Indochino La Boca Chinos - New Arrivals

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Chinos and their effects
Pretty much a year after their first introduction, Indochino is now expanding their La Boca Chinos line. Priced at $99, Indochino goes casual with a number of colours to choose from (a pretty nice blue, a weird mustard and a daring salmon pink). I'll be ordering a pair of chinos soon, will probably tweak my measurements a bit. After all, a chino should fit a bit differently from a pair of suit pants. Did anyone order a pair of those and wants to share some insights?

Special Report from Asia: Ho Chi Minh City Part 2

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I had planned on publishing the second part of my report from Asia much sooner, but the fact is, the first tailor simply didn't work out as planned. I wanted to get a casual, short-sleeved linen shirt, roughly based on a design available on 

Well, I did get 2m navy blue linen fabric from a local market (around $9.5) and showed the desired design to the tailor (see photo on the left) on my iPhone. He seemed very understanding, took notes and I got measured - I actually had a good feeling. 

I picked up the shirt 2 days later for a first fitting and unfortunately it was horrible. I don't actually know why he bothered to take measurements and look at my design wishes.

It was just a thing generally resembling a shirt, but it's far too wide around the torso, the shoulders are too wide, armholes too low, lose sleeves, horrible collar, lose threads, etc. - just nothing fit and it didn't look anything like I wanted it to.

I discussed the changes with him and then waited another 2 days. The final product is still basically unwearable. I decided not to make a fuss and paid the agreed 200.000 VND ($9.5). So, all in all, my first try cost me $19 (fabric + tailor) and I learned a few things.
  1. Be better prepared
    Know exactly what you want, leaving no detail uncommented, provide print-outs or even better, a shirt you like that can be copied. 
  2. You get what you pay for
    $20 just doesn't get you a great shirt, at least not in my experience.
Well, I am not giving up. I've got a few good recommendations and I will visit a couple of other tailors. I will also be in Bangkok next week and will try to see some tailors there as well. Any recommendations for Bangkok and generally, tailors in South-East Asia are very welcome!

In other news, there is also a great chance for winning an Indochino suit at the moment, head over to their Facebook page to find out more. 

Indochino Traveling Tailor: Next Stop Washington, DC

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The popular Traveling Tailor event, popularised in 2011 and 2012, is having its first stop in 2013 in Washington, DC. During 8 days (much longer than last year), from March 2 until March 10, people will have a chance to get measured and see all the Indochino offerings in person. To receive a free shirt (the ones priced at $79) on purchase, don't forget to reserve an appointment before. Who's going? 

Indochino Traveling Tailor
March 2-10, 2013
LivingSocial's 918 F St.
Washington, DC 20004
8:00 am to 8:00 pm

Suit Review: Indochino Essential Gray Herringbone by J.Z. Bales

Friday, February 8, 2013

Indochino’s Essential Gray Herringbone Suit

When it comes to suits, it doesn’t get much more versatile than gray. When you’re feeling bold, a gray suit provides the solid foundation upon which you can make a statement with colorful shirts, ties, and pocket squares. When you’re just looking to ease your way through the workday, however, a gray suit also lets you tone things down. And when you head out for a night on the town, the jacket is equally at home with a dark shirt and jeans.

Despite gray’s versatility, I’ve always felt underwhelmed by various manufacturers’ offerings. One thing that has always turned me off of light gray suits is that the fabric is typically not uniformly gray throughout, like charcoal or navy fabric is. To me, this random variance creates the perception of roughness, even in suits that I know are made of quality material. Although I’m sure there are many men who like this about gray suits, it’s just a personal gripe of mine.

Indochino’s regular gray fabric (left) and gray herringbone fabric (right)

When I happened upon Indochino’s Essential Gray Herringbone suit, however, all of my qualms about color variance disappeared. My hand was forced when Indochino offered a rare 20% off coupon, and I pulled the trigger on it and the Gray Double Pinstripe suit (an excellent choice, by the way). On previous suits, I had gotten my measurements ever closer to my “perfect fit,” but I still felt there was room for improvement. I was feeling rather brave, so I shaved down a few of my dimensions, chose my options, and placed the order. It turns out that I was a bit too brave on the measurements, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Fast forward to five weeks later, and my suit arrived. Upon opening the box, I was immediately struck by the herringbone pattern: I really like it! In my opinion, the herringbone pattern adds a level of sophistication that plain gray suits lack, yet it is not overpowering and still plays well with patterned shirts and ties. Furthermore, unlike windowpanes, the herringbone is slightly slimming and contributes to the suit’s sleek appearance. I have a naturally slim build, so I don’t necessarily require a suit with slimming properties, but I imagine that this suit would complement larger men nicely. Despite being listed as only Super 100s, the fabric itself is quite smooth and soft, and has a nice drape. I looked at that Super 100s number with some trepidation, but I am very pleased with the fabric’s quality.

