Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok National Day Sunday, I’m reviewing a linen suit and a sports jacket from local tailor, Meiko Tailor. Featuring a homegrown brand and highlighting the efforts of Uncle Chung (who’s part of the Pioneer generation) – I can think of no better article to publish today!
I’ve previously commissioned a red double-breasted suit from Meiko Tailor – till date, it is still one of my favourite suits, and never fails to attract compliments whenever I wear it out. That was more than a year ago, so I decided to return to Meiko Tailor for a two-piece suit and a sports jacket. Let’s see how they turned out!
Meiko Tailor – the Brand
Meiko Tailor is one of the oldest tailors in Singapore, having been around for almost 50 years. Unlike the more affordable made-to-measure tailors that seem to be sprouting up everywhere, Meiko Tailor is decidedly in the bespoke sphere, where Master Tailor Uncle Chung handles the client’s fitting, drafting, and cutting personally.
For those who are interested, I’ve previously chronicled my experience at Meiko Tailor here, and reviewed the resulting red double-breasted suit here. Do check those articles out for an understanding of how getting tailored at Meiko Tailor is like!
Without further ado, let’s delve into this review.
Meiko Tailor – Linen Suit
Let’s start by first reviewing the fit of the suit.
The front of the suit looks fantastic. Firstly, Meiko Tailor absolutely nailed the fit of the shoulders – they lie flat, without a hint of any wrinkles to be seen. If you have read my previous tailoring reviews, you would know that I have rather uneven shoulders, which often results in unsightly wrinkles below the shoulders as inexperienced tailors often don’t know how to adjust the shoulder padding accordingly. I’m pleased to report that is not the case here. This is where the experience of Uncle Chung shines through for me! Elsewhere, one can see an obvious tapering around the waist, giving the wearer (me) a welcomed slimming effect. The jacket is of the right snugness too, without the dreaded “X” forming around the jacket button. Lastly, it’s also the right length, ending right around the centre of my palm.
Moving on to the side, the sleeves fit well too! The sleeve pitch is good, with the sleeve draping cleanly without much wrinkling seen. Firstly, this indicates that the shoulders are indeed fitted perfectly. With shoulders that are too large, one would see shoulder divots – that is not the case here. Secondly, the lack of “twisting”, or spiralled wrinkles, indicates that Meiko Tailor nailed the sleeve pitch here. The sleeve pitch is one of the hardest aspects of the fit to nail as it depends on the client’s natural stance and posture – and these (unlike other aspects of the fit) cannot be measured with tape and recorded down in numbers. Again, the experience of Uncle Chung shown through here. Thomas Mahon, one of Saville Row’s most prominent tailors, once said: “…even after all the diligence of checking again and again, things can go wrong, and pitch is often where disaster strikes.” Lastly, the lack of wrinkles also indicates that the sleeves are of the correct width – they are neither too tight, nor too loose throughout the entirety of the arm. The sleeve length is just right as well, ending just right around my wrist-bone. Elsewhere, one can see that the jacket collar is perfectly fitted as well – it rests upon the shirt collar nicely, and there isn’t a significant gap in between.
Finally, the back of the suit is superb – I think its the cleanest back out of all the suits I’ve commissioned till date. I’ve a severely concave back, which often results in the presence of wrinkles in the suits that I wear. Even the previous suit from Meiko Tailor had some unsightly wrinkles at the back. This time around, I’m pleased to see a marked improvement in the fit of the back. If you compare the backs of both suits, it’s obvious that this one fits much cleaner. Really impressed here!
The trousers drape relatively cleanly too. The length of the trousers is spot on, just touching the tip of my dress shoes. There’s a nice tapering present as well. Overall, it is definitely one of the better fitting trousers that I have, though perhaps not as clean as the pair of trousers that I commissioned from Closeknip a while back. To me, that pair of trousers still takes the cake, those this certainly comes close.
Clean drape is a hallmark of Meiko Tailor’s tailoring, and the same applies to their shirts as well! The shirt is superbly cut and drafted, with shoulders that lie flat and sleeves that drape beautifully. I’m not an atheletic fella, and yet the fit of the shirt makes me appear broad-shouldered and muscular. A good fit should always flatter the wearer’s body, and I’m pleased to say that is the case here!
With the fit reviewed, let’s move on to discussing the look! Personally, I loved it. With Meiko Tailor, I always love to experiment with bolder colours. The previous suit I got from them was fiery red, and when commissioning this suit I wanted the opposite, thus settling on cool green. In my opinion, green is a colour that more men should wear. It’s formal enough for the boardroom, yet also has additional panache that makes you stand out from the crowd.
