For summer, many people choose lighter fabrics like linen or cotton. These will breathe but also keep in mind they crease easily, and cannot be re-hemmed (due to creasing).
For winter, many go for wool, silk or cashmere that will keep you warm. A lot of suits you see in stores are made from what’s called “tropical wool”, a lightweight wool that is meant to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You can find this at the fabric market, however the most important thing about choosing a fabric is to stick with natural blends – you do not want anything with polyester, nylon or rayon or any type of synthetic.
Now, this can be difficult to discern since there aren’t tags on the bolts of fabrics or swatches, so you’ll just have to ask what each fabric is made of. Ask them to show you the differences between the quality and weight and tell them what you want and when you’re going to wear it.
This one’s super personal, but keep in mind where and what time of day you’ll be wearing the suit. For daytime, a lighter color is totally doable. For nighttime or more formal settings, choosing a darker color: navy, dark gray or black.
Cut & Fit
Again this one is extremely personal and reflects your taste and what kind of look you’re going for. Stuff to think about: are you’re looking for a slim fit, something more classic or something relaxed? What about the size and shape of lapels, the number of vents and buttons, the breast type, pockets and the length of jacket. If this is already too much to think about, the best thing to do is flip through a magazine, find something you like, determine if it works for your body type and take the picture down to your tailor.
Expect to pay 100-150rmb per shirt, depending on the quantity of fabric. Small details like monogramming, special buttons, lined cuffs and collars, as well as buttonhole details can increase the price but usually not by much, say 10rmb per custom item.
If you have a shirt that already fits you perfectly, bring it. This is the easiest way to guarantee that they’ll get it right the first time. If you want to start from scratch, these are the elements you’ll have to determine with the tailor:
- What fabric
- Length of shirt
- Collar size and shape
- Cuff style