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Starting from scratch; advice and help appreciated!

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by CrimmyS, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    Depending on where you are and what you do, think you can be a peacock, because you're going to be looking particularly individual anyway, by the fact you're not Han Chinese....you're a laowai. That's what I've found. They may even know what seersucker is, might have seen it in American movies, and Brooks Brothers do operate in China. However Chinese businessmen are usually dressed very conservatively, white shirt, black or very dark pants, black leather shoes, and sometimes a dark blue or brown smart looking zip-up wind-breaker type jacket, it's almost like a uniform. Blazers and ties not usually worn actually.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  2. CrimmyS

    CrimmyS Well-Known Member

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    Again, thanks for all the help so far! I've edited my original post with something easier to read and comment on (hopefully).

    Vermund: It's not that I don't take care of my things, just cheap things really do fall apart easily. It's also not my intention to have a loud belt buckle of any sort; and thanks for the comments. The reason I want to try tailoring here is because it should be cheap and hopefully will teach me how clothes should fit.

    masernaut: I'm familiar with taobao but I would prefer to try some tailoring. I have problems with almost every shirt and jacket I've tried on. Currently only t-shirts and this linen camp shirt fit my back well, without compromising other areas. Though if I can't get a good price on shirts I will look around on taobao.

    MikeDT: While I understand you are trying to be funny, I would appreciate it if you didn't call me a laowai. It seems like you can understand how casual it is to work as an ESL teacher. I can get away with shorts and sandals but my goal is to wear something that will look a nicer and that can easily transition to a dinner with friends, walking around, whatever. I leave near Xi'an so summer is going to be hot, maybe near the 40's, and dry. Unfortunately we have power outages at times and as I'm sure you are familiar with, they really suck.

    Yeah, taobao can be iffy. I tried getting my favorite pair of converse recently and they definitely were not genuine. Either that or converse moved production to another country and really cut costs...

    I'm familiar with how people dress here and how I will be treated. I actually hate the way a lot of people with jackets/dress shirts/trousers look here, but to this day I can't really figure out why...maybe it's because the clothes look like they don't fit? but yeah I know they generally wear the same dark colors, black shoes, no tie. Oddly enough, just this month I've started to see more people dressed in light colored sport coats, dress shirt, ties and pants. I had to admit they looked pretty good. I think I even saw a couple people with a pocket square, though that could be just me filling in the blank after looking at so many suits with pocket squares recently.

    SartodiNapoli: What you mentioned was what I had in mind, more or less, in terms of color. How about a yellow in a pastel color for a dress shirt? Fabric matching is what I don't understand; if there are any rules I need to know. But I'm assuming that having different summer fabrics on different parts of my outfit would be good rather than bad. Thank you for the collar note! What do you consider to matchy? I was primarily talking about making sure my shoes, leather, and watch match because they will all be leather.

    Also why do you not like suspenders? I wouldn't be wearing them to show off; I don't really like wearing a belt.

    Putonghua: Thanks for the very detailed post. I can understand the basics but get caught up in the choices. May I ask, why would I want to avoid seersucker and fresco? Too situational? I really am worried about comfort during the summer months which is why I'm a little fixated on them, even though I constantly see people recommending a solid dark navy worsted wool blazer instead.

    I have definitely taken in your comment on darker brown shoes over tan. It was my gf who was trying to get me to buy some lighter colored shoes. I also appreciate those links, that tie one will come in handy when I decide to look at ties.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  3. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    OK I won't do it on SF....promise. :) ...however I bet almost everyone else around you calls you "laowai". You're not Han are you, or Xi'an has some exception? ;)

    FYI "laowai" is not necessarily derogatory, most of the time it's just an informal way of saying "foreigner"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laowai

    OT: BTW this is a go to site for me...has a lot of useful expat stuff.
    http://www.lostlaowai.com/
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  4. CrimmyS

    CrimmyS Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mike! I'm aware that it's not a rude word on its own. I've come to hate the word through association because the people who use it are often rude to begin with. You are right, I'm not Han Chinese; I'm American of mixed blood and don't resemble anything Asian on most days... though people often suggest I look like a Xinjiang Ren. I often try and get my friends, students and colleagues to call me American when talking about me.

    I guess that's another problem I have with the word. The term laowai brings to mind a certain kind of expat that I am not. You probably won't agree with me but in my case when people start discussing or gossiping (negatively) about expats in this town, they often use laowai. When talking business or of friends they use the person's nationality or waiguoren.

    Thanks for the link. I'll check it out when the power is back. May I ask, have you tried tailored clothes in mainland China? If so what was your experience?
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014
  5. SartodiNapoli

    SartodiNapoli Well-Known Member

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  6. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    I've never got anything from a mainland tailor, and the only one's I've really noticed were in Sanlitun, Beijing, in the clothing market, with names like Sally Tailor or Lisa Tailor. There's been some discussion here on SF about mainland tailors though, think the overall opinion was...avoid them....there's a lot of knock-off cloth...and anything genuine they charge one hell of a premium for it. We have local tailors here in Inner Mongolia, but they mainly do the traditional Mongolian attire.

    The tailored clothes I wear on a regular basis came from HK, which is shirts, pants and one navy blazer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  7. CrimmyS

    CrimmyS Well-Known Member

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    Mike:

    That's a little disheartening. Now I'm wondering if I should still give it a go or save up for a trip to another city (whether it be HK or Shanghai). What exactly constitutes a knock-off cloth and are there any tell-tale signs? The problem would be factoring in the cost of the trip itself.

    Though I would assume, even something that's not great quality would be better than what I'd get in most of the shops for the same price, right?

    Though it seems from one of the topics, people were also disappointed with a HK branch in Shanghai. I guess that might rule shanghai out if I want something that's quality.

    SartodiNapoli:

    Yes, I have the mindset of buying something that will last longer rather than something that I will throw away, at least as often as I possibly can.

    Is your question asking if Italian things are priced really high here? If so, I can't speak for Italian things specifically, but most things imported from abroad are more expensive here I find. I guess there are some exceptions, but a good example are a pair of Allen Edmonds running for twice the price here than they would be in the U.S.
     
  8. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    There's a couple of threads about tailors in the mainland, but not too much though, and one ends on an unanswered "any good ones in beijing?"...to that and from what I've seen, I would assume the answer is a resounding NO!! ..:D ..and the ones that are there, are for the gullible tourists and unwitting expats.
    http://www.styleforum.net/t/140691/tailors-in-china-not-hk
    http://www.styleforum.net/t/219746/bespoke-beijing-updated-with-photos
    Sure most mainlanders just don't in for western bespoke or MTM, and the mega-rich new money types are likely to be seen in Savile Row.

    Think most have gone to HK, or maybe the couple of HK ones in Shanghai, like WW Chan. I'm certainly not a cloth expert, so I may not know the tell-tale signs of a fake and what to look for. I know a tailor in HK who's OK for what I need, and I pass through there once a year anyway so it's not really out of my way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2014
  9. CrimmyS

    CrimmyS Well-Known Member

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    I can see why! My experiences so far haven't been fun. I've been to 5 or so different areas and honestly they just kind of get impatient and want me to buy give them money and "trust" them. Only one place seemed actually kind of welcoming and relaxed; a tailors shop that's part of a hotel here. Though the prices were really high. I don't feel comfortable spending 6k rmb on a blazer from a place that I haven't really heard of, even though their shop looked really nice and they were part of a nice hotel.
     
  10. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    Probably where much of your 6k yuan would be going, into making the shop look nice and as well as paying the rent.
     
  11. masernaut

    masernaut Well-Known Member

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    It's cheaper to fly/train to Hong Kong, get a MTM suit and fly/train back to wherever you are. I wouldn't pay more than 300 RMB for something like a blazer out of China. And that is only if I have a last minute audience with Tsai Chin.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. MikeDT

    MikeDT Well-Known Member

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    I've certainly got the idea now that tailoring in mainland PRC is rarely a good deal. They really gouge on the prices of materials, because they're frequently a luxury import(usually Italian or British) and therefore command high prices, plus the fit and construction can be an uncertain factor as well. Their main customers are likely new money types, maybe wearing a 200,000-300,000 yuan Rolex and so 6,000 on a tailor made blazer is almost nothing....hello Xi Jinping.

    ...I'm sure there's a fast train from Xi'an to Hong Kong, that's not too expensive.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014

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