Feature: 7 affordable tailors in Singapore!

This week, I’ll be rounding up my picks of affordable tailors (all under S$1000) based here on our sunny island of Singapore. I previously did a similar round-up article for local watch brands (read here), and will now be doing the same for tailoring! In my personal experience, most Singaporeans are either unaware of the existence of these local tailors, or have the impression that having a made-to-measure suit would be incredibly exorbitant. In this article, I hope to shine the spotlight on the noteworthy efforts of these local tailors, most of whom offer their services at prices similar to off-the-rack options.

The rows upon rows of textile available at Hwa Seng Textiles.

Without further ado, these are 7 local tailors that you should definitely check out!

1) Suityourself

Suityourself is the most affordable option on the list. Started by NTU undergraduates while they were still schooling, Suityourself seeks to provide students an affordable outlet to get good-fitting shirts and suits of decent quality.

Suityourself’s shop-front in Far East Plaza.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts from $290. Currently, there’s a student/NSF promotion – $20 off all 2 piece suit packages. (Valid for Students (aged 24 years & below) and NSF upon presentation of a valid matriculation card or 11B.)

Background: The idea for Suityourself was born when the founders were still studying in NTU. As students, they routinely required formalwear (suits and dress shirts) for presentations, interviews, etc. Yet, being students, they didn’t have much money. After scouring the market, they realised that even though formalwear is something that most university students require, there were no tailors out there that focused on the student demographic. Dissatisfied with poor fitting garments from off-the-rack outlets but unable to afford tailor-made ones, they decided to start Suityourself in order to focus on the formalwear needs of the student population – young adults with shallow pockets. They have great presence in local universities, with student ambassadors in NTU, NUS, SMU and SUSS. They also hold roadshows from time to time on university campuses, though they currently do have a shopfront in Far East Plaza. (Pictured above)

One of Suityourself’s satisfied customers.

My opinion: I think that Suityourself stumbled upon a great niche here. At their pricing, they make a great alternative to traditional off-the-rack options that students/NSF frequent. Their suits are half-canvassed, made from a wool-blend, and the fit is made-to-measure, making them leaps and bounds superior in quality to outlets like G2000, Topman, and Zara despite being priced similarly. Whether you’re a student looking for a suit for interviews/presentations, or a NSF needing formal attire for commissioning ball, Suityourself is a great choice that will not break the bank. I applaud the people at Suityourself for choosing to focus on the student/NSF market – from a business perspective, it makes little sense to focus on the segment of the population with the least spending ability, but that’s what they did as they believe that good-fitting quality suits should not put a hole in your wallet.

Basted fitting: No

Location: Far East Plaza #02-74, 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213 (Orchard MRT)

2) Mills

When you walk into Mills’ boutique, you feel as though you have been transported back into the 1970s. A deer’s head adorns the wall, while a gramophone in the corner plays jazz classics. Yet, despite their “atas” appearances the suits at Mills are actually incredibly affordably priced!

Mills’ shop-front oozes old-school class and style.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts from $299 (while promotion lasts). Even at this price point, basic customisations are always included, be it double breasted designs for blazers, side adjusters for trousers etc.

Background: The style of Mills is decidedly old-school – think Godfather. Mills was started with the intention to restore the gentleman’s craft of tailoring and its associated styling. With Mills, the founders aim to bring back the appreciation that men used to have for the age-old trade of tailoring, which in today’s era of fast-fashion, many have lost sight of. They don’t believe in what is “trendy”, and rather focus on classic aesthetics. In terms of design, Mills pays particular attention to details such as the lapel roll, and is also an advocate of classic designs like the double-breasted suits, wider lapels, side adjusters, and safari jackets. In accordance to their respect for the traditional craft of tailoring, they insist on a basted fitting stage as well in order to achieve the best fit possible for their clients. Also, the fabrics and tailors they work with are based in Singapore, so there should be less time lag in terms of alternations/design changes as compared to other tailors who base their back-end operations off-shore.

Irwin (pictured right) taking measurements for a customer.

My opinion: To me, Mills is style and substance at an amazing price. I’ve interacted with Ethan and Irwin (two of the founders) personally, and both of them have a very strong sense of style. In fact, Irwin with his gold-rimmed aviator glasses, mustache, and slicked back hair looked like he was transported out of the 70s! If you appreciate their style (think Prince Charles and Godfather), you will love them. Being an old soul, I personally had a blast in their boutique, and really loved the way they styled their customers. However, I do think that their style is an acquired taste – it will not be to everyone’s cup of tea. It also depends what you’re looking for – if you’re going for an interview or giving a presentation, I personally believe that their styling may not be the best match. To me, their styling is more debonair rather than professional. However, if you’re seeking to dress to impress at a gala/prom/ball, I believe their styling will definitely set you apart from your peers. Furthermore, they offer half-canvassed suits with basted fitting at $299 – that’s incredible value for money! Most tailors under $500 do not offer basted fitting due to cost and time constraints, but Mills is adamant on the basted fitting process due to it traditionally being part and parcel of a true tailoring experience. I honestly believe that out of all the tailors on this list, Mills provides the best value for money.

Basted fitting: Yes

Location: 30a Keong Saik Rd, Singapore S089137 (Outram Park MRT)

3) ethan men

ethan men was the first tailor that I did a review for. You can read my review on them here, and here.

ethan men specifically designed their store to look clean and simple. Expect white walls, bright light, and none of that clutter that might plague other tailoring fronts.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts at $399. Currently, there’s a 15% discount store-wide for Wahsoshiok readers only. Act fast though, as the discount expires at the end of the month (April)!

Background: ethan men was essentially borne out of dissatisfaction. On one hand, there were the rocketing prices for off-the-shelf items and personal difficulties in finding fitted outfits and likable designs. Concurrently, the tailoring trade was either too highly priced or not in tune with the changing market place (out-of-fashion styles and obsolete methods). Furthermore, there was a growing trend of Singaporeans going overseas to have their items tailored (Batam, Bangkok, Vietnam, etc) as it was deemed “cheaper”. As such, ethan men was started to provide made-to-measure tailoring at accessible rates in Singapore. The mission – to make tailoring efficient and low maintenance.

The ethan men suit I had.

My opinion: If you’re a working professional who needs dress shirts and suits to wear regularly, I highly recommend ethan men. Not only do I believe that their styling suits the needs of most white-collared professionals, their garments are also easy-iron and wrinkle resistant. This makes their garments low-maintenance, which is highly suitable for busy professionals who wear the same suit from Monday to Friday! In addition, ethan men is one of the few tailors in Singapore to have in-house production. One of their partners actually uprooted his life to move to Vietnam to open ethan men’s factory, which produces garments exclusively for ethan men. As such, quality control should be higher (given that production is in-house) as compared to other tailors who outsource the actual tailoring.

Basted fitting: No

Location: 10 Anson Road, International Plaza, #02-96, S079903 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)

4) Stitched Custom

I recently did a review of Stitched Custom, which can be read here, and here.

Stitched Custom hangs their most popular fabrics as swathes on the wall. They also partner with other local brands, such as Earnest & Collective (which I reviewed), Schaffen (which I wrote about), and Freshly Pressed.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts at $499. Stitched Custom is a partner of Wahsoshiok – flash any of the review posts to enjoy 15% off suits!

Background: Based on the second floor of a cozy shophouse off Kitchener Road, Stitched Custom pride themselves in “bringing a contemporary flair to the industry, equipped with a large selection of fabrics and accessories that allow people to have a more whimsical approach to the customization process”. They also stock an interesting array of accessories, such as knitted ties and Darth Vader cuff-links. Something unique about Stitched Custom is their penchant for partnerships with other local establishments – they have partnerships with for shoes and belts (Earnest & Collective), socks (Freshly Pressed), and watches (Schaffen). All you need to look dapper, you can find at Stitched Custom!

Me looking dapper in my Stitched Custom suit. (Featuring Earnest & Collective shoes)

My opinion: If you’re looking for an event suit, Stitched Custom is a good option. Similar to Mills, their boutique has strong styling cues. As mentioned in my reviews, the duo of QQ and Joey also have a strong sense of style, and is more than capable of giving great style advice. When there, expect not only advice on customisation options (suit fabrics, buttons, trimmings, etc), but also what to wear with the suit/how to “zhng” the suit, etc. For those who are looking for something special to wear to a big night (prom, gala, weddings, etc), but who find the styling at Mills a bit too old-fashioned for their tastes, Stitched Custom would perhaps be the more contemporary option. With accessories such as Cupid/Darth Vader/Captain America’s shield cuff-links, Stitched Custom is a great choice for the whimsical souls.

Basted fitting: No, though they do have ready-to-wear skeleton suits/vests.

Location: 193A Kitchener Road #02-01, S(208534)

5) Sors Studio

Sors Studio is really interesting as the owner, Gary, does not see himself as a tailor, but rather as an image consultant. While most tailors simply alter the fit to the individual, Gary goes one step further by tailoring (no pun intended) his style advice for each client as well.

Sors Studio’s cozy little place at Arab Street.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts from $650.

Background: “Style is saying who you are without having to speak.” Splattered across their website, this is Sors Studio’s motto. And they are true to it as well – not only do they offer bespoke tailoring, Sors Studios also provides image consultation services, and regularly holds talk and workshops on styling tips.  According to them, their “passion and dedication is not focused only on tailoring & dressing up the clients up but also to coach and share key points to each individual client.” At Sors Studio, Gary really focuses on allowing his clients to express their individual personality through their outfits, which is why Sors Studios focuses a lot on bespoke customisations as well. Yp.sg actually covered them in an article, which you can read here.

An example of a rather unique inner lining a client opted for with Sors Studio.

My opinion: If you’re absolutely clueless in terms of fashion (like the YP article’s author), go to Gary at Sors Studio. What you’re getting there is not only a 2 piece suit, but also invaluable style advice. In essence, you’re paying not just for the product, but for a makeover as well. If you’re the type who likes personalisation (like me), Sors Studio is also the perfect outlet to express your individuality. From custom inner linings for suits, to uniquely patterned vest backs, these are designs that you probably won’t find at other tailors! As such, I think that Sors Studio is a great choice for both individuals who are not really into fashion (but still want to look good), as well as people who knows exactly what they want. In my opinion however, the star of the show here is Gary himself – his style advice, fitted to not only your physical features but also your intangible likes and needs, are what separates Sors Studio from the pack.

Basted fitting: Yes

Location: 34 Arab Street #02-01 Singapore 199733

6) Common Suits

Out of all the tailors on this list, Common Suits is probably the most well-known/popular, and it’s not hard to see why. With a strong lookbook (just check out their Instagram page, @commonsuits), and a great fitting process, business has been so good that they no longer accept walk-ins – by appointment only, people.

An advocate for linen trousers, Common Suit’s showroom can also be seen in the background.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts at $819.

Background: Common Suits believe in “… a permanent fashion; an enduring style that empowers men like you who possess the basic traits of being well-dressed.” They further state that “We want to allow men to feel and perform their best by being their best wingman. We want to help men develop taste – the sort of taste that is fearless yet grounded; unapologetic yet humble; refined yet effortless.” Their house cut seeks to project a “tall, broad-shouldered, slim-waisted appearance”. Known for their innovation and ability to create unique yet timeless designs, some examples include: One Piece Collar shirts, Safari Jackets, Unstructured Jackets, Gurkha trousers, unibody trousers, etc. Similar to ethan men, their production is also in-house, which ensures consistency in their style and make. Unlike ethan men however, their factory is based right here in Singapore, which should result in shorter time-lag between the front and back end.

Their Instagram page is chock-full of such pictures, which gives followers a keen sense of what their house style and cut is.

My opinion: Firstly, I need to say that I think Common Suits has the strongest marketing game out of all the tailors on the list. As aforementioned, their shots/posts look really good (you can tell they put in effort for their shots), and they do a good job of explaining what they brand stands for on their social media and website. When I think of Common Suits, the word classic comes to mind – their suits are classic silhouettes, the Stan Smiths of the industry. Their cut and style ooze timelessness and versatility, and I think they are a great choice for the contemporary professional. I would recommend their suits to up-and-coming professionals looking to make their mark in their respective industries. Furthermore, I think of Common Suits as a safe choice as well – regardless of your style/body type/needs, it’s hard to go wrong with something from Common Suits. When have Stan Smiths looked bad on someone?

Basted fitting: Yes

Location: 50A Club Street, Level 2, 069427

7) Hwa Seng Textiles

Hwa Seng Textiles (HST) was established in 1960, and is older than all of the other tailors on this list combined! In terms of expertise and experience, the people at Hwa Seng Textiles has been practicing their craft for a very, very, long time.

These were hand-calligraphed by Mr Goh’s (the owner) father, who founded HST in 1960.

Pricing: A 2 piece suit starts at $850. Unlike the other tailors mentioned on this list, $850 would get you a fully canvassed suit. HST is also a partner of Wahsoshiok, with readers being entitled to 10% off storewide! (Excluding promotional products)

Background: Founded in 1960, HST started out as a purveyor of textiles, before branching into tailoring afterwards. At HST, there reverence and respect remains for the craft of tailoring. Their master tailor (affectionately referred to by all as shifu) has been in the industry for almost 60 years! Each piece at HST is measured, drafted, cut and fitted precisely, their exactness enhanced with the use of a state-of-the-art Computer CAD System. That’s right – despite being one of the oldest tailors in Singapore, their outlook is futuristic with the owner unafraid to invest in IT to enhance the effectiveness of their operations. In addition, HST also hold tailoring workshops in a bid to keep the dying craft of tailoring alive.

Me undergoing HST’s basted fitting process, under Shifu’s (pictured left) watchful supervision.

My opinion: While researching for this article/approaching tailors to review, I’ve been to literally dozens of tailors in Singapore – none made me feel more comfortable and at home than HST. Step into the shop, and you will be greeted by rows upon rows of fabrics (see featured image). Unlike other tailor places where you can only feel the fabric on little fabric booklets, at HST Cereph (the shop’s apprentice, pictured right) will bring down the entire roll of fabric for me to see and touch, as well as to set against my body. Knowing that Shifu nitpicked over the fit of the garment put me straight at ease. That feeling of trust and comfort when you visit a barber that you trust? It was exactly the same feeling here. He pointed out little peculiarities about my body to me that I didn’t even know myself, such as my arched back, unevenly sloped shoulders, and left forward shoulder (probably caused by a lifetime of pressing WASD). The attention to detail, as well as the sheer amount of customisation choices at HST, astounded me while I was there. For those looking for an affordable Saville Row experience, I highly recommend HST. Going to HST to have a suit done was really an eye-opener for me, and for those who want to experience the age-old craft of tailoring the right way, HST is the way to go. My review of HST will be out soon (early May), so do look out for that as I chronicle my HST experience in further detail!

Basted fitting: Yes

Location: #07-12 Gemini@Sims, No 2 Sims Close, Singapore 387298

Update: Read Part 1 of my review of HST Tailors here, and part 2 here!

Conclusion:

I hope that you guys have enjoyed reading this list of affordable tailors in Singapore! In my daily interactions with my peers, I realised that most people still satisfy their formalwear needs by going to off-the-rack outlets like G2000, Benjamin Barker and Suit Supply. To those that spend $200 – $700 on off the rack suits (yes, I have a friend that spent $700 on a Suit Supply suit), I highly suggest you guys considering one of the great alternatives mentioned in this article instead. Everyone needs good fitting formalwear in your wardrobe, and I hope that I’ve shown through this article that you are able to get tailored, canvassed wool-blended suits at affordable pricing. Do consider supporting these local tailors – most of these tailoring efforts are bootstrap projects, with many having left their high-paying jobs to pursue their passion and start something of their own. Support local tailors, save money, and get great fitting suits in the process – what’s not to like?

P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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