In today’s article, I’ll be chronicling my experience tailoring a new casual-ish ensemble with Sors Studio, and showing you guys how the resulting outfit turned out.
When P2HA lifted a few months ago, I decided to drop by Sors Studio to get a new outfit done. Sors Studio has long been one of my go-tos for more unique clothing, and after being stuck at home for more than a month I definitely wanted something a little different. It was also my first time back at Sors Studio in almost two years, so I was excited to visit again. Let’s see how my experience went!
Sors Studio – the Brand
I’m familiar with Gary of Sors Studio, having tailored multiple clothing from him previously.
For those interested in my previous articles on Sors Studio, I documented my initial experience tailoring a vest+shirt+pants ensemble here, and reviewed the resulting garments here. I did a pink suit jacket with Sors Studio last year, and featured that here. If you’re interested in tailoring from Sors Studio, I recommend giving the abovementioned articles a read.
I also did a short interview with Gary, chatting about his philosophy at Sors Studio, and how he approaches tailoring and image consulting in general. If you wish to hear from the man himself, do check out the video above!
Sors Studio – 2021 Experience
Much of Sors Studio remains the same, which is a good thing. I previously stated that Sors Studio’s cosy yet tasteful showroom was one of my favourites, and I’m glad Gary hasn’t fixed what wasn’t broke.
Sors Studio is pretty much a one-man show. To me, tailoring has always been personal – the connection between tailor and customer is paramount. Every time I visit Sors Studio, I expect Gary to push me outside my stylistic comfort zone.
Upon exchanging pleasantries and some catching up, I indicated to Gary that I was looking to do a smart casual outfit, something that was appropriate for the office, but also suitable for downing drinks at the bar (with dining-in now permitted, you’ll probably find me at a bar every Friday night).
After listening to my needs, Gary suggested going with a blue colour scheme since it’s a neutral colour that’s versatile for any occasion. To inject a bit of flair, Gary recommended me a blue dobby fabric that featured a subtle white geometric pattern. Gary also informed me that he actually bought the fabric from Hwa Seng Textiles, and I immediately agreed to have it as the shirting fabric. It seemed like a great way to support two of my favourite local tailors, one stone two birds if you will. Gary then recommended dark navy denim trousers to complement the choice. I thought it was an interesting choice – denim is usually associated with jeans and therefore viewed as more casual, so I was curious to see how it would turn out when made into trousers.
After about 3 weeks, I returned to Sors Studio for a fitting.
The fitting process for shirts and trousers is similar to baste fitting for suits (which I’ve covered in the previous articles), except that the garments are already completed, instead of being in a “skeleton” form as is usually the case with suit jackets.
The essence is still the same though, with Gary pinning up certain areas of the shirt that he felt needed alteration. A key area was the shoulders, which didn’t conform to my sloping shoulders as well as both of us would have liked.
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 errors. The fitting stage is paramount in any tailoring process, and it is here that one really develops an appreciation for custom tailoring. Seeing Gary fret and pin various portions of the shirt meticulously was a reminder of how much effort goes into creating tailored garments, and why the fit is significantly superior to off-the-rack alternatives.
Pins and chalk are tools of the trade – if you visit a “tailor” that doesn’t employ them, run. There was also something reassuringly familiar about the highly personal fitting process, especially in these socially distanced times. At a time of food deliveries and Zoom calls, our interactions with one another often become fleeting, or merely digital. The analog essence of tailoring was a breath of fresh air, as I was reminded how enjoyable the tailoring process was.
While the shirt needed a few alterations, the trousers fitted perfectly. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the denim trousers. It’s definitely reminiscent of a pair of jeans, but elevated. Gary shared with me that some of his clients wear denim trousers to work with no issues – from afar, it looks like a standard pair of dark trousers, only revealing its denim texture up close.
Sors Studio – Clothing
After another 3-4 weeks, I picked up the altered shirt along with the trousers, and discovered that I really like the styling.
At first, I was worried that the outfit would look too blue, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well the denim trousers complemented the shirt. I’m usually someone that goes with contrasting colour tones (e.g white shirt, navy trousers etc), but here I’m glad I experimented with Gary by playing with different shades of the same colour.
After the alterations, the shirt fits well, with the shoulders mostly lying flat. The sleeves are of the right length too, with Gary having widened the left cuff to accommodate a watch. A well-fitting shirt should flatter the wearer’s proportions, giving the upper body that nice “V” figure – I would say that was achieved here.
