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Need Advice : First Suit & Shoes On A Shoestring (?) Budget (Singapore)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by papercutshurt, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. papercutshurt

    papercutshurt Member

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    Hi All,

    Was looking around the internet for suggestions for the above-mentioned when I found this forum - really good stuff here!

    So essentially I'm looking for somewhere I can get myself my first suit and would appreciate some advice. I've never had any real experience with suiting so far, due mainly to the climate in Singapore (where I reside) and the fact that I've had no real need for one for work, etc. It seems that I can no longer avoid the inevitable at this point and am prepared to take the plunge at the SGD500 (~USD400) - 700 (~USD560) price-point.



    My questions:

    - OTR or Tailored (albeit at a budget price-point)?
    I've been told that having a suit tailored to you is absolutely the way to go, but am just wondering if buying something off-the-rack and then sending it in for alterations would be more sensible in terms of cost.

    - Courtroom Attire
    I've been told that courtroom attire is strictly black and white, which obviously means that I will have to get a suit in black. Does anyone have a sensing as to how flexible this is? I will be starting work as an intern at a Law firm soon, and will need to be in and out of court often, but am not keen on the whole black suit thing with all it's undertaker/FBI agent associations. I'd much rather have something in Dark Navy/Charcoal which I feel is a lot more versatile. I realise this is quite a profession-specific question so if there are any lawyers here - help would be much appreciated!

    - Places To Buy a Suit
    From what I've read so far on these forums, the best place for a suit in Singapore within my budget is Iris Tailor @ Lucky Plaza. Would like to see if anyone else has any other suggestions.

    - Shoes
    Need suggestions for a place to get an affordable pair of shoes. Ed Et Al (www.edetal.sg) seems very decent at this point.


    Thanks to all in advance!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012


  2. Verniza

    Verniza Senior Member

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    Being from Singapore, I'll tell you right now, there are no decent canvassed or even half-canvassed OTR suit within your budget that you can buy locally.

    Suits:
    You can try some suit brands such as BB at the stores to see which cut works best before ordering the same cut online at a lower price during sales period. You can also arm yourself with your personal measurements and scout online.

    Alternatively, if you can fork out perhaps 200 more you could get a bespoke suit at the local tailors this is as the $700 quote for Iris Tailor does not include fabric cost and you have to factor in the cost of fabric.

    Shoes:
    Good luck with this. There are really no good shoe brands in Singapore. There are Churches and Santonis but they go for $1100 and up. The Santonis aren't even their top of range Santonis.

    You can probably buy shoes online but fit would be a crapshoot. Unless you are willing to gamble to find your size on specific lasts, your best bet would probably to hit Edetal for decent shoes at decent prices.


    I am not a lawyer but all in all Singaporeans would say, "Singapore lehh just follow and wear black lah." Everyone only knows how to wear black suits which why everyone has a sad face on the MRT or streets because it's a funeral everyday. You'll see the black suit with brown shoes everywhere you go as well.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012


  3. papercutshurt

    papercutshurt Member

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    Hey Verniza,

    I'm pretty much in agreement with you with regards to the sad state of the way Singaporean men dress in general - I suppose that's why I'm making an effort to avoid the pitfalls heh.

    I realise that it's difficult to work within that price-point but will try Iris anyway, and maybe stretch my budget a little. I'm not too hung up about whether or not the suit is canvassed or not, it really just has to fit well, look good and be within my budget (which is probably quite a stretch).
     


  4. add911_11

    add911_11 Distinguished Member

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    1) With your price point, I would just buy a well fitted, fused construction suit, I will be rather surprise if you can get a fully canvassed suit for such price in Singapore. In fact, most of friend wears fused suit but they still looks very sharp. As long as you are not too snobby on your clothes (most SF members are including me), just get something fits well in the shops, I will not suggest a online purchase because it is always risky, and worse if you have a lack of knowledge of suit styling and fits, this takes multiple purchase or try-outs to get it right

    2) For the court dress, I had work for 3 summer mini-pupiledge in HK, not quiet singapore but nonetheless susceptibly similar (I believe), the black suit is a unproven myth, I have seen summer students, bars, solicts, and other legal officers (usually the government council), wears a range of colours, charcoal grey and grey seems to be the most popular (not navy blue for some reason), three piece SB or DB equally similar, just make sure the paint shirt (no contrasting collar, your white, blue, pink shirt, french cuff acceptable) and simple tie (no skinny ties, patterns such as polar dots and stripes are acceptable), young bars tend to wear pocket square as well, but always a very discreet square white fold, but not very common, maybe 4/10 people

    3) Good luck with shoes with the price point, the budget is simply too low for the whole outfit, including a goodyear shoe.....

    Anyway, welcome to SF
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012


  5. ColdEyedPugilist

    ColdEyedPugilist Distinguished Member

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    Be careful of flouting the black suit rule in court.

    I too have heard from an old-school lawyer that judges find it disrespectful for a lawyer to turn up in a suit that isn't black; and will not even hear what she or he has to say based on this so-called rule. Specifically, the judge told him: "I cannot hear you."

    Verify from an official, trusted source before you do anything rash. Bear in mind also that whilst in court, the judge is king, and even though the official stance may prove otherwise(non-black suits allowed), standards may differ between said judges.

    As for suits, how often do you need to wear one? Bespoke and MTM may well be the ultimate recourse, but these take time, patience and money. It also helps if you know enough about what you want to collaborate with the tailor. My advice:OTR first with an emphasis on finding something that FITS and Bespoke/MTM after you know what suits you (pun intended) and have the resources to acquire it.

    Lastly, if I were based in SG and not Australia, I would try Ed Et Al for shoes and Kevin Seah bespoke or Iris Tailor for suiting. These seem the most promising of the local talent. I can also put in a good word for Vanda Fine Clothing when it comes to ties.

