket styles – that’s 90% of the style of a suit. Which do you take to more?
Hi Simon, I’m considering to make a versatile tweed jacket commision. I don’t want too heavy and hard traditional fabric, so I think I gonna choose W.Bill Shetland or H&S Sherry Tweed. I’ve found that you have experience from both bunch. Could you please briefly the differences between two?
They’re pretty similar to be honest Paul – I can’t remember the comparative weights off the top of my head, but beyond those I don’t think you’ll notice a big difference
I could have sworn I saw on Instagram stories you ordering blue striped seersucker jacket. won’t it be too showy? how/where do you plan to wear it? I was thinking long time about anthology tan stripped lazyman but never bought because I figured it’s too showy.
I think in the summer it will be nice if worn simply – eg a white shirt and navy trousers. Though it will still be more showy than other summer jackets, particularly darker ones
Since you’ve cautioned against wearing navy odd trousers in the past, what has changed your mind in this instance?
The reason I caution against it is that it’s not as versatile as many men expect – see article here.
Navy trousers look great, but only with certain jackets, most obviously grey, and a blue/white stripe is in that category too.
You know, I think that I would happily wear this jacket with jeans. It is obviously more of a look than with the more soft and rounded cut. However, I’m thinking of looks by way of Ralph Lauren or maybe even Husbands. Something more 70’s. Given the subtlety of this jacket – as opposed to something emphatically english and structured – it seems like it would hint at that look, but still for the most part work without clashing.
I think this might be one of your most commonly made points on the site; jackets that work with jeans and jackets that don’t. And chinos and jackets being a no-no for you. I wonder if this deserves it’s own post, perhaps with examples of things working and things not? I’d go as far as to say that this might be a divisive point! I’ve seen many comments of people being slightly less less pious about the jeans-jacket ultimatum than you are and wonder if it would be of interest to be explored slightly more?
Yes I think you’re right, it would be good. I’ll plan something