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Hong Kong Tailor- Empire Int'l Tailors- Help with the fit of my suit

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by robetrw006, May 12, 2013.

  1. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    Ok, I'm new here, so please bear with me. I've been reading threads for a month or so (mostly HK tailor threads), but this is my first post. I'm not really sure of the rules of posting, so I'm probably going to leave some pretty basic things out, if so, please accept my apologies in advance...



    So, I moved to HK almost a year ago. I knew about the famed HK tailors so I planned on getting a suit made. This worked especially nice since I am an exchange student and this is my final year; job hunting is in the very near future for me. I want to look my best and not spend a complete fortune on a suit(W.W. Chan, Ascot Chang, etc.), so after doing a lot of research I settled on either Simpson Sin Tailors or Empire Int'l Tailors, both in TST.

    I stopped at Sin first because he was my first choice. I told myself I wouldn't go over my 4,000HKD budget. A basic suit from Sin was just over the 4k I was planning on spending. Add the extra 300HKD for canvassing and it was not a price I was willing to pay. I stopped at Empire Int'l next. They had a few suit packages that were very tempting (I had a friend with me who was also interested in a suit). I ended up splitting the middle package(of 3 available) with my buddy: 2 suits, 4 shirts, 4 ties for about 9,000HKD(if I remember correctly). A little over budget, but I was happy to get free canvassing, other specifics I mentioned for free, as well as 2 shirts.

    I am fairly happy with the quality. Nothing that blows me away, but nicely made stuff. I'm actually quite happy with the shirts, but the suit is lacking. I had it fitted 3 or 4 times and finally took it home with the intention of sleeping on it, and continuing to try it on and look at it in an attempt to figure out why I'm not fully pleased. I don't know what exactly I don't like about it(other than the generic idea that I don't like the jacket fit), so I hope one of you suit gurus can help me out with some suggestions.

    As I mentioned above, I'm really not very happy with the jacket fit, but I don't know what to say/ask for from them. The look I'm going for is a slim cut suit. Specifically, I told them I wanted it to remain classic(so I can wear it for longer than a few years), but with a slightly trim cut to it. As a bigger guy(in the shoulders as well as the stomach), I wanted it to be slimming as well. I don't really think I got either. The jacket looks boxy to me. There is no flow to it(specifically in the waist to hip area) and I feel like my shoulders are a mile wide while I have virtually no waist. The shoulders fit me(like I said, I've got very wide shoulders), so I don't think they messed up there at all, I think it has to do with my chest area and below. I know there is only so much you can do to give a slimming appearance to a guy with a slight gut, but I think there is certainly more that can be done than this. I haven't even gotten around to critiquing my slacks; too much with the jacket to focus on for now.

    Please give me your honest suggestions. I've got a little less than a month left in HK before I head back to the US and I'd like to take advantage of the free alterations I get on the suit while I'm still here. Photos below(sorry for the shoes). Please let me know if there are any other angles that could prove useful. Thanks in advance!



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    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  2. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    This may not be the best example, but here is a photo showing something close to what I want for my suit. I realize this guy is skinny and I'm not, but his suit is very well fitted and shows off his good features, IMO. I don't believe mine is/does, despite being measured, asked about fit, and fitted multiple times. Empire, like some of the other HK tailors I've read about, doesn't really do it if you don't ask for it. I asked for what I wanted to the best of my ability, but I guess that wasn't good enough. They were always willing to make alterations without any complaints, but I still felt the sense they were just trying to do the minimum possible and get me out of there as quickly as they could. If it was up to them, I would have walked out of there after the second fitting with a pants 2 inches too long!



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  3. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    The sleeves look good but the jacket looks short. The coat also seems to be pulling just a tad when buttoned. You could use some more waist suppression and the pants seem bunched in the back-probably too much fabric.

    I would've stuck with Simpson Sin.
     
  4. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    I'm satisfied with the sleeves. I had asked them to take the chest in a touch and they ended up shortening one sleeve a lot, but I pointed it out and they fixed it nicely. I believe they have talented tailors there, but as with all most tailors you need to know what you want and you need to know how to ask for it. I knew what I wanted, but wasn't the best at being able to ask for it. I'm quite new to the suit(only had one adult suit before this. RTW, no tailoring, and what I now realize to be an ill fit), and I don't know exactly what to ask for. TBH, "waist suppression" is a new term to me. I tried to study up as much as I could on suiting terminology before I ventured to the tailor, but I suppose a few key terms slipped through the cracks.

    Yea, hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have just paid the extra 300HKD, skipped out on the shirts, and gone with Sin. I had read good things about Empire though and their willingness to give me what I wanted with no extra fee really hooked me at the time. Also, Sin seemed unmoving on his price. I went with my friend who was also planning on getting a suit made and I read everywhere that 2 suits equals savings. I was really planning on being able to negotiate for a cheaper price or at least a few shirts for free. His unwillingness to negotiate didn't give me a good impression at first. Empire's package price, friendly attitude, and can-do mentality really struck me. They are the better businessmen, Sin is the better tailor. I forgot my own mantra: you get what you pay for. Still, I believe I can still get a decent suit out of this deal(correct me if I'm wrong), I just need to take another trip or two back.

