Posted on

How to Measure your Body?

Perhaps, on a rare occasion, you’d want your own body measurements for your online shopping on Zalora or ASOS or even TaoBao but have absolutely no idea how to do it.

Here’s a guide on how to measure your body (with the help of someone else of course!) to aid you in your online shopping!

Before we go into how to measure each area, we’d like to highlight some pointers which you should take note of during the whole measurement process:

– Try not to look down,

– It is also important to stand in a relaxed, upright and normal position,

– keeping your feet apart, and

– always keep your measuring tape straight and snug.

The abovementioned pointers are applicable for when you do your measurements for your tailored items at our shop too!

Let’s move on and see how do you measure the respective areas.

Neck

Place the measuring tape around the neck at the height where the collar would normally rest (usually where your Adam’s apple is). Remember to look forward!
Hold one finger under the tape to provide allowance for comfort.

Full Shoulder Width

Start by placing the “0” end of the measuring tape at the bony part of your shoulder joint.

The shoulder point is where the horizontal part of the shoulder meets the vertical part of the arm.

Measure over the curve of the shoulders and to the outside edge of the other shoulder.

Sleeve Length

Place the “0” end of the measuring tape at the point where you end your shoulder width measurement.

Run the measuring tape down to your elbow, hold the tape there then continue running the tape down to the mid-point between your wrist and the base of your thumb.

Full Chest

To measure your full chest, run the measuring tape around the fullest part of your chest and keep the measurement tape snug.

Full Waist

Run the tape around the fullest part of your waist (Between chest and stomach). The measuring tape should be snug on the skin, but not squeezing in.

Full Stomach
Run the tape around the fullest part of your stomach. The measuring tape should be snug on the skin, but not squeezing in.

Shirt Length

Start by placing the “0” end of the measuring tape at the point where the base of your neck meets your shoulder, and run the measuring tape down vertically to the point that is aligned to the base of your thumb or to your desired length.

Full Hips

Run the measuring tape around the hips area (are between your stomach and bum) and take the measurement

Full Bum

Run the measuring tape around the fullest part of your bum and take the measurement

Full Bicep

With your arms down and relax, measure around your bicep at its fullest point.
Make sure the measuring tape is not too tight and round up the measurement to the nearest cm to cater for comfort.

Full Forearm

Extend your arm straight out by the side of your body.
Measure around the fullest point of your forearm. Make sure the measuring tape is not too tight and round up the measurement to the nearest cm for comfort.

Wrist

Measure your wrist around the wrist bone (usually the skinniest region). Hold the measuring tape to your skin, but do not squeeze your wrist.

Armpit

Extend one arm straight out to the side of your body. Place the “0” of the measurement tape at the bony part of your shoulder joint. This will serve as the starting point for your measurement.

Wrap the measuring tape over the shoulder joint. If the tape restricts your movement at any point, loosen the measuring tape a little to provide for more slack. Hold the tape firmly in place and note the number at the point where the “0” end overlap. This is your full armpit measurement.

So there you go! You’re now equipped with the knowledge on how to measure your body.

This might be helpful for your online shopping or simply to know yourself better.

However, if you’re feeling lazy or if it’s too much of a hassle to do your own measurement, you can always engage us as your personal tailor for your tailoring needs!

Know more about how we are different and how we can help you in tailoring your suits, pants and shirts! Read more here

Posted on

Guide to buying your first suit

There will be a moment you will need to get your first suit.

Your first job interview, your best friend’s wedding. Or being invited to some ballroom event.

A well-fitted suit with correct details will generally do the trick. With the correct rules to follow, getting your first suit isn’t hard at all.

Details

You are buying a suit for the first time. So not only does it have to fit you well, it has to.

You are confused by the many details you can choose at your tailor.

By definition, a suit is a combination of a jacket and a pair of trousers in the exact same fabric. If both pieces are closely similar and not identical, it is not a suit. To others, it is sloppiness on your part.

Colour and Pattern

I would recommend sticking to a classic color without any pattern. This will provide you the ease of matching easily with most shoes and accessories.

– Charcoal is for guys that are young and hope to look more mature

– Navy is for guys that are old and hope to look younger

I strongly do not suggest following flamboyant patterns, colors and styles you see actors wearing in movies. Unless you are a fashion genius, not many guys can don that flashy look well. You really just want to be presentable, not flashy or prominent.