For the material, I decided to opt for Irish linen instead of the typical European wool. Firstly, linen is more breathable, and thus more appropriate for Singapore’s humid climate. Secondly, linen has an unmistakable texture that – for me – possess more visual intrigue as compared to the usual wool. I’ve previously commissioned a linen suit jacket from both Esquire’s Bespoke and Closeknip, and I have to say that the quality of the Irish linen here is substantially better. To be fair to the other two tailors, Meiko Tailor’s Irish linen suit is also significantly more expensive than Esquire’s Bespoke and Closeknip, but it just goes to show that not all linen are created equal. Elsewhere, one can also see pic stitching around the edges of the lapel. While pic stitching serves mainly an aesthetic purpose, the presence of pic stitching shows an attention to detail and craftsmanship. Often, pic stitching is done by hand, and thus the stitches can be slightly imperfect and inconsistent – but that’s the beauty of something that’s handcrafted!
Speaking about craftmanship, all suits from Meiko Tailor are fully canvassed by hand. Now, there are a lot of tailors out there that advertise their suits as canvassed, but it may not always necessarily be so. The only surefire way to tell if a suit is truly hand-canvassed (apart from cutting it up) is to check the underside of the lapel. A key indicator of a hand canvassed suit would be the presence of visible stitches (or “dimples”) on the underside of the lapel, as shown above.
Another sign of craftsmanship is the presence of shanked buttons, which provides the fabric space to drape in when buttoned. It is also more durable, which should mean that you don’t have to worry about your button dropping off! In addition, Meiko Tailor uses horn buttons to adorn their suits. Genuine horn buttons, as compared to cheaper plastic “faux-horn” ones, possesses a greater richness, and a unique look – no two genuine buttons look the same.
Furthermore, the buttonholes are actually functional here – as they should be on all bespoke suits. While functional buttonholes serves little functional purposes, like pic stitching it is often a sign of a well-made suit, showing an attention to detail and craftsmanship. I must commend Meiko Tailor for the cleanly cut buttonholes too.
When conceptualizing the suit, the image of a peacock popped into my mind. Peacocks often look calm and composed on the outside, yet stun others (and potential mates) when they open up their tail. I wanted a similar concept to the suit – cool on the outside, but flashy on the inside. To that extent, I worked with Meiko Tailor to find the perfect lining for this suit, and was absolutely thrilled to find this particular lining of peacock feathers!
I should also highlight that the lining is also applied on the underside of the pockets, which is a nice touch. Again, these are little details that are usually not present on a made-to-measure suit, only on bespoke ones.
There’s also a pen pocket, which I found very useful as I usually carry a fountain pen around. I also sometimes use it to store a small bottle of perfume, so it’s actually pretty practical. Again, it’s a feature that’s usually not present on made-to-measure suits.
I should also highlight that the sleeves of the jacket are lined with breathable Bemberg lining, which is an absolute treat. You know the feeling where sometimes your arms feel sticky after long hours of wearing a suit? Well, the inclusion of Bemberg lining is supposed to combat that, allowing your arms to feel nice and comfortable even after a long day at work. Obviously, this results in higher material and labour costs for the tailor, and thus (generally speaking) only higher-end tailors – like Meiko Tailor – adopt this additional feature.
Like the suit, the shirt is similarly made out of linen. For the design, I chose a blue/beige striped fabric that I felt had a nice vintage feel. I’ve always felt that striped shirts look best on linen, with the long vertical lines helping to elongate one’s figure. Though perhaps not the most versatile look, in this instance the striped linen shirt adds a touch of flair when paired with the green suit, resulting in a look that’s serious but not stuffy.
All in all, I really enjoy the green linen suit from Meiko Tailor. Firstly, it fits terrifically, and the experience of Uncle Chung really shone through here. Secondly, the workmanship is impeccable, full of delightful little details. Lastly, I absolutely love how I look in the suit. It’s a colour that I genuinely believe more men should wear. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it, and it’s currently one of my favourite suits to wear.
Meiko Tailor – Sports Jacket
I also got a sports jacket from Meiko Tailor.
Like the suit, the sports jacket from Meiko Tailor fits remarkably. The jacket follows the wearer’s (me) silhouette and serves to accentuate the best features. In particular, I’m impressed by how clean the drape of the shoulders and the sleeves are. They say a picture tells a thousand words – look how cleanly the jacket drapes in the picture above!