Another area of experimentation was the collar. Instead of having a regular spread/cutaway collar, Gary suggested I go for wingtip collars, which was something I’ve personally not tried before. Usually, wingtip collared shirts are reserved for formal occasions, and are often paired with a tuxedo. By adding contrasting trimmings (also in a blue hue) to the wingtips, Gary gave it a playful twist and made a traditionally formal style contemporary and versatile.
Aside from the patterned trimmings, Gary also created more contrast by using the underside of the fabric for the collar. The end result is visually intriguing, but not overly so – interesting but not ostentatious. Adorning the suit are light wooden buttons, which adds a pop of earth tones in the otherwise bluish shirt.
I think it’s pretty smart of Gary to utilise both sides of the fabric to create visual contrast in selected areas, such as the shirt cuff. Gary’s design impetus is clear in the shirt, and I’m impressed.
Similarly, the yoke of the shirt is no simple affair. Instead – and once again using the underside of the fabric for contrast – the yoke is fashioned in an arresting “V” shape, which also gives my shoulders an added sense of broadness.
While I appreciated the adventurous design touches that Gary has taken with the shirt, I actually like the denim trousers more. Firstly, it fits like a charm, and drapes cleanly.
To give it more flair, the trousers are done Gurkha-style, with an extender cummerbund-style waistband that’s fastened by a bronze buckle. I love the juxtaposition of the patinated bronze against the denim trousers – the buckle just pops. In addition, the pockets are sloped, with a subtle navy polka dot trimming visible which imbues the trousers with a whimsical charm.
Likewise, the rear pocket flaps feature the same navy polka dot trimming. I really like it – it adds a splash of panache without going overboard.
When conceiving this outfit, I specifically told Gary that I wanted it to be appropriate for both work and play. Gary thus suggested to me that for more casual situations, I can roll up the sleeves and unbutton the collar, which would reveal more of the trimmings.
When rolled up, the sleeves reveal a blue-toned aquatic-themed trimming. Gary shared with me that he deliberately chose a blue trimming so as to lessen the contrast – bright floral trimmings for example would draw too much visual attention to the sleeve cuffs, and away from the wearer.
The identical trimming can be found on the interior of the collar. It’s important to note that unlike most affordable tailors, Gary doesn’t use generic fabrics from a trimming/lining book. Instead, Gary sources these fabrics himself, and often buys them only in small quantities. In other words, it’s highly improbable for one to bump into another gentleman whose outfit features the same trimmings. There’s certainly an added uniqueness to Gary’s work, which translates to a huge differentiating factor for Sors Studio.
I definitely preferred styling the shirt more casually. With the collar unbuttoned and the sleeves rolled up, there’s a je ne sais quoi about the shirt (especially with the trimmings being more prominent) that results in it being visually arresting. I definitely got more compliments with the shirt dressed down.
Overall, I think the outfit really comes into its own when dressed down a little. It’s textbook smart casual – formal enough for the office, but with enough fun and contrasting elements to peak the interest of others. Both the shirt and the denim trousers are going to be my wardrobe staples for sure!
Conclusion – so Sors Studio “shiok” or not?
Despite having not been to Sors Studio in almost two years, I’m glad to report that Gary’s sense of style is as sharp as ever. I appreciated all the details that he has incorporated into the outfit, such as the wingtip collar, the use of the underside of the fabric for more contrast, the blue aquatic trimmings, the “V” shaped shirt yoke, the navy polka dot trimmings on the denim trousers, and the Gurkha-styled waistband with the bronze buckle. These details added up to form a tasteful outfit that’s versatile enough for the office, but also for after-work drinks at the bar. If you’re looking for a fashion-forward tailor, I would highly recommend paying Sors Studio a visit.
For those interested in tailoring with Sors Studio, shirts start from $150, while trousers start from $130. In addition, a 2-piece mixed wool suit (half-canvassed) starts at $650, and a vest starts at just $200. I think Gary’s prices are pretty reasonable, especially considering the complex design details present in his garments. Whether you’re someone clueless in style looking for a wardrobe refresh, or simply looking to dress to impress for a special occasion, I highly recommend turning to Gary at Sors Studio.
Sors Studio’s Location:
34 Arab Street #02-01 Singapore 199733
P.S Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok 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.