If you are adventurous and really want something, I will suggest choosing subtle patterns. However not many first-timers can pull this off.

Fit

Never be contented with a suit that do not fit you. We will suggest buying a suit only if you feel comfortable with a tailor.

Only with trust and communication, can you and your tailor produce a suit with optimal fit.

Below some some points to help you get the small but important details right.

Shoulder Fit

The shoulder fit is the most important aspect of a suit. The suit should usually be half and inch beyond your shoulder.

Good tailors would usually add a small piece of canvas at the edge of the shoulder pad so the sleeve fall naturally. If you have muscular shoulders, I will suggest finding a tailor that do this to avoid ugly creases at the shoulder edge.

Torso Fit

Always do the fist test during fittings, the front of your suit should always have enough room to fit a fist comfortably.

For guys with pot belly, the most common mistake many tailors make is not measuring the front part of the belly.

By not doing so, your suit will be too loose in the front and too tight at the back. In some extreme cases, your jacket will appear too short.

Jacket Length

All you need is to stand straight and keep your hands to your sides. The length of the jacket should reach about the knuckle of your thumb.

Make sure the jacket also cover the lower curvature of your butt. However, for shorter guys, this rule does not apply if your jacket is looking too long. So do make sure you consult your tailor on the optimal length.

Points to Highlight

Even good tailors are humans and might occasionally miss out on some details. Do highlight to them the following for them to deliver a better suit.

– Uneven shoulders: This is especially so for people with prior surgery on their shoulders.

– Shoulder bones protruding from upper back

– Caved in inner-chest

All these information should be sufficient for a first timer. Yes, the entire process is a game. You have rules to follow and if you are following this article, you are in to win the suit game.

Posted on

Wedding Suit Guide for the Groom

CONGRATULATIONS! It’s a “Yes”! You are entering the next chapter of your relationship with your partner and here comes the big event, The Wedding.

Choosing the right suit for the occasion can be a tough decision for many grooms but what we can suggest you right from the start is: You don’t want to be seen in a rented suit for this extremely special day!

A three-piece suit (jacket + pants + waistcoat) is usually perceived as the more formal suit which is more commonly seen in weddings and formal events. It’d provide an added touch of elegance and versatility in case you want to take off your suit jacket.

Some of you might think bright colours or bold patterns would be suited for your wedding but do bear in mind that, unlike the bride, you would probably wear your custom tailored suit even after your wedding day.

Suits in navy or grey are the safest options these days as dark colours are usually dressier and more appropriate for formal events.

Navy/Blue Suit

A blue suit – in all its shades – provides a classically elegant look, yet exuding a certain degree of boldness as compared to a black suit.

It is the go-to for all men, suitable for any occasion, any time of the year. In addition, it’s pretty much in trend now!

For an added touch of finesse, you may accessorise your navy suit with a pocket square or even a lapel pin! Find out how to fold a pocket square here.

























Grey/Charcoal Suit

A grey or charcoal suit will be a great selection if you’re looking for something a little less formal than the black suit yet be ever so classy!

Being a neutral colour, grey suits most people. Lighter shades of grey are usually ideal for complementing soft and romantic colour scheme.

A grey or charcoal suit is highly versatile. We recommend lighter shades of grey for more casual ceremonies whereas the darker shades for more formal ones in the evening!





















Black Suit

The black suit. Extremely formal yet pretty versatile as well (although it might not be the trendiest in this list).
The black suit, being less fancy than the tuxedo but more formal than the grey suit, is well suited for grooms looking to dress it up a little for the dinner reception.





















Khaki/brown or Green Suit

khaki/brown or green suit is fashionable and unique. Perfect for the groom who’d like to standout a little more! It is a great choice for a more casual wedding setting.

Just remember, a darker shade would be a tad more formal than the lighter shade.

Accessories

Now that you know a little more about the different colours for your wedding suit, here’s how to make your outfit a little more “fun” with the use of accessories!

Bowties and pocket squares are great options to add more colour and style to your outfit. If you’d want to show your fun and playful personality, go for brightly coloured and patterned ones. If you prefer a more subdued look, go for darker complementing colour without patterns.

You can match your pocket square with your tie or bowtie but it’s need not be an exact match. Your pocket square should break the monotonous shade of your suit jacket.

