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Noob wedding suit - RTW or Chan

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Have been lurking for a while and appreciate the information, advice, and opinions here so thought I'd ask.


I'm getting married next May and would like to look presentable for the occasion. I'm 31, about 6 feet, 180 lbs, no weird deformities. Have five or six 40R suits in rotation of the generally crappy, fused variety. I am now aware of the error of these ways as well as the value of EBay.


For my wedding I was planning to go with a dark navy 2-button suit with flat front pants. I'm not totally opposed to a 3 roll to 2 or single pleats as options, but my preference is for the former. Would like to keep things at about $1200-1500 and get a suit that fits me well and is nicely made.


I have found through forum posts and affiliated links that nice RTW brands (ex. Borrelli) can be had in my price range. On the other hand, WW Chan, who has been the subject of kind reviews on this site, will be in town this weekend. If it is not too late to make an appointment, I was considering that option as well.


The problem is that for as much as I've enjoyed and learned from this site, I still don't know much about anything. No real sense of how my current suits fit, what good fabric feels like, and so on. It's kind of like reading lyrics, I kind of know the words but have no clue how the song is supposed to sound (that was f*cking poetic).


I guess my questions are:


For RTW, what's the best way to do in-person research? Just go and browse? I'd feel kind of bad asking some store rep a ton of questions then going home to buy online.


For Chan, if I don't have a clear and detailed vision to give to a tailor for a bespoke suit, does it make sense to go this route? Would I just be totally lost or would they be patient with guidance etc?


Thanks in advance for your insight. Maybe Chan will be booked up and it will remove the option for me!

post #2 of 14
I'd post pictures of yourself wearing your current suits in the Tailors' Thread. That will teach you a lot about how they fit and what you might need.
I'm a big fan of Chan, and am confident that if you can make an appt, they will be patient and helpful.
post #3 of 14
Chalk and cheese.

RTW - you should go to some shops and choose what fits you best BUT to spend more than the price of a Chan on RTW would seem crazy.

Chan will take you through purchase of a suit. Far too many people think that 'bespoke is not for them' because of a lack of perceived knowledge. Not so, people have been going to bespoke tailors for the first time for many years: The emergence of boards such as this has only heightened this worry. Cutters will steer people through.

Just wear what you think is your best fitting suit and one whose style you like and go from there. Chan will work with you from that point, if you have any feature you like on a suit or details (pockets, vents, pleats etc etc, write them down on a piece of paper before you go so that you do to forget them, then just tick them off in discussion.

If you can afford Chan go that route, you will not be happy otherwise.
post #4 of 14
^^ +1

You don't need a clear and detailed vision - in fact that could be a hindrance. If you are not sure about fit, cloth, styling and so on, by going to Chan you can effectively "outsource" all that stuff to them; it's their area of expertise after all, and part of what you pay for. Just go in and say "navy 2 button suit, flat front pants please", they'll help you pick a cloth (they'll only stock good stuff) and one or two other details, and then you can pretty much leave everything else up to them. Don't worry about fit too much - that's their job.
post #5 of 14
Have you looked at RLBL? My friend just got married in one (2 button charcoal) and is similar size and with just a little tweaking, the fit was perfect.

Depends what shape your body is (I would never fit one) but they are made by Caruso and are just fantastic. Should cost less than chan and since you are trying to order one of the most basic suits out there, I don't quite see where the benefit for going full-bespoke is.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 

Many thanks so far for the helpful advice.


It's especially good to know that a rookie can go to a tailor and not be expected to understand everything. If I go to Chan, in addition to wearing a suit that I feel fits me (unfortunately in my arsenal, that doesn't always coincide with the style I like), would it make sense to bring pictures of suits that I like? Was thinking it might be helpful to illustrate something I might not be able to communicate or physically have.


otc, thanks for your last comment as it was something I meant to mention initially. I'm a pretty run-of-the-mill build guy looking for a pretty standard suit (notched lapels, side vents, no extra pockets -- don't get me wrong, I personally like ticket pockets but understand they might not be appropriate for a groom's suit). So if I'm not looking for some of the more nuanced elements that a bespoke tailor could best provide, I wasn't sure if I would be "missing out" on the bespoke experience by getting a pretty traditional suit from a tailor. Or am I missing the forest for the trees here and should I instead be focused on the fact that a bespoke suit would likely be the best fit?


