Buying a suit in Hong Kong can be just a little intimidating as you are bombarded with questions over buttons, lapels, and handwoven Italian fabrics and poked and prodded from every angle. But it doesn’t have to be like a day at the dentist. Follow our tips below to find out what you need to know before you buy a suit and what to expect once you get to the tailor in Hong Kong.
Choose Your Tailor Carefully
Hong Kong has an absolute slew of tailors. There are streets, malls, and whole districts filled by men with measuring tapes. As such, it’s a shoppers market, and there is no need to settle for anything other than first-class quality. Unfortunately, for every master stitcher, there is also a master at stitching people up, and rip-offs do happen (avoid tailors handing out leaflets on Nathan Road). Stick to reputable establishments by using our top tailor's list or asking your concierge for advice.
Haggle, Bargain, and Beg
As we mentioned above, it’s a shoppers market, and you should shop around for the best price suit available. Tailors are desperate for your business so look for bonuses, discounts, and deals. Common deals include free shipping to your home country, 20% or more off when you buy two suits, and free shirts and ties. Most importantly, the first price you’re quoted in Hong Kong is usually a number plucked out of a hat and multiplied by fifty. The opening offer is just that, an offer. It should always be negotiated down, even in upmarket boutiques. If the tailor isn't willing to negotiate, you should take your business elsewhere.
What's Brad Pitt Wearing
If this is your first time buying a tailor-made suit, you may want to flick through the likes of GQ or Esquire first to see what sort of style you like. Tailors usually stock a collection of cuttings from magazines but these can be a little dated, so unless you want to look like an extra from the Bold and the Beautiful circa 1990s take a look at what’s in style.
Get a Feel For the Materials
There are a baffling number of materials to choose from; wool (the most popular), linen, flannel, polyester, Teflon, and on and on and on. It’s best to read up on the different types of materials before you hit the store, so you can decide what suit best suits your needs. For example, if you plan on traveling a lot, you won’t want linen (it crinkles when someone breathes near it) while wearing flannel can be like walking around with a rug thrown around you.
How Not to Get Stitched Up in an Hour
Hong Kong tailors are famous for their speed, but speed doesn’t equal quality. You won’t get a good suit in 24 hrs even at a Hong Kong tailor. For a well-fitted suit you will need at least two fitting sessions with a tailor, and many people recommend a third. This means you’ll require at least 3 or 4 days in Hong Kong for the suit to be completed.
Pack It, Don't Post It
A common complaint from tourists is the suit they saw in Hong Kong is not the suit that arrives in the post. Unless you know and trust a tailor, or he has an outlet in your home country, it’s generally not a good idea to have the suit posted. You may find your almond wool crepe suit has become a gray polyester number. If you aren't in town long enough to collect the suit, you should look for Hong Kong tailors that tour; many of the best visit the US, UK, and Australia.