    Ok, so to be clear about waist suppression, does it need to be taken in in the area around the middle of my sleeve(elbow area) or closer to the jacket pockets? I was thinking perhaps around the jacket pocket area. It seems to me like my hips look quite wide in this jacket. I was also thinking that I really lack a streamlined torso starting just below the armpits and going pretty much all the way down. I almost feel like the jacket was cut to hang straight down and they took it in slightly at the waist to give it "shape," or at least what they call "shape."

    So, a visit back to Empire is certain(for a bit more tailoring). I should ask for more waist suppression and for them to take a look at the bunching in the trousers; anything else? At first I thought it was the chest (pectoral area), but after you mention the waist area I really see it. Hopefully waist suppression is the touch I've been searching for but been unable to execute. Thank you kindly for your advice!

    Any others care to offer their two cents? All is appreciated! If I'm getting free tailoring, I might as well use it to the fullest!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  5. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    The below image is what I feel the problems are(for all of you visual thinkers out there, myself included). I feel like the jacket was cut to hang straight down and the green area was taken in slightly to give it a "waist." I feel like the suit may have better lines if the jacket is taken at the area pointed out by the red arrows. Is this a huge blunder? Am I way off base? I hate to seem so ignorant on the subject, but unfortunately I had already exercised all my knowledge of tailoring by the time I left the shop with the suit.

    Also, possibly even taking it in a little more above the green box, in the chest area?

    I'm sure I am really showing that I'm a greenhorn by asking all these questions. Again, thanks for the help in advance!



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  6. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    Try another set of photographs with proper shoes: you cannot try a suit for fit with slippers or whatever those things are. It may well not change the coat but it will the trousers.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  7. dragon8

    dragon8 Senior member

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    Yes, where you have the green box is where the waist suppression should be. I think the sleeves are ok. Don't worry about the questions that's how we all learn. Happy to help.
     
  8. MisterFu

    MisterFu Senior member

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    Additional waist suppression may result in further issues on the backside of the jacket. Other than being at least an in inch too short (which is the fashion right now), the jacket fit is reasonably good upfront and further attempts at correcting the issues in the back may result in other undesirable problems. The real problem is the pants, which need some serious work. Given the short jacket, you need minimal or no break in the pants and the tailor really needs to clean up the backside, which has far too much fabric from the knee up. Clean up the pants and I think the whole suit will look better (certainly decent and wearable for a 500 USD suit).

    In the future I would go with a more conservative jacket length (on your body type it will look less boxy).
     
  9. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    how do you propose making a stronger silhouette with a waist that's already tight on your admittedly large belly and the shoulders that you claim are already a mile wide
     
  10. Pasha

    Pasha Well-Known Member

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  11. kulata

    kulata Senior member

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    Jacket is ok, two issues I see are a slightly tight waist and the short length. Pants on the other hand needs a lot of work.
     
  12. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    Ok, so it sounds like I should certainly ask for the thigh area of the pants to be taken in, but that sounds like the only consensus. Some say more waist suppression, some says less. my question to those of you who say the waist is tight is this: If i ask them to let the waist out, wouldn't that risk the possibility of making the jacket look more... burlap sack-y? I know I don't have the perfect canvass for a suit(aka a thin frame), but I would like to try and give the jacket a little more shape than it currently has. I don't expect the suit to make me look like I weigh 135 when in reality I weigh 200, but there must be something else that can be done(aside from the obvious frequent trips to the gym). Am I way off base? Am I expecting too much of my suit?

    The other thing that most seem to agree upon is jacket length. It sounds like most think it should be about an inch longer. If I go and ask them to do this, will they be able to? I don't know much about the construction of jackets, so I don't really know if there is any material they can let out. I know its always harder to let out than take in, but I'm not sure if letting out on this particular area of the jacket is even possible. Can anyone advise?

    As for the shoes, I came to HK unprepared for business/suit wearing. I have no dress shoes here. I will try to take a picture of just the trousers with some Sperry's on(boat loafers). Unfortunately, that's the best I've got when it comes to "proper" shoes.
     
  13. kulata

    kulata Senior member

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    For your next order, increase the size of the lapels, use a slightly lower buttoning point, increase the length, use double vents and relax the waist a little. That will surely improve the optics
     
  14. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    Can all of this be done to this suit? As mentioned earlier, I don't know much about the construction of jackets. I know there's only so much you can do to "let out/relax." I'm particularly concerned about this when it comes to the jacket length and lapel size. Will there be enough fabric to work with so they can do those two things?

    I was also contemplating a lower button stance; what do you think, half an inch lower? 3/4, maybe?

    As for the vent, I will probably leave it as is. I'm American and single vent is the standard for business in the US. I don't know the nationality of the primary users of this forum(are the majority of you guys Brits?), but I want to keep the vent American business traditional.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I wish that Empire had been as helpful the first time around!
     
