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MTOing a "teachers suit".

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Gosroth, Sep 22, 2012.

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  1. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    Strolling around the tailors Shinkuku station (there are at least 5-6 of them with easy walking distance from each other) last night I found something rather rare for Tokyo MTO tailors (who mainly carter to the CBD salarymen crowd); a mid-weight domestic-made wool in a darker tan/mustard color, similar to the classic color for corduroy. Damn cheap too, and as they wanted to get rid of the last bolt, I was offered it at half price (just below 20.000 yen for a 2 piece – yes, Tokyo can be cheap sometimes).

    As I'm starting teaching next month, I've been contemplating a “teachers suit”. My Japanese colleagues will wear anything from solid black 3-pieces to jeans/ shirts or T-shirts to sweats (at least PE teachers do, both in classroom and in the gymnasium), so I really don't need to worry about my workplace.

    The tailor in questions (Tailor Fukuoka) has 5 models to chose from; given my rather gaunt build, I pretty much down to picking between the “British slim” and the “Italian slim”.

    I tried on several sample jackets and the British slim is clearly a better (snugger) fit with slim armholes.
    As can be expected tough, it gives a bit “stiffer” impression compared to the slightly looser italian-inspiried cut.

    The makeup I'm considering going with the “British slim” model and then add a few touches to soften up the impression a bit.

    1. Little to no padding in the shoulders (I have sloped shoulders but not totally sure what is best here).
    2. All patch pockets.
    3. Elbow patches in dark or mid-brown brown suede.
    4. Notched lapels, single breasted 3-button-rolled.
    5. Considering leather buttons (will this too funky on a suit you think?)


    Will be worn with turtlenecks and suede shoes a good deal of the time.

    Cloth has the ribbed structure as the cloth in the photo below (color is different, of course).


    [​IMG]


    Any graceful input will be gratefully accepted and considered. I'd be happy to post photos of the finished product as well.
     
  2. Makoto Chan

    Makoto Chan Senior member

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    If there is an expectation that you will wear a suit, then I'd say that works. But since it's clear that you don't need to wear a suit to work every day, then I would skip it. The facbric isn't very elegant or versatile (i.e. it won't be great if you ever need a suit to wear for a serious/somber occasion). I'd save for something a little nicer in navy or grey, that you'll enjoy wearing, and you'll look better in.
     
  3. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    It doesn't sound like you "need" the suit. Does the "bargain" aspect of the proposition appeal to you? If you are patient, you can find more business appropriate colors for Y19,000 or so at Yuzawaya (one up high in Takashimaya Times Square), Big Vision,or F-one. Takashimaya periodically has two MTO suits for Y50,000, though choice of fabric can push that higher.

    I might buy the suit that you describe but wear the pants and jacket as separates.
    Bic
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  4. MikeDT

    MikeDT Senior member

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    Teacher's suit? Probably find light rather than dark colours hides the chalk dust so much better.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  5. Macallan

    Macallan Senior member

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    From the style you described, you would be better off getting 2-3 sport jackets made instead. If you need odd-trousers, get them made too.
     
  6. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    Thank you for the input. The bargain aspect is not really the main thing - I had budgeted up to 50-60.000.

    I did check out Yuzuwaya as well (they are having a 2 suits for 38.000 sale currently) but the last thing I need is business appropriate colors - I'm not a businessman, unless that was appearent from the thread title. [​IMG]

    In fact, I did also check out Big Vision, F-one, Takashimayas MTO service (they're having their next 2 suit sale next months btw) and Azabu Tailor on top of that. 99% of what they carry is CBD fabrics for salarymen. That's not what I'm looking for. Big Vision in Shinjuku did have a half-price Loro Piana brown/purple check fabric I'm considering as well tough. Yuzuwayas sale fabrics most mostly wool blends, with a few 100% wool fabrics included. None appealed to me.

    As for "needing" the suit - was SF ever about actually needing what you buy? [​IMG] I agree with wearing them as separates a good deal of time, but I also like to have the option of wearing them together which you won't have with a jacket+odd trousers. It's versatile, good value and space-efficent in the wardrobe.
    I do own one navy, one charcoal and one mid-grey suit and they get extremly limited wear (perhaps four times per year across all three suits). In other words, I don't need or want another CBD outfit, and in sadly, I enjoy neither of them very much and do regret getting more then one.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  7. jt10000

    jt10000 Senior member

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    What is this "chalk" of which you speak?
     
  8. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    Chalk is the white stuff we use to write on blackboards. In Japan, we also use it discpline student who fail to pay attention.
    Like this:
     
  9. jt10000

    jt10000 Senior member

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    Great video.
     
  10. Makoto Chan

    Makoto Chan Senior member

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    Cool! Sounds you are into this suit, so go for it, and please post the finished product.

    Did anyone reply to your leather buttons idea? They sound kinda "heavy" but I am thinking of the type you might have on a tweed coat. Brown horn would be nice, in a slightly flashy/contrasting color.

    Have you ever tried Azabu Tailor? I'm looking at them for a winte suit, maybe.
     
  11. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    I agree darker brown buttons should look good on the brighter tan, but yes, I'm not so sure about the leather ones. The wool is textured but stil far from tweed. I still haven't checked out the tailors selection of buttons, so they might well have something in shifting shades of brown that will work too (besides, suede on the elbows and leather on the buttons might be a little bit too much leather on a suit I feel).



    I have been to two of their shops, but never actually had anything made by them. As with the their homepage, the shops are very handsomely decorated, the staff is impeccably well dressed, mannered and brings out tea with the swatchbooks. The Shinkuku South shop is said to have a staff member who speaks quite good english. This is in stark contrast with budget chains such as Big Vision or F-One, where you have bolts of fabrics just lying arround in huge piles all over the store and a grumpy old man behind the counter.

    However, when looking at the actual process and quality of suit construction, it's harder to see where the added value of Azabu is. Part of is I think is brand image - Big Vision is mostly perceived as a place where guys too fat to fit into OTR suits go to get cheap wool/poly blends suits made in China. While it is true that they carry cheap poly blends that will be made in China (basically the stuff that retails for below 20.000 yen), they do have a good range of import fabrics as well, with which the suits are made in their Aomori factory.

    Azabu has 3 main patterns to choose from, which is rather few compared to most other tailors who will offer 5-6. I don't know if it means their patterns are more adjustable, but as my main reason for going MTO is poor fit in OTR, I do personally feel a little comfortable with a tailor who offers a pattern that is clearly made for skinny freaks asmyself (183cm @ 57kg) from the start.

    I did a close check of their suiting fabrics for fall/winter, and they where mostly mid-weight stuff in quite conservative colors and patterns. Nothing really heavy or textured from what I saw. Probably because winters here aren't that cold and most men in Tokyo will wear an overcoat if needed. They also have a coat fair currently, with wool/cashmere coats starting at 60.000 yen.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
  12. Makoto Chan

    Makoto Chan Senior member

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    Ha! That sounds like my experience with Azabu, too. They have a "cool" reputation, their staff is polite and well-dressed, the shops look good... but yeah, not sure about the finished product.
     
  13. impolyt_one

    impolyt_one Senior member

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    I think Azabu Tailor is a little expensive for what you get, but at the same time, it's not that expensive overall. I saw a site but can't remember the name doing blowouts on MTM from name brand bolts. I will try to dig it up. I think they were in the 30,000Y range for 2P.
     
  14. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    I've ordered suits at Big Vision, Takashimaya, and a few other lesser known MTO places. I've gotten jackets at Produce, Yuzawaya, Takeya, Takashimaya and Azabu Tailor. Azabu Tailor appears to have a greater fabric selection than the others. For example,when last year I was looking for a Harris Tweed jacket, AT had by far the largest selection of interesting choices. I think that they may not charge piecemeal for the extras, like working button holes, double beastee jackets, or horn buttons.

    Bic
     
  15. Sander

    Sander Senior member

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    Whatever you do, don't add elbow patches from the start. If they actually wear through, fine, add elbow patches. But not before.
     
