Hong Kong Shirt Makers

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by chiefhk, Jul 22, 2014.

  1. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    ghostbusters and shirting, [​IMG]

    I highly doubt Graly will be swamped with new business. From my limited understanding, it appears alot of his clientele are repeat customers, foreigners mixed with local HKers. Only on 1 random occasion was there another customer. they were there for shirt pick-ups. My concern is that his business will get pushed out as Wan Chai gentrifies. As far as rising prices, it pains me to know labor and rent inflation is inevitable. This is HK after all.

    By the way, I know exactly what you are referring to with the "loose threads, here and there." Graly shirts are not perfect quality but pricewise, they are a fraction of AC-esque shirts. At the other end of the spectrum, I've patronized Jantzen on and off over the past 11 years(as far back as when they are at World Wide House). At one point, in despair, I went back to RTW shirts for a couple of years because it wasn't worth the hassle. Compared to the Jantzen crew, Tim wins the Mr. Personality award. Grrr .... now, time to phase out my Jantzen shirts!

    Do you think MoP buttons make that much of a difference? Feel free to share pics of your new formal dress shirts, when you have time.
     
  2. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    The buttons on the pink shirt are Graly's standard ones.

    The second photo shows trocas buttons that are 3mm thick on the left and MoP buttons that are 2mm (or maybe even a whisker thinner) on the right, on top of some Thomas Mason linen shirting that is currently being made up CMT.

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    Styleforum - where men can discuss button choices in discreet anonymity with other men...
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  3. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    Wow, thanks for the pics! - MOPs truly stand out. In a weird way, I feel very enlightened. Any chance you can PM me or disclose your SSP button vendor? I turn sheepish whenever I venture over to Kwln. That should give you an idea of how often I leave HK side.

    Very nice linen you've picked out, sharp eye you have.
     
  4. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    The MoP ones are a lot thinner which you may or may not like. I looked at the buttons on the RTW Jermyn Street shirts I used to have from Harvie & Hudson and TM Lewin, and those were pretty thin too. The quality of the MoP is similar, maybe the SSP ones are a bit less pearlescent but really I'm not too fussed. I do care more that the buttons have a rim, oddly.

    Anyway, there a ton of haberdashery shops along and around Nam Cheong St in SSP. I liked these guys best and they weren't too fussy about selling small quantities - just say you want a sample and ask for a specific number in a specific sizes - buttons are measured in lignes (pronounced lines). You'll want mainly "18 ligne 2mm MoP" buttons for the placket and cuffs (if they're going to button) - easiest to buy a gross - 144 ($172 HKD). Then you'll want "16 ligne" size for the collar and perhaps sleeve gauntlet buttons and optionally "14 ligne" size for the collar point buttons on a button-down shirt. You'll need many more 18 ligne buttons than 16s or 14s, because there are so many more buttons on the front. Plus get a load of little plastic ziplok bags so that when you place your next order you can give Tim the right quantities and sizes of buttons - but they were $9 per 100 from a stationery shop.

    [​IMG]


    The linen is pretty nice, and is being joined by a shirt in this linen, with smoke MoP buttons. They'll both have button cuffs, no placket and longer, softer collars more suited to being worn open-necked. Like the blue chambray shirt below on the left.

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    The house fabrics are definitely a good deal (the 100% cotton ones anyway). Thomas Mason does still have merit too:

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    became

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    Last edited: Jan 24, 2015
  5. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    Kind Appreciation, Penfold. You are a fountain of shirting knowledge.

    This is getting quite technical. Forgive me for asking,

    1. you recommend "16 ligne size for the collar buttons and sleeve gauntlets. are you referring to the top most button on the placket, on a non button down dress shirt? I never noticed the top collar button being a slightly smaller size than all of the other placket buttons.

    2. i didn't specify on my Graly shirts, which are all non-button down. all the buttons are the same size(placket,cuffs and gauntlet). is this a faux pas?