Do you know we sell pocket squares as well? You can always decide on your pocket square when you’re at our store for your suit fitting!












You need not fold your pocket square too neatly. Although a wedding is a formal occasion, it’s still considered a party and not a business meeting.

You may use cufflinks for your shirt to customise your suit as well, selecting one which suits your personality and style.

For an old world charm, you can consider wearing suspenders. It’d give you a more casual groom look and are perfect style accessory to include if you’re looking for a bit of cheekiness.












And finally, a point which you probably already know but we can’t help but reiterate is to make sure your shoes match the colour of your belt!

With these information, we hope this article would help you make more informed choices for your wedding suit and how you can style yourself!

Posted on

Off the Rack vs Made-to-Meausre vs Bespoke Suit

You need a suit! Be it a wedding suit or a business suit.
You can choose from off the rack suits or go to a tailor to get yours made to measure or bespoke. However, what are the key differences between off the rack, made to measure and bespoke?
How are they different and which option should you go for?
Let us share with you the key differences to help you make a more informed decision!

Off the Rack Suits

Off the rack suits can be cheap but ironically, they can be expensive too! The price is often determined by the brand and the quality of the materials used. Sizes are predetermined and styles are usually made by machines. To achieve mass production, very few manufacturers will produce their suits by hand or sewing machines.

Majority of off the rack suits are fused, not canvassed. Manufacturers prefer the fusing method as it saves money and time (fusing is done by gluing the interlining to the wool shell using heat). However, fused suit jackets lack the support and structure of the canvassed suit jackets.

Alteration is almost always inevitable if you buy an off the rack suit, despite it coming in many patterns and styles. This is so as it can accommodate only that many different body shapes and sizes. Always budget some additional amount of money on alterations if you buy an off the rack
suit. It is also advisable to have some good tailors that can make the necessary alterations for your
suit to make it fit you perfectly.

You will have the least control amongst the three options.

Made to Measure Suits


Made to measure suits are pre-designed but are altered to fit your measures. Made to measure suit is usually made by hand, but it can be made by a machine as well. Fabrics are often of a better quality than off the rack suits but may be of a lower grade compared to bespoke suits.

As the suits are adjusted to your measurements, they are of a better fit than off the rack suits. Prices can be comparable to off the rack suits but are usually lower than bespoke suits.
When buying made to measure suits, expectations would have to be managed as made to measure is not the same as bespoke tailoring.

The degree of control varies considerably. However, it is very possible to get a perfect fit.
You may know more about our tailored suits here.




Bespoke suits


The ultimate tailoring experience is a bespoke suit. This experience will cost you a lot more but you will get a tailored suit that is one of a kind. If done right and with high quality materials, it can even last you a lifetime.

These suits are designed and made by hand by experienced cutters and tailors. You will have to go through rounds of fittings where your measurements will be taken and the suit will be altered until if fits you perfectly. Hence, be prepared to spend a lot more money and time if you opt for the bespoke experience!

As you can expect, going bespoke will offer you the full control.

Now that you have a better idea on what the differences, decide on which would be more suited for your requirements!

Posted on

How to care for a shirt

Taking care of your tailored shirts can be a daunting task. However, given proper care, a good tailored shirt can actually last for several years!
Hence, it is worth learning how to do so, starting with washing.

How to care for white shirt (against yellow sweat stain)

A crisp tailored white shirt is a staple in a man’s wardrobe.
Be it the formal black tie tuxedo event or a casual night-out on a Friday, a tailored white dress shirt never fail to impress!
Do read here to know more about our tailored shirts!

However, one issue that most men face is having the unsightly yellow sweat stains on their tailored white dress shirts (gasp!).

Let us teach you how to extend the lifespan of your tailored white shirts by understanding what causes the yellow stains, how to remove them and prevention methods.

What causes the yellow sweat stains on shirts?

The yellow sweat stains on your shirts are caused by a mixture of minerals in sweat and the contents in the deodorant or antiperspirant which you use.

The combination of salt (mineral from sweat) and aluminium (content in deodorant or antiperspirant) is what causes the yellow stains on your white shirts and discolourations (especially on the armpit areas) on coloured shirts.

These yellow sweat stains can be stubborn and may require multiple treatments to effectively remove them.
The good news is, you may use simple household solutions and ordinary laundry products to get rid of them!

