We have all heard that saying "Every man needs a suit, every businessman needs a tailored suit"
Have you ever been intrigued about the process of having a suit made by a suit-tailor? join Mr Gumbatron's founder Lex Mak as he catches up with the sartorial gentleman of The Brown House in Hong Kong on a behind the scenes look into the first of five looks in a new capsule collection (Lex by TBH) of classic menswear launching in 2018.
The Brown House specializes in men’s bespoke suits tailoring in Hong Kong, they provide full in-house bespoke tailoring services and are located in the epicentre of Central Hong Kong. Their showroom interior is classic with undertones of masculine , it feels like you have walked onto the set of Kingsman, there is an english sophistication and charm about the space, besides the impeccable array of fabrics, suits and accessories, the showroom also has a well stocked whisky library, a tasteful curation of literature and of course the workshop of their in-house tailor Mr. Tang.
I come by to visit the team about once every 3 weeks, the appointment always commences with the opening of a bottle of Bordeaux or enjoying a nip of whisky together. To me, a visit to see my tailor is more like meeting up with some impeccably well dressed friends and catching up on life and talking about our common passion of mens fashion.
Finding the right tailor is like a discovering a new friendship, over time you create great understanding and synergy, the process involves learning each others preferences, attention to detail and bestowing trust upon one another. Respect the experts but be present and involved in the design process, the closer you work together in unison the more successful the result.
Here is a behind the scenes look into the process of creating one of the pieces of the "Lex by TBH" capsule collection.
Deriving the concept for the "Lex by TBH" collection, we created a collection of practical pieces but with a sartorial edge to give the wearer an undisputed boost in confidence. The collection comprises of five key pieces and some accessories.
- Classic/Business suit
- Formal Dinner Suit/Tuxedo
- Weekend Casual Suit
- Cocktail suit
- Pocket Squares
CUTTING AND CONSTRUCTION
Different tailors specialize in very different cuts. Ask about the house cut before you commit to a tailor, The three main cuts are Italian, British and American.
Here is a brief overview;
Italian: This is the modern silhouette, which is sleek and stylish. The jackets originally did not have any vents but today two vents are common in Italian suits. They are shorter and tight-fitting and shoulders are padded while wider lapel notches and buttons are positioned high, Pockets are flapless and jackets have pronounced V-shape. Italian suits can be divided in three sub styles: Roman, Neapolitan and Milanese.
British: Aka British Traditional. These suits are cut closer to the body with dual vents, minimal padding in the shoulders and feature a notch or peak lapel typically, British jackets have slightly narrower and defined shoulders with higher armhole, British suits will give you more contour and your look will be more fitted. The trousers are cut generously with high waist and two or three pleats.
American: The least talked about in the sartorial scene, the American jacket features a single vent, moderate padding on the shoulders, featuring notch or peak lapels. As the cut tends to be roomy at the waist and overall boxy, this cut is more definitely more casual, For trousers they are not pleated and are cut full.
For the Business Classic suit of the collection I went with a Neapolitan style construction, which is more relaxed, notably the soft shoulders (A spalla camicia shoulder, also called a “shirt-shoulder”) in which the fabric drapes over your shoulders, A Neapolitan jacket oozes coolness and Italian nonchalance, the soft-tailored jacket is particularly versatile also, Perfect for the Classic Business Suit, which can also be separated and styled individually.
The Brown House features mostly European and Italian fabrics from mills such as Zegna, Lora Piana, Scabal, Cerruti 1881, Holland & Sherry, Dugdale Bros & Co, and Ariston.
Typical fabrics used in suiting include:
Worsted Wool: Versatile fabric made from worsted yarn. A standard for solid-colored suits.
Super 120s: A luxurious lightweight wool that is ideal for a three-season suit. Super 100s and Super 150s are also available. All are good.
Mohair: A soft silky fabric made from the hair of the Angora goat, it is a great alternative to wool as it has more texture.
Flannel: You know flannel. Tailors usually have a wide selection of grays and weights. It’s possible to get a suit that breaths easily and can be comfortable come spring.
Linen: perfect for a summer suit, one of my favourite choices for a more relaxed look, perfectly suited for the warmer climates.
For the Classic Business suit of the collection we went with a dark navy windowpane check on brown in Italian Super 120 wool from Ariston. It is light weight and very breathable, the windowpane check is definitely the sign of a maverick; it’s a bold statement that signifies a man who goes his own way and doesn’t really care what you think about it.
Have fun with personalising your suit, Two or three buttons? Two-button coats have a longer lapel and can help accentuate height. A three-button coat generally has a little more structure and flatters taller men. There’s also the less common single-button coat that is very clean and very formal. The other option, my personal favourite the double-breasted suit, Its a power suit. The first time at the tailor I recommend going with two buttons. Keep it simple unless you really know what you are doing.
I won't go into all the details of my personalisation but the first piece of the "Lex by TBH" collection is a three piece suit, featuring a double-breasted waistcoat. made with Ariston fabric. configured with wide notch lapels. The jacket is half lined and features Neapolitan shoulders, a ticket pocket with flap and kissing buttons, The trousers are high waisted, with side adjusters and no belt loopholes, featuring single pleats and 1/4" cuffs.
Two fittings took place, several minor adjustments were recorded to make the suit fit perfectly, they were then corrected in house by their resident tailor Mr. Tang.
Stay tuned for more updates and an announcement on the next items from the "Lex by TBH" capsule collection.