    Tim has a batch of premium house fabrics, that he sells for 550 HKD. those are worth a look,feel - although the stripes or checks may not suit your fancy. On my last store visit, these premium house bolts were whittled down from the original qty. FWIW, he wrote down the thread count (160 or 180?) on my receipt but I tossed it. Softer hand and better wear than the standard Graly house fabrics, my TM from AC and Alumo from AC.
     
  6. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    By collar button I mean the top button on the placket, that fastens the collar band closed. I didn't know it was a different size either but when I was last in Graly handing over some 18l buttons Tim said it was a 16l size for that button. Maybe best check with him - I don't think 2/40ths of inch (which is the difference in size) is going to be a deal-breaker though either way - and it's definitely not a faux pas! Button-down collarpoint buttons should be smaller than placket buttons. I definitely wouldn't worry too much either way.

    I really want to try cocktail cuffs on a semi-formal shirt as I am rather bored with French cuffs and with cufflinks, especially in a semi-casual setting.

    I will definitely check out the premium house fabrics, especially for a good quality white herringbone.

    Just to finish the technical lecture, in case you go fully down the CMT route sourcing fabrics from TM or from Acorn directly then on this fabric shown below in a TM shirting book

    [​IMG]

    1. Is the TM product code.
    2. Is the HK wholesaler's price in HKD for two yards length of material, which is sufficient to make a shirt for the average/big person.
    3. Is the width of the fabric bolt. The standard width is 59-60 inches. Some fabrics, including many from Acorn, are sold in 36" widths, so you'd need to compensate by ordering a longer piece of fabric.
    4. Is the Super number - a measure of the fineness of the yarns used in weaving.
    5. The ply of the fabric

    See http://www.gentlemansgazette.com/shirt-guide-basics-weaves/ for more detail on the last two.

    Especially when you can have them made bespoke at relatively low cost, I think shirts are great fun to fool around with. You buy more, you wear them all the time and they are less difficult and risky than the commitment and expense of a bespoke suit or odd jacket. Plus the right colour, pattern and collar can really improve many fits. I'd rather have ten Graly shirts than three ACs, especially when the cost of AC meant I'd be inclined to stick to the safer options - sky blue, spread collar, broadcloth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2015
  7. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    To spare you possible confusion. The white herringbone is not considered "premium." Its the standard 450 HKD, thats why I think I got lucky. The premium 550 HKD fabrics are super soft. And therein lies the keyword, emphasize to Tim, that you want SOFT/high thread cottons. Its his own little version of "Hunt for the Good Stuff." Through no fault but my own, I was hypnotized by a red mini-check(450)and chose it, as my upcoming auspicious CNY shirt. It turned out nowhere near as soft as the other shirts. I learned my lesson, I'm sticking with CBD fabrics. Maybe after some launderings, the shirt will soften up.
     
  8. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    Collar button is 16l, according to Tim when I was there today collecting my latest batch. Pointed and elongated shirt collar has more than a whiff of the 1970s to it but I believe it suits my heavyset build, greater height and oversized head. They're meant to be worn open-necked so we used softer fusing in the collars, especially the linen ones. The usual batch of loose threads so let no-one mistake me into thinking that I'm saying Graly shirts are perfect - like my body shape they're definitely not - but I do think they're good value. And yes, I know the linen sports coat is a failure.

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  9. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    Thanks for sharing the new batch!

    1. Smoke MoPs coordinates well on the the TM black/red. Works with your belt and jeans.
    2. We've got the same blue on blue window pane shirt! The cotton has great hand.
    3. Light blue shirt is quite crisp looking under the jacket. Is that the end on end fabric? What are your thoughts on the quality/softness of that shirt?
    4. No placket makes it very minimalist. I like. I might have to place another order, all no placket. I can sense how this can how this can be addictive ....
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2015
  10. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    1. Thanks. Just wanted something other than normal buttons for a change.
    2. How funny. There's a similar fabric in a different colourway there I think. It's a bold check and I think will look good worn open-necked either on its own or under a jacket. It's smart casual rather than formal - I doubt it would be easy to wear with a tie. Now you mention it the cotton is extremely soft.
    3. I don't know if this is end-on-end or an oxford cloth. Here are some photos - perhaps the shrewdies out there can advise. It isn't anywhere near as soft as the windowpane but I like the way it looks - crisp and textured as you say. Here are some photos:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    4. It certainly is addictive. I even had the neck button moved down on the latest batch and I think it improved the way the shirts look open-necked, which is how I wear them >95% of the time.

