Hello everyone, and welcome to another Singaporean review! On this shiok Sunday, I’m returning to the sartorial world of tailoring with a review of homegrown tailor Perfect Attire.
In Part 1 of this tailoring review, I will be chronicling my experience of getting a suit and shirt tailored at Perfect Attire. In Part 2 of the tailoring review (out next week), I will be reviewing the fit and craftsmanship of the completed garments.
Alright, let’s get started on this review!
Update: I’m pleased to offer curated tailoring packages from Perfect Attire on The Shiok Shop. If you’re looking for bang-for-buck deals, do check out the webstore.
Perfect Attire – the Brand
Perfect Attire was founded by the pair of Tulsi Kamath and Shriram Iyer in 2014. Back then, the duo found it hard to find affordable hand crafted suits in the market, often having to resort to either cheap but sub-par off the rack options, or fork out a large sum at established bespoke tailors. The pair believed that this need not be the case, and in true entrepreneurial spirit, decided to start their own tailoring store to bring hand crafted suits to Singapore at an accessible price point.
To accomplish this, production is in-house, allowing Perfect Attire to have full control over the quality of their products. In addition, Perfect Attire sources fabrics from some of the world’s best mills such as VBC, Holland & Sherry, Drago, Zegna, Piacenza etc, and offers most of these renowned fabrics with full canvassed construction for under $1000! From a value perspective, I genuinely think that Perfect Attire is the epitome of bang for buck.
Without further ado, let’s finally dive into how the tailoring experience at Perfect Attire is like!
Perfect Attire – the Experience
Perfect Attire is located at the heart of the CBD, thus positioning them perfectly (pun intended) to serve the needs of workers there.
Perfect Attire’s humble showroom is nestled away on the third floor of Oxley Tower. The showroom isn’t the biggest that I’ve been to, nor the best adorned, though it is definitely still adequate. That being said, I did find the changing area a tad too small to change comfortably during my visits there. If you’re looking for a regal, Saville Row experience, you will probably have to look elsewhere (and at a much higher price point).
Tulsi greeted me warmly upon my arrival, and ushered me to seat. While Perfect Attire do offer “House Fabrics” starting from $500, I believe the real steal to be their European fabrics, and conveyed my interest in them to Tulsi. She proceeded to break out several books of “branded” fabrics, namely the VBC Perennial, Holland & Sherry Portofino, and Drago 120s and 130s ranges. While such fabrics would almost definitely cost upwards of 4 figures at other tailors, Tulsi informed me that a full canvassed suit in the aforementioned fabrics starts from just $850! I was stunned – till date, I’ve not seen another tailor offer fully canvassed suits using H&S or Drago fabrics at a 3 figures price point. I eventually went with a solid medium gray fabric – medium gray is an extremely versatile colour, easy to both dress up and dress down. I also decided to pick the Drago 130s range ($1000) as I already have a VBC Perennial suit from Edit Suits, while the Holland & Sherry Portofino range comprises of mixed wool, not full wool. In addition, I’ve heard great things about the quality of Drago (an esteemed Italian mill) fabrics, and was keen to finally have the opportunity to try them out!
After deciding upon the fabric, Tulsi proceeded to take me through the workmanship that goes into a Perfect Attire suit. She showed me the various elements of her suits, such as the offering of a Milanese buttonhole (a $100 add-on). Unlike a regular machine stitched buttonhole, a Milanese buttonhole is cut first, then painstakingly stitched by hand afterwards. It’s an artisanal process – a single wrong stitch, and the seamstress will often have to start over. As I did not have a suit with a Milanese buttonhole yet, I decided to go with a Milanese buttonhole on the Drago suit. Italian fabric, “Italian” buttonhole – seemed like the perfect complement to me!
Tulsi also highlighted to me other areas of quality craftsmanship, such as having functional cuffs included on all of Perfect Attire’s suit. She proclaimed: “If you’re getting something tailored, it should be functional!” In addition, Tulsi also elaborated on other areas of Perfect Attire’s craftmanship, such as offering pic stitching on the lapels, as well as the option of having a barchetta pocket. Like the Milanese buttonhole, the barchetta (meaning boat in Italian) pocket originates from Italy, and is often more laborious to execute than a regular straight pocket. It is also seen to be more elegant, due to its subtle curves, and is a stylistic feature most often only found at higher end tailors. Considering the fact that a suit from Perfect Attire starts at only $500, I was very impressed by the fact that they are capable of such levels of craftsmanship. Needless to say, I opted for a Barchetta pocket (top-up of an additional $50) on my suit!
