Isaac Ely Bespoke – maker of fine handmade suits and shirts

As an average male shopper, I’ve never been obsessed or picky about off-the-rack clothing. Nonetheless, I do appreciate good dress shirts. Certain part of me, however, tells me that none of the shirts out there is an exact fit for my body, and always have the thought of experiencing a tailoring service for a bespoke shirt.

Today I paid a visit to Isaac Ely Bespoke, maker of the handmade suits and shirts from an invitation by Tanya Hsu. Personally I have never been able to find a shirt that fits me, I’ve shopped around the entire city to find a brand that can be bought off the rack, and visited stores that were recommended by my friends, but never was able to find one that is well-fitted.  So I have given up and decided to venture into bespoke shirts.  Going into the shop, terms like bespoke and made-to-measure shirts to me were synonymous and could be used interchangeably.  I was wrong.

Isaac taking Sean's measurements
Isaac taking Sean’s measurements

I met Mina and Isaac at the store, they are a very lovely couple, and very accommodating.  I was educated by Mina of the difference between a bespoke shirt and a made-to-measure shirt.  Bespoke shirts are items designed for a customer on a one-off basis.  That is to say every customer who walks into Isaac Ely Bespoke will be measured to create a pattern strictly for his posture and body shape at the moment of measurement.  In other words, it’s the customer who speaks for his clothing, and dictates how the shirt should be made.  In a nutshell, bespoke shirts are made from scratch to fit perfectly, the customer’s body type.

So what is the difference between a bespoke shirt and made-to-measure shirt? The biggest distinction is that made-to-measure shirts are designed from an existing pattern or style.  Measurements are taken to make changes to the size of the shirt which has already been designed.  This is not to say that made-to-measure shirts are bad, but rather the terms should not be used interchangeably, and it is important for all men to understand the difference and not to pay a made-to-measure shirt for the same amount you would for a bespoke shirt.

Visiting Isaac Ely Bespoke definitely opened my eyes and made me realize how different a bespoke shirt and a MTM shirt is.  Following the tour, Isaac took a thorough measurement of my torso from neck to hip, shoulder to wrist, in all angles, and asked me to pick the type of fabric and colour I wanted.  Sure enough, all the fabrics they have are high-end fabrics, only imported from Europe.  I picked the fabric and the colour and now I am just waiting for the fitting, which I learnt is another important process that distinguishes bespoke and MTM shirts.  I will share my experience once I finish the fitting.  Can’t wait!!

photos by Tanya
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Isaac Ely Bespoke 

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