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Getting shirts made in HK, Cheng, Jantzen, Peter Lee. Thoughts, questions, frustrations!

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've been living in HK for almost a year now, and in the process have have tried out 3 different tailors for shirts, and wanted to share my experiences and thoughts so far, as well as solicit some feedback. Prior to going with custom made shirts, my best fit was a huge boss shirt I picked up from Nordstroms in the states. I'm a fairly normal build, 160-165 lbs, 38-39R, 15.5 neck, and 31-32 waist.

William Cheng

I got my first two shirts made here. Fairly standard fabric choices, in blue and purple, and a reasonable price, 270 HKD. (~35 USD) The shirts were basically skin tight, very uncomfortable, and looked well worn after just 10 washes. Wasn't really happy with the quality of their fabrics, and I didn't like the way the shirt fit, based on internet reading, I decided to try my luck with Jantzen.

Jantzen

I had a total of 6 or 7 shirts made by Jantzen. I mentioned my complaint that I didn't want a shirt too tight, neither too lose. I was looking for something that fit well. They agreed to oblige, and the first round of shirts fit much better. I noticed that the sleeves were a bit too large, and had them bring those in. Over time, I found that the sleeve wrinkled like crazy at the underarm, I think due to the way the sleeves were cut. When I mentioned this at Jantzen, they basically told me I was crazy, that everyone's shirt will do that, and its a function of having things made of cotton. Knowing that I walk down the street everyday without seeing people with super-wrinkled armpits, Jantzen was telling me that they would not be fixing my issues with their shirts, so I moved on to my next tailor. For reference, Jantzen is in the 350-390 range.

Peter Lee
Many posters on the forum seem to be quite happy with Peter Lee. (spending the most time here because I spent the most amount of time/effort to get it right with Peter) He's a bit more expensive at 580 per shirt, but at this point, I'd rather pay a little extra money and get something I'm happy with than something I hate. I get my first shirt made using their nicer fabrics(at 680 a shirt), and the fit comes out much better than it had with Jantzen. I no longer have the armpit wrinkling issue, and the shirt looks good. One weird thing, is that the shirt was made with an hourglass shape - the shirt comes in at the waist and then goes back out wide. I ask him if he can alter this and have the waist come in, and stay in. He fixes this issue, and I'm reasonably satisfied. Its not perfect, but much better than the way the shirt came out originally. This leads me to get a second batch made with Peter.

With the second batch, I again went with their nicer fabrics, and asked to have the shirts shortened a bit, as I don't want shirts that go all the way below my crotch when I tuck them in. I also asked them to keep the trimmed waist(sorry, my tailoring terminology is awful and I don't know what the right words to use would be) like last time, but make the shirts a bit shorter. I also noticed that my previous shirt was just a smidge tight around the chest, and asked if it could be made just a bit larger. Peter replies that he can only work in half inches, so the chest will have to be increased by an entire inch. Rather than go with a shirt that looks too tight, I tell him to open up the chest a bit and take the risk, I would have preferred to only enlarge the chest by half an inch, I'm really nitpicking at this point, I know.

The second batch is completed, and it turns out all 3 shirts have significant hourglass shapes. What is up with this??? I had mentioned several times that i wanted the shirt to taper in at the waist, and not flare back out. He offers to fix the shirts, which are again better than they were originally, but still not what I had asked for. Additionally, he's made the shirts so short that there is maybe a centimeter to give when I'm tucking them in without the sides coming out of my pants. The chest is also significantly bigger, and I know that an inch is quite a bit to add, I'm not quite sure I understand why he can't work in smaller increments. I'm starting to get the feeling that we are bouncing between extremes here.

Knowing that tailoring is a process and not something that is perfect your first time around, I decide to go one more round with Peter, this time I go with just one shirt, because I can't keep experimenting with multiple 680 HKD shirts that don't come out as I expect them to. I request that again, they fix the waist/hourglass figure thing going on(none of my OTR shirts has ever looked like this - and i've really never seen anyone with a shirt with this shape, what gives??) , and to make the shirt an inch longer, so I'm not risking my shirt coming out everytime I reach for something. I also requested the split yoke and unfused collars/cuffs.(extra 100 hkd) This time, the shirt comes back, with a slight flaring at the waist, and now 2.5 inches longer. I'm not understanding what the problem is here, as when I explain what I want, the drawings of the shirts are exactly as I describe, and I even see them writing the dimensions down.

