Adventures in Bespoke Tailoring

The Shooman

A Pretty Face
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3,583
I received my first bespoke tie and bowtie today. What really surprised me was how good l looked in the bowtie, it really suited me. I see so few that look good in bowties, but it made me look very distinguished, and not weird at all.

Just a quick shot to start. Wrong colour shirt and a quickly tied knot. No adjuster on it, just a one piece.

I tried various boutonnieres in purple and pink, but none of them looked right with a bowtie or tie. Boutonnieres go much better with cravats. Pocketsquares are better with bows and ties.
Bowtie-1.jpg

Changed my shirt and took time to tie a better knot. Goes good with the grey hair and the Prince Albert hairstyle. Brought me from an ordinary looking guy with a tie to a statesman. No kidding fellas, the bowtie can be really amazing if you are the right type of guy to pull off the look.

I much prefer them anyway because it is too easy to spill something on ties. Once a spill occurs the tie is ruined.
Bowtie-3 (1).jpg
 
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The Shooman

A Pretty Face
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3,583
Now if this guy had a better fitting coat around the neck area, and his bowtie was bigger, and he had the grey hair coming through more, he could nail the look. He does it well, but he could definitely take it up a notch or two easily.

The key is not to look dorky or weird when wearing them. Most guys just can't do it.

Bowtie professor.jpg
 

QuandoDio

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1,090
Bow ties are dorky generally tbh. However, they are best with Double-breasted jackets or jackets with vest (3p/ cardigans etc) as the blank shirt real estate is a lot.
 

Ambrosius08

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185
Bow ties are dorky generally tbh. However, they are best with Double-breasted jackets or jackets with vest (3p/ cardigans etc) as the blank shirt real estate is a lot.
True. I admire the people who pull them off, though.
I have an aversion to wearing a bow tie myself, even though they would probably stop traffic in Finland just as much as regular ties and any tailoring/ CM/ non-athleisure already does. But this is the promised land for total slobs, so might as well go all-in with the bow.

I hope The Shooman The Shooman posts more bow tie fits in the future! Good exposure therapy to get over my doubts of wearing one.
 

LeFoo1

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74
Recently picked my first commission up...shirt and suit both from the same shop. I only have the upper body non-robot photo. Shirt in Alumo oxford and suit in some 4ply high twist.

Quite happy with the shirt and the suit fabric. Something weird on the left shoulder in the picture, probably because we turned off the light to get a more erotic picture.

Pretty much let the shop did its own thing - probably wouldn't have picked this shoulder style myself but nice to try. I asked for a 3-roll-2 thinking it means lapel rolling to the mid button, but the owner's default is what I thought called 3-roll-2.5. This configuration seems to make me look wider and therefore shorter in proportion; will try to roll the lapel lower and potentially lift the gorge a little for the next jacket. I have some speculations on how to achieve the look I want, but will decide after receiving the next jacket. So far it's not perfect but there's no rush...11 more trials to go before I can really comment.

Trousers are nice. Not perfectly clean because I'm somewhat bow-legged, but opted for a slight taper instead of having a wider leg to hide it.

Advice welcomed.
 

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belinmad

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Congrats. You can’t tell a lot from the pic but it generally looks good (you are right that the shoulder slope might be a bit too wide). If you post a few more pictures perhaps we can give you more feedback. Where is this, by the way?
 

Rambo

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Recently picked my first commission up...shirt and suit both from the same shop. I only have the upper body non-robot photo. Shirt in Alumo oxford and suit in some 4ply high twist.

Quite happy with the shirt and the suit fabric. Something weird on the left shoulder in the picture, probably because we turned off the light to get a more erotic picture.

Pretty much let the shop did its own thing - probably wouldn't have picked this shoulder style myself but nice to try. I asked for a 3-roll-2 thinking it means lapel rolling to the mid button, but the owner's default is what I thought called 3-roll-2.5. This configuration seems to make me look wider and therefore shorter in proportion; will try to roll the lapel lower and potentially lift the gorge a little for the next jacket. I have some speculations on how to achieve the look I want, but will decide after receiving the next jacket. So far it's not perfect but there's no rush...11 more trials to go before I can really comment.

Trousers are nice. Not perfectly clean because I'm somewhat bow-legged, but opted for a slight taper instead of having a wider leg to hide it.

Advice welcomed.
looks interesting. have a better pic for us so we can help with the details?
 

LeFoo1

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74
Congrats. You can’t tell a lot from the pic but it generally looks good (you are right that the shoulder slope might be a bit too wide). If you post a few more pictures perhaps we can give you more feedback. Where is this, by the way?
Thanks - It's by a relatively new local shop called Il Negozio. The owner is not himself a tailor but is knowledgeable enough to create this product with his workshop, and seems to keep customer's patterns. Have some operational flaws since it's a one-man storefront but overall pleasant to deal with.

