Visiting a Tailor in Hong Kong? Be Specific

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Another possibility: Bring a favorite garment to be copied. (And that’s what will be produced: an exact copy.)

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A tailor’s shop in Central, Hong Kong’s traditional finance and banking neighborhood. Thinking about the quality of garment you want may help you narrow your choices.

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Michael Coyne/Lonely Planet Images, via Getty Images

Second, consider your travel schedule. Many tailors can, indeed, produce a suit overnight — or will measure you just before you dash to the airport train, then send the finished garment by express delivery. But having at least one fitting, and preferably two, will produce a much better result. So maybe it’s worth skipping the Big Buddha on Lantau Island if you don’t have a lot of time.

Once you’re ready to find a tailor, many concierges (even if you’re not staying in his or her hotel) will be happy to make recommendations. Or search online for “Hong Kong tailors” and scroll through the scores of blog posts, horror stories and even a few tales of praise.

One common warning: Ignore the men who try to hand you a tailor’s leaflet as you exit the Star Ferry terminal in Kowloon. Most of those operations are low-end businesses with second-rate fabrics and poor quality control.

Thinking about the quality of garment you want may help you narrow your choices.

Central, the cluster of glass-and-metal skyscrapers on Hong Kong Island, is the city’s traditional finance and banking neighborhood, so tailors there primarily cater to executives who want classic styles in top-end suiting materials from Ermenegildo Zegna, Loro Piana, Dormeuil or one of the many heritage woolen brands in Britain. Most customers are men; women can get coats, pantsuits, and jacket and skirt combinations, but they are likely to lack the kind of fashion-forward styling seen on the runways in Paris or Milan.

Several tailors in Tsim Sha Tsui, commonly called TST, the shopping and entertainment center at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula, also serve executive tastes, but many in this tourist haven also have a broad range of lower-end fabrics.

Fabric is a good indicator of price. A suit made from top-quality materials, which will pack with little wrinkling and keep its shape over time, is likely to cost from $1,500 to more than $3,000. Moderately priced fabrics will result in lower-priced garments. But, regardless of what someone on the internet says, a $300 suit that will fit perfectly, wear like a dream and last for decades is a fantasy.

Suzie Wong might have known such a tailor, although that 1960s styling would be awfully dated these days.

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