Overall, I'm 5 shirts in with Peter now, and 3 "batches." I don't feel that he has addressed my issues with the shirts to my satisfaction, and feel that I have communicated my desires clearly. I haven't seen anyone else post negative experiences with Peter Lee, am I the only one? At this point in my tailored shirt adventure, I honestly think I'm going back to OTR and having them altered. I recently picked up a custom fit shirt from RLPL, and aside from being a bit wide at the waist, its got everything I want, and looks much better than anything I've had made from the local HK tailors. I don't yet have the budget to go up to Ascot Chang/WW Chan, so the adventure was fun and all, but in the end, hasn't been everything I had hoped it would.

At this point I think I'm going to go with RLPL and BB shirts, and having them altered.

Has anyone else on this forum had similar problems/experiences? How do you get over the disappointment of having similar issues over and over, or problems overcorrected to the opposite extreme?

(Another issue I've had with my shirts is that the yoke seems to bunch up near the collar. All of my OTR and tailored shirts have this problem, and one other tailor I visited for pants commented that it was due to the shape of my shoulders. Is this something that should be correctable, and have the shirt tailors above just not taken the effort to do so?)


TLDR
Been to a bunch of HK tailors, haven't had results significantly better than OTR, and am frustrated.
post #2 of 19

Thank you for the information. Any plans on trying Baron Kay(Starting at 550) or Jimmy Chen(Not sure of his prices)?

 

Unlucky that you didn't have a perfect experience. You could have bought from Ascot Chang/WW Chan, less shirts but with a happier result?

post #3 of 19
Peter Lee is over hyped and over rated - he is not at all good despite having a few good reports. Your expereince typifies all hat is wrong with him.

Try Ascot Chang for shirts when you can afford to do so.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I've had a pair of pants made from Baron Kay - they look ok, but they definitely took shortcuts in the workmanship. For example, they were too lazy to sew real buttonholes, and made "flaps" that attach to the buttons themselves. anyways, back to shirts. knowing that, I'm not going to go experimenting yet again to try to find a "grail" shirt. You're right that I might have made myself happier going with Chan in the first place - do it right, do it once smile.gif
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR View Post

Peter Lee is over hyped and over rated - he is not at all good despite having a few good reports. Your expereince typifies all hat is wrong with him.

That's quite a strong statement. Could you please elaborate?
post #6 of 19

A. Chang has quite a collection on their website. I assume that for bespoke tailoring you can specify several details like hand-sewn buttonholes?

post #7 of 19
Got three shirts made from WW Chan a year ago (before the prices really jumped again). Decent fabrics (Thomas Mason), great fitting (they accounted for my left shoulder which slightly rolls forward due to a football injury that never set properly), and amazing MOP buttons. Seriously.. their MOP buttons are like little works of art. They feel sensational and I've adopted the habit of fidgeting with my buttons during boring meetings. Back then, cost me roughly $125 / shirt, and I thought it was well worth it.

Fast forward to this year, and I'm looking for a decent tailor to replace most of my 'dead' shirts (about 15+). Upon reviewing the new WW Chan pricing schedule, I decided to review the alternatives.

I tried to reach out to Jantzen, but after 4-5 emails with no response, I gave up. After reviewing some mixed reviews about MyTailor and ModernTailor, I stumbled upon Peter Lee of Lee Baron. He was relatively responsive (about a few days turnaround time for each reply), and the price point was right. I mailed him one of my WW Chan shirts for a fit sample and chose a pattern. About 1.5 weeks later, I received my first shirt from Peter Lee.

