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Top Six Tips When Buying a Suit

What You Need to Know When Buying a Suit in Hong Kong

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Buy a suit – Buying a suit in Hong Kong can be just a little intimidating, as you’re 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 the tips below to find out what you need to know before you buy a suit and what to expect once you get to the tailors.

1. Choose Your Tailor Carefully

Man getting fitted Pacific Custom Tailors in Pacific Place Shopping Centre, Admiralty.
Richard I'Anson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
Hong Kong has an absolute slew of tailors, with streets, malls and whole districts filled by men with measuring tapes. It’s a shoppers market and there really is no need to settle for anything other than first class quality. Unfortunately, for every master stitcher there is a also a master at stitching people up, and the potential for being ripped off does exist. For guidance, see our Top Five Tailors for a list of reputable establishments or ask your concierge who are excellent sources of information.

2. 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 and you should make this work to your advantage, look for bonuses, discounts and deals. If tailors aren’t willing to negotiate, take your business elsewhere. 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 multiplied by fifty, negotiations start from there even in the most upmarket boutiques.

3. 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 FHM 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 1990’s, take a look at what’s in style. Our guide to men's fashion has some excellent tips on what to consider when choosing a style of suit.

4. 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 travelling a lot with tour suit, 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.

5. 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 24hrs, not unless you pay an extortionate amount of money and sit in the tailors for 6hrs. 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.

6. Pack It, Don't Post It

A common compliant 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 grey polyester number.
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