Overusing chlorine bleach can also cause white shirts to yellow during drying under the sun as the sun adds another layer of bleaching via UV rays.

Hence, white fabrics made from natural fibres like cotton and linen are not spared from yellowing if they are exposed to too much chlorine bleach.

How to remove yellow sweat stains on shirts?

Before You Begin

If you are using off-the-shelve stain removers, do test them on an old coloured shirt or fabric before using them on sweat-stained shirts no matter how innocent they look.

The effectiveness of homadmade stain removers are often the same than their off-the-shelve counterparts. However, it is easier to cause permanent damage to your shirts as homemade products are less controlled. Hence, always test any homemade product on an inconspicuous area before applying directly on the yellow sweat stains.

If you are using a hydrogen peroxide solution (mild bleaching agent) for coloured shirts, always dampen a white cloth or cotton swab with it and dab onto an inconspicuous area first to ensure no colour comes off as hydrogen peroxide can lighten coloured fabric that is not colourfast.

If there’s some sort of discolouration which rubs off on to your cloth or swab, use white vinegar or off-the-shelve stain remover which are safe for colours instead.

Homemade ways to remove yellow sweat stains from shirts

Baking Soda, Peroxide, and Water solution
You may remove the yellow sweat stain by simply applying a mixture of baking soda, peroxide and water directly on the affected areas.

Firstly, mix the baking soda, peroxide and water in equal parts, and apply the mixture directly on to the stain. Subsequently, use a toothbrush to rub the mixture into the fabric.

Let sit for approximately 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of the stain, and wash as per normal.




Toothpaste
You may apply toothpaste directly to a yellow stain to lighten it. Simply rub the toothpaste over the affected areas with a toothbrush until the yellow stains are lifted. After which, wash your dress shirts as per usual to remove the toothpaste.

Lemon Juice
Lemon juice can lighten the yellow sweat stains on white and light-coloured shirts.

You need to only apply pure lemon juice on to the affected areas and dry the dress shirts under the sun for an entire day.

Wash your shirts as per usual by hand or washing machine to remove the lemon juice right after you bring them in.

How to prevent the sweat stains?

Tips to prevent sweat stains

  1. Wear an undershirt to avoid getting sweat stains on your dress shirts
    This will provide a layer of protection for your dress shirts against sweat and/or deodorant/antiperspirant. A popular choice would be Uniqlo’s AIRism.
  2. Use a clinical-strength deodorant/antiperspirant
    A strong deodorant/antiperspirant can prevent bacteria-prone sweat from staining your shirts.
    Always allow time for your deodorant/antiperspirant to dry completely before wearing your tailored shirts as deodorant/antiperspirant which are not completely dry can lead to yellow stains under your armpits.
    Also, try to apply a light layer to prevent getting the deodorant/antiperspirant to come in contact with your tailored shirts.
  3. Trim your armpit hair
    As your armpit hair can collect excess sweat, dirt, and bacteria, trimming them can prevent lingering sweat and odour-causing bacteria.
  4. Wash sweaty shirts as soon as possible
    Try to wash your sweaty shirts as soon as possible even if it means hand-washing with a little bit of laundry detergent under cold water. As the longer you leave a sweaty dress shirt to dry, the stronger the sweat stains set in.
  5. Reduce the use of bleach
    As mentioned earlier, white fabrics made from natural fibres like cotton and linen are not spared from yellowing if they are exposed to too much chlorine bleach.
    So, if you can, try to hold back on using chlorine bleach!

With just a little work, you may extend the lifespan of your tailored white shirts; keeping them crisp and (needless to say) white!

How to wash a tailored shirt?

Do you know that whilst retaining its look as though it was newly bought? Well all you need to do is to provide proper care for it! The followings show the most popular washing methods to care for your tailored shirts.

Method 1: Laundry Services
Do note that unless you expressly asked for dry cleaning of your shirts, a dry cleaner will most likely wash and iron your shirts the “normal” way.

The “normal” way consist of washing your shirts in a normal washing machine using detergent and soap, removing most of the water from your shirt with the spin cycle in the washing machine and then pull the damp shirts onto an industrial shirt press that closes over the shirts and simultaneously irons the shirts while removing all of the moisture.

Going to a laundry service is relatively convenient as it removes the hassle of washing it on your own and can be relatively cheap.

