Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Saturday, I’ll be reviewing my experience of having a 2 piece suit and shirt tailored over at Esquire’s Bespoke.
In this article, I’ll be chronicling my experience of getting tailored at Esquire’s Bespoke. In Part 2 of the review (out next Saturday!), I’ll examine the fit and craftsmanship of the finished garments.
Without further ado, let’s see what getting tailored at Esquire’s Bespoke is like!
Esquire’s Bespoke – the Brand
Esquire’s Bespoke was founded back in 2013. According to the team, Esquire’s Bespoke was founded “…to bring to customers bespoke menswear at affordable price and to provide to customer a seamless and enjoyable journey to discovering his unique style.” In particular, Esquire’s Bespoke is very active in the wedding scene, and has carved a name for themselves by offering stylish, yet affordable suits to grooms and their groomsmen.
To me, Esquire’s Bespoke fare best for individuals looking to look stunning on their big day, but without breaking the bank. As we all know, weddings are already incredibly expensive – one may not have much money left to splurge on the garments! Yet, for around S$400, one gets to choose between a wide variety of fabrics (over 500!), undergo a basted fitting to nail the fit, and even opt for unique linings and trimmings to stand out from the crowd. Unfortunately, their suits are fused by default – however, if you’re looking for a wedding/event suit which you’re not planning on wearing regularly, a fused suit is still fine. In fact, it’s better to have a well-fitted fused suit, than an ill-fitting canvassed one! That being said, Esquire’s Bespoke do offer canvassed suits upon request, so you still can commission a canvassed suit from them if you wish. In addition, the production of their garments are also made locally, which should translate to a higher level of consistency.
With that said, let’s dive into my tailoring experience at Esquire’s Bespoke!
Esquire’s Bespoke – the Experience
Esquire’s Bespoke is located on the third floor of Sultan Plaza, in the Bugis-Lavender area.
If you’re expecting grandiose splendour, Esquire’s Bespoke isn’t it. Their humble showroom is probably one of the smallest I’ve been to, but due to some smart furniture placement, it is actually quite cozy. In particular, I felt the artificial grass mat brightened up the space significantly. However, the changing room space was a tad too cramped for me to change in conveniently.
Sitting down on the incredibly comfy couch, Aaron and I started to discuss the type of suit that I would like to commission. As mentioned, I believe that Esquire Bespoke does wedding/event suits best, and saw that they had linen fabrics available (something uncommon amongst affordable tailors). Thus, I proposed to Aaron the idea of doing a more casual linen suit, to which he readily agreed. After flipping through the linen fabric books, we decided upon a lovely light blue shade of linen (pictured above). While I initially wanted to do a 2 piece suit in the blue linen, Aaron suggested going with a different fabric for the pants instead to heighten the contrast.
Aaron promptly whipped out a book of cotton fabrics, and suggested to me a off-white shade to complement the light blue suit jacket. We both felt that the colour contrast should turn out great (we wanted to go for a nautical theme), and thus decided to go with the light blue linen/off-white cotton combination. I have to compliment Aaron for pushing me out of my comfort zone here – till date, all the suits (~10) I’ve commissioned featured the same coloured fabric for both the suit jacket and the trousers (as per the norm), so this was really uncharted territories for me stylistically. Aaron assured me that it will look stunning – dapper and elegant, without coming off as trying too hard – and given his 5+ years of experience giving style advice, I decided to take the leap of faith.
One of Esquire’s Bespoke strongest differentiating factors is in the unique linings that they carry. Firstly, they have partnered with local design studio Yimage to develop a set of Singapore inspired lining designs – my favourite is the “Nasi Lemak” (pictured above, bottom), as it happens to be my favourite local dish! Secondly, Esquire’s Bespoke also carries an uncommon line of Huddersfield lining named Civilisations (pictured above, top), which features patterned linings instead by great historical civilisations (Ottoman, Greek, Roman, Portuguese, etc). If you’re into strikingly patterned linings to showcase some flair, Esquire’s Bespoke has more options than any other tailors that I’ve visited thus far. However, we eventually decided to go with a maroon patterned lining instead (from another Huddersfield collection) – given that the suit was meant to evoke the image of a gentleman sipping champagne on a yacht cruising Lake Como, a Nasi Lemak or floral lining would not have paired well together. That being said, I highly recommend trying out one of the more unique linings that Esquire’s Bespoke offers, provided that it fits the theme of your suit!
For the shirt, Aaron suggested we try out seersucker as the shirt fabric. Seersucker can perhaps be said to be the epitome of summer fabrics, with the classic blue and white colourway being the most iconic. Not only does the textured look of seersucker look great, its breathability makes it great for Singaporean weather as well. Given that we were going for a more casual, summer relaxing in a beach off the Maldives look, both of us felt that a seersucker shirt would be the perfect complement to the linen jacket, as well as the off-white cotton pants.
On to the buttons! Once again, Aaron took the lead here by suggesting wooden buttons for the suit jacket, as he explained that the contrast would look beautiful, and that it would also still be in keeping with the more laid back, summer look that we were going for. As I have not tried wooden buttons before (I usually go for horn buttons on my suits), I agreed to try something different this time around.
Similarly, I decided to go with wooden buttons as well to accentuate the summer casualness of the seersucker fabric. In addition, Esquire’s Bespoke allows one the opportunity to customise the buttonhole colour. I went with white, as I wanted to stay with the three main colours of the outfit – white, blue and brown (from the wood).
