Custom-made clothing?

Old Aug 14th, 2012, 05:58 AM
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Custom-made clothing?

Is it worthwhile to have men's clothing custom-made while visiting Hong Kong, or is that a myth left from bygone days? Is it outrageously less expensive than the US or Europe, or much superior in quality?
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Old Aug 14th, 2012, 06:03 AM
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Custom tailoring in Hong Kong for both men and women is excellent. It is no longer a bargain, nor has it been for decades. If you are comparing with the best tailoring in London, for instance, it is considerably less expensive. If you are comparing to off the rack clothing, it is more expensive. If there is something special you'd like to have made it may well be worth it to you. Remember that to get good custom-made clothing you must be willing to put in the time for multiple fittings.
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Old Aug 14th, 2012, 07:15 AM
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Custom made tailoring in Hong Kong (or cheaper in Shenzhen if you cross the border) can be great, but the price is variable based on the materials you use. If you don't have much time to get fitted, just bring along a shirt/pants/etc that fits you well, and the tailors can copy that exactly with the materials of your choice. High quality fabrics will be expensive, but as Kathie said, considerably less than in the West.
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Old Aug 14th, 2012, 10:54 PM
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It depends what you want and how important made to measure clothing is to you.

Under many circumstances HK can be a pointless luxury. A standard suit in a decent fabric from Marks & Spencer is £150-£200: you're not going to get anything in an HK tailor for that price (unless you're small enough to find a suit that fits you at an HK M&S branch, but what's the point of that?). At Walmart or Asda, you'll pay half or less the M&S price- and for some people, sometimes, that's exactly what you want

For a man wno's not a completely standard size (hardly any of us are), though, having a suit that's really tailored to fit properly can transform your self-esteem, and no alteration service at home substitutes for that. Few of us need the perfect fit every time (few of us wear suits that often anymore anyway), but a properly made to measure HK suit is half or less the price you'd pay in the UK or US. It'll be less than a quarter what you'd pay in Saville Row - but having a suit made in HK isn't really a good way of matching the very highest tailoring standards. There's an odd quirk in all this, though, which I touch on at the end of this post

I can't see the point in this "ask them to measure from an existing garment" argument. Our bodies are always changing, and you want a suit that fits today's body. You also want the insight of an experienced tailor about what works: the jacket you think fits won't have that. A properly chosen and measured off the peg suit will be a better match than a ten-year old jacket. The 30 mins proper measuring involves is trivial: the time taken by a made to measure suit is the manufacture, and the amounbt of your time the process takes up is in getting to a usually slightly out ofthe way tailor's and in hanging round a shop that isn't always a model of super-rapid service.

Getting a suit made in HK while you're there isn't the only way of saving on getting a suit made. In the US there are a number of chains using computers or offshore tailors, and they can produce made to measure quality at prices approaching HK. In the UK, there are a number of HK tailors travelling the country, measuring you near your house and delivering the suit three weeks later (HK has an arrangement with UK Customs by which the tailor pays all UK duty and tax in HK, so you're not hit with a whopping bill when the courier turns up. I've forgotten whether the issue applies in the US, but I'm sure HK doesn't have the same arrangement with the US).

Beware of one price oddity. Fabric, however expensive, accounts for a surprisingly small proprtion of the cost of making a suit. HK tailors price by fabric: you can easily be cajoled into speding four or five times the basic cost of a suit for better fabric.

Western retailers price in a more sophisticated way, so a £150 suit at M&S in a terrific English worsted fabric will cost only £250-£500 or so - and therefore less than the same fabric suit will cost bespoke in HK. Very often, getting that superior fabric, even off the shelf, can give the wearer just a great a sense of ease as a poorer fabric made to measure.

There's no simple answer here. I'm a greater fan of HK than most because I'm a long way from the standard size that even the M&S sizing system offers. It really depends on your attitude to the clothes you wear.
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Old Aug 15th, 2012, 05:42 AM
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You are quite right, Flanner. "Measure from an existing garment" does not get you custom tailored clothing. It gives you a duplicate of the ready-made garment you have. Typically, it's not worth paying Hong Kong prices for that. In places where the tailoring is cheaper (and not as good) that can be a fine solution.
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Old Aug 15th, 2012, 05:49 AM
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I don't where else you are going but if you are ever in India then you can still get a bargain. I've gone 6 times over the past 30+ yrs. and have used the same shiop in CP (Connaught Place) and have been very pleased.
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Old Aug 15th, 2012, 06:24 AM
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There are 2-3 places in Bangkok that match the quality of HK but my experience is the rest are a few steps behind HK but so are the prices by 30%-40$. Also, only a few shops in BK have access to the best Italialian fabrics ie. Scabel 150-180- Superfine 100% wool, Zenga, Holland & Sherry at the same. Rajo in BK has some of these cfabrics. In HK Sams and a half dozen others offer these fabrics at 150-180's Superfine (make sure non-blended) for $800-$11200 with excepectional detail often with 2 pair of slacks. In the US the same suit would cost you $4000-$5000. I did not spend as much and used Loro Piana fabric (very rich and the suiits were $730 each but by buying 2 it cost ne #1375 and they nade 2 dress shirts of 150 thread count at no charge. US price would have been $175-$200/shirt in US. I have one of Sams suits that looks really new that I have worn for 9 years.
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