I'm likely to wear it around mid-Oct, I'll try to get some better photos and upload then, probably around the same time as I get my new jacket.
 

belinmad

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1,209
Thanks - It's by a relatively new local shop called Il Negozio. The owner is not himself a tailor but is knowledgeable enough to create this product with his workshop, and seems to keep customer's patterns. Have some operational flaws since it's a one-man storefront but overall pleasant to deal with.

I'm likely to wear it around mid-Oct, I'll try to get some better photos and upload then, probably around the same time as I get my new jacket.
Hah, that’s a good name :)
Where in the world would Il Negozio be?
Looking forward to the pics.
 

Journeyman

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Where in the world would Il Negozio be?

Looks as though it's in HK:



Nice lapel rolls and some nice-looking fabrics, too.
 

LeFoo1

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Messages
74
Some stories about the suit above - it was a last minute order after my jacket, since I suddenly had a small charity dinner to attend. It wasn’t necessarily a rushed job, but I definitely hadn’t given it as much thought as I’d like. Unfortunately due to issues with customs it couldn’t be delivered until I was at the event.

Some slight regrets there for making two order at once, a mistake I make all the time. My jacket (H&S JJ One fabric) is ready for the first fitting soon - we’ve made some tweaks, hoping it’ll be good.

Another part of my regret stems from the realisation that I forgot to give discounted ring jackets a try. I have a jacket from them that I like, and would like to give some of their other items a try - but everything I can get my hands on are too similar with my current items. If their suit is about as nice as the one I’ve got, that’s US$1k not saved, and an adventure missed.

Going back to the topic of tailor shops. I just found this shop which charges about 30-50% less than the one I’m trying now, but the pics seem quite alright and fabrics are from big mills (US$1k for H&S, 1.3k for Loro Piana).

Usually I stay away from younger shops and those seem to charge too little to be true (see my post in disagreeable thread), but this is a bit of a special one. Upon browsing their pictures it seems that they have made suits for the likes of Joshua Wong and Nathan Law of my city, also seems like they have a pretty good sense of fun.

I would’ve given them a try to show some love if I hadn’t spent 250% of my 2021 clothing budget already, and I still have Sarto ties on my pipeline. But in any event they’re on my radar now.


 

LeFoo1

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74
First fitting for my jacket today. No pictures but everything that could go wrong did.

The workshop completely ignored all instructions. The 1 button jacket was made into 3 roll 2 style, added chest piece when asked not to, and made a double vent jacket when I asked for ventless. They also used the wrong side of the cloth for the jacket. The shop owner called the workshop immediately and they’ll redo it urgently and absorb the cost.

Trying out this configuration because this is a jersey fabric that has more give, and I want to wear it very casually. No chest piece because I felt like having too much bounce on my chest (near armpits) makes me look too wide. I also took this chance to ask for even lower button stance and slightly higher armholes for experiment.

No harm done since I was not in a rush and there was free coffee. We had a laugh and a nice chat about fabrics, cut, design and some industry stuff. He apparently has 3-4 cuts for himself in the shop and with other tailors he used, depending on the purpose and fabric used. He therefore insists everything must be fitted before delivery unless the cloth is highly similar to a previous commission.

Touched some flannel and moleskin for potential trousers - flannel seems too warm for me and nothing in the cotton book really caught my eyes.

Saw the new loro piana overcoat book, fabrics were nice but seemed thin. Their “cashmere wish” jacketing has excellent handfeel and drape though. I also had a look at Art Du Lin and some Irish linen. Art Du Lin has a much softer feel but doesn’t have the cream colour I was looking for. Irish linen was nice a crisp with tons of colour options. I also tried on someone else’s double breasted tweed and it seemed really nice on me (surprisingly). My next commission might be a linen DB suit - not sure when though.

Edit: I asked if a slightly narrower lapel would reduce the visual width and he was shocked, stating that the current 3.75” (measured horizontally) lapel is already VERY narrow lol
 

belinmad

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1,209
The workshop completely ignored all instructions. The 1 button jacket was made into 3 roll 2 style, added chest piece when asked not to, and made a double vent jacket when I asked for ventless. They also used the wrong side of the cloth for the jacket. The shop owner called the workshop immediately and they’ll redo it urgently and absorb the cost.

That’s a lot of fuck ups for just 1 jacket. The vents + 1 v 3/2 I’d understand if they misplaced the order or looked at an incorrect one, but wrong side I don’t think I’ve ever heard before!

Is your guy using a local workshop, an oversea factory? Is it all MTM? What’s the setup?
 

