Originally Posted by sellahi22
JLibourel, I hesitate to contradict you since I relied so much on your accounts of the Chan experience before placing my first order, but I couldn't disagree more with this advice. For me, cloth is tied with fit as the most fundamental element of a suit, and I think compromising on cloth and treating your first suit as disposable is like flushing money down the toilet.
WallaWalla - while you will undoubtedly make tweaks for subsequent orders, your first Chan suit should turn out perfectly competent, provided that you are clear with Patrick about what you want stylistically. It'll be part of your rotation so make it up in a fabric that you will enjoy wearing for years to come. I recommend a traditional English cloth like Harrisons, Lesser, or Smiths. Leave the H&S - while they do some great cottons and linen/silk mixes, their worsted wool is not very highly regarded. Also avoid the high super number, shiny, lightweight Italian stuff like VBC. It will look great out of the box but will look tatty very quickly (pilling, shininess, wrinkles, etc). I doubt you will save much money anyway. A suit in Harrison's Fine Classics (the cheapest of the legit English fabric ranges) should not run much more than $1300.
I probably am the one who gave JLibourel the "1st Chan suit-->use VBC" advice a few years ago. Jan?
The VBC 110s is a durable and underappreciated cloth. I still have the first suit I bought from WW Chan, back when Raymond Kiang was their touring rep. The suit is closing in on 10 years and 150+ wearings, and apart from a couple of snags and pulls is in very good shape. It has not gone shiny or fuzzy. The VBC 130s is not as durable as the 110s but is a very nice cloth as well.
The value equation has changed since several years ago when Chan did VBC suits as a $730 US tour special and everything else they offered was north of $1K. However, for a first Chan commission for someone without a strong sense of precisely how they want things done, I still recommend using the least expensive cloth that fills the need.
When you are figuring out a tailor's style as well as your own preferences, I don't think it is a mistake to stick with a basic cloth. When I look back at the first couple of suits I ordered from Chan, my regrets are along the line of "I should have had them do X instead of Y," and not "why, oh why didn't I get this one in Scabal instead of VBC Revenge?"