Next, Tulsi proceeded to show me the dimpling present on the underside of the lapel. On true hand-canvassed suits, one should see these little dimples on the underside of the lapel, which results from the tailor hand-stitching the canvas to the suit fabric. I’ve talked about this in further detail in my article on suiting tips. “Canvassed” is a word that is frequently thrown about, especially amongst affordable tailors who often claim that their suits are canvassed when it is actually fused. A quick way to tell (apart from the lapel roll) if the suit is truly hand-canvassed is to check on the underside of the lapel. If you see dimples on the canvas (like above), it is a sign that the suit truly is canvassed.
As the icing on the cake, Tulsi proceeded to show me some examples of their trousers. She conveyed that even the interior lining of the trousers can be customised! To me, this really exemplified Perfect Attire’s commitment to both workmanship and customisation – they strive to deliver well-crafted products that is tailored to not only the customer’s needs, but also style preferences. I could tell there was pride in Tulsi’s voice when she extolled at length the little artisanal details of Perfect Attire’s suits.
After I learned about the construction of Perfect Attire’s clothing, it was time to make my own customisation decisions. Firstly, I decided to go with horn buttons on the medium grey suit – brown and grey is always a good colour combination. The horn buttons Perfect Attire offers are ethically and sustainably sourced, and comes in various different shades. I briefly toyed with the idea of going with an amber shade, but eventually decided that the contrast would be too much and instead went for a medium brown.
For the inner lining, I decided upon a black paisley pattern for a tad more flair. Perfect Attire currently do have books of more “flashy” linings available, but I decided not to go too wild on the inside. Thereafter, we decided upon notch lapels for greater versatility, straight pockets, and double vents at the back. I also opted for red contrasting stitching on the last sleeve buttonholes, as well as on the Milanese buttonhole. Lastly, I went for a red monogram of my name on the interior of the suit.
Moving on to the trousers, I went for a no break look, no cuffs. Tulsi suggested side adjusters instead of belt loops for a cleaner look, to which I readily agreed. One gets the choice of brass, gunmetal, and stainless steel belt loops – I chose brass for a more vintage vibe, as well as to complement the horn buttons. Lastly, I also took Tulsi up on having a blue contrasting inner lining for the trousers, as well as red coloured stitched detailing for aesthetic adornment.
On to the shirts! Perfect Attire is currently the exclusive tailor for Andreazza & Castelli shirting fabrics. Like Drago, Andreazza & Castelli is an esteemed Italian mill with a storied history of fabric prowess – they have been making shirting fabrics for over 100 years. A&C fabrics are 100% cotton, and feel smooth and luxurious to the touch. Tulsi recommended a pink A&C shirt as the perfect complement to the grey Drago suit, and I agreed – pink and grey is a dope colour combination. For the buttons, I went with black mother-of-pearl buttons for a sleeker look. When set against the pink fabric, the buttons pop and catches the eye beautifully.
Lastly, I had to decide upon the customisation options for the shirt. I elected to go for a wide classic spread collar for versatility, paired with angled French cuffs. Like the suit, I again went for a monogram, this time of my initials to be embroidered on the shirt cuff.
After I was done with selecting all my customisation options, I unfortunately had to rush off for a dinner appointment. I promptly told Tulsi I’ll return the next day for the measurements!
Perfect Attire – the Measurement
I returned the next day in work clothing for measurements. Here’s a tip: when visiting a tailor for measurement, it is best to wear your best fitting dress clothing so that the tailor has a point of reference when deciding on your fit.
Tulsi started by taking my upper body measurements. The usual measurements were taken: shoulders, chest, sleeve length, armhole, etc. Throughout, Tulsi was efficient and came across as competent – it was clear that she has been doing this for years! Given that Perfect Attire has been in operation for more than 5 years now, she has probably measured over a thousand people till date, and it shows.
