Author’s Note: I used the word ‘custom’ and not ‘bespoke’ because I do not consider suits made by the majority of Philippine-based to be true bespoke.
There are many tailors in Manila who can make a decent custom suit. However, a mix of laziness on the part of the tailor and a lack of discernment on the part of the customer will usually end in a bad suit. But it shouldn’t be that way.
I’ve put together a list of things to keep in mind when having your first custom suit made. These tips will help you get a much better suit whether you are visiting a tailor in a Makati mall or the Kamuning public market.
Choose a tailor with a good selection of cloth
Skip hunting for cloth in the markets of Binondo and go to a tailor who has a good selection. Your suit will cost more but the tailor will have experience working with the cloths they sell. This minimizes the risk of getting a bad suit and makes it easy to ask for a remake.
Insist on a fitting
The purpose of a fitting is two-fold: to fit the garment and check for defects or inconsistencies. Suits will be, more or less, finished the next time you visit the tailor but some tweaking can still be done. Take this as an opportunity to check if the details you requested were followed and if the suit fits correctly.
Wear a shirt during the fitting
Wear your best fitting shirt or the shirt you intend to wear with the suit the most during the fitting. Fasten the collar button and make sure the collar sits properly on your neck before putting on the jacket. And don’t forget that a part of your shirt cuff should be visible.
Check the shoulders and chest
The shoulders frame the face and define the fit of the jacket. Ensure the back of the collar hugs the back of the neck when standing naturally. There should be no bunching of cloth below the back of the neck. The shoulders of the jacket should hug your shoulders and shouldn’t extend far from where your natural shoulders end. The lapels should lie flat on the chest.
The suit jacket should cover your buttocks
A short suit jacket may look trendy but it is not flattering to most men. Make sure the suit jacket covers the buttocks but not an inch longer. If the suit jacket goes past your knuckles when your fists are clenched it is probably too long.
Sitting down is the best way to check the fit of the trousers. It should not fit tight around the hips, thighs and legs. If your shirt pulls out it might be that the rise of your trousers is too low and needs to be higher. (It could also be your shirt is too short or too tight).
I welcome discussions and give advice over email: [email protected]