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Mon, Mar 29, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Measure of a man
by Ian Lee

A perfectly tailored shirt and blazer deliver an instant knock-out at any boardroom battle. But let's face it, off-the-rack garments are rarely a perfect fit.

Yet, most guys imagine that getting a made-to-measure shirt or suit is a big deal.

It sounds like an expensive proposition, one involving strangers measuring you everywhere and many repeat visits for fittings.

There is also the matter of mastering the sartorial jargon so you do not end up with statement Italian padded shoulders when you want smart but casual.

Singapore men, Urban has news for you. It has never been so easy to get made-to-measure here and sometimes, at off-the-rack prices too.

Fresh local label The Black Label provides Singapore's first doorstep "shirt butler service", while Anders, another new local shirt maker, takes made-to-measure orders online.

Established local shirt brand Pimabs has also spread its wings, launching a new made-to-measure wedding suit service.


Newcomer The Black Label, founded by Singaporeans Jerome Sim, 34, and Nash Chugani, 31, launched a doorstep made-to-measure shirt service five months ago.

It combines tailoring advice with convenience, with appointments tailored to fit clients' preferred time and place, be it home, hotel room or even a coffee joint.

"This streamlines the process of purchasing clothes, which otherwise entails visiting numerous stores and trying on multiple outfits," says Chugani, who studied shirt design at Accademia Italiana, a fashion design school in Florence, and hails from a family which has supplied textiles to garment manufacturers and tailors for more than 30 years.

The label offers more than 400 designs with about 10 colours to choose from.

Embroidered initials, pocket customising and pleats at the back of a shirt are some of the options on offer. E-mail [email protected] for more details.

The label also prides itself on its affordable prices, with shirt prices starting at $120, compared to $130 and $330 at local made-to-measure shirtmakers Clothesmith and Pimabs respectively.

"We watch fashion shows, follow trends closely and apply them to our shirts. If the client has a particular design in mind and wants us to replicate it, we are able to do that too," says Sim, a former banker.

Another newbie is Anders, which started last December and offers an online made-to-measure store for men's shirts.

Owner Choy Weng Haur, 35, says the label's sole focus on selling shirts through an online store, rather than a physical storefront, is something new on the local scene.

On the label's website,, you start by choosing fabrics – there are over 1,500. The next step involves selecting custom shirt options, including collar, cuff, pocket and button types. Body measurements, including neck, arm and shoulder, must be e-mailed in with the order form.

While it has no physical storefront, an office and showroom at Teambuild Centre at 701 Geylang Road allows customers to view fabrics and make appointments to have their measurements taken.

Choy says the top trends among his clients include gingham checks, bold pinstripes and all-white shirts with subtle details like trim.

Prices range from $90 to $288 for a made-to-measure shirt, depending on the type of fabric used. For fewer than three shirts, there is a $10 delivery charge.

There is free delivery for orders of three shirts or more.

Choy is also working on creating a new collection where customers just select a complete style and have it made in their measurements, instead of choosing components step-by-step.

"It's like walking into a clothing store, and picking out a design you like, then having it made to fit you."


It is not just shopping for made-to-measure shirts that has been revolutionised.

Leslie Chia, founder of local shirtmaker Pimabs, has also introduced made-to-measure wedding suits.

"Marching down a wedding aisle is not the same as marching down the office corridor to attend a board meeting," says Chia, 42.

The label, which was awarded the Singapore Prestige Brand Award (Promising Brand) in 2008, has been doing wedding suits on request from clients for three years and started a custom wedding suit package last year.

The designer explains that a wedding suit has to be more glamorous and dressier than an office suit. Just like the bride, the groom should be looking his best on his big day.

While its business suits come in conservative colours like black, grey or dark blue, its wedding suit designs are limited only by the wearer's own personality.

"It could be a classic tuxedo or something loud and unconventional in red, pink or purple. Accessories such as bowties, scarves and pocket squares are a must. We have even designed a wedding suit in faux snake-skin," says Chia.

Prices for the six-year old label's wedding suit package start from $1,980.

"It is about time that grooms get equal attention as the brides," Chia declares.

[email protected]


This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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