The fit was a bit off, as the arm holes were too low and there was too much cloth at the back. I took pictures of myself in the shirt, circled the problematic areas, and told him to take in the back 1.5 inches and raise the arm holes an inch as well. As well, the button stitching was suspect with stray threads which I also noted in my email to him. The buttons were MOP, but were thick and didn't have as much of a lustre as the WW Chan ones. The collar roll was spot on however, as another SFer has noted in an earlier thread.

With these adjustments in place, I ordered 5 more shirts from him which just arrived today. The results are mixed again, but I'm pleasantly surprised with the fit at least. He nailed the adjustments on each shirt! The negatives are: i) One of the five shirts has plastic buttons instead of MOP (which is just bizarre! Maybe he thinks I can't tell the difference?) ii) One of the shirts has a cutaway collar and button cuffs instead of a classic collar with french cuffs iii) Some of the shirts still have stray threads on the button stitching. All in all, I'm reasonably happy with the haul and will continue to order from Peter Lee. Fit is king for me. After letting him know about the issues this time of course... wink.gif

TL;DR I love WW Chan shirts, but at $168 vs $46 dollar a shirt, Peter Lee is the go-to guy to rehaul my every day work wardrobe.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR View Post

Peter Lee is over hyped and over rated - he is not at all good despite having a few good reports. Your expereince typifies all hat is wrong with him.

Try Ascot Chang for shirts when you can afford to do so.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerC View Post


That's quite a strong statement. Could you please elaborate?

Hmmm, indeed it's strong, have you got any first hand experience with Peter Lee to make that bold statement?
post #9 of 19
FWIW - Peter Lee aka LeeBaron is very good for the price point & after the initial shirts as testers I have no problems for casual shirts.

Ascot Chang is a step up, but damn the product is good for the price.

I get better results from PL than WW Chan for 1/3 the cost.
Edited by Phat Guido - 8/19/11 at 6:51pm
post #10 of 19
For causal shirts, I use Peter Lee. I don't have any big problem with him after my first fitting shirt. Don't ask too much when you pay much less. CMT at PL is HKD280 IIRC.
For dress shirts, I use Ascot Chang. Never have any problem with them except the price is going up and up!
Doing CMT can save a bit. CMT at AC is HKD750.
The AC shirt is better than WW Chan, IMHO.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
My biggest concern is getting the same fit, regardless whether its formal or casual. are you guys less picky about fit with your casual shirts? or are you able to get consistent results from PL? The only thing I'm consistently getting from PL are things I don't want, hence my frustration.
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishball View Post

For causal shirts, I use Peter Lee. I don't have any big problem with him after my first fitting shirt. Don't ask too much when you pay much less. CMT at PL is HKD280 IIRC.
For dress shirts, I use Ascot Chang. Never have any problem with them except the price is going up and up!
Doing CMT can save a bit. CMT at AC is HKD750.
The AC shirt is better than WW Chan, IMHO.

regular pricing at AC right now is 1000? 1200? Any ideas if he'll do CMT with a new customer? I recall he has a 3 shirt minimum.

Perhaps I've been going about it with PL all wrong, and I should just get the cheaper cloths and not bother with unfused collars/cuffs.
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrclam View Post

My biggest concern is getting the same fit, regardless whether its formal or casual. are you guys less picky about fit with your casual shirts? or are you able to get consistent results from PL? The only thing I'm consistently getting from PL are things I don't want, hence my frustration.
- less picky? I'm the master of MicroManagement as well documented here in SF & one of the originators of letting the cat out about PL.
post #14 of 19
I think you can still find some Japanese shirting in AC at 750-800, but you have to ask them, the salesman normally will discouage you to use it.
Yes, regular things start at 1.1k to 1.2k, or may be more.
One of my friend who was a new customer, used to make a CMT shirt with no minimum, but he was introduced by one of their VIPs.
post #15 of 19
Peter normally will remake the shirt for you if you insist as long as they are house shirtings. If it is CMT, then you may need to provide the shirting.
Yes, I am not too picky with causal shirt as well as when I pay less. I would not ask Peter to deliver something as AC level. Simply because I know he can't do that at his price level.
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