off the rack, or tailor made
May 23, 2008 5:02 PM   Subscribe

Which is better, a Hong Kong tailor made suit, or a high-end off the rack suit?

My friend has access to a wholesaler that sells really fine suits for deep discounts. He can get a thousand dollar name brand suit for 2-500. He could also go to a Hong-Kong tailor and get a custom suit for around $150.

Which will be the better suit.?
posted by TigerCrane to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Personally I would say the tailor made suit, especially if your friend is at all an unusual size. If he is a perfect height/weight match for a stock size, then perhaps an off-the-rack. But personally, as a tall guy, custom wins every time. Make sure to choose a nice fabric though.
posted by GuyZero at 5:38 PM on May 23, 2008

I agree with tailor-made, and Hong Kong is (or at any rate used to be) famous for cheap, well-made custom suits.
posted by languagehat at 5:46 PM on May 23, 2008

Best answer: $150 is at the very, very low end of HK tailor made suits - so much that I would question the abilities of the tailor measuring you. At least with name brand suits, there are reasonable attempts to make the suit semi-quality, whereas I think someone getting a $150 HK suit is shopping for absolute bottom basement quality. A more reasonable comparison would be a $300 HK suit; I've heard lots of people happy with their suits at that price point.

I would actually go with the name brand suit. I personally have a $700 HK suit, but that's not one of your options.
posted by meowzilla at 5:58 PM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can get great tailor-made suits in Hong Kong, sure, but not for $150. It will fit, but it will fall apart within weeks.
posted by turgid dahlia at 6:01 PM on May 23, 2008

Response by poster: What should one pay in HK ideally?
posted by TigerCrane at 7:51 PM on May 23, 2008

Best answer: depends on the tailor, but $2-500 for a $1000 suit sounds like the better option actually. i used to get stuff tailoered in bangkok regularly, and while they did a very good job for a very reasonable price, there are loads of details you only get from the designers - interesting fabrics and stylish cuts/details you'd never ever think of yourself (and neither will a hong kong tailor, at least not for $150)

just try a bunch of suits in the fitting room till you find one that fits you well and makes you look good - unless you're an unusual body type this shouldn't be too hard to find.
posted by messiahwannabe at 8:06 PM on May 23, 2008

I've gone both ways - relatively cheap Bangkok-made suits, around $350 a pop, as well as major brand designer suits. It is true that generally, the fabrics available in an Asian tailor shop range from boring to downright atrocious. However, you can do OK if you're actually going to a major tailoring center (aside from Bangkok and Hong Kong, I hear Vietnam is catching up) and actually take the trouble to browse through the zillion fabric samples they're bound to have.

Using that method, I got two suits made that were seriously NICE - definitely as good as anything I'd consider buying off the rack for under $1000. And of course the cut was excellent. But I did have to spend about two hours going through sample books. It was worth it, but a lot of people don't bother. If you go to a tailor shop in Asia... bother.

On the other hand, a competent suit salesperson (do you get access to one of those with your 50-80% off retail suits?) can probably eyeball your friend within a half inch on any given measurement, and so getting it tailored to exactly his build may not be much of an advantage.
posted by rkent at 9:05 PM on May 23, 2008

If you really understand what it means for a suit to be good, you're far better-off getting a custom-tailored HK/BKK/etc. suit. I agree with the other people here that $150 sounds a bit on the low-end... usually it's about twice that price, but they throw in little extras like 3 tailored shirts or something.

If you don't know what good stitching looks like, or how the custom-shop is making the suits (specifically, what material they're using for the canvas... or if there even is a canvas), then you're better off paying the extra dough for something off the shelf that you have at least a general assurance won't fall apart in a year.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:47 PM on May 24, 2008

Has anyone tried these guys out:

If you have the measurements they seem to do a good job, and the cuts are pretty nice (navy blue and charcoal are my favs). The navy blazer seems nice too, and I really like the Navy Pea Coat (though the name is a bit funny).

The shirts, though, are only threadcount 60 cotton, and don't look that great. Probably fits better than any Eton shirt, though, but I'm concerned about the fabric.
posted by avocade at 2:47 PM on February 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

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