    From here:

    [​IMG]

    to here:

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    The standard spread collar looks a little out of place when worn open-necked and when made with soft fusing, as in this Thomas Mason linen effort from last summer

    [​IMG]


    As for the choice of cuffs I'm still unsure

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Genal

    Genal Member

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    Hi Penfold,

    Thanks for sharing. I'll be checking out Graly for a couple of dress shirts for work/wedding purposes next week when I'm in town.

    I personally like the more 'fitted' cut, do you have any experience or opinion on whether they would do those well?

    Also, my current collection of OTR shirts are more fitted, but too tight around the neck and therefore I cannot button up and tie up properly. Are there any specific differences between shirts that intended to be worn with a tie, and shirts that aren't?

    I'm still doing more research into this, but I believe I should go for a 'buttoned down' collars for shirts that definitely going to be worn with ties?

    Cheers.
     
  12. pc282

    pc282 Member

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    3. its definitely not the end-on-end. i was eyeing some end on end fabrics at the shop but was afraid of the unknown since fabric transformation to shirt can be tricky. i also think it might be oxford, but happily defer to the shrewdies.

    4. thanks for sharing the button drop pix and bringing it to my attention. my graly shirts appear to be 3 1/4 inch from the collar. like you, i'm a predominantly open collar wearer. i'm tempted to drop it a 1/4 of an inch.

    evidently, it makes all the difference.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/26/fashion/26BUTTONS.html?_r=0

    5. re cocktail cuffs, from the angles of pics provided - they appear to be french cuffs but i wasn't sure what to make of them. after you gave them up as cocktail cuffs, i googled them. when i read the description, "french cuffs" without the cuff links and being revived.... it suddenly made them certainly a lot more appealing. my only thoughts are, if there's any city or place one can pull the look off, it'd probably be HK.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
  13. waterampage

    waterampage Member

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    Penfold, your shirts look great for the price point. I've been trying different shirtmakers when I make trips to HK and having not yet settled on one I am tempted to give Graly a try. Could I just check with you if Tim does CMT and what his charges for CMT are like? And given that you mention Tim is very amenable to requests, would you recommend commissioning shirts in house fabrics in slow increments in order to settle on an ideal fit before breaking out the TM's and Acorns, or were you pleased from the off?

    Also, I could be mistaken, but the material of the blue you and pc282 have been referring to could possibly be a pinpoint Oxford.
     
  14. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    He has done CMT for me and doesn't seem too fussed about it. The first time I turned up with five lengths of Thomas Mason fabric and he charged me 320 HKD per shirt to make them up. Last time around I had one length of shirting CMT and the cost was 350 HKD. If you're buying fabric from Acorn online then be sure to take account of the variable widths of shirting. I find 2 yards enough to make me a shirt (and I'm a bigger guy) but that's at 59" width. Some Acorn fabrics are only 36" wide.

    I would definitely try a couple of house fabrics first and work on incrementally improving the fit. Perhaps that also helps to build the relationship before you go on to CMT. I don't think shirting is that complicated to make and Tim seems competent at measuring, but you have to remember to specify every option. Collar, stand, split yoke, pleats or even darts, removable stiffeners, cuff, sleeve buttons etc. It's quite a lot to remember and I would recommend that you order each variation separately, to make it easier for both of you to get the right result.
     
  15. Penfold

    Penfold Senior member

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    See, I even forgot to mention pockets and placket. It's hard. Maybe write down a checklist and give Tim a copy!
     

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