The blue Bemberg lining is a few shades darker than my royal blue tie

As for custom options, I chose a two-button jacket with regular notch lapels, two vents, functional sleeve buttons, a functional boutonniere, a pen pocket, and blue Bemberg lining. I ordered the suit right around the time that Indochino moved to offering only Bemberg linings, and I am pleased with the material. The Bemberg linings are not as shiny as Indochino’s older linings, and the color does not have a pearly appearance in the light.

One thing to note about the functional boutonniere is that it is not just an open hole on the lapel: On the underside of the lapel, there is a small loop that allows you to insert a fresh-cut flower and have it actually stay in place without a safety pin. Although I have never actually used it, I like knowing that I can. As for the functional sleeve buttons, this is purely a matter of personal preference. I have only needed to unbutton my sleeves once, but again, I like knowing that I can. Before you order functional sleeve buttons, however, make sure you have your sleeve measurements where you want them—alterations are no small feat.

Now, remember how I said I was overly brave when trimming my measurements? It turns out that the suit jacket is a bit too tight in the midsection. I should stress that this was no fault of Indochino, because the jacket’s measurements are exactly what I entered. It’s not too bad, however, and I haven’t felt compelled to have the suit altered in the two months that I’ve had it. Plus, if I stand just right, it looks like the kind of oh-so-perfectly-tailored fit that you see on the cover of GQ. In all seriousness, though, don’t be a hero—make sure you give yourself a little breathing room in the chest and midsection. I’ve already gone back in and adjusted my measurement profile accordingly. Despite the tight midsection, the jacket fits to my liking where it really counts—the shoulders, jacket length, and sleeves.

Doing my best to channel Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love.

As for the pants, they are just how I like them. The waist is perfect, I’ve got enough room in the crotch and backside, and the inseam leads down to a full break at my ankles. I opted for no pant cuffs, and I really think that this suit looks best without them. However, everyone has different tastes, so feel free to get cuffs if you really like them.

In the short time that I’ve owned this suit, it has already become my favorite. Even though I also own one of Indochino’s Vincero suits, which I absolutely love, I find myself pulling the Essential Gray Herringbone out of the closet more often due to its versatility. Although it looks exceedingly sharp with a crisp white shirt and power tie, I frequently pair it with shirts of almost every color and pattern. One of my favorite ensembles includes a solid light blue shirt and bright royal blue tie (pictured). It’s a safe combination that never fails to receive compliments.

For the bow tie aficionados like myself, however, just be sure that you don’t wear a red bow tie with this suit. I found out the hard way when I wore this combination to work and wound up as the butt of several Pee-wee Herman jokes.

Just in case you’re wondering, the pictured shirt is from Modern Tailor, and I definitely recommend checking them out. Don’t get me wrong, I like Indochino’s shirts, but Modern Tailor offers more fabrics and options at a slightly lower price point. The tie is from The Tie Bar, whose ties are absolutely amazing. I don’t know about other men, but I’ve always had a hard time justifying $40+ ties. The Tie Bar’s products are on par with the best ties I’ve ever encountered, yet they’re just $15. Seriously, check them out.

Indochino Essential Gray Herringbone Suit Reviewed by J.Z. Bales. Rating: 10/10 (Excellent) An extremely versatile suit with a touch of sophistication.

Special Bonus: My friend, Calan, recently picked up the three piece version of the Essential Gray Herringbone suit. He chose largely the same options that I did, except with burgundy Bemberg lining and a seven-button vest. He really likes the suit, but notes that he wishes he had gone with the five-button vest. Check it out:

Suit Review: The Nanotech Storm Indigo Striped Suit

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Indochino Suit Review
The Nanotech Storm Indigo Stripe Suit
There are a couple of points that highlight the evolution of Indochino: upgraded components, Bemberg liners, digital cutting are just a few. However, it's one thing to read about upgraded components and it's a whole different thing to feel the impact these upgrades have on an actual suit. I've plenty of Indochino suits to compare to and it's safe to say that this suit now, is one of the best ones I've ever head.

