May 21, 2009

Tailors and Tuxes

Hi JJ,

I’m wondering if you could recommend a local tailor to get some alterations done to my suits. I’m moved from Edmonton and I don’t think it’s practical for me to bring garments back to her for tailoring so I need to find somebody local who will do a good job. I’ve recently lost a few inches around my waist so need to have my pants taken in on 7 or 8 suits.

I’m getting married this summer and am wondering if you know of a local tailor that would be good to make a Tuxedo. I’ve resisted buying one to this point but feel this is as good a time as any to get one made. I traveled to Hong Kong a few years ago and got some shirts and a suit made and thought I might use the same tailor to make the Tuxedo but I’m a bit nervous about not seeing it before hand and the ability to make alterations as required. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Finally, related to the second question, I’d like to know what the best choice would be for a more timeless tux. I haven’t looked at many styles (save for a Hugo Boss one that I tired on a couple years back) so would be curious to know your thoughts on styles, shirt collars, bow-tie vs. neck tie and vest choices.


Hi Robert:

Choosing tailors is a very personal choice. It's about trust and being able to communicate with your tailor

I know Bill and Jack Wong at Modernize Tailors. They were my master tailors when I apprenticed and I love them dearly -- but like I said, "It's a personal choice."

Call them at 604-685-0610 or visit their website:

They will make a suit made-to-measure.

Now, judging from your email. You're the kind of guy who likes to see what he's getting himself into. Off-the-rack might suit you better.

To wit, you may want to try Brooks Brothers on Alberni. They've just opened and they are working very hard to impress Vancouver customers.

(Note, I don't receive gifts or compensation from any kind from retailers or designers I write about.)

I met their head tailor at the opening party, Miguel, and he has a distinguished resume with service at Harry Rosen and Leone's.

You might want to try them because they are quite affordable for the quality -- Brooks Brothers, 1026 Alberni Street, Vancouver, (604) 678-2260.

Regarding tuxes, I've written about it before. For a new source, BB carries a line of dinner jackets and will bring a peak in for you but when I called they only have notches in store. They are off the rack but they'll go to great lengths to make sure it fits right.

Another good ready-made is the Calvin Klein two-button peak. The Tux Store sells them. 
 It takes 7-10 days to get them in the shop.

Now, what is a good tux?  Tuxes are meant to be simple. If you want a classic look, it should be a peak lapel with satin (shiny) or grosgrain (matt and ribbed).

One button is all you need in the front for a single-lapel. Proper etiquette demands you never open your jacket.

Cummerbunds are more comfy because there's less fabric involved. I like them over waistcoats in warm weather but prefer neither if I can get away with it.

I support turn-down collars. I don't like wing collars except on double-breasted tuxedos. My next tuxedo will be a double-breasted because it makes both the cummerbund and the waistcoat redundant. I'm not sure how I feel about turns-downs and DBs.

For pants, plain front are more contemporary AND classic (pleats are an early-mid-20th century fad that has lasted for 60 years).

I recommend bow ties only. Learn to tie it before your wedding day. So that you're an old hand at it when the pressure is on - like practicing free throws.

Trust me, men in long neck ties with tuxes will one day look dated. Classic tuxes and bow ties won't.

Oh, another great supplier of made to measure is:

Claymore Clothes on Hastings. I lot of movie designers use it and so do the police and military. They're not high fashion but they're very competent,

Finally, if you want totally handmade couture by one artist, try my main main, David the Tailor

Good luck, jj

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