I emailed Chan about availability and will look into RLBL, definitely welcome any other thoughts and appreciate your all's comments.

post #7 of 14
There is an indescribable delight to be had in ordering a dead plain bespoke suit, with no obvious external details to mark it out as such. I wish I had the self control to do it more often.
post #8 of 14
I can't comment on your RTW options, but would just add my recommendation concerning Chan. I have been using them for almost 8 years, during which they have made 17 jackets and 5 suits for me, and I am meeting with them on Wednesday to get a sixth suit. (I might mention that I have gotten rid of every RTW suit I owned since I started using Chan.) Patrick Chu is a great guy to deal with and extremely knowledgeable and helpful in his suggestions. For example, if he thinks single-pleat trousers would be better suited to you than flat-fronts, you would be wise to follow his advice.

If you want to see them on this tour, call the hotel where they will be staying when they get in and see if they can fit you in. Be sure to ask for "Patrick Chu," not "W.W. Chan ." If they can't see you, they will be having another tour in November.
post #9 of 14
Originally Posted by yeahdog View Post

If I go to Chan, in addition to wearing a suit that I feel fits me (unfortunately in my arsenal, that doesn't always coincide with the style I like), would it make sense to bring pictures of suits that I like? Was thinking it might be helpful to illustrate something I might not be able to communicate or physically have.

Yes, but I'd explain your situation (what you know you want, and what you vaguely think you want), and trust Patrick to steer you in the right direction. As others here have said, he really is good at what he does.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

It sounds like having a suit made with Chan would be a great experience and result. I left a message for Patrick and hope to be able to fit into the schedule. If not, then I can try for November, and in the meantime read/learn some more.

Thanks again for your comments, all of these have been really helpful for me.

post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Went to see WW Chan today, and it was a great experience, so thank you again for the advice. Patrick guided me through and gave recommendations on fit and other elements as I had hoped.


Only thing I was mostly unprepared for was fabrics. I had read about and printed out some different names to bring with me, but I was pretty well lost.


I ended up going with a 9oz Super 100s navy from H&S for $1830. This was over my $1500 budget but I didn't like the VBC fabric all that much ($1200s) and there was a Bower Roebuck ($1400s) that I didn't know but also seemed pretty good that I passed over.


Should I have sprung for Harrisons for a little more (almost but not quite 2k)? Anything I can do at this point to change? I did not take down the Harrisons info so would need to see the book again. Now I am just going to be thinking about it. Damn.

post #12 of 14
My first suit from Chan was the Smith's Finmeresco. I love that fabric, a 11.5 oz, 4 ply fresco. Very tough, wrinkle-resistant and breathable. Should be a bit cheaper than the H&S you ordered. If you want something lighter and cheaper, the Minnis Fresco in 9-10 oz is a great choice imo. There's also a Lessers worsted that people recommend highly. Can't remember the name.
post #13 of 14
Hey, well done.
Probably not too late to change if you give them a call (I imagine they won't order the cloth till they're back in HK), but I wouldn't bother. I'm sure the H&S cloth will look good - so don't sweat it, just start looking forward to the first fitting biggrin.gif
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thanks, guys. Here's a pic of the fabric I chose (H&S Target Gabardine 291018). After overthinking for most of the past day, I'm going to let it go, hope for the best, and look forward to the fitting.


Also for any new folks finding this thread in a similar situation, there are more minor decisions that I hadn't thought of before going in (and what I chose). The guys from Chan are helpful in explaining each.


Pen pocket on the inside of your coat. (Did it.)

Buttonable flap for your inner coat pockets. (Did it for one.)

Numerous color choices for coat lining. (Went with a blue.)

Color choice for buttons. (Went with black matte.)

Your name embroidered inside of the coat. (Passed.)

Belt loops or side tabs for pants. (Loops.)

Change pocket for pants. (Did it.)


Maybe a couple of others I am forgetting.


Anyway your all's guidance and assurances have been invaluable and appreciated, so thank you again.



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