How to buy a perfectly tailored suit in Beijing

No matter which tailor in town you're headed to, let these tips guide you

There are plenty of places to have a custom suit made in Beijing, with stores offering a huge range of services and prices.

We speak to the stylish crew at homegrown haberdashery Principle M and European import Suitsupply to find out the most important tips and tricks Beijing men need to know to get the most out of their experience, no matter where they're headed.

First steps

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Pick the right fabric
Think about how you’ll be wearing your suit. If its main purpose is business travel or an event where you’ll be photographed a lot, opt for springy fabric with a clean drape (usually a wool). Easy test: crumple a sample swatch in your fist and release – does it spring back into shape without leaving creases? Cotton and linen are summery and stylish but you may end up with wrinkles.

Tailoring essentials

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Make yourself look slimmer
Slacking on your sit-ups lately? Trousers cut a bit higher (with a waistband right below the belly button) are slimming and give the illusion of a tight tummy. A men’s jacket should be slightly hourglass shaped, giving the illusion of broader shoulders.

Get a leg-up
The bottoms of your trousers should gently brush the top of your shoes, creating a small horizontal break (bend) in the fabric. Trousers with a slight break are ideal and will elongate your legs – no break is a fashion-forward look for daring gents and a huge break is plain messy.

Check your neck
A notch lapel (with a slight opening where the collar and lapel meet, pictured) is a classic style. Peak lapels (that jut out farther than the collar) are used for more formal occasions. During fittings, be sure that the back of your collar rests directly on the back of your neck. A gap between the collar and your body is a sign of bad tailoring.

At home

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Match your fabrics
Picking a tie and pocket square with matching prints is a no-no. However, matching fabrics is a must. Silk tie? Silk handkerchief it is.

Italians do it better
Master the Italian art of sprezzatura, or ‘studied carelessness’. Your tie doesn’t have to be perfect and you don’t need a perfect press every time. The I-woke-up-like-this look demonstrates confidence.

Stack your colour palette
When picking a shirt and tie to go with your jacket, opt for a dark-light-dark (or reverse it and go
light-dark-light) colour scheme. If you're stuck choosing a shirt and tie, this is an easy trick that'll work in most cases.

Take ’em to the cleaners
Choosing a good dry cleaner is as important as choosing a good tailor and will preserve the life of your new suit. We like popular chain Fornet, but test a new dry cleaner by bringing a less expensive item in first. Suits should be laundered about two times per year, depending on how often it’s worn.
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Where

Principle M

Offers complete made-to-measure suits using imported fabrics, as well as image consulting. A complete suit from Principle M will take six weeks from the initial consultation and customers are welcome to call the well-dressed Principle M consultants for future last-minute styling advice.

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16 Xinyuan Li (Liangmaqiao, Chaoyang)

Suitsupply

From its newly opened Parkview Green shop, Suitsupply is bringing sleek European looks to the men of Beijing. The store offers customisable looks at an accessible price point. Off-the-rack suits (starting at just under 3,000RMB) come in a full spectrum of shades and fabrics and can be tailored for a perfect fit in three business days.

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No. 9 Dongdaqiao Lu

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