Tailor Made Suits In Thailand And The Importance Of Dressing Like A Gentleman
If you walk around anywhere near Sukhumvit Road, or even anywhere in Bangkok for that matter, you will notice an unusually high number of tailor shops filled with Nepalese or Indian gentlemen all ardently trying to fix you a suit. Finding a credible source of information concerning these shops, however, is almost impossible, since there are far too many and each customer has a different experience to share. Many assume that they all are of superior quality, as the salesperson will undoubtedly guarantee you, and end up purchasing a suit or two since the price is cheap and the suit is ‘tailor made’ anyway.
This is curious, not only because the prices are ultimately not much cheaper than established suit shops in retail outlets, but also because the fit and style of the final product remains somewhat unknown until after delivery, making it a gamble for tourists with little time for additional revisions.
From my experience, I’ve noticed that even within the same shop, each tailor has their own method of sewing and despite having your exact measurements, may produce a fitting much different than expected. The finished product almost always requires additional readjustments, which could have been completely avoided had there been a sample to try on in the beginning. Granted, there are samples in the shop, but they never turn out the same as the one they will make you. The only justifiable reason I can think of to purchase suits at these stores are for a one time occasion where you wear it once and never think of it again.
Unquestionably, there will always be a handful of satisfied customers that will tell aggrandized tales of how much money they saved doing business with these shops, but I can say with confidence that those people are either not serious about suit fashion or extremely lucky to have been delivered exactly what they wanted.
I like to consider myself an enthusiast on decorum – a man passionate about the arts of proper gentility. Rather than roll the dice with these inconsistent custom tailor shops like an inexperienced vagrant, I’ve learned, after thousands wasted on discarded suits, that there are few points that one should consider before making a purchase. Some of these points may be acutely controversial, but in general should help the first time suit buyer about to make a considerable investment on arguably the most important piece of garb in their wardrobe.
First of all, there is never a reason to get a 3 buttoned suit. Those are too old school and will award you little recognition at the office or at your local party. Play it safe and go with the standard 2 button suit, else regret it immediately after purchase.
Secondly, go with a solid color, preferably a black or dark grey, as this doesn’t limit the use of your suit to any events. If you really must get a pin-striped suit, keep it soft and not so obvious. I recall a time not too long ago of visiting a clients office with a colleague wearing a white pinstripe overlaying a black suit. He looked like a mafia-wannabe and it was incredibly embarrassing sitting next to him. Save the pinstripes for your shirt underneath.
Thirdly, try out suits of different materials. You don’t need to know each material and their benefits, but know how they feel and which ones you like. I generally prefer a wool/polyester blend, and like the stretch and fit that the material provides. Many argue that 100% wool suits are unmatched in quality, but I find them to be too thick and dull – perhaps better for the winters. Polyester adds a good shine, but a bad ratio blend may make the material look cheap and fake. Higher wool concentration fabrics fetch a higher price and are the favorites of salespeople to promote. Don’t be fooled by this, and make sure that is the material you actually want before you buy it.
Fourthly, find a suit shop or tailor that produces suits that fit you, from the get-go. Most shops will custom make a suit for you, but understand that they are already accustomed to a certain style of tailoring and the fit may ultimately be a bit off. Slim-fit at one tailor may mean something slightly different at another. My go-to shop is Suit Select from Japan, and I know I can never go wrong with them. Their suits fit me perfectly, and require no tailoring. In addition, I love their style, thickness, and quality, and have never yet come across another suit maker that produces anything similar elsewhere.
Fifthly, stay away from skinny ties. They are the preferred choice of delinquent high schoolers but scowled upon by professionals. If you are in sales and are accustomed to wearing skinny ties to meetings, try switch it out for a real tie, and I guarantee you will notice an uptick in performance.
On that note, also stay away from square ended ties. Those are nothing more than ridiculous excuses from tailors that don’t know how to measure properly.
Sixthly, the bottom your pants should sit comfortably on your shoes when you stand. I am fully aware of the recent trend of cutting pant legs short, revealing ankles. Those people look like Christmas elves and are highly unattractive. Be careful not to place yourself into that category.
Seventhly, always, always leave the bottom button on your suit jacket unbuttoned. It was never intended to be buttoned, and the suit was carefully sewn together to fit your body with that in mind.
Eigthly, iron out all the wrinkles on your suit before you wear it. The suit says everything about a man, and wrinkles suggest he simply doesn’t care. If you are going to slouch on the office chair or while sitting on a train, remove your jacket first so you don’t ruin it. If you’re going to wear a wrinkled suit, you might as well not wear it at all.
Ninethly, Avoid extremely cutaway collared shirts. There is perhaps a strong opposing argument regarding this by fashion enthusiasts and youngsters, but I maintain my position that there is nothing attractive about that style of collar. As a matter of fact, I am somewhat perturbed that these shirts are trending.
Lastly, there is never a valid reason to wear a white suit in a professional setting. For that matter, there is never a valid reason to wear a white suit ever. I am very well aware that this point is quite controversial, as many people choose to wear white suits for their weddings, but I feel that the whiteness tarnishes the dignity of suits by adding an unnecessary layer of gaiety. You could create a very similar ambiance by covering yourself with gold chains and jewelry, or even by wearing a shiny Adidas tracksuit.
In addition to the above, there is also an unexplainable and somewhat mysterious set of norms regarding suit fashion. For example, why are navy blue suits considered professional but dark green or red suits not? In reality, I’ve seen even maroon colors look very presentable on certain individuals but in the end it’s all about one’s persona. Strangely enough, the tailor shop folks in Bangkok love to push these colorful suits, and I assume its because of an oversupply of that fabric. Don’t be tempted by this as I too once fell victim and had an olive colored suit tailor made for me. There was never an opportune time to wear it and it was donated away shortly after.