Next, Tulsi proceeded to take the measurements for my trousers. Again, the usual measurements were taken: waist circumference, pants length, crotch, etc. Throughout the process, because I had worn a pair of formal trousers, Tulsi was able to use it as a point of reference and asked if I wanted any changes. For example, she asked if I would prefer going for a wider fit on the thighs, or a slightly longer length, etc. I’ve seen guys wearing shorts to tailors and getting measured in them – needless to say, that isn’t ideal.
After about 1-2 weeks, I returned to Perfect Attire for the muslin fitting. For the uninitiated, muslin fitting is akin to a baste fitting, except that a muslin fitting garment is often fashioned out of a cheaper material to save cost and wastage. Perfect Attire employs both a muslin fitting, as well as a baste fitting – Tulsi tells me that this is to ensure the fit of the eventual clothing is as perfect as possible.
During the muslin fitting, Tulsi was able to identify several spots for bother that required rectification, such as the shoulders and the back. As mentioned in my previous tailoring reviews, I have unevenly sloped shoulders as well as a concave back that – if not accommodated for appropriately – often result in improper fit. Tulsi assured me that the necessary alterations will be made, and that the fit of the basted fitting would be better.
After another 1-2 weeks, I returned to Perfect Attire again for the baste 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. Unlike the muslin fit, a baste fitting jacket is made from the fabric that you chose. 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, and is often seen as a hallmark of the tailoring craft. 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 a memorable experience. It leaves you feeling like someone special, someone important – which arguably, is the raison d’etre of tailoring.
The fit of the baste fitting jacket did indeed turn out better than that of the muslin fitting jacket. For example, one can clearly see that the shoulders lie flatter, and the fit of the sleeve pitch is near spot on. However, the drape of the back remains a spot of bother, with visible wrinkles still present. Like any tailor worth their salt, Tulsi proceed to pin up the areas needed for alteration to create more space for the fabric to drape naturally.
Next, Tulsi proceeded to examine the fit of the trousers. The upper portion of the trousers looks great – I loved the wider cut, which makes it seem like I actually have muscular thighs (I don’t). However, there remains unsightly wrinkles on the lower portion of the trousers, which Tulsi promptly took note of with chalk markings. We decided to shorten the length of the trousers slightly, in order to ensure a better drape (see the difference between the left and the right leg).
Thereafter, I bid adieu to Tulsi as I awaited the final garments!
Conclusion – so the Perfect Attire experience “shiok” or not?
Definitely – Perfect Attire scores highly in nearly every department. Firstly, the value proposition is unrivaled. As aforementioned, I don’t think you can find a fully canvassed VBC/Holland & Sherry/Drago suit anywhere else for under $1000. These are fabrics that often costs 4 figures, but Perfect Attire has democratised them and made these fabrics accessible to the masses. Secondly, the workmanship of Perfect Attire’s suits are great as well – one get hand-canvassing, functional buttonholes, with add-on options such as the Milanese buttonhole and the Barchetta pocket available. Thirdly, Perfect Attire pays great attention to the fit of their garments too, with the implementation of two different fitting processes (muslin and baste fitting). Most tailors don’t do this, as it is very time and labour consuming. While the shop may not look the most impressive, I believe Perfect Attire to be a great choice in the CBD for those looking to tailor suits for work!
At Perfect Attire, a 2-piece half canvassed suit starts from $650, with fully canvassed suits starting from $800. Fully canvassed 2-piece premium suits (VBC/Holland & Sherry/Drago) starts from $950. Just for readers, Perfect Attire is offering a free shirt with any suit purchase! Readers are entitled to a free house fabric shirt with a purchase of a 2-piece suit – simply flash this post to redeem the free shirt. That’s unbeatable value, in my opinion!
Update: The Drago Super 120s series have been phased out. Currently, $950 entails you to a fully canvassed Super 130s pure wool house fabric, while those who specifically want Drago can opt for the Drago Super 130s series at $1300, also fully canvassed.
Curated package deals from Perfect Attire can be found here. In particular, I recommend the $950 Full Canvassed Drago Suit + Shirt package, and the $720 Back to Work package.
Interested customers are recommended to book an appointment online here prior to dropping by.
Read Part 2 of the review here, whereby I reviewed the fit and workmanship of the finished garments!
Oxley Tower Unit 03-38, 138 Robinson Road, Singapore 068906.
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