We must begin by apologizing unreservedly to you and to those who have loved us over the years, and even to ourselves. We deserved better. And for a long time we did not know it.
We had obfuscated for years over buying a tailor-made suit. We’re an active lot here at The Department. When it comes to business clothing, fit and comfort are key, but so is value. Why, we argued, would we spend 4 to 5-thousand dollars for a tailor-made suit that would be worn infrequently and even then, gingerly. Even more unpalatable was the prospect of paying into the coffers of an international brand name that already makes off-the-rack suits. Forking over even more money for the dubious double cache of having that recognizable name on something “made to measure.” Now, though, we have no excuses left. It was a recent trip to Hong Kong that tipped the balance.
One of our Hong Kong operatives was kind enough to suggest Y William Yu (contact details are below). It has been there for some forty years. This associate of ours had purchased a tuxedo, and reports that a decade of galas and embassy dinners had not faded it one whit.
There’s a store-front window on the street, but the shop itself is one level down. We were met by the congenial Andy Wong. He’s the face of Y William Yu. He does the measuring, the consultation on the fabric, and the fittings. Y William has a team of tailors that is strictly divided by garment. The trousermen do just pants. The jacketmen, well, you get it. Andy Wong also travels to several major North American cities twice a year on sales trips. They take your measurements and will mail the suit back.
Ideally though, three fittings are the way to go. We were in Hong Kong for a week, so it worked out perfectly. A pre-trip phone call got us an appointment for measuring on our first morning in the city. Stunningly, we were invited back that same day, in the late afternoon for the first fitting. Y William Yu is on Mody Road, on the Kowloon side, just off Nathan Rd. Any downtime between fittings can be easily filled with an elaborate afternoon tea at the Peninsula, or a ride on the Star Ferry. In fact, it might be said that having to amuse oneself in Hong Kong whilst waiting for your new suit(s) to be made is the height of fabulous, indolent luxury.
The measuring process is an eye opener. Of course dimensions of the shoulders, arms, and inseam are all taken, but it is the extra effort to record three separate chest measurements, another three around the waist, and two each of the thighs and biceps that really give you confidence that this suit will fit like no other.
Andy and the team are also open to any suggestions you might have. We thought lapels on the vest of our grey sharkskin suit would be a nice touch. And they were. So too when it came to the lining. Always wanted crimson, pink, or sky blue inside your favourite suit? Now is your chance.
The lads at Y William also add plenty of their own extras. All the sewing is done by hand. The buttons are made of bone. They sew in a piece of suit fabric in the armpits to protect that fabulous silk lining from sweat. The trousers have a “heel guide”- an extra piece of cloth inside, to prevent your shoes from wearing the material out prematurely.
But the proof is in the final fitting. To say it is momentous would not be an exaggeration. Every warp and weft fits; shoulders are straight and the waist tapered. There is no accumulation of surplus material under arms or at the hips. It fits you. Like a second skin. It is as if everything you had worn in a suit before was mere utilitarian covering: Like a tarpaulin.
You leave the shop with your new suit(s) over your arm, headed for the airport, knowing that you are changed forever. You expect more now from your clothes. People will ask if you have lost weight. There is a spring in your step. It will be the lightness of gait of one who has taken the extra time and effort be significantly better dressed. It is the well-tailored forward energy of one who knows there is no turning back.
Y William Yu Tailors can be found at 46 Mody Road, Kowloon, (852) 2369 2141, firstname.lastname@example.org