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THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE SHANGHAI SOUTH BUND SOFT SPINNING MATERIAL MARKET

 

PART 0: PROLOGUE

IF YOU GO TO THE SOUTH BUND SOFT SPINNING MATERIAL MARKET IN SHANGHAI CHINA, YOU WILL BE INSTANTLY OVERWHELMED BY THE AMOUNT OF OPTIONS. THE BUILDING IS THREE STORIES TALL AND HAS HUNDREDS OF DIFFERENT TAILORS MAKING EVERYTHING FROM STANDARD BUSINESS SUITS TO CHINESE SILK WEDDING DRESSES AND EVEN CUSTOM-MADE JEANS.

SO, HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHICH TAILOR IS THE BEST? THERE’S NO REAL GUIDE TO THIS MARKET, ESPECIALLY FOR EXPATS AND VISITORS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES. FOR MOST OF US, WE ONLY HAVE ONE REAL OPTION—GO TO TRIPADVISOR.COM AND TRY TO SIFT THROUGH THE OVER 1,000 REVIEWS ABOUT THE MARKET.

IN ORDER TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION ONCE AND FOR ALL, I DECIDED TO START THIS BLOG: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO THE SHANGHAI SOUTH BUND SOFT SPINNING MATERIAL MARKET. PERSONALLY, I TYPICALLY BUY ONE SUIT PER MONTH. IF I’M FEELING PARTICULARLY RAKISH THAT MONTH, I MAY GET TWO SUITS FOR THAT MONTH. I’VE ALWAYS GONE TO THE SAME TAILOR, BUT FOR THIS EXPERIMENT, I WILL BE TRYING A NEW TAILOR EVERY TIME. HERE’S HOW IT WILL WORK:

1. I WILL START ON THE THIRD FLOOR, AS MOST OF THE FOOT TRAFFIC IS CONCENTRATED AROUND THE FIRST TWO FLOORS.

 

2. EACH TIME I VISIT, I WILL VISIT A NEW TAILOR.

 

3. EACH TAILOR WILL RECEIVE THE EXACT SAME DESIGN. THE ONLY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SUITS WILL BE THE COLORS. THE TAILORS WILL ALL RECEIVE A FULL-COLOR PRINTED PDF WITH ALL OF THE DETAILS FROM THE STYLE OF THE POCKETS TO THE NUMBER OF BUTTONS ON THE SLEEVES OF THE JACKETS.

4. I WILL ORDER THE BUTTONS (GENUINE HORN BUTTONS) AND THE LINING (JAPANESE BEMBERG) TO BE DELIVERED DIRECTLY TO THE TAILOR.

 

5. TAILORS WILL BE JUDGED ON THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES:

PRICE: MY ABILITY TO HAGGLE SUCKS, SO THIS WILL BE BASED ON THE FIRST QUOTED PRICE GIVEN TO ME