LeFoo1

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74
That’s a lot of fuck ups for just 1 jacket. The vents + 1 v 3/2 I’d understand if they misplaced the order or looked at an incorrect one, but wrong side I don’t think I’ve ever heard before!

Is your guy using a local workshop, an oversea factory? Is it all MTM? What’s the setup?
Vents and 1v3/2 happened probably because that's my configuration for the suit. In the end I asked them to prioritise the suit first, so probably something got mixed up in between.

The wrong side thing happened because the fabric has two sides - one feels slightly like tweed and one slightly smoother, and the two sides have slightly different shades of blue. Both sides are usable for facing outwards depending on one's preference (from my inspection today). Apparently the workshop snapped a quick pic to ask him which side to use, but the lighting was bad so the darker side looked lighter, and vice versa. It's not necessarily "wrong", just not what we both had in mind.

I believe the workshop is in China but I didn't ask too much since some might see that as a trade secret - he probably doesn't mind telling me but many people are trying to undercut each other in my city.

As for MTM or bespoke - he offers some MTM programmes for 1-2 items once in a while. As to what he's doing with me - I'd consider it bespoke, but I don't know if he's willing to call it that. I say this because long ago that he frequently mentioned true bespoke is where you can see the cutter and fitter and the people doing the actual tailoring. In serious discussions he was always quick to clarify his service to be "semi-bespoke" at best in his old shop. I have very little knowledge in the subject and I'm not sure if he has changed his mind so I don't want to misrepresent him - even the above comments are from my vague memory.

Anyway, I'll describe the process so you can be the judge:
We chat about what I want to have made, I pick fabrics, we do some measuring, then there will be basted fitting. If good enough then he'll finalise the product next time. But I think usually there will be a 2nd fitting, or however many is needed. Shirt is not his main business and default to be 0 fitting, but there can be fitting if you ask for it.

My understanding everyone has a different pattern (or more) and he'll keep them for future use. He has his house style and would give opinions on what look good or what serves your purpose well. There are minor choices he didn't really go through with me (e.g. button choice, button hole thread colour). So far I have asked about almost everything that I could possibly change (except canvass material) and the discussion is always whether it will look good / be comfortable, and I have never been told there's anything I can't change. Even in things that could heavily affect the look such as lapel width / belly / roll, shoulder style, quarters, etc.

Fabric options - I'm not very educated in this area but he's probably in line with all the shops in this price range and only carries the bigger names. The least recognisable names for me are Hesworth and Standeven, but I don't seem to see any VBC or Fox books (not that I tried to ask for them either). For himself, he seems to heavily favour Loro Piana for most fabrics. As for shirting the lowest level you can get is Alumo. I haven't paid any attention to buttons, lining, or canvass options, but whatever default seems nice enough to me so far.
 

belinmad

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1,209
Gotcha - sounds like a honest mistake on the wrong v right side. Usually the tailor will mark the right side w chalk, but if the workshop is in a different country, then it makes sense that a mistake such as the one you describe is possible.

There are a million different definitions on what constitutes bespoke, and fervorous forum wars on it. To me, if they keep a pattern for you (and not a modification of a block pattern) that they adjust over time, and you get basted and forward fittings (and they are willing to do more if needed), then that’s bespoke.
 

LeFoo1

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Messages
74
Gotcha - sounds like a honest mistake on the wrong v right side. Usually the tailor will mark the right side w chalk, but if the workshop is in a different country, then it makes sense that a mistake such as the one you describe is possible.

There are a million different definitions on what constitutes bespoke, and fervorous forum wars on it. To me, if they keep a pattern for you (and not a modification of a block pattern) that they adjust over time, and you get basted and forward fittings (and they are willing to do more if needed), then that’s bespoke.
To be honest I didn't even notice the fabric thing at all until he told me. The colour was very slightly darker than I remembered but I thought it's just small differences that are bound to occur. He tried to pin buttoning point but was in immediate shock when he touched the coat, then said "WTF this is not your jacket at all". Then upon double checking he told me this was my jacket but the rougher side was used, different than the sample he showed me before. We talked about what I want to change then he immediately ran out to call the workshop. Pretty funny if you ask me - I didn't notice the texture at all.

I also eavesdropped that he actually had a sticker on the cloth to indicate which is the original front side, but the workshop tried to ask about colour instead of "front" / "back" lol. My main surprise was how quickly the workshop admitted mistake and agreed to take the cost. Everything happened in a phone call of 2-3 mins. I imagined more haggling would need to be involve.

As for the definition of bespoke - that's pretty much good enough for me as well. But he can be quite nit-picky on himself so I don't want to misrepresent his standards.
 
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