Just the Right Fit

When I was told that there was a tailor shop at the Mandarin Oriental, I was curious where it was located. I have been walking by and through the Mandarin Oriental for the past five years, but never noticed a tailor shop there. This time around, I walked through the mezzanine floor and just around the corner of the Mandarin Oriental’s cake shop, I found A-Man Hing Cheong Ltd.

I walked into the tailor shop, not knowing what to expect. The tailor shop had a classy look and an ambience imbued with the history of the owners’ tailoring experience. Each of the tailors in the shop stood with a confident posture, ready to serve clients. Mr. Poon Ying-ko, Managing Director of A-Man Hing Cheong Ltd., greeted me with a serious “what can I do for you” look and I asked for his help in tailor-making a suit.

He started by explaining the differences between a tailor-made suit and a ready-to-wear suit. Not all of us have a perfect body and a tailor-made suit will make a wearer look much more elegant and professional. For a tailor-made suit, a wearer can choose the types of fabric, inner lining, cutting (slim fit or regular fit), style, etc. Besides being able to customise the suit, a tailor-made suit is often canvassed as opposed to fused, which is found in most ready-to-wear suits. A canvassed tailor-made suit would conform more to the wearer’s body shape and allow the suit fabric to drape naturally, making the suit look more sturdy and well fitted. Mr. Poon did nevertheless say that the high-end ready-to-wear suits are often canvassed, as well.

Out of curiosity, I asked whether the trend has changed in terms of the cutting and style of suits. Mr. Poon said that nowadays a slim fit is the most sought after cut. A good slim fit will be more difficult to find in a ready-to-wear suit as it will either be too loose or too tight along the chest to waist area. A good tailored slim fit suit will make a professional look and feel more professional.

I was then shown their stock of suit fabric and inner lining. Mr. Poon mentioned that most of the suit fabrics and inner linings are imported from the United Kingdom, which are of a superior quality over those made elsewhere. He said that there are not a lot of tailors out there that offer such vast varieties of suit fabric and inner lining. From plain to patterned, dull-coloured to sharp, bland to shiny, Mr. Poon said that the fact that there are so many to choose from reflects their success as a renowned tailor.

Next, he had me measured and fitted. He explained the different parts of the suit and drew my attention to areas to observe in determining whether the suit is good fit or not. The armpit area, if not tailored well, would often give the wearer an awkward lift of the suit when the wearer lifts up his arm. Another example he gave were the creases along the back shoulder area, usually due to shoulders not being levelled. Creases are often seen along the rib cage and waist as well if the lining is not moving with the jacket.

I asked how they can assure that every suit they make would consistently be of quality. Mr. Poon emphasised that they train their own tailors and do not outsource their suits in order to maintain such quality. They would help their clients fit suits until they are satisfied.

Nearing the end of our brief meeting, Mr.Poon picked up a magazine that dated back to the late 1980s which showcased A-Man Hing Cheong Ltd. compared to a Saville Row tailor. That article crowned A-Man Hing Cheong as the better over-all tailor. Quite an impressive article, I must say. He then brought out a few other magazines and photos showing their previous shop location. It is amazing how long they have been in practice. From our conversations of their shop’s history, I can see how proud Mr. Poon is of A-Man Hing Cheong.

Personally, I have been to a number of tailor shops, scouting for a dependable one. A number of them give me the feeling that they are looking for a one-off business. A-Man Hing Cheong serves clients at a more personal level and I got the feeling that once they have you as a client, they intend to keep you as a client for life.

Since it is so close by, why not give it a try?

Associate, Mayer Brown JSM