Custom Men's Tailoring -- Any Recommendations?

I am as a former SO put it “hard on clothes,” plus I’ve recently shed a few pounds, all of which means I have zero functional suits. Could use a few shirts too.

The world is surprisingly full of charlatans billing themselves as Hong Kong custom tailors (if you are male and in a white collar job, odds are you have been solicited to meet “Mr. Sam” or any of a host of others during his three day stay at the local Marriott). Separating the wheat from the chaff (and there is definite chaff, obvious shilling and fake testimonials, mixed in with lots of online forum complaints about shoddy workmanship, ill-fitting suits, etc.) is proving difficult.

So – anyone have a positive experience with an itinerant (or otherwise) custom tailor? I got one shirt from Brooks Brothers’ “custom digital” gimmick, and that was fine, but the price point for a suit from them would be prohibitive on my budget, and even then, I think it’s technically more made-to-measure than true custom.

I did the custom thing once before, in Korea, and got a suit, blazer, and six shirts, all well-fitting, for $1,100 US. I thought it was value for money. But, I’m not in Korea now – any suggestions for a U.K./U.S.-friendly equivalent?

Where are you located?

Joe Hemrajani at mytailor.com does a pretty decent custom shirt. You can even get someone to measure you and order entirely online. For anything else you do have to meet someone at a hotel or whatever. He seems to have a good middle ground on the price vs reliable timely delivery scheme.

Whoever you go to - since it’s a custom job - the fit varies a lot. Depending on where you are there might be someplace local that either gets it right on the first time or fixes it. But with these itinerant tailors or the partially online, they’re bound to do better with some customers than others. So unless you can get a lot of people saying the fit is fantastic or the fit is horrible, it’s hard to go by recommendations.

Sorry I can’t see where you currently are? Hong Kong, U.S. or U.K.?

Go to a church and ask around. There are plenty of women that do alterations for 5 dollars a piece. My seamstress is awesome and sewed in the factory all her life. I pay anywhere from 3 to 5 dollars and she does quality work.

I really like J Hilburn at jhilburn.com.

I will only say what my tailor father told me.

Unless you are planning to go somewhere very good, like Savile Row, then it is better to buy a very good off-the-peg suit and have it adjusted to your fit by a tailor afterwards.

This is because the patterns and materials of good off-the-peg suits have been tested and fine tuned by experienced tailors at the top of their game, whereas a custom suit has to be made from scratch, with all the imperfections and inaccuracies you would expect from something made as a one-off. Also, just because someone is a tailor who can make a suit, doesn’t mean he’s a good tailor who can draft a pattern to save his life.

I merely repeat what my (royal warrant holding) father told me.

This thread was revived by a spammer, but since it’s gotten a couple of legit posts, I’m going to leave it open – but move it to IMHO (from Cafe Society).

Seconding Hemrajani; I don’t know about the rest of his crew. (I’m fairly sure I’ve looked at other cities and seen other names listed.) It’s not a bad idea to do the hotel thing–it’s a bit of an experience, and the selection of fabrics is mind-boggling. Does take a while to get your threads, though–it’s been a year or so since I last bought, but I seem to recall it being in the two months range. So not something for you if you need a shirt for that interview tomorrow.

This article is from the New York Times from about six months ago, and it’s about a custom (i.e., bespoke) suit tailor, not one who makes shirts. The article is really more about how crappy the economics are for such a business. The guy is in Brooklyn and trained on Savile Row. He can make a completely custom/bespoke suit for about $4,000. But it takes him about 75 hours to do so and the volume is only about two suits each month. A big chunk of the money goes to the raw fabric cost.

That reminds me. A couple of years ago, my father tried to give me very nice suiting fabric so that I could get a suit made for myself. I had to gently tell him that I already owned two off-the-rack suits that I wear less than once a year and that I was never going to go to the expense and trouble of getting a bespoke suit. (My father is so old school that when I was a kid, dressing down for him was wearing a sportcoat on Saturday.)

You have to find a place to get proper measurements taken, but these guys (Jesse and Victor at Rajawongse Tailors in Bangkok) are the real deal. My husband has ordered several suits from them (in person, as we used to live in BKK) and has been very pleased.

A couple years ago, a suit from them was running about 12,000 Baht (approximately $400), which is what you’ll pay for an off-the-rack suit in the US without custom tailoring.

Slate had an article comparing Indochino, Blank Label and J Hilburn:

I’ve used Blank Label and J Hilburn. The Blank Label shirts are only alright, but I get a lot of compliments on the J Hilburn shirts. For J Hilburn, a tailor visits you in your home or office for the first order and after that, you measurements are stored and you can just order without any other face to face encounters.

If anyone looking for high quality custom clothing in Bangkok, Thailand then I would like to recommend Toms Fashion a reputable custom tailor for your quality custom clothing…

SanVito gives good advice. Buy a properly sized suit off the rack and then have it altered by a knowledgeable tailor. Nothing looks worse than a suit that doesn’t fit. Not many can find a suit that fits off the rack, so finding the person that can make it fit is the real answer. And it can be done. If you walk into a tailor shop wearing a properly sized rack suit that doesn’t fit well and they tell you they can’t make it fit, or worse, tell you something you suggest doesn’t need to be changed, then walk out and keep looking.