Men's clothing: two top tailors share their tips
23 November 2016
By Emily McCabe
When it comes to menswear, there's no excuses not to look sharp in Hong Kong, a city renowned for its world-class tailors. With a little help from some experts, it’s easy to go from dud to dapper in no time at all.
High-quality tailored items are considered a staple in the modern man’s wardrobe – and if they’re not in yours, they should be! Think Don Draper: a masculine, put-together and polished fashion icon for men, and a major sex symbol for women; need I say more?
It’s important to understand what a well-tailored suit is, and what it can do for you. But to do that, you need to understand what goes into making beautifully tailored garments. Here in Hong Kong, we’re spoilt for choice – there are tailors aplenty, all at the ready to make your tailored dreams come true.
Yet don’t be fooled. There are so many tailors offering too-good-to-be-true deals, cheap and fast, confidently promising you the goods, and instead what you end up with is exactly what you paid for – nothing special! You want to be sure the end result is something timeless, distinguished and bold.
To help ensure you get the right thing, we sought some experts to outline the basics. When it comes to updating or refining your look, what’s most important? We discussed the key first steps with Andy Mahtani of Maxwell's Clothiers.
“To create a truly bespoke suit, a minimum of 120 hours is required by an artisanal craftsman to hand-cut and hand-finish a garment,” says Andy of Maxwell’s Clothiers. The company has been in the business since 1961 and has a reputation for being one of the best; they haven’t had to advertise – rather, they believe that the quality of their garments do the talking for them.
Today, the Maxwell’s business ethos is built on customer service, quality and a passion for the art of bespoke tailoring, along with offering competitive prices and without compromising on quality.
There are many ways to make a suit these days, and machines have started to play a bigger role in tailoring. Still, nothing beats a handmade suit; when a handmade suit is made to match your specific body shape, the fit is unbeatable. Here are Andy’s tips on building yourself a wardrobe:
• “If you wear a suit five times a week, you need to maintain an average of about six or seven suits to ensure the longevity of the items.”
• “Start with a few suits consisting of solid navy and mid-grey before you move into pinstripes or herringbone. You can diversify your look with more colourful shirts and ties, with the base colour of the suit being neutral.”
• “If you have some black-tie functions on your calendar, don’t forget to add a tux, which can last several years.”
Working on overhauling your wardrobe might seem a little intimidating, but it’s all about expressing your personal identity. Who exactly are you when you’re introducing yourself to someone in a business meeting, or at a cocktail party? In many ways, appearance is the foundation of all first impressions. Some men have a natural handle on their personal style, and on the current trends making waves in men’s fashion; others, though, need a nudge in the right direction.
MADE TO MEASURE
Milk is essential, white and pure: three great ingredients for a company that, in its own words, is “serious and passionate about bringing a range of white shirts that you can wear for work, formal and play”. Sheetal Pritmani from Milk Shirts believes that “quality is paramount” in their clothing. “From single-needle stitching to handpicked luxurious two-fold cottons from only the finest mills in Europe, to finishing all our shirts with mother-of-pearl buttons, we only use the best materials.” And there’s no compromise on fit. “If it doesn’t fit, what’s the point?” says Sheetal. We would definitely agree!
Milk Shirts offers the perfect item for every occasion. Got a job interview? A classic, crisp white poplin shirt could be the way to go, it’s guaranteed to make a good first impression. If that is too tame for your taste, add a bit of texture in the form of a subtly patterned tie, shirt or suit. Stick with classics such as stripes, herringbone or paisleys – styles that have more of an impact. “Good for client-facing work,” adds Sheetal. (It’s all so easy when you’re in good hands!)
CARING FOR YOUR CLOTHES
- Avoid the drycleaners: Dry-cleaning uses strong chemicals, which can wear the fabric in your garment; instead, try to get your clothes steam-pressed.
- Purchase a suit brush: Often a suit is simply in need of a brush and can skip the cleaners altogether.
- Hanging is key: You’ve invested in your garment, so investing in a high quality suit hanger is essential for keeping you clothes in the shape you want them; after all, they spend more time on the hanger than they do on you!
Maxwell Centre, 13/F, 39-41 Hankow Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
Room 503, Wing On Plaza, 62 Mody Road, TST East, Kowloon
This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov edition of Expat Living magazine, subscribe now so you never miss an issue.
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