Like the suit, I opted for linen again for the sports jacket. In terms of breathability and comfort, nothing beats linen in terms of practicality. Unlike the green Irish Linen suit above, this is actually a linen/wool mix, with this particular fabric used by a renowned made-to-measure Italian menswear brand. Furthermore, sports jackets are meant to be more casual anyway, and choosing a patterned fabric is always a great option. Personally, I’m not a fan of ostentatious patterns, which is why I really like the subtle checks patterns here. The orange and blue lines have a summer feel to them, which is perfect for a tropical country like Singapore. In addition, one can clearly see the beautiful lapel roll – a hallmark of a hand-canvassed suit. There’s also pic stitching on the edges of the lapels, as well as genuine horn buttons.
I forgot to mention this above, but every suit jacket from Meiko Tailor comes adorned with the wearer’s name on the inside! It’s a small gesture, but it goes a long way in making the wearer feel special.
I’ve touched quite a fit on the fit and workmanship of the green suit from Meiko Tailor above, so I’ll focus on more of the aesthetics of the sports jacket. I love the smart casual look of a sports jacket, and often pair it with a white tee and loafers. In particular, I love the wide peak lapels, as well as the patch pockets. The wide lapels enhance the dapper nature of the sports jacket, while the patch pockets balance the look by adding a dose of casualness. It’s quite a versatile piece and can be easily paired with a wide variety of clothing and shoes.
Overall, I really like the sports jacket from Meiko Tailor. Firstly, it fits great, with plenty of great little details such as a lovely lapel roll, pic stitching, genuine horn buttons, functional buttonholes, etc. Secondly, I think the style is great. In particular, I love the wide peak lapel combined with the patch pockets, resulting in a good mix of smart and casual that’s appropriate for both the boardroom and the bar. Lastly, I also appreciate the versatility of its beige colourway, which makes it easy to pair with different coloured clothing. Some of you may notice that I’m wearing the same olive green trousers that I reviewed above – this just goes to show how easy it is to pair the sports jacket! If you want something that’s formal enough for work, but also casual enough for a date, consider commissioning a sports jacket from Meiko Tailor!
Meiko Tailor – Masks
If you purchase a suit (or a sports jacket) from Meiko Tailor, you can request for a matching mask of the same fabric! Given that wearing masks is likely to be the new normal, why not make it a fashion statement as well, right?
Alternatively, you can also have your mask made to match your trousers for some nice contrast! The possibilities of matching your masks to your clothes are virtually endless, so don’t hesitate to approach Meiko Tailor to commission a bespoke mask to match your favourite clothing!
Conclusion – so Meiko Tailor “shiok” or not?
Definitely so. I can totally imagine myself wearing the green linen suit for formal occasions on weekdays, and the beige sports jacket for date nights on the weekends. The fit of both are fantastically clean, the garments are well-crafted with decades of experience behind it, and the materials used (Irish linen and Canali linen) are simply a delight on the skin. I’m confident that they will last for years, if not decades. Honestly, I don’t have much qualms to highlight here. Meiko Tailor has always been one of my personal favourite tailors, simply due to the sheer amount of experience and expertise that Uncle Chung possess – one really can’t go wrong. If anything, the main stumbling block for most would likely be the prices. The retail price of the green Irish linen suit is $1790, the linen shirt at $220, while the Italian linen/wool sports jacket will be $1490. I understand that these will likely be outside the budget for most, especially in this post-COVID economy. That being said, I should also stress that I think the prices are justified, given the bespoke nature of Meiko Tailor. As it stands, Meiko Tailor is one of the most accessible places to experience true bespoke tailoring. Suits from competitors such as Graziaa and Yeossal start at $1800 and $2000 respectively, while suits at Meiko Tailor start at only $990. If you can afford it, I’ll say that it is a worthy investment. If you can’t, perhaps Meiko Tailor can be your choice for a special occasion (e.g wedding) where you might have a higher budget. One great suit is better than two mediocre ones!
Although Meiko Tailor’s main showroom is in Pan Pacific hotel, the showroom is currently closed until further notice due to Pan Pacific hotel being used as a quarantine zone for COVID patients. For the time being, Meiko Tailor is working out of their Geylang workshop. Interested customers are highly encouraged to book an appointment first before dropping by. Meiko Tailor (like many other local brands) have been hit hard by the economic disruptions of COVID-19. Frankly, they have been struggling to stay afloat due to the triple whammy of declining tourism, wedding cancellations, and a loss of regular working customers as work from home becomes the norm. On this National Day, I urge my readers to support Meiko Tailor and help them tide through this tough time – it would be a shame to see such a long-standing homegrown tailor die, especially since they make such great garments!
Meiko Tailor’s Location:
7 Raffles Blvd, #02-01 The Pan Pacific
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!
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.