Going for a bespoke suit? Great choice! But what with all the fabric picking, alterations and custom details, where on earth do you start?
We spoke to Ricky Rawat, Head Fashion Consultant at The Bespoke Club – one of Singapore’s tailor extraordinares – about the five key questions you should be asking your tailor.
What colour should my first suit be?
A good rule of thumb is to stick to classic colours and patterns that never go out of style; the flashier the suit design, the less you’ll be able to wear it. Personally, I’d recommend an unpatterned navy or charcoal colour for your first bespoke suit. Both shades are versatile enough to take you from an important business meeting to a night out on the town.
Should I choose a two- or three-piece style?
Being a traditionalist, I’d always recommend that your first bespoke suit should be a three-piece. It’s a complete suit which you can wear with or without the vest – it’s great to have that option. Ultimately, though, a good tailor will assess your lifestyle and routine, and determine from there which style will be best for you.
What’s the best way to care for a suit?
Always keep your suits on hangers in a well-ventilated place, never in plastic dry-cleaning bags. Also, try to limit how often you dry-clean your suit to around twice to four times a year. For crease removal, steaming is always preferable to ironing as it’s much gentler on the fabric.
How many fittings will I need?
At The Bespoke Club, we normally look at up to three fittings. If a client requires more, we will accommodate accordingly. During the first fitting, 24 to 26 measurements are taken. At the second, the tailored suit is tried on, and we make adjustments and alterations at this stage where necessary. By the third meeting, the suit is usually well adjusted and finalised, but we still examine the fit to make sure it’s immaculate and that you feel happy with your choice. The proverbial devil in the details underscores our ethos.
Which style will suit my body type?
For shorter or stockier body types, we recommend slim ties and narrow lapels, and to stick to single-breasted suit jackets. The trouser leg should have very little break, and the first button should be lower than usual. All of these details will elongate the body.
Taller and slimmer men should wear a two-button suit with high lapels, and ties that are wider and a little shorter to balance their proportions. Lighter colours will add bulk to slimmer frames. I’d recommend avoiding shoulder pads, as they can overpower your frame. Keep the trouser break generous to prevent legs from looking too long, or alternatively opt for turn-ups (cuffs).
Men on the larger side should keep their shirts tucked in, and steer clear of roomier suits as excess material adds bulk. Pocket squares are a great way to draw attention away from the stomach area. Also, I’d recommend leaving your jacket unbuttoned and avoiding skinny ties.
This article also appears in the June edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe.