Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m reviewing a suit from local tailor, Esquire’s Atelier.
If the name sounds familiar to you, that’s because Esquire’s Atelier was previously known as Esquire’s Bespoke, which I reviewed here, and here. They have recently merged with another tailor, and have rebranded themselves as Esquire’s Atelier. The location remains the same, though prices and offerings have changed slightly. While Esquire’s Bespoke used to focus on more affordable (~$399) suits, Esquire’s Atelier now offers more premium fabrics in fully canvassed construction. Today, I’ll be taking a look at their new fully canvassed suit, crafted out of Holland & Sherry Gold Leaf fabric. The experience is pretty much the same as before, though they have done some minor refurbishment to the showroom. If you would like to see how the experience of commissioning a suit at Esquire’s is like, do read my previous article here.
Without further ado, let’s delve into the review!
Esquire’s Atelier – Video Review
If you would like to see some hands-on footage of the suit, do check out the Youtube review below!
Esquire’s Atelier – Fit
Like previously, Esquire’s Atelier still incorporates a basted fitting process. As such, the resulting fit is pretty good.
The front of the suit jacket fits perfectly. Firstly, the shoulders are well fitted. They lie neatly, without any visible wrinkling or bunching. This is great, since the fit of the shoulders are probably the most important component of the jacket as ill-fitting shoulders are almost impossible to alter. We also don’t see the presence of shoulder divots – one of the cardinal sins of tailoring. Secondly, there’s also slight tapering around the waist, giving the jacket a fitted look. Lastly, the jacket is of the right length too, with it ending near the middle of my crotch area. However, it looks like the placement of the buttons are a tad off, resulting in unsightly wrinkles when buttoned. That’s really unfortunate. My personal opinion is that Esquire’s Atelier (and their back-end workshop) are probably unfamiliar with the 4×2 double-breasted style – if you’re planning on commissioning a single-breasted suit, or even the regular 6×2 double-breasted suit, this shouldn’t be an issue.
The sleeves drape beautifully, and one doesn’t see much wrinkling of fabric throughout. This indicates to me that the sleeves are of the correct width, and that the sleeve pitch is spot on. The sleeve length is great as well, ending at my natural wrist-bone. If I was wearing a dress shirt, at least 1/4 inch of shirt cuff will undoubtedly be shown.
If you have read my previous reviews, you would know that I’ve a severely arched back, and this usually results in the bunching of fabric at the back. I would say that the back is decently clean here, though there is still room for improvement given the wrinkles on the lower right side of the back. Interestingly, the cheaper $399 suit I got from them previously had a cleaner back.
For the trousers, we went for a modern, more casual no break look. The trousers drape cleanly, with the ends of the trousers just brushing against the tip of my dress shoes. Comparing these to the trousers from the previous suit, I would say that this is a marked improvement.
Overall, I would say that the fit of the suit is good. My only quibble is the fit of the back, which could have been slightly cleaner.
Esquire’s Atelier – The Suit
I’m glad to report that the new range of fabrics and construction is a massive upgrade over the previous suit.
The texture of this Holland & Sherry Gold Leaf fabric is simply phenomenal. Just look at it! From afar, the fabrics looks to be a solid navy. Upon closer inspection however, one can see just how intricate the fabric is. Not only is there a subtle red pinstripe pattern, there’s a textured weave to the fabric as well. It’s honestly a texture that I’ve personally not encountered before – and I’ve been to a lot of tailors and seen a lot of fabric books – but I’m absolutely enamoured at it.
As mentioned previously, Esquire’s Atelier is now offering full canvassed suits, and it shows in the lapel roll. The lapel roll is one of the most distinctive hallmarks of a hand-made, higher-end suit – the lapel roll creates adds depth and dimension to the garment, which will eventually form to the shape of the wearer. The lapel roll is one of the advantages and a trademark sign of a hand-set canvassed chest. In contrast, off the rack and fused suits tend to feature a hard-pressed lapel that looks like they have been ironed on.
How do you tell a canvassed suit? Aside from the lapel roll, a key indicator of a hand canvassed suit would be the presence of visible stitches (or “dimples”) on the underside of the lapel. This is probably the key difference between a cheaper made-to-measure tailor and a higher-end tailor – the level of craftsmanship involved. In cheaper, “canvassed suits”, one probably would not see such stitches behind the lapel, indicating that either the suit isn’t hand canvassed, or perhaps isn’t even canvassed at all. I’m very impressed at Esquire’s Atelier for being able to deliver this level of craftsmanship despite being a relatively young tailor.
The collar on the suit is hand-set too, as seen in the photo above. We see clear hand stitches at the base of the collar, as well as between the collar and the lapel. The “fold-back” piece of fabric seen above is actually seam allowance, which allows tailors to re-cut the collar after a fitting if required. This is almost always done by hand.
They say the devil is in the details, so I was really pleased to see that the buttons on my Esquire’s Atelier suit are shanked. Shanking provides the fabric space to drape in when buttoned, and is a feature more commonly seen in higher priced tailors. It renders the button more durable, which should mean that you don’t have to worry about your button dropping off.
My only quibble is that the buttonholes are non-functional. Whilst functional buttonholes don’t really have a practical purpose nowadays, it is often still seen as a hallmark of a well-crafted suit. I definitely would have preferred for the suit to come with functional buttonholes by default – perhaps this is an area that Esquire’s can improve upon.
I left the choice of suit buttons to Aaron (who’s still partly in charge of Esquire’s Atelier), and once again he chose wooden buttons, though this time in a darker mocha colour. I think the wooden buttons provide a nice contrast against the navy fabric, yet still in a subtle manner. As compared to the regular horn buttons, the wooden buttons have a more intriguing look, and gives the double-breasted suit (usually very formal) a more casual vibe.
Like the buttons, I left the choice of the lining to Aaron, and I’m glad I did! Aaron chose this golden floral patterned lining with a black background, and I think it’s gorgeous. Given that the fabric we chose was Holland & Sherry’s Gold Leaf series, the golden floral design is fitting too. I really like it – like the buttons and the fabric, the lining here is visually intriguing without being ostentatious.
In my previous review of Esquire’s Bespoke, I highlighted their strong sense of style as one of their main strengths. I’m glad to see that remains the same. As can be seen from the “couture” in their name, they are focusing on differentiating themselves from the competition by having the stylistic advantage over their competitors. To this end, I think Aaron and his team are off to a good start. For this suit, I really left all aspects of the look to them – it was Esquire’s that picked the fabric, the lining, the buttons, etc. I simply told them that I will review the eventual fit, style and craftsmanship of the suit. I think Esquire’s did a phenomenal job here at formulating the look. If you’re someone who’s clueless in their style, you would be in safe hands here at Esquire’s.
All in all, I would say that I’m impressed with the craftsmanship of my new Esquire’s Atelier suit. I love the full canvassed construction, and overall this suit is definitely better crafted than the $399 suit I reviewed from Esquire’s Bespoke previously. I like the style as well. In particular, I love the choice of fabric, the wooden buttons, the golden floral inner lining, as well as little details such as the broad peak lapels. Style and substance!
Comparison – Esquire’s Atelier vs Perfect Attire
Previously, I compared Esquire’s Bespoke to Stitched Custom as both were similar in price and offerings. With Esquire’s Atelier now offering premium fabrics in full canvassed construction, I think Perfect Attire would be a better comparison currently.
Both tailors share multiple similarities. For example, both tailors offer full canvassed suits of premium fabrics (VBC, Holland & Sherry, etc) for around the same price. With Perfect Attire, you can get a full canvassed VBC suit, and a 100% cotton Andreazza & Castelli shirt for $1000 (if you mention the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” in-store or whilst booking your appointment). For Esquire’s Bespoke, a full canvassed VBC suit would cost $989 (MSRP $1099) if you mention the same “WAHSOSHIOK” promo code for a 10% discount.
In my opinion, the differences between both tailors lie in their respective strengths. For Esquire’s Atelier, I would say that Aaron and his team possess a stronger sense of style – if you are looking for something to stand out in (e.g for your wedding), or you have a flashier sense of style, then Esquire’s Atelier will likely be more to your tastes. However, in my opinion, Perfect Attire’s suits feature a higher level of craftsmanship. For example, aside from the full canvas construction of their suits, a $1000 suit from Perfect Attire comes with features such as pick stitching, functional buttonholes, Milanese buttonhole, and a Barchetta pocket – features not present on the Esquire’s Atelier suit. As such, if you’re simply looking to commission a well-crafted suit for work, then I would recommend Perfect Attire over Esquire’s Atelier.
Either way, I believe both Perfect Attire and Esquire’s Atelier are great bang-for-buck. Both tailors offer premium European fabrics in full canvassed construction for under $1000 – to my knowledge, they are the only tailors able to achieve this feat. You can’t go wrong either way!
Conclusion – so Esquire’s Atelier “shiok” or not?
For the most part, yes. I think the fit of the suit is good, and I’m impressed by how Esquire’s has upped the level of craftsmanship in their suits. In particular, I must commend Esquire’s for their strong sense of style. With this suit, I practically handled all the creative rein over to the Esquire’s team, and they definitely exceeded my expectations. In fact, I would say that the Holland & Sherry fabric Aaron chosen here is my favourite fabric thus far – and I’ve made a lot of suits! However, the inaccurate button placement is a bummer, and if I were to commission another suit from Esquire’s Atelier I would probably stick to the safer single-breasted style, or perhaps the regular 6×2 style for double-breasted.
For those interested in commissioning a suit from Esquire’s Atelier, they have generously offered a 10% discount off their regular suit prices. Interested parties are highly encouraged to book an appointment first here – which states Wah so Shiok as a referral source – to enjoy the 10% discount! After the discount, you can get a fully canvassed VBC wool suit for a mere $989. Holland & Sherry, Drago and even Zegna fabrics are available as well. In addition, readers also get to enjoy special pricing on shirts (starting $79), pants (starting $89), and vests (starting $120) when they purchase a suit.
Book an appointment with Esquire’s Atelier here.
Read my previous reviews of Esquire Bespoke here, and here.
Esquire’s Atelier Location:
64A Pagoda St, Singapore 059223
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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P.S.S.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Photo credits: Yuki Goay