How to buy a suit that will NEVER go out of style

Kevin Seah bespoke suits

Hello friends. As many of you will know from experience, here at Kevin Seah Bespoke, we favour a slightly wider lapel, like the four-inch example in the image at right. However it’s really down to proportions — a four-inch lapel will look skinny on a man of Schwarzenegger’s size, while on a slight guy, it might seem positively disco. 

The trick to buying a suit that will never fall out of fashion is ensuring the proportions are not only in key with your body size, but immune to trend. One of the most classically stylish men ever, Cary Grant put it well when he suggested that a gentleman should buy clothing “in the middle of fashion.”
 
He explained, “By that I mean they’re not self-consciously fashionable or far out, nor are they overly conservative or dated. In other words, the lapels are neither too wide nor too narrow, the trousers neither too tight nor too loose, the coats neither too short nor too long… simplicity, to me, has always been the essence of good taste.”

Writing for American magazine The Week in the early 1960s, Grant advised, “men’s clothes — like women’s — should attract attention to the best lines of a man’s figure and distract from the worst. In all cases, the most reliable style is in the middle of the road — a thoughtful sensible position in any human behavior. Except perhaps on the freeway — but, even then, the middle lane, providing of course, it’s on your side of the road, usually gets you where you’re going more easily, comfortably, and less disturbingly. And so it should be with clothes. They should be undisturbing, easy and comfortable.”

That’s one of the reasons why, at Kevin Seah Bespoke, we don’t have a strict ‘house style’ — instead, we cut suits to complement and flatter the individual client’s form. The athletic, broad-shouldered, wide-chested man will look better in an unstructured jacket with no roping at the shoulder, while the skinnier man will benefit from a bit of built-up shoulder padding. We’re happy to make either style, or something in between, with the lapel shape and width that suits you best.

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Get the proportions perfect for you, right down the middle of the road (as Mr Grant did with his famous grey suit from 1959’s North by Northwest, pictured here, a timeless sartorial classic that could easily be worn today), and you’ll have a suit that looks as sharp in 2018 as it will decades from now. 

Unless you’re an ideal 5’11” size 38 Regular, that might be difficult to purchase off the rack, so we suggest making an appointment with a good bespoke tailor. You won’t often find fashion-proof tailored perfection sold cash’n’Cary!
 
Until next week,
Kevin

PS: Did you know that Cary Grant used to have his jacket shoulders cut broader than usual to make his abnormally large head look smaller? Next week we’ll provide advice on how the height-challenged man can appear taller through the magic of tailoring. Let us know what else you’d like to see covered in future — email me: kevin@kevinseah.com

How to look slimmer (without the inconvenience of exercise or dieting)

Hello friends. We all work hard and it’s only fair that we reward ourselves by indulging in the finer things in life. Unfortunately, hard work means we often don’t find enough time for exercise, and along with good food and wine, that has an impact on the waistline. Luckily, clever tailoring can help you maintain a relatively slim appearance, even if you have put on a bit of weight.
 
Of course, there’s a limit to what a tailor can achieve. We’re not plastic surgeons. We are more like magicians, directing the viewer’s focus and creating the illusion of a more svelte physique.
 
A highly effective tool is pinstripe-patterned cloth (like the Vitale Barberis Canonico pictured below), which will help give a sense of length and draw the eye along a vertical line. Pinstripe or plain, the stout should always wear darker colours. A big man in a white jacket? Forget it. It’s going to magnify him by 30 percent. The larger guy should avoid shiny cloth (go for a matte fabric, it’s more stylish anyway), and if he’s considering a check, make it a small, all-over pattern, like a fine glen plaid.

 A grey pinstripe cloth (like this one, from VBC) will help visually slim you down.

A grey pinstripe cloth (like this one, from VBC) will help visually slim you down.

As for suit styling, be careful with patch pockets, they can broaden the hips. Inset pockets could be savvier. Contrary to common belief, double-breasted suits can actually be very flattering on the larger man. The person looking at you will focus on the buttons, rather than the silhouette of the jacket. It’s a visual effect, a diversion.
 
Don’t wear your clothing tight — that will just accentuate any bulges. Baggy trousers are a no-no, but a slightly roomier pleated pant (fastening at the natural waist) will be much more flattering than a flat front, where often the belly protrudes over the top. Not pretty.
 
Speaking of bulging bellies, I’m in Japan right now, appreciating the work of the country’s many artisanal craftspeople — and amazing chefs. After a few days of Japanese culinary indulgence, it might be high time to make myself a new charcoal pinstripe suit when I get back!
 
Until next week,
—Kevin
 
PS: Landing in Tokyo today, we were so honoured to see Kevin Seah Bespoke featured in The Rake Japan’s write-up on the Singapore sartorial scene. Order a copy of the new issue and take a look. Arigatou gozaimasu! 

You Look Best in a Jacket — But Here's How to Stay Sharp in a Shirt

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Dear friends, welcome to the first of my new weekly newsletters. Let’s kick things off talking about suits and shirts, shall we?

It’s a fact: A man looks his best in a jacket. In the two centuries since Beau Brummell innovated the modern suit, tailors have pretty much perfected this garment, creating an item of clothing that hides a man’s imperfections and emphasises his better attributes, widening his shoulders and flattening his belly — making the short man stand tall and the average guy stand out. They say a suited gentleman has the same effect on women as a lady in lingerie has on males. Most of that’s down to the jacket — it’s magic.

Still, despite the fact that here at the Kevin Seah atelier, we make suit jackets, blazers and sports coats that are breezy, breathable and light as a feather, a lot of our clients prefer just to wear a nice tailored shirt. Okay, lah. If that’s what you’re after, we’ll craft you a beautiful made-to-measure or bespoke shirt from your choice of our incredible range of cloth.

