Ditch The Made-In-24hrs Suit
Oh Man, Where to get a decent suit in Singapore?!
Not too long ago, a friend asked us where her fiancée should go to get his suit tailored for their wedding. We asked the usual questions—does he want something very formal, or something that can be used again for, say, a business meeting or to attend an event, when does he need the suit by, and has he considered off-the-rack? And also, how much is he willing to spend? After a few minutes, we figured out that this would be his very first suit, that he was looking to spend maybe SGD500-600 (perhaps more if it was really worth it) and that he was looking at getting a blue suit, something brighter than navy but not too blue and also, nothing too serious and staid. We also figured that he was a little lost and unsure what was out there and how and where to start making a suit. Given his budget, the tight timeline and his personal preference for style, we narrowed it down to a few off-the-rack stores that might have what he needed.
Suitsupply Napoli Blue Plain suit (left) - Cut from pure S110's wool by Zignone, this blue suit features a notch lapel and flap pockets. Lazio Blue plain suit - Made from a blend of wool, silk, and linen by E.Thomas, it features a slim, well-defined cut while the rich blue shade makes it versatile enough most occasions.
With a great selection of blue suits in various iterations (think everything from navy pinstripe to windowpane cornflower blue), the brand has a more contemporary fit and an impressive material selection (they buy in bulk directly from the mills, which leads to greater cost savings for in total and explains why they can charge below SGD1K for the majority of their suits). Construction-wise, their jackets, unlike similar off-the-rack brands, boast of a hand-worked canvas lining, which doesn’t distort over time like a jacket with a cheaper fused lining (which is just a nicer way of saying ‘glued’), along with working buttons and 100% natural Italian or Irish fabrics. They can also alter the suit to fit the individual as closely as possible. At SGD691, this suit might be a tad over our friend’s budget but we feel that extra is money well spent.
Downside: Be prepared to spend a little more than expected. Also, if it’s your first time selecting a suit, the amount of choice can be overwhelming. Be brave (or ask for assistance).
Massimo Dutti Slim-fit blue wool-mohair and silk suit - Slim-cut, notch lapel with buttonhole and two-button fastening.
It sounds Italian but it’s actually a Spanish label from the same people who brought you, Zara. The difference is a better finish (fully-lined interior, no sign of loose threads and a more tailored touch), along with a better-quality cloth. The collection depends on the season but the Massimo Dutti man has a carefully curated (lifestyle) wardrobe, so there’s usually a blue suit or two to be found. Look to spend around 600 (trousers are priced at SGD165 and jackets range from SGD345-SGD525), and do spend a bit more to get the pants altered to fit your height. Yes, their price point is higher than Zara but you know the saying ‘you pay peanuts you get monkeys’? You don’t want to be the guy in the monkey suit come your wedding day.
Downside: Sizing might be an issue as they have limited sizes for their suits, which tend to fit the broad-shouldered athlete better than the everyday man. Also, the selection is more classic than contemporary, so if you are looking for something that makes a statement, then you’re better off shopping with the next label.
Benjamin Barker Satoshi Blue blazer - notched lapel and single-button fastening, together with the Japan Blue Denim Suit Trousers.
A homegrown menswear label by Singaporean Nelson Yap, Benjamin Barker offers a range of men’s suiting and accessories that will appeal to those who like more expressive pieces. Sure, the brand also carries office-worthy suits but it is their selection of patterned suits, including windowpane checks and striped seersucker styles, that will get you noticed. The fit flatters for smaller Asian sizes and prices are competitive, with a suit blazer going for less than SGD400 and a full suit just shy of the SGD600 mark. Jackets and pants are purchased separately so if you are feeling really adventurous, you can opt for a more striking combination (Ed’s note: If this is your first suit and it’s for your wedding, go with the matching suit option). Benjamin Barker’s Cineleisure store also offers a tailoring service, just in case you don’t see exactly what you want on the rack.
Downside: The styles are seasonal so if you are pulling a last-minute ‘Eep-my-wedding-is-next-week’ stunt, then your choices may be limited. Sizes fit smaller body shapes better so if you have been working out a lot, ditch those protein supplements. Now.
VERDICT: After providing all this AWESOME advice, our friend’s husband decided to get his suit done in BKK (because cheap). He came back filled with regret because his final suit fit like a paper cut-out (yes it was a 24hr suit) and then had to get another one made in a rush to try and mitigate sartorial shame and the potential fire hazard of standing under the hot sun in a likely flammable shiny blue suit that crinkled chirpily each time he moved. Don’t be this man. Take our advice and share this post.