However, some laundry services can be too rough for your tailored shirts. For example, the slamming of the press over the front of your dress shirts may cause the buttons to chip or shatter. Furthermore, if your dress shirts are stretched over the press when steam-drying, it may cause some areas to grow wider. And lastly, you are still likely required to do some form of ironing prior wearing.

Method 2: Washing Your Tailored Shirts at Home
This method ensures that you will have a little more control over how your tailored shirts are washed and handed. However, it does require a little bit more time and attention.

To provide a good wash at home, kindly follow the steps described:

Step 1: Prepare your tailored shirts for cleaning by unbuttoning all the buttons, including the cuff buttons and any collar buttons. Remove any collar stays too.

Step 2: Pre-treat any stains on your tailored shirts by carefully working a little detergent into them. For better results, you may spot-clean the stains with a stain remover pen.

Step 3: Set up your washing machine for an optimised wash. To minimise wear on a fine or lightweight dress shirt, use the Delicate cycle. For heavier duty fabrics or if your dress shirts are particularly dirty, you may select the Normal cycle.

You may use hot water for whites and light coloured dress shirts but use cold water for dark coloured dress shirts to prevent the colour from fading. Ensure that your laundry load does not contain any bold colours items that may bleed into your tailored shirts.

Step 4: Use high quality detergents. Avoid detergents or cleaners that are chlorine-based as they will likely cause discolouration to shirt fabrics.

Step 5: Wash your shirts in the machine and let the spin cycle remove most of the water out of the garment.

Step 6: Remove your shirts immediately once the spin cycle has been completed, as they will be crumpled from the wash in the washing machine. . Removing them immediately will help to prevent the intense wrinkles from drying into your tailored shirts. Hang your tailored shirts up or lay them out to be air-dried. Try to avoid the sharp hangers or tight clothespins as they can distort the fabrics or leave marks on your tailored shirts.

Step 7: Iron your tailored shirts. Your dress shirts need not be completely dry to begin ironing but they should be mostly dry.

How to remove stains from your shirt?

You have probably at some point in your life, stained your dress shirt before and felt rather clueless on how to remove the stain effectively.  Fret not; we’ve listed several methods below on how to effectively remove the different types of stains. Do keep in mind that the longer a stain remains, the tougher it is to remove it! Hence, treat a stain as soon as possible! Also, always treat a stain before laundering and never ever stain your neckties as they are made of delicate fabrics that make them impossible to clean!

Lipstick
Blot the lipstick mark with a baby wipe or a washcloth moistened by rubbing alcohol on it.

Blood
If the blood is fresh, blot the spot repeatedly with cold water, an ice cube, or club soda.

If the blood has dried up, use a 3% hydrogen-peroxide solution to treat the stain.

Oil
Cover the spot with talcum or baby powder immediately and allow it to sit at least half an hour. Subsequently, brush it off and apply a stain remover. Thereafter, wash your stained dress shirt in the hottest water the fabric can withstand.

Red Wine
Douse the spot with salt immediately and dunk your stained dress shirt in cold water. Blot the spot until the stain disappears, and wash it as soon as possible! If you are unable to remove your stained dress shirt immediately, soak the spot with club soda and get your stained dress shirt into a washing machine in the soonest time possible.

Coffee Stains
If the stain is fresh, rinse the spot immediately with cold water. If possible, remove your dress shirt immediately and apply laundry detergent directly to the spot and rub together with cold water. Soak your stained dress shirt for 30 minutes, and rub it with laundry detergent every 5 – 10 minutes. After which, wash your stained dress shirt in the hottest water the fabric can withstand. If the stain is not removed after the wash, try repeating the steps. Do ensure that the stain is out of your dress shirt prior to placing in a dryer.

For older stains, apply white vinegar directly to the spot and soak your stained dress shirt in cold water. Rub the stain with a sponge until it is removed. Alternatively, you may apply baking soda with a wet cloth to scrub away the stain.

Barbeque Sauce & Other Tomato-based Sauce Stains
Soak your stained dress shirt in cool water added with ½ a teaspoon of liquid hand dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar for 30 minutes. Give your stained dress shirt a rinse after soaking. If the stain remains, pre-treat the spot with a pre-wash stain remover, liquid laundry detergent or a paste of powdered detergent and water. Wash your stained dress shirt in warm water after pre-treating and air-dry it thereafter.

If the stain remains after washing, soak your stained dress shirt in an enzyme product (some detergents contain enzymes) for at least an hour to overnight. After which, launder your stained dress shirt in warm water. Be mindful not to use hot water, hot air drying or to iron the garment until the stain is gone as heat will set it in.

How to remove lint from your shirt?

Lint is a common name for visible accumulations of textile fibres and other materials, usually found on and around garments. This happens when numerous very short fibres like cotton, linen and wools are bundled together to manufacture the fabric. During the course of normal wear, these fibres may either detach or be jostled out of the weave. The occurrence of lint is extremely normal and it does not mean that a dress shirt is of an inferior quality.

Visible lint can easily be removed with a lint roller or clothes brush. To reduce the accumulation of lint during laundering, you may use a fabric softener that reduces the amount of static electricity on clothing surfaces and thus prevents the lint from sticking to your dress shirts.

How much will a dress shirt shrink?

Generally, dress shirts are made from woven cotton that shrinks with an average of 2%. As all fabrics are different, a good gauge would be a shrinkage of about 1-3%. Dry cleaning does not necessary prevent shrinkage as the frequency of visiting the dry-cleaner plays a part too. Unless you rarely wear the dress shirt and you visit the dry-cleaner for spot-cleaning occasionally. Otherwise, your dress shirt will still shrink as much as if it is washed regularly in water. The optimal method to wash a dress shirt is actually washing it in water.  Thus, we suggest sizing the dress shirt in such a way that it takes into account the normal amount of shrinkage.

A dress shirt is expected to shrink more over its life. It is common for a dress shirt to be slightly smaller after fifty washes than it was after its first wash.

Typically a dress shirt tends to shrink more in the length than in the width as its fabric shrink more in the warp than in the weft. Sleeve length, shirt length and collar are areas where you can expect relatively the most shrinkage to occur.

At Ethan, we ensure all our dress shirt fabrics are pre-washed for shrinkage before handcrafting a dress shirt. This will help to minimise the shrinkage during your first wash.

In some cases, you may find that instead of shrinking, your dress shirt becomes looser around the chest, midsection and around the biceps.  This is a result of the shirt being stretched out. In most cases, washing the dress shirt and then drying it on low-heat in a tumble-dry mode will return it to its original size.

How to iron a dress shirt?

To look your best, you need to keep your dress shirts looking their best! In order to achieve that, you would have to iron them. To do this effectively, you may consider our recommendations as follow:

Getting The Right Equipment
An iron is the most important equipment here. Preferably, your iron allows you to pour water into it to produce steam.  It would be even better if your iron has a Teflon coated bottom. If your iron does not spray water out the front, you may want to prepare a spray bottle so that you can spray a fine mist while ironing. Of course, an ironing board is the other equipment you would need.

Setting Up
Setup your ironing board in a comfortable place and height where you are able to spread your dress shirt out without wrinkling it all over again. Plug the iron in and adjust the temperature setting to about a 3 or 5 (148oC to 204oC).

Ironing The Back of Your Dress Shirt
Unbutton your dress shirt completely and spread it out over the ironing board with the back of the shoulder going into the narrow end of the ironing board and the side of your dress shirt along the edge of the board. After which, slide the iron down your dress shirt from the top to the bottom with moderate pressure. While ironing, be mindful that you keep your dress shirt flat to ensure that you do not actually iron wrinkles into the garment. For wrinkles that do not go away easily, you may use a little steam or spray some water on them. Slide your dress shirt over to the other side and do the same once you are done with this side.

Ironing The Sleeves
Lay one of the sleeves on the ironing board and carefully flatten the sleeve in such a way that it folds along the hem on the bottom of the sleeve. Start ironing from the region around the armpit, towards the cuff and away from the bottom hem. Repeat the ironing on the other sleeve.

Ironing The Top Part of Your Dress Shirt Front and Yoke
Pull one shoulder of your dress shirt over the narrow, pointed side of the ironing board. The optimal position is where you have a clear view of one side of the yoke and having the front of your dress shirt just below it. The collar should be sticking straight and curving around in a circle. Spray this area damp and iron carefully around the curve of the collar.