With the fabric and buttons for both the shirt and the suit decided, it was time to finalise the customisation options! For the suit jacket, I decided to go with peak lapels (for added flair), slanted pockets, and double vents at the back.
For the trousers, I went with side-adjusters instead of the conventional belt loops. Here, Aaron stepped up to the plate again by suggesting a Gurkha trousers-like button enclosure, as well as cuffs for the trousers. I took his stylistic input to heart, and took him up on his suggestions!
Lastly, I decided to go with a cutaway collar on the shirt for a bolder look. In addition, Aaron suggested to me blue batik trimmings for the shirt to add an Asian flair to the outfit. This intrigued me – I’ve gotten many shirts tailored over the months, and went for many shirt trimmings, but this is the first time I’ve encountered batik trimmings for the shirt. To say I was enthused would be to put it lightly! I can’t wait to see how the batik trimmings (for the cuffs and collar) turn out.
Esquire’s Bespoke – the Measurement
With the customisations finalised, it was time to move on to the measurements!
As I always state in my tailoring reviews, the measurement process is the most important portion of the tailoring experience. The individual measuring you has to be skilled as inaccurate measurements naturally results in bad fit. Luckily, Aaron has been measuring individuals for over 5 years now – that’s over 1000 bodies to date – and it shows.
Measurements at Esquire’s Bespoke is done the age-old way – with a measuring tape and paper. The usual sets of measurements are taken: chest, shoulders, collar, armholes, arm length, thighs, calves, leg length, etc. In general, I would say that the measurement process is detailed, but quick and efficient at the same time – the whole measurement process took only about 10-15 minutes. After dutifully noting down my measurements, I bid adieu to Aaron as I awaited my basted fitting.
After two weeks, I headed back to Esquire’s Bespoke for my basted fitting. For those uninitiated with tailoring, a basted fitting process is where the tailor will let you try on a skeleton jacket, held together by temporary white basting stitches. For more information on the basted fitting stage, do read this educational article here. As this is labour intensive, the basted fitting process is one that is usually typically only seen at tailors of a higher price point. As such, I’m pleasantly surprised by its inclusion here at Esquire’s Bespoke, given that their suits start at just S$359 (after promo code below).
To me, a basted fitting stage is essential to a true tailoring experience. To quote a line from the aforementioned article: “It’s the difference between flying first class and flying on a private jet.” Not only does it contribute towards a better fitting garment, it is also an experience to behold in itself. It leaves you feeling like a king, or at the very least someone special – which arguably, is the raison d’etre of tailoring.
It’s near impossible for a tailor to get the fit of a garment right on the first try – that would be akin to a writer having his first draft free of all errors! Just like how articles need to go through editing before being published, the basted fitting process is paramount in refining the garment to a near-perfect final product. For example, Aaron noted that the back didn’t drape cleanly on the basted fitting garment. This is likely caused by my arched back, and was something I faced at previous tailors as well. He duly used chalk to mark out the areas needed for alterations. Now, I also have to stress that it is not always common for affordable tailors (especially those under S$400) to use tools such as chalk and pins, due to their lack of experience and skill. That’s also one of the main reason why many affordable tailors don’t offer a basted fitting – they wouldn’t know how to alter it, the chalk marks needed to denote alterations, how to pin an area up to make the fit more streamlined, etc. Personally, if I walk into a tailoring store and the tailor doesn’t employ the use of chalk and pins during the measurement/alteration process, that would be huge warning signs to me.
During the basted fitting stage, both me and Aaron identified several areas that could be improved on, namely the drape of the back and the length of the sleeves (they were slightly too long for my liking). Aaron dutifully pinned up the identified areas for alterations.
Thereafter, we moved on to the fit of the trousers. The length was perfect – the cuffs ended just shy of my dress shoes. However, I did feedback to Aaron that the trousers felt a bit too tight around the calves area, and requested to widen the fit. This encapsulates the importance of a basted fitting process. At the end of the day, we want our clothing to be comfortable, but comfort is subjective. The basted fitting process allows one to feedback to the tailor areas that they don’t feel comfortable in, so that the necessary alterations can be made.
Conclusion – so Esquire’s Bespoke “shiok” or not?
I would say yes. Firstly, I would say that the team at Esquire’s Bespoke possess a keen sense of style. This is evident in the wide range of fabrics that they carry – such as linen and seersucker, which aren’t commonly offered by affordable tailors – as well as the intriguing line of linings that they offer. Secondly, I was really impressed by how they managed to offer a full basted fitting experience despite their affordable price! If you’re looking for a stylish and great fitting suit for an important occasion, Esquire’s Bespoke would be a great option that wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Next week, I’ll be showcasing how the various customisation options and the fit of the suit and shirt turned out, so stay tuned! For those interesting in commissioning a suit from Esquire’s Bespoke, they have generously offered a 10% discount off their regular suit prices. Interested parties are highly encouraged to book an appointment first here, and state Wah so Shiok as a referral source in the appointment message to enjoy the 10% discount! After the discount, a linen suit (like the one I got) would cost just S$359, while a 50% mixed wool suit would cost S$449, both of which are pretty good value given that one gets to experience a full basted fitting process! In addition, readers also get to enjoy special pricing on shirts ($69), pants ($79), and vests ($120) when they purchase a suit. Full canvassed suits are available too, for an additional price add-on.
Book an appointment with Esquire’s Bespoke here.
Read Part 2 of the review here, whereby I reviewed the fit and workmanship of the finished garments!
Esquire’s Bespoke Location:
Sultan Plaza, #03-30, 100 Jalan Sultan, Singapore 199001
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wahsoshiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!