  15. kulata

    kulata Senior member

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    Only two things can be easily done; loosening the waist and increasing the length, if there is fabric to use.

    Do yourself a big favor and ditch the center vent. I am also an American and not aware of a National suit cut. Will you be penalized for not conforming? Lol. All my colleagues and even the elderly business men I see in airports and meetings wear double vented suits. Wear what works for your physique not someone's view on what Americans should wear.

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  16. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    Here are some photos I took of the trousers. These are the closest to dress shoes I have. Unfortunately, they'll have to do for further judging of the suit/trousers.

    One more thing I thought of when taking these photos. If I take in the pants, thus making them look more slim, won't that make me look even more top heavy? That is one of the main concerns I have with the suit; I look top heavy. I'm afraid further tailoring to the pants to make them slimmer fitting will accentuate this "top heavy" look even more. Anyone care to comment on this?

    Again, let me thank all of you who are providing your two cents. I'm very appreciative of you helping this poor college student(soon to be grad.) get his money worth out of this tailoring job!!!




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  17. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    No national suit cut I'm aware of either, I've just read recent articles published from reputable sources that say the traditional American business suit is a single vent suit. I've also read this has been the standard for a long time and the double vent suits have come into fashion in the past few years.

    If you believe this will help with the fit of the suit and is more suitable for my body type, then I'm all ears. I would like to hear the reasoning behind it being more suited to my body type though. Would you mind enlightening me? Thanks.
     
  18. Dib

    Dib Senior member

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    This is exactly why I say going to one of the cheaper tailors in HK is a false economy - almost every example I have seen has produced sub-par results. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for - at this price point I think most people are better off going RTW and then using a tailor to make alterations.

    OP - the jacket doesn't look horrendous when buttoned but looks less good when unbuttoned. It should definitely be longer and could do with more waist suppression, but I think the latter is difficult to achieve once the jacket has already been fully cut/made and is already a little tight at the back.

    The pants are a bigger problem - lots of gathering of fabric at the back, i'm surprised they let the trousers out of the store looking like that. Did you not notice the issue when you had fittings? In any case, take the trousers back and see what they can do about that (as in all honesty, you shouldn't have to accept trousers finished to those standards).

    Whilst the suit isn't perfect, I think it's still wearable until you are in a position to get something better. I would chalk it up to experience (in all honesty, this is how a lot of us learn about the tailoring process - trial and error).
     
  19. robetrw006

    robetrw006 Member

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    An expensive trail and error.

    I like to think all is not lost. It still looks better than the untailored RTW suit I wore prior to this. And considering I don't live in NYC, LA, or Chicago, I believe I will still look better suited than 95% of other American suit wearers, or at least that's what I like to think.

    I had read good things about Empire, I believe I even read a positive review of them in this forum. As said earlier, hindsight being 20/20, I wish I had stuck with Simpson Sin and paid the extra fee for canvassing. As you said, trial and error.

    Do you(OR ANYONE ELSE) have any specific recommendations for the pants? So far, from what I've heard, it seems like the main problem lays in the back of the legs in the thigh area; too much fabric. Do they need any work elsewhere?




    So far the list of things to mention at the tailor is as follows, please anyone and everyone speak up if there is something else I need to address:

    1) Take in the slacks in the thigh area (number one most important thing)

    2) Lengthen the jacket

    3) Inquire about widening the lapels slightly(if possible)

    4) Lower the button stance slightly. I'm thinking half an inch. Do others agree?

    5) Something with the waist... People seem to still be torn on this aspect. Some say more waist suppression, others say let the waist out. Knowing that I am a bit on the hefty side (I could stand to lose about 20-30 pounds), would the consensus be more or less waist suppression?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2013
  20. Dib

    Dib Senior member

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    OP - i appreciate you are a student and funds are limited at the moment, but I honestly think you have an unrealistic view of what the bespoke process actually involves. Often, even with accomplished tailors, you need to commission more than one suit to gradually improve the product and get to a suit you are happy with. Bespoke by its nature is an iterative process and involves a great deal of trial and error. It can be a risky process, even moreso if your budget is HK$4000! The price you have paid for the suit is not "expensive" (as I say, I appreciate you are a student, but you have to look at this relative to what bespoke suits cost generall - it is pretty much the cheapest you could expect to pay for a bespoke suit).

    With regards to your comment that you had read good reviews: FFS, I have read good reviews of Sam's! I have even seen them recommended by well known international magazines! Don't simply go on the basis of a few reviews (as they could also be written by people who don't know what they are talking about). You should choose a tailor based upon consistent results you have seen them achieve with your own eyes.

    I agree with you though, the suit is wearable and will look fine compared to what a lot of other people will be wearing when you start work back in the US.

    I don't know technically what they need to do to clean up the back of the pants, but i'm sure someone else on here will be able to give some views on that.

    Finally, the length of the pants look fine - although difficult to confirm until you actually go to the effort of sourcing some dress shoes to wear in your pics.
     
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