Ironing The Collar
Firstly, take out any removable collar stays (if any). Next, unfold the collar and lay it flat on the ironing board with its back facing up. Spray the collar to make it damp and give it about 30 seconds for the water to soak in. Start ironing from the middle of the collar outwards to the tips of the collar points. You may need to exert slightly more pressure than before as the collar is thicker and stiffer. After ironing the back of the collar, fold the collar back down and iron the front of the collar to make your collar look more angled and sharper. Insert back the collar stays if you had removed them earlier on.

Ironing The Shirt Front
Iron the sides of the shirt front, one at a time. Make sure the front placket is not folded over in a way that it should not be folded. Be mindful of the buttons and iron away from them. For the areas around the front of the collar, use the pointed part of your iron to help you. While ironing, pull your dress shirt gently to keep it tight and straight to ensure smooth ironing and to prevent any wrinkles from forming.

Posted on

Truths behind the business of tailored men suits in Singapore

When you first search for the best place to get men suits made in Singapore, Far East Plaza or Peninsula Plaza will come to your mind. Only after plenty of trial and error did I realize that even though there are hundreds of shops selling tailored suits in Singapore, none were the people making my clothes

Unfortunately, the high costs of labor and rental has led to the frenzy of outsourcing of both fabric procurement and sewing.

Fabric

Each time a suit is purchased, what’s next? I’m sure you will be thinking that some staff from the tailor shop will be in THEIR fabric warehouse finding and cutting the fabric that you selected from the swatch book.

For most tailor shops, it does not make economical sense. Just go to ACRA and you will find thousands of tailor shops, but only a handful of garment factories.

Today, there are the few ways the fabric reaches the clothes factory. The method used is influenced heavily by where the clothes are produced:

Local Fabric Suppliers

RSK old store in Textile centre (credits: shirt.guru)

Today there are very few remaining reliable fabric suppliers. These are mostly importers and do not manage the fabric mill. Of these suppliers, 3 of these dominate or own at least 90% of the market share.

One notable supplier is RSK Singapore. Once you order a fabric from their swatch book, the tailor shop will then inform the fabric supplier the fabric code and how much fabric they need.

The fabric company will then find and cut the exact amount of fabric ordered in their warehouse. Then, they will send the fabric to the tailor shop using their dispatch (or motorbike) rider to the shop.

There are several disadvantages using this method.

One, you are selling the same fabrics as many other tailors in Singapore. Many shops change the swatch cover to look different but it is still the same fabric after all. Singaporeans are pretty sharp and see through such trick fast.

Two, there is double mark-up on the fabric costs.  Outsourcing the fabric warehouse management and staff and buying only when you receive an order is both convenient and with low up-front risks. With such convenience, all the foreign worker stamp duty, high labor costs and inventory risks are at a cost which is in turn passed on to consumers.

Bangkok Fabric Suppliers

New building of Giovani co ltd (Credits: Giovani Wooltex co ltd facebook page)

Bangkok fabric companies uses the same method. The tailor shop uses the swatch book to sell and call the fabric supplier. Then, the fabric suppliers find and cut the fabric and dispatches the order to the tailor store.

Like Singapore, there are only 3-4 notable brands. The biggest brand is Giovani or Wooltex. Of course, there are other reliable fabric mills in Thailand like Thai Textiles for iron free fabrics. However, they do not usually cater to tailor shops as their Minimum Order Quantity is high (at least 100m per color per fabric).

Quality wise, the fabrics in Singapore are a lot better. Fabrics in Thailand tend to look thicker but with the same thread-count. What this means is that the fabric look luxurious at first sight but after less than 5 washes, the fabric will start to fray. Do comment if you have faced this!

China Mega Factories

Shanghai intertextile trade show 2016

Industrialization in China is at a whole new level. Many state owned Chinese or privately owned Hongkong tailor factories do stock fabrics within their factory premises. In most cases, they are located very close to fabric mills or warehouses of fabrics they stock up.

So if you choose a Chinese production factory, you have to choose THEIR fabrics. While fabrics from these factories are generally reliable, they offer very limited range of affordable fabrics and there are several production issues due to high turnover (as Chinese demands better jobs today).

Commonly, tailor shops that outsource to China tend to outsource to 2-3 different factories to increase their fabric range.  This leads to inconsistent results as different factories have different measurement standards.

