Questions to ask a suitmaker?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Chase H, Nov 14, 2012.

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  1. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    My dad travels to China once a quarter. He's buying me some made-to-measure shirts there, because they're not that expensive and if they're all borked we know to stay away from the suits. My dad isn't a clothes nut like I am; he dresses well, but that only extends to knowing what patterns go with what. He uses Tom James exclusively. He probably could tell if a suit was made of polyester instead of wool, but that's about as far as I'd trust him. He assures me that my fears about the low quality of Chinese tailoring are unfounded; the CEO of his company wears suits by the tailor in question (yes, I know that's not an indication of quality). Now let's assume that my mind was made up on at least giving a Chinese made-to-measure option a shot. What questions should I have him ask?

    I've already got:
    Fabric the suits are made out of (I'll have him bring back swatches)
    Construction of the suits (fused vs. canvassed)
    Measurements they need
    What their house style (if they even have one) looks like, silhouette-wise


    What else?
     


  2. GBR

    GBR Senior member

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    MM a Tom James user...

    This is not a good idea as the tailor will be equally as unsighted as online MTM having a series of self measurements. You might be better with fewer suits from a local source where fittings etc can be undertaken.
     


  3. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    I agree, but again it's my Dad's decision. If I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to get complete shit, what questions are important?

    Also, what does "MM a Tom Jones user" mean?
     


  4. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    I imagine that 97% of tailors in China could not provide intelligible or meaningful answers to any of those questions.

    What fabrics do you have?
    -- Very good fabrics

    Fused or canvassed
    -- Handmade... all handmade

    What's your house style
    -- Handmade... all handmade


    Unless you're talking to someone you can trust, these questions won't really help you. And if you knew you were talking to someone you could trust to make a decent suit, you wouldn't need to ask these questions.
     


  5. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    Well if they can't provide an intelligible answer, I would think that would convince my dad that buying a suit from them isn't the way to go.
     


  6. aravenel

    aravenel Senior member

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    This.
     


  7. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    Don't have a suit made for you w/o at least 3 fittings......Full stop.
     


  8. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    I would love to have that option.
     


  9. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    Don't do it! NO suitmaker can make you a good fitting suit with just measurements. It's not all about your measurements. It's the fit. Those are 2 different things!

    Leave the suit for a visit that your father is making when you can go with him!
     


  10. minervau

    minervau Senior member

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    Depends on your standards for what "good fitting" is. If you can get an off-the-rack suit, bring it to a tailor, and be satisfied with the fit, then surely a MTM suit will be a step up from that, no? Not everyone (in fact, very few) can afford true bespoke, nor is a plane ticket to China or Hong Kong exactly a cheap flight, so let's try to give helpful advice within the implied budget of the project.

    To the OP, I'd say: In terms of what to ask, I'd ask what level of customization you can get on the suit. Do you have specific features in mind? (E.g., what type of pockets do you want, button stance/lapel width, trousers with side tabs vs. belt loops, etc.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012


  11. ter1413

    ter1413 Senior member

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    No. You are trying on the suit in the store and the alterations are made at a tailor with you there.
    The OP is talking about a MTM using just his measurements by a tailor who has no idea what he looks like.
     


  12. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    That's an option I'm considering, to be honest. Still, what questions are important so I can know if it's even worth my time to see the tailor while I'm there?
     


  13. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Senior member

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    Actually some can do it in one. My best fitting suit is a bespoke one i had made at Steed, and if i remember correctly i went straight to the forward fitting, it was; order, fitting, then the next time was just him wanting to see how it had broken in. It was the same at NSM i saw mina a grand total of 3 times and the last was to pick up a shirt i ordered the 2nd time i saw her so the suit itself was just order, basted fitting (held together with white threads + no pockets etc cut in yet), the next time was the forward fitting and when i tried it on and nothing was wrong i walked out with it and only had to come back one more time for my shirt and tie that i ordered from her. Then again its a bit unfair to compare this to Chinese MTM i guess so in this case he should probably be wanting to go with at least 3 fittings lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012


  14. jeff13007

    jeff13007 Senior member

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    +1, Remember its the OP's dad that is going to be doing the ordering and if i understood his post correctly he will not be present at the tailor
     


  15. Chase H

    Chase H Senior member

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    I may, if I'm lucky. It depends on how his excursions to china line up with my vacations.
     


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