    (BTW: From one Singaporean to another, welcome to the forum!)
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012


  6. Ind1go

    Ind1go Member

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    If you have wide feet, EdEtAl shoes would not fit you.

    Your next best alternative would be a pair of Loakes from Robinsons or J&M from Takashimaya.
    You don't really have much choice when you are looking for goodyear welted shoes.

    If you have some time, try on the shoes at a retail store or get your feet measured and purchase from Herring Shoes.
    The Herring branded shoes (made by Loake) are decent quality, comes with free shoe trees and shipping would only take about 3-4 days.
    Should set you back about SGD$300.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012


  7. terrorsquad

    terrorsquad Senior Member

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    Is the budget you qouted for BOTH shoes and a suit?

    For shoes, just order the Loakes from Plal or the Cheaney seconds that they have.That will set you back around SG300.

    For suits, just get a suit made in Iris. Try asking them for half canvass or a fused suit. As far as I know, they charge SG850 for a fully canvassed suit. Bear in mind that this price only applies for their workmanship. I believe fused or half canvass should be much cheaper. If you insist on black, get the remaining Minnis Rangoon which is available in black. Plus shipping, that would set you back around SG200 for the cloth alone.Give Nani a call and ask her for the prices for a fused or half canvassed suit.

    I believe based on the above, you may be able to get BOTH shoes and a tailored suit with excellent fabric from Minnis for around SG1000.
     


  8. kashmir

    kashmir Senior Member

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    I shall vouch for edetal shoes, http://edetal.sg/

    But contrary to the above, I found that the shoes fit quite wide; proportionate to the asian feet that is narrow at the heel and wide at the front. Indeed, when I asked Edwin, the shoemaker, he fully intended that result when he designed the shoes. I found the shoes much more comfortable, due to the much better fit, than my Loake (Herring) and Alfred Sargent. The thing is the sizing is a bit different; I am a UK9 but 11 in Edetal- best is to try them on first.

    Latest news from Edwin is that all the stock from his previous collection has been forwarded to Front Row at Raffles Hotel Arcade as he is concentrating on the next collection, scheduled for April.
     


  9. Ind1go

    Ind1go Member

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    Hmm, strange, I was unable to get my feet into their largest sized shoes, i think the EU46, even though I normally wear a EU 44.

    I was deadset on supporting homegrown talent, but alas, it was not meant to be.
    Maybe one day when I finally get enough disposable income to spring for a pair of customised shoes from him.

    Like terrorsquad mentioned, the Cheaney Seconds and Samples from P. Lal are going for MYR699 currently.

    OT : I was just back from KL over the past weekend, and paid a visit to the P.Lal store and had a great time talking to Shyam.
    Great customer service and was very accomodating. Most Loake models go for MYR749-849 shipped to SG, but do not include shoe trees.
     


  10. papercutshurt

    papercutshurt Member

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    Thanks for all the constructive replies everyone!

    I suppose the best way forward at this point would be to get a suit in black since it seems to be indispensable to the profession. Also the price I quoted as being willing to spend does not include a pair of shoes, which I will pick up separately.

    Think I've pretty much gotten all the answers I need so far!

    A few more questions though:

    - What sort of materials are best suited for a black suit in Singapore's climate?

    - Where would one look for the best bang-for-buck OTR suiting in Singapore?

    I just gave Iris Tailor a call and was told that their prices start at SGD950 which is out of my budget - will probably have to look elsewhere then.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012


  11. kashmir

    kashmir Senior Member

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    Uniqlo. they have wool-poly blend blazers right now; I forgot if they have matching pants. Uniqlo fits me very well so it's high up in my list; not for everybody though. Plus side is that their blazer/suits are always conservatively cut. Honestly for the price they provide the best value out of all the mall brands- Zara, H&M, Topman, Ted Baker, and co. Those brands either have crappy polyester fabrics or are obnoxiously modern cut (too short; super tight armholes).

    Definitely far from the best, but SDG149 off the rack... they tick the most boxes compared to the rest, I'd say. Though I purchased those jackets usually during the sales, when the prices are SGD79 apiece.

    Other than that.... probably wait for sales?
     


  12. papercutshurt

    papercutshurt Member

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    Was just looking for more inexpensive MTM alternatives when I chanced across Eurobest Tailors. They're even featured in Esquire (http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/600-custom-made-suit).

    Gave them a ring and they quoted me SGD300-400 for something made with Super 100s. I did ask whether or not their suit jackets are canvassed or fused but the only reply I got was "they're hand-made", then something about "camel hair". Is it safe to assume they use at least some canvassing in their construction, seeing as that they claim to use animal hair?

    I'm still a bit unsure about how well a suit will fit if they claim to be able to make one within a day though.

    Separately, does anyone have experience with Men's Tradition in Peninsular SC?
     


  13. add911_11

    add911_11 Distinguished Member

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    OP, I would be very skeptical to any recommendation from Esquire. The quota price for the garment is clearly going to be fused, don't try to give any stupid reason for yourself this will be canvassed. Especially if they can make the garment in one day, this place is a no go zone.

    Well, can you think of any RTW suit shops in Singapore which you can try stuff on?

    p.s. BTW you ought to have more than one suit if you are going to wear it day by day, it is going to get sweaty and smelly if you don't change, even just within a month internships (two weeks one as well really).....

    Good luck in your search
     


  14. hst

    hst Senior Member

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    I wouldn't go with Men's Tradition, and this is speaking from experiences.
     


  15. Ind1go

    Ind1go Member

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    Pay a visit to Marks and Spencer.
    RTW suits readily available, should fit within your price range of about 400ish.
     


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