The Philippines has many good tailors. They are definitely not on par with those in Hong Kong, Britain, Italy or Shanghai but can deliver amazing value if you know what you want.

 

A little background
The majority of tailors in the country are not well-off. They come from poor families and learned to make clothes by working for small or chain outfits and sometimes a local designer. Their humble origins mean they rarely, if ever, wear suits, dress shirts and dress pants. As such you cannot rely on them to give the best advice on style and fit or expect them to have a ‘house style’. What you can count on is their expertise in tailoring.

Stay away from designers
There are many menswear designers in the Philippines. They charge an exorbitant amount of money for their supposed good taste & design expertise. What they really offer are edgy designs (e.g. two-tone lapels, piping, odd shapes/cuts) and their names as brands. What we are after is timeless style and we don’t need to pay a designer for that.

Picking a tailor
Most tailors have the same methods of constructing pieces. Almost all of them have never worked at a true and highly regarded bespoke tailor. There is also no use in paying more by virtue of them being located inside a mall unless you value their convenience and to some extent their selection of fabric. All this makes it much easier to pick a tailor.

 

Start by talking to one. You can tell right away if you will have an easy time working with him to achieve what you want. Sample his wares next and see how his finished clothes look. (The best thing to do would be to take apart a finished piece but that is not practical and will be technically extensive to discuss.) Lastly, pick a tailor with a price tag you are comfortable with. Tailors I have worked with charge between four to five thousand pesos for a suit and between four to six hundred pesos for a shirt, pair of trousers or waistcoat. Fabric is not included.