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Reader question: Edward Tam

17 February 2009
PK: I have been following your blog for some time and this is my first message. I am spending some days in Hong Kong on my way to Australia and would like to have a couple of suits made and some shirts. I am toying with the idea of trying Edward Tam whom you recommended. May I ask a couple of questions:
• have you tried him since you had the suit made?
• have you heard of any other success/disaster stories about him?
• how many fittings did you have?
• how much did you pay for it?

It seems strange to me that I have only referred to Edward Tam once or twice, as I have been using him exclusively as my tailor for over two years now. In that time he has made for me:
A double-breasted flannel suit with spare pair of trousers
• A collared waistcoat in the same material to be worn without jacket (The Logical Waistcoat Theory in practice)
• A three-piece worsted suit with a double-breasted waistcoat
A cashmere blazer (the Norfolk Blazer)
• A pair of cotton trousers
• Five shirts, in two instalments

I have been very impressed with the fit of all these clothes, particularly the jackets. The most impressive thing has always been the shoulders, which not only look good as they follow the line of my (sloping) shoulders but also fit much more comfortably through their fit. The second most impressive thing is the trousers, which are heavily darted to deal with my rather large bottom and small waist. No ready-to-wear trousers have fit so well for this reason.

I deliberately don’t have belt loops on any of the suit trousers. But I regret the fact that I did not have a strap-and-buckle style of side fasteners on them. I have lost weight since the first suit and they are now too big (though the heavy darting helps to keep them in place). Edward has offered to add side fasteners the next time I am in Hong Kong, though, at no cost.

The quality of the wool has always impressed me, though it is one of Edward’s cheaper ranges. He also has Ermenegildo Zegna and Loro Piana, which are around twice the price for a suit.

The only thing that lets down the quality is some of the buttons – a few have come off the shirts and one off a pair of trousers. As long as nothing else goes wrong, sewing these back on is a small price to pay I think.

The price of my suits has been around 3000 to 3500 Hong Kong dollars. The price of shirts is around 350 HK dollars. Cotton trousers and waistcoats were around 600.

I had one measurement session (the first time I visited), then a fitting with the part-made suit, then a final fitting of the complete suit – where I requested one or two small changes. So the first time you go expect four visits, and at least five working days.

Four friends that I know of have visited Edward and I have heard no criticisms (the only one is probably that he speaks very fast and it’s hard to get a word in edgeways!). I plan to use him again in March.

[PK also requested some images of the suits. I will endeavour to do this in the near future. My old Norfolk Jacket post also has some images.]