Keeping Inventory

Where your fabric is cut at Ethan men

Every tailor store claims they buy in bulk, hand select the best materials etc. In reality, it is tough to do so. You have to attend trade shows, then visit their factories to check their capability, then there is the paperwork and logistics import to your warehouse.

Of course, this is recommended because you skip unnecessary middlemen and unnecessary logistics costs. Then these savings can be passed on to consumers. But of course, the risks is obvious which is why less than 10 tailors in Singapore keep a sizable fabric inventory. When business is bad, your cash flow are severely affected.

At ethan men, we buy more than 70% of our fabrics direct from fabric mills. This includes plain colours, checkered or linen fabrics which customers like and order often so we can meet the MOQ(minimum order quantity) of the fabric mill.

For other fabrics (i.e. pattern fabrics for shirt contrast, unpopular colors like green or yellow), we will order in larger quantities rather than order when we receive the order. This will allow us to negotiate a better deal and save unnecessary logistics cost and time.

Production

Now this  is the part where it is almost impossible to attain any proper information online. Generally, there are several categories of production routes shops take:

Outsourcing to Sweatshops in Batam & Johor

A typical Batam tailor factory

For stores that promise 1 or 2 days, this is usually the production method used. A representative from the factory will collect the fabric and does all the logistics arrangements for the fabric to reach the factory, then back to the shop.

Due to the abundance of workers in these Johor and Batam, this is the fastest and most convenient method of production. In fact, most tailored suits are made in Batam or Johor Bahru whereas most tailored shirts are made in Singapore.

Interestingly, most shirt tailor factories in UBI also outsource their suit production to Batam! Today, with all the tightening of foreign labour, many of these factories earn from their suit sales (which they do not manufacture) rather than the shirts which they produce in-house.

Outsourcing to Sweatshops in Bangkok

A typical Bangkok sweatshop

Today, many tailor startups today outsource to sweatshops in Bangkok.  Prices are significantly cheaper due to intense competition between sweatshop tailors in Bangkok. Unlike sweatshop owners in Batam and Johor that speak only Bahasa Indonesia or Malay, many Thais have a basic command of English.

By managing the logistics well, the cost of production can be significantly cheaper than other methods. However, conditions of sweatshops in Thailand are terrible and there is a large difference in the number of clothes orders between peak tourist seasons and off-peak seasons.

Partial Outsource

This applies to 2 groups. One, local jacket tailors. Two, shirt tailor factories usually in Ubi or Paya Lebar area.

Many famous tailor shop owners are actually only jacket tailors. As tailoring requires specialized craft skills, it is not possible to be good and fast in all 3 items jackets, trousers and shirts. So it makes sense that most of the time, if you do see them cutting, they usually cut only the jacket.

While it helps that they have strong tailoring basics, they are a lot more expensive. So, if you are not looking for a perfect suit, it makes sense to seek other options especially if you are looking for only shirts or trousers.

In-house Tailoring

Our suit cutter at work

Many tailor shops claim or act like they have In-house tailors. In reality, not many Singaporean are willing to undertake such manual labor anymore. Most local seamstresses are also not comparable in terms of price, speed and sewing quality as compared to neighboring countries.

In fact, most seamstresses today are work permit holders from Malaysia and China. Even these seamstresses are short in supply and are either slowly moving to “easier” retail or hospitality jobs or returning to their countries (like China) where salaries are getting competitive. The recent changes to foreign worker levy and quota also accelerate this trend.

For a balance between quality and value, it is inevitable for us to move our production overseas.

Other than some suit jacket tailors or local shirt factories that partially outsource, we understand that we are the only shop with our production line. There are several key reasons we do not wish to outsource at all.

One, outsource factories pay their staff for every item made. So for busy days, their seamstress rush through and produce unacceptable work.

Two, we are insistent on using components (i.e. zips, canvas, waistband etc) we want to use. When we outsource, most factories do not wish to disrupt their operational flow and clients are forced to only use their components. However, as they charge a competitive price per item, they are not incentivized to use better components.

Three, there is also the inconsistent cutting. Behind the scenes, there is a lot of work between management and cutter. We also ensure for every return customer that reorders, the shirt or suit is cut by the same tailor. If we had outsourced, many times the cutting is different and there is wastage of unnecessary time.

ethan men was hence set up, to provide affordable tailored suits in Singapore for the modern man.