  16. jt10000

    jt10000 Senior member

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    Why not? If they look acceptable late then do they not look acceptable early?
     
  17. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    Big Vision has a sale until October 14th with Loro Piana, Dunhill, Scabard and a few others at half price, which comes down to 42.500 yen for a domestic made, Loro Piana cloth 2-piece. Considering that too - in fact, both suits will (almost) fit within my budget, but Italian Super 120 summer wool is hardly daily beater workwear for me in terms of durability.
     
  18. Bic Pentameter

    Bic Pentameter Senior member

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    I am a fan of Big Vision, but wonder if it is fair to compare the mid-weight domestic-made wool you found at Fukuoka to Big Vision's Loro Piana, Dunhill, Scabal in super 140's. Big Vision has something similar to the Fukuoka last bolt. Usually just in front of the door you can find bolts of fabric for starter suits at Y19,000. Most of the fabrics are wool/poly blends, but some of them are 100% wool. They are almost always domestically made fabrics, names like Daido, Spaulding, Beverly Hills Polo Club, etc., and often are the last length of material. Because you are thin, you should be able to take advantage of this. The last I checked, these suits were made overseas and did not offer some of the features available on the domestically produced ones.

    Since you have researched the usual suspects, you probably know that most of them clear out the winter cloth in February and the summer cloth in August. If you are not in a hurry, and bide your time, you should be able to find something as good or better than the Fukuoka bolt for Y29,000. I suppose that is one way of suggesting that if you are hesitating on the Fukuoka fabric, and your budget is higher than the Y20,000 I am relatively confident that better fabric will come along.

    I agree that Styleforvm has never been about need, but I also have stumbled upon lengths of cloth that seemed like such a good deal (navy blue Richard James Super 140's with electric purple stripes for Y14,000, anyone?) but in the end languished in the closet.

    It sounds like you have two conservative suits, so your next job interview, wedding, and funeral are each taken care of. The teachers suit sounds great, though I wouldn't go with leather buttons or with suede elbow patches.

    Bic
     
  19. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    I've checked out 4 Big Vision stores so far (mostly because they have stores almost everywhere in Tokyo), but the problem is that the domestic fabric needs to fill a tall order of specs:

    1. No polyester
    2. Not grey, black or navy
    3. Not striped (I look freakish in stripes)
    4. A bit of texture
    5. A check pattern to give some visual width (optional)

    These criteria sadly eliminate the vast majority of fabrics. What suprised me at Fukuoka was that they carried brown, tan and even pale green solids,in gabardine 100% wool, which fills all my criteria except the optional last.



    Frankly I'm beging to doubt that I'll find much more that fills my specs above as I've checked out over 10 tailor shops by now. The only other decent option I've found was this (sorry for the crappy picture):
    [​IMG]

    This is the best Big Vision could currently offer - it's the brown and white Loro Piana Super 120's with purple windowpane. It's currently offered for half the above listed price, so 42.500 yen.

    I've never experienced the February sales however, so I'd love to hear anything you can tell me about them. Do they bring out new cloth for sales or is it just clearance of leftovers?

    In any case, considering how men in Tokyo dress I doubt Fukuoka will be getting rid of all their green/brown/tan gabardine any time soon, so I'll take your advice and keep looking. Again, thanks a lot for the useful input!
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  20. Gosroth

    Gosroth Senior member

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    As for the design of the suit itself, I'm starting to discover how flattering the right DB suit is by adding that extra width that I badly need.

    In fact, I wore my only DB sportscoat when doing todays rounds at the tailors, and quite a few of them complemented on it and suggested that I go with a DB design as well.

    A DB suit might sound a little too imposing for a classroom situation, but in brown or tan in a soft model without shoulder padding, and supressed waist to eliminate boxiness I don't think it will be too stiff. I would pair it mostly with cotton turtlenecks and later with one of those merino wool turtlenecks Uniqlo are comming out with this fall.

    Something along these lines (without the tie and the shirt).



    [​IMG]

    Worn like this (but with no pinstripes ofc):


    [​IMG]


    I teach French and world history, if that helps to understand the look I'm going for. :)
     

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