The Nanotech Storm Indigo Stripe Suit is part of the first Indochino Collection 2013, the controversial Ultimate Tech Collection. The first collection of a year is always something special and people expect Indochino to stay innovative, stylish/fashionable and at the same time affordable, responsive and accommodating. Sometimes you just can't satisfy everyone and I have a feeling that's what happened with the Ultimate Tech Collection. I have written in length about it already, so I won't go into details now. Suffice it to say, I thought there were plenty of good ideas overall but I certainly don't envy the Indochino employee who had to answer to customers on Facebook around launch day.

Back to my suit. It has all the gimmicks of the Tech Collection:
  • Smart Pocket: touch sensitive pocket for smartphones, cable clip, earphone hole. The smartphone pocket is a really useful idea for those who carry their phones in their suit jackets. The earphone hole and the cable clip (it's removable) may be useful for those listening to music and audiobooks on their commute - see photo below on how that looks on the suit. 
Indochino Suit Review
  • NanoTech: the fabric is treated with an advanced coating that repels liquids and stains. In contrast to the past Traveling Collection that had a similar fabric, this one really doesn't feel any different and just feels like a great material. I tested the whole thing by spilling water on the suit and indeed, the water doesn't soak in - see photo below.  
Indochino Suit Review

  • Storm Flap: Described by Indochino as "stylish way to protect your neck and chest from cold weather", this feature mostly triggered negative feedback within the community. I am honestly not sure if I would wear it. It certainly keeps you warm, but so does a nice Cashmere scarf. I'm currently in Vietnam, so it's 33°C and not really the right climate to test it, so I will just remove it for now. I also feel it adds some bulk to the shoulders and the lapels, doesn't look as tidy with the Storm Flap attached.
Indochino Suit Review

Indochino Suit Review

Aside from the special features, it is most of all just a very well made and very well fitting suit. I specifically like the attention to details, e.g. the buttons don't feature that bold Indochino text on the sides anymore, the buttonholes are really nicely sewn, buttons actually seem like real bull horn, etc.

By the way, the shirt I chose is part of the premium collection and priced at $159. That's definitely not cheap, no doubt about that. It's also a very nice fabric by Cotonificio Albini. Ok, I didn't know the name but I can tell that the fabric is of very high quality and it feels just great. No loose threads, no loose buttons - it's a great fitting shirt made of great material.

The tie is from Indochino as well, it's their Light Gray Wool Tie. I really like the feel of it, a nice contrast to the usual silk ties and a nice one to have for autumn/winter.

Being in Vietnam also gave me the chance to meet with Aron, co-founder of Mantorii. I had another pair of shoes made. I didn't have to pay for those, but Aron suggested I try something more special to showcase what Mantorii can do. I went for a pair of Chili Red Wholecut shoes with blue lining (different lining is available via email request only for the moment) and blue shoe laces. Single leather sole.

Indochino Suit Review
I might slim down the pants a little at the bottom
It's a very bold shoe and an interesting combination with the indigo blue Indochino suit. I don't think I'd wear these at the office, but they are great for special occasions. 

Chili Red Mantorii Custom Shoes
Mantorii Chili Red Wholecut Shoe. Picture copyright Mantorii Custom Footwear
by Lorenz Loidl

Deal Alert: Save 20% on everything with Indochino's Chinese New Year Sale

Friday, February 1, 2013

A pretty good deal: e.g. get an Essential Suit for $303 instead of $379
This comes somewhat as a surprise, Indochino actually stated earlier they wouldn't do a Chinese New Year Deal 2013 on Facebook, but here it is - and it's a pretty good one. There was no shortage of good deals recently, with the Gilt City Deal and then the start of the Winter Sale (now unavailable). 

20% off on everything is excellent and especially tempting for those who want to get one of the Essential Suits, as they are normally not included in sales. 

Essential Navy for $303 instead of $379
To get the deal use the coupon code CNY2013 at checkout. Ends February 3, 11:59.