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My Style Forum thesis

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've learned a lot here in the months since I've joined, and I thought I would apply some of that knowledge to an upcoming suit purchase. I will be traveling to Shanghai in May, so I plan to go to W.W. Chan and have them make a suit to my liking in the time that I'm there. What follows is a list of specifications along with pictures (you'll recognize many of them) to illustrate what I'm going for. As you can see, I'm kind of detail oriented and have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for. I plan to bring all this information with me, and maybe even send some of it in advance if they tell me it would be helpful. Anything seem ridiculous? Any terms used incorrectly? Anything you would add? Take away? Change? You get the idea. I have a few remaining questions at the end that I'm hoping people can help me with. Thanks, and enjoy. (some of the pictures take a little time to load.) Lapels/Collar: - narrow notch lapel (Example 11)(Example 8) - 2 button - working hand-sewn lapel hole - very high gorge (Example 2)(Example 8)(Example 9) - medium-high button stance - 3-4" above belly button - edge picking - contrast color felt or grosgrain under collar band - gentle button roll (Example 9)(Example 10) Shoulders: (Example 12)(Example 13)(Example 14)(Example 5) - narrow, following natural shoulder line /width - slightly built (light padding) with concave slope - medium-heavy roping on sleeve head Arms: - tight arms - 1/2" shirt sleeve showing - small and high arm holes - slight taper to wrist (or should I go trumpet?) - 5 working hand-sewn button holes - overlapping buttons (Example 4) Fit: - very slim fit (Example 5)(Example 8) - close chest - medium waist suppression (Example 7)(Example 6) - close skirt, flared away front edges - regular length, bordering on the shorter side - double vent (Example 7) Pockets: - welt chest pocket, normal height with slight angle toward shoulder - 2 besom and flapped front pockets - right side ticket pocket, besom flapped (I go back and forth on this)(Example 6) - inside pen pocket, left - inside cell phone pocket, left - inside chest pocket (deep), bottoned, left - inside ticket pocket (deep), right - lower misc. pocket, right Lining: - colorful patterned silk (cheongsam/qipao printed silk) - hand-sewn monogram on left chest pocket in contrast color - no other labels Pants: - lower rise, about 1 1/4" below belly button - slim fit through thigh "stovepipe" (Example 5) - slight flare at leg opening - crease ending 6-8" below waistband - heel guard to assist drape - waist band 1 1/2" tall - pull tabs instead of belt loops (Example 1) - tab closure at waist with overlapping band (Example 3)(Example 1) - plain front - no cuff - button fly, 4 buttons, with extra internal tension buttons - off-seam side pockets (on seam?) - 1 besom back pocket, buttoned, right side - lined to knee (good idea, bad idea?) Fabric/materials: (need advice on all of this) - Super 120s-140s - 10-12 oz weight - charcoal, perhaps with pinstripes, self-pattern - dark horn buttons with subtle natural patterns For reference, I don't wear a suit to work, but enjoy any occasion to put one on, so I imagine this will mostly be worn in the evening. I'd also like to be able to wear it for as much of the year as I can, so suggestions on fabric weight would be appreciated. Durability should be somewhat of a factor as well, as this will be my primary suit. I'm also a younger guy, if that helps anything. As you can see, I have a few question marks above, and I'm also wondering 1.) should I specify vent height, as well as the space between the vents? And 2.) what should the measurement be from the sleeve button to the cuff? So there it is. Am I destined to be disappointed because I have such a clear picture in my mind of what I want, or have I covered all my bases? I've enjoyed putting this together and will certainly share the results when it's finished.
post #2 of 29
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I plan to bring all this information with me, and maybe even send some of it in advance
I wouldn't advise sending it in advance. If you do, they will have moved and left no forwarding address.
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Am I destined to be disappointed because I have such a clear picture in my mind of what I want
My guess would be probably so ... unless everything you have specified, or 95% of it, is contained in one of their standard models. I would be happy for you if I could eat my words. However, you have obviously selected Chan because money is an issue. It is somewhat like going to the Yugo factory with specifications for a Ferrari.
post #3 of 29
i really like example 9 and 10
post #4 of 29
Example 9 - The lifting off the collarbone of the shirt collar provides a perfect example of why point collars need tiespace. However, the individuality offered by one point under and one point not under does illustrate a certain degree of sartorial independence.
post #5 of 29
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So there it is. Am I destined to be disappointed because I have such a clear picture in my mind of what I want, or have I covered all my bases? I've enjoyed putting this together and will certainly share the results when it's finished.
You will probably be somewhat disappointed for at least the following reasons: - the way your example suits look on the mannequins or models is not likely the way they'll look on you. - short of having a garment to copy, you are unlikely to communicate your vision of the suit in all its detail to the tailor. - if you could actually wear the suit of your design for a while, you would likely find that certain aspects of it are not as ideal as you had originally thought. I had similar thoughts when I had my first suits made in Hong Kong by WW Chan.  Fortunately, they talked me out of some of my sillier ideas although they humored me on others.  In the end, I received a suit that wasn't quite what I had envisioned although it certainly fit very well.  The longer I wore it, though, the more I appreciated it.  I think a lot of it has to do with suitability.  For instance, I cannot wear a Dior Homme-style super-slim-cut suit because I'm not built like that.  If I tried to wear one, I would look stupid.  The suits Chan has made for me befit my build.  I, for one, am quite pleased with my "Yugo" suits. For me and many others here who have written about their experiences, the bespoke process is a learning process.  As you progress, you'll become more familiar with the styles that work for you.  Everyone has to start somewhere, though, and if you have the time for multiple fittings in Shanghai, that sounds like a great opportunity.  I would expect that you'll find your first bespoke suit to be the best-fitting suit you've ever worn, but it probably will not look exactly like the image you have in your head now. Some more practical suggestions -- don't get caught up in the Super Zillions fabric stuff.  You'll want the suit to last and wear well, so I'd pick something in the 100-120 range.  And keep an open mind when the tailor tries to talk you out of something.  In my experience with Patrick Chu, most (although not all) of his suggestions will result in a better suit. Best of luck and post pictures, dan
post #6 of 29
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I, for one, am quite pleased with my "Yugo" suits.
Lest you mistake my meaning, I meant to cast no aspersions upon Chan. My intent was similar to yours ... you cannot expect a tailor to perform $2000 worth of work for $1000. And if you are willing to spend twice as much, go to a tailor whose normal price is twice as much.
post #7 of 29
I love the amount of work that went into the thesis. I hope you get what you want or very close to it... Dont mind Alex, he is Old and Bitter even if sometimes funny PS: Alex, this was very funny
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I wouldn't advise sending it in advance. If you do, they will have moved and left no forwarding address.
post #8 of 29
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I, for one, am quite pleased with my "Yugo" suits.
Lest you mistake my meaning, I meant to cast no aspersions upon Chan. My intent was similar to yours ... you cannot expect a tailor to perform $2000 worth of work for $1000. And if you are willing to spend twice as much, go to a tailor whose normal price is twice as much.
I find that they go well with my non-iron Van Heusen shirts...  
post #9 of 29
Just to answer your final two questions, Chan makes their vents a standard height in relation to the length of the rest of the jacket. They have a standard ratio. No need to specify, unlesss you want them extra short or something. Sleeve buttons 1 1/4 inch from end of sleeve, which is also standard for Chan.
post #10 of 29
I'm not sure the high gorge with a narrow lapel is a mix that necessarily goes together. Also, if you want the gentle roll of your lapel, I think a narrow lapel doesn't look as elegant as a wider lapel. I'm sure others will have different opinions than these. Just my two cents.
post #11 of 29
I agree that you have a lot of different things going on here -- narrow lapels, top button 4" above the belly button (I would recommend you measure that to see just how high that really is), along with what you call a "gentle lapel roll." First, the narrow lapels with that high of a button stance is unlikely to look very good, IMO. The narrow lapel is something that elongates, which is precisely why you see the narrow lapel on a button stance that is at the belly button or thereabouts. With that high of a button stance, the narrow lapel is just going to look a bit silly, IMO. Second, with the top button as high as you want it, you simply can't have the lapel rolling too far above that top button -- that will end up being just under the breast pocket. Third, I think that you are going to simply be asking way too much of Chan here. What you are asking for is a very stylized designer suit. This is not going to be an easy thing to produce, and it is something where certain things are bound to go wrong, perhaps very wrong. To this extent, some time for multiple fittings and true in house work (where the tailor can go narrow the lapels 10 minutes after you try on the basted suit) is probably going to be necessary. Plus, to ask Chan, who caters to business travelers and the like, to engage in this style of design is to ask them to do something their tailors are likely unaccustomed to. More goes into the suit making process than simply measurement -- it is stitching, and thread tension, and the stiffness of the canvas. If I were you, I would get a picture of a suit, or wear the one you like the best, and have them copy that model as precisely as you can, and then perhaps note where specifically you would like two or three minor changes (i.e. move button 1" higher, narrow lapels by 1/2"). The fact that you have likely never seen a suit such as you described (I certainly haven't, and I've seen literally several hundred suit models, ranging from Prada to Kiton) most likely indicates that the design is not a good one.
post #12 of 29
Wow that's a crazy list. Why don't you just get Black Label suit? Most of those specs you provided are of a BL suit.
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well this has been humbling, although also helpful. I think in the end it's hard for me to figure out what do to with all this new knowledge about the way suits can be designed, and part of this was just an excuse to try and put it all together. I just feel a bit sheepish is all. I think this also gets back to a recent thread about Brioni vs. bespoke, and why someone would pay $4000 or more for an OTR suit. It was something that I had always wondered about, but I guess what this has helped me to realize is that you really do pay for the design, and it's something that's hard to replicate even if you know what you want. Mike C. raises an interesting point. I do like the way Black Label suits look and fit "” he correctly notes that many of the design elements are lifted directly from them "” but I'm not crazy about the materials and the construction. So what makes more sense: spend more money on a less well made suit that looks almost exactly how I want it to, or spend less money on a suit that will last longer, feel better, but might not be the style I have in mind? Kind of a tough question, and I guess I have to answer for myself.
post #14 of 29
I'd go with the one with the design that you like, even if the construction is somewhat sub-par. Then 5 years down the road you may want to try a tailor a step above Chan for what you're envisioning; you do tend to get what you pay for, and while Chan does do a nice suit (telling from Kai's pictures he posted a long while ago), you might want to try someone else for the specifications you're demanding.
post #15 of 29
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Mike C. raises an interesting point. I do like the way Black Label suits look and fit "” he correctly notes that many of the design elements are lifted directly from them "” but I'm not crazy about the materials and the construction.
Have you tried it on, or seen the construction? They are made by Cantarelli, which is a great factory. No hand-felled lapels or anything, but good construction otherwise. No hand stitching on the lapels either, it would look out of place. Try Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, or Dolce and Gabbana for simillar skinny suits.
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