We’ve just received the latest collection of fine cottons from Switzerland’s Alumo, which our friend Simon Crompton of Permanent Style says is “the best-known shirting name outside Italy. It is both a mill and a merchant, weaving everything itself … Alumo produces some very fine shirtings, but tends to be more classic in its collections”. Alumo turns out around a million yards of cloth per year — we’ll use a little less than two metres of that to make you a lovely shirt. (Prices for made-to-measure in Alumo cotton start around SG$400, bespoke from SG$650.)

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We also suggest you take a look at cloth from Italy’s Grandi & Rubinelli. “With a core team of just 35 people, all of its fabrics are produced on fewer than 15 looms,” Sonia Glyn Nicholson wrote on Parisian Gentleman (another sartorial-focused website we highly recommend). “Yet, even with its modest size, the Grandi & Rubinelli name has become known for design acumen and textile mastery. On the outskirts of Milan, high grade American Supima and West Indies Sea Island and Egyptian cotton are woven to produce very select shirting. Natural fibers like cotton, linen, wool, cashmere, and silk are sourced with two-ply yarn to ensure strength properties. Thread counts (number of threads per square inch) can reach as high as the 200s.”

You know we’ve just opened our new atelier on Jalan Kilang, right? Come visit, sit down, relax, have a whisky — and get your shirt together. Ha!

Until next week,

—Kevin

PS: Have you seen the movie Borg vs. McEnroe? Amazing seventies tennis style. I’m getting inspired for some new polo shirts. Let us know what you’d like to see in our range, email me at kevin@kevinseah.com

We're hiring: KEVIN SEAH seeks a superb Public Relations Executive

Our globally renowned, fast-growing tailoring and fashion company is rapidly expanding its business locally and internationally. We’re currently recruiting an eloquent, presentable individual to act as a key brand ambassador, dealing with VIP clients and press (Singaporean and global), monitoring media coverage, managing CRM, coordinating social media outreach, and helping manage our numerous exclusive events.

Reporting to the Marketing & Brand Director, the successful candidate must possess excellent communication skills, both verbal and written (fluent English is essential, as the role requires frequent dealings with media in the UK and US, as well as English-language press in Singapore; Mandarin is also a big plus, in order to converse with press and clients from mainland China). They should be highly organised, personable, well presented and confident.

We value relevant professional experience and personality fit over formal academic qualifications (though an applicable degree will certainly be looked upon favourably) and ideally seek someone with 3+ years experience in a PR/advertising/events agency, lifestyle media, or luxury retail / hospitality. Pre-existing relationships with leading Singaporean media would be an advantage. Superb interpersonal skills and common sense are a must.

A candidate who could act as an ambassador for the Kevin Seah group’s women’s bespoke tailoring / clothing line would be ideal. 

Please send your CV with a brief cover email (no more than 400 words) explaining why you’re perfect for the job to Christian Barker, Marketing & Brand Director: christian@kevinseah.com

Justin Fitzpatrick Trunk Show

Justin Fitzpatrick is back in Singapore on 25th November to 28th November 2015 to present his latest ready to wear and made to order collection at KEVIN SEAH. 

For Justin's trunk show dates and information about his shoes, email info@kevinseah.com.

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Foster & Son Trunk Show

Bespoke shoemaker Foster & Son of 83 Jermyn Street, London, traces its heritage back to the 1840s. Clients include The Royal Family alongside several style icons such as Carry Grant and Fred Astaire. Offering both made-to-order as well as bespoke services for the very first time in Singapore.

The Rake Feature for Kevin Seah

I spoke to Kevin Seah, a veteran bespoke tailor based in Singapore. For those unaware, Seah is a man whoselove for tailoring led him to an apprenticeship while most of us were still playing video games; training in artisanal crafts is a painstaking tedium for the un-inclined and beginning as a trainee for womenswear Kevin eventually opened his own menswear outfit to serve the burgeoning sartorial sensibilities of Singaporean men. For him and others in his trade, it takes upwards of 70 hours to make a bespoke suit- the difficulty lies in the fact that from creating the pattern to cutting and then the actual tailoring right down to buttonholes, each handmade step is a time consuming labour of love.

Read the full article here

MASON & SMITH TRUNK SHOW

Singapore's first shoe shine bar, Mason & Smith, conducted an evening of shoe shine demonstrations alongside other artisanal leather services such as colouring and laser engraving. The showcase also gave clients an opportunity to enquire about leather care and maintenance. Overall, an educational experience at the Kevin Seah atelier. 

Contact us for information of Mason & Smith's quarterly trunk shows.

Gaziano & Girling Trunk Show

At Gaziano & Girling's first trunk show in Singapore, both Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling were present to showcase both their Made to Order and Bespoke offers. Bespoken G&Gs give the customer free rein to create a perfect pair of shoes, customising the shape, details and leather. As the last is sculpted straight from beech wood, specifically for the individual's feet, the result is a footwear that hugs and frees the toes—ensuring the greatest possible comfort. From the cutting and lasting of the leather to the stitching of the welt and sole, every stage of the shoe's construction process is handmade.

Brift H Trunk Show

Yuya Hasegawa is one of Japan's finest shoeshiner since 2007. Since then, Hasegawa has polished and buffed his way up to great success—with the opening of the shoe shine 'lounge' Brift H (the 'H' pronounced "ashe" rather than "eightch") on trendy Koto-doori in Aoyama. We are proud to have Hasegawa-san showcase his skills and share the secrets to shoe polishing with our clients in Singapore.