Every man has fantasies of suiting up like Don Draper or Harvey Specter, conducting a business lunch and, come sundown, savouring a dram of fine whisky. But you won’t get that special fit from an off-the-rack suit. No, you’ll want to head to a bespoke tailor. A good suit is an investment – if you take care of it (and your waistline), it can last 10 to 20 years. Before you visit a tailor, be mindful of three key points: shape, fit and fabric. And be patient. Expect at least 20 measurements to be taken and two to four fittings. It can take up to 50 hours of manual work – which translates to weeks or months before you hang the final product in the wardrobe. But it’ll be worth it, trust us.
Fitting is everything when cutting a new suit and founders of Made Suits, Kelvin R and Benjamin Tay know this very well. Combining meticulously tailored apparel with convenience, this small shop on Robinson Road ensures that every gentleman can look their best without busting the budget.
If you need to save time, its online tailoring service offers a bespoke menswear service. But nothing beats a well-made suit that's personally tailored. You don't even need to leave the house – Made Suits can carry out your consultation in the comfort of your home or office. It also strives to establish a strong relationship with its clients by taking the time to understand their needs, be it choosing fabrics and colours or advising how the perfect fit should feel.
A standard two-piece suit, wedding suit or tuxedo (prices start from $699) can take anywhere from two to three weeks to complete. But don't stop at just a new suit. One of Made Suits' specialities is one-piece collar shirts also known as the "Cooper collar" (made famous by 50s Hollywood icon, Gary Cooper). The collar is cut from a single piece of cloth that extends through the front torso and doubles as a placket, allowing the collar to stand on its own. It also crafts denim jeans for those looking to keep things casual.
Suit up with the help of Perfect Attire, a bespoke apparel specialist in Tanjong Pagar. The business was started by founders Tulsi Kamath and Shriram Iyer in 2014 who wanted to bring an element of human touch and art that is missing in the modern production line.
Its expertise lies in canvassed suits fully handmade with premium Italian and English fabrics from distinguished brands like Drago, Vitale Barberis Canonico (VBC) and Holland & Sherry. The suits are custom made to each client’s needs and are constructed by skilled craftsmen who have dedicated years to tailoring. According to the founders, a suit should make the wearer feel confident – everything else radiates from there.
To ensure the best fit, customers have to attend two fitting sessions – a muslin fitting and a basted fitting – a similar experience to what you’d get at Savile Row in London. Their hand-stitched suits start from $850 using fabrics milled by VBC & Drago and can go up to $2500 on fabrics from Ermenegildo Zegna. As a perk, Time Out readers get a free shirt with every full canvassed suit purchased. Get creative and go for a bold lining that gives the professional suit an edge or pick some unique buttons to make your standard blue dress shirt stand out. Women can also pop by Perfect Attire for handmade dress shirts, cotton chinos and blouses made with fabrics from century-old Italian brand, Andreazza & Castelli.
Gents, looking sharp is as easy as ABC, 123 at this tailor near Tanjong Pagar MRT. At Edit Suits, it is believed that a well-made suit is more than just a garment; it’s a statement – a good one that can be achieved in just three easy steps. Simply, book an appointment and pay them a visit, then have your measurements done and fabrics picked, finally just wait for 3-4 weeks. That’s it, your very own suit that complements every crevice of your body. As Singapore’s biggest made-to-measure tailor, you can expect nothing less than stylish and sleek from its huge selection of fabrics and customizations. Here, they offer suits and other gentleman apparels for any occasion – from typical two-piece suits to wedding suits and tuxedos – which all differ in price, depending on the materials selected.
The Bespoke Club tailors suits and shirts for both men and women. The staff take customers through the process of fabric selection, then note down their measurements and detail requests – which all can be done with a single-malt or cognac in hand. Rolling the lapel, felling the collar, setting the canvas and sewing the buttons are all done by hand at the shop. Patrons also have access to a stable of over 5,000 of the finest fabrics (from Ariston, Thomas Mason and the Albini Group, to name a few), haberdashery and accessories. Shirts start from $150, trousers from $250, sports jackets from $650 and The Bespoke Club suits from $950.
If it’s good enough for the late Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, then it should be good enough for you. CYC The Custom Shop holds the honour of dressing some of Singapore's elite – wouldn't you want to put your name on that list too? With beginnings dating back to 1935, CYC The Custom Shop has honed its craft to deliver premium tailored wear for both men and women. No two suits are the same. The tailor is a stickler to head-to-toe customisation that's further as ‘made-to-measure piece of art’. CYC The Custom Shop’s customisation extends to the type of fabrics: we’re talking shirts in Herringbone weaves and trousers sporting a durable poly-viscose makeup. A tailored suit starts from $910, while pieces such as shirt and trousers start from $119 and $165 respectively. Female shoppers can get tailored skirts from $89.
A bespoke suit is an investment. But SuitYourself manages to get rid of sky-high prices by cutting out the middleman and working with the manufacturers directly. The brand was first launched to help undergraduates get suited up for presentations or formal functions without breaking the bank. Even with the brand’s affordability, buyers can be reassured that quality is uncompromised. Made with wool blends and 100% wool to suit Singapore’s tropical heat, customisable two- and three-piece suits start from $290 and $370 respectively. What’s more, students and NSF get $20 off two-piece suits!
Common Suits’ Instagram feed alone is enough to conjure up style inspiration for a clueless male looking to suit up. With dapper male models clad in an immaculate Seersucker suit or a casual combo of a classic button-down and a safari jacket, the social media showcase of the tailored goods provides a keyhole to what Common Suits has to offer.
Founder Javin They aptly put slipping into a suit is like putting on armour. Four years later since its inception in 2014, Common Suits carries on full-throttle to provide men with this modern-day armour, where two-piece suits start from $850 when crafted from the house fabrics, while the use of European fabrics starts from $1299. Common Suits is all about the longevity, so expect high quality clothing that lasts for decades to come.
As its name suggests, The Prestigious is a well-known bespoke tailor often consulted by the well-heeled and well-dressed community. All commissioned suits are crafted in-house by a team of seven tailors and apprentices, mentored and personally supervised by master tailor Thomas Wong, a veteran who has over five decades of experience in the industry. There's no outsourcing or secret factory here. The pieces don't leave the premises except in the client's hands (or body). To up the Savile Row experience, a personal tailor is assigned to each patron who is tasked to measure, fit, draft, cut and construct the pieces from start to finish.
This family-run tailoring business has been around since 1983 so it knows what it's doing. Joseph Koh, owner and namesake of the business still cuts the suits and fits his slew of regular customers, which run the gamut from the newly initiated to high-flyers who know exactly what they want. American singer Peter Cetera reportedly counts himself his "number one fan". Suits start from $850 – these are fully handmade in Singapore in their in-house factory and workshop using quality fabric sourced from Italy and the UK. It also stocks English Goodyear welted shoes by Joseph Cheaney, Italian shoes by Ducal and a range of complementary accessories such as Italian umbrellas, hand-rolled pocket squares and gentleman suspenders.
Mills is the perfect tailor for any man to take their first steps towards becoming a gentleman. With full suit packages as cheap as $478, the only thing you have to worry about is whether you have enough closet space for all your new classy apparel. The quality of the suits makes the prices seem like a real steal. Following a tailoring style that focuses more on the old school, the suits prioritise the classic aesthetic over what’s trendy, resulting in garments that are stylish without trying too hard. With an appointment only system, the consultations are intimate to ensure that you can take your time to make every small decision. The tailors guide you along the way – giving advice and detailing the pros and cons of each material. Mills takes pride in the amount of customization it can do, providing a huge range of alternative designs to guarantee a unique suit, crafted personally for you.
What to look for in a suit
Don’t be swayed by those longer, leaner blocks you see in Saville Row’s windows. Those only work if you’re tall. And if you are vertically blessed, don’t opt for contemporary shorter cuts or your backside will be exposed. The length of your jacket should reach your knuckles or around the bottom of your zipper.
Take a good look at your figure and work out what suits you. Generally, the fewer buttons your suit has, the longer and sleeker the silhouette. The shoulder seam should also end where your shoulder does – any padding or rigid structure will throw the whole thing off-balance. The sleeves should follow the natural contours of your upper arm and stop where the arm ends and the thumb begins.
Suits are made of wool. Stick with that. Quality cloth can be squeezed and can bounce back with little or no sign of wrinkling. If it feels like there’s a structure to the fabric, that’s a good sign, too. Watch out for loose threads, cheap plastic buttons and puckering, especially at the seams.
Looking for something more casual?
Here’s a secret for guys who want to look spiffy in a perfectly tailored made-to-measure suit. Menswear labels Dylan & Son and Kay-Jen have come together in a shophouse along Telok Ayer, and specialise in bespoke tailoring and made-to-measure lines, respectively. Swing open the doors and walk into a minimalist space, furnished with an in-house workshop. An experienced team will take you from fitting to finishing, and you’ll walk out with a wellcut piece, no matter your tastes. Kay-Jen Dylan veers towards a youthful, contemporary style, while Dylan & Son are masters at classic bespoke cuts.
If you’re looking for bespoke tailoring and made-to-last clothing for both men and women, stop by homegrown outfit Inventory. Started in 2016, this bespoke, made-to-measure label focuses on everyday clothing for both genders and local craftsmen create each garment, which includes suits, biker jackets, jeans and more. Just like the best bespoke tailors, there are no off-the-rack shirts or suits to buy at Inventory – each piece sold is made according to the customer’s measurements. But unlike traditional tailors, the Lin sisters’ go beyond just classic three piece suits to create fashion-forward modern pieces including shirt dresses and utilitarian shirts in collaboration with creatives from difference disciplines such as fashion stylists and musicians.
This sprawling ION Orchard store probably has more suits on its many racks than smartly dressed men in our sweltering city. So the next time a fancy dress occasion rolls around, bring your father, brothers and other halves through its doors. Suit shopping can be pretty daunting if you can't tell your notched lapels from party-ready peaked tips, but the attentive – and very sharply suited – service staff here are in top form, ready to demystify the dress code without being too pushy.
Pick from the many muted shades of green, blue, grey, or black on the racks ($579-$1,549), or speak to the team about finding the best fabric for the garden wedding you don't want to melt at. The one-stop nature of the store also means that you won't have to venture outside in search of a shirt ($129-$309) or pair of brogues ($279-$1,159) to match. And those sewing machines flanking the entrance of the store aren't just there for show – alterations are done in-house while you wait, which means you can pretty much rock up two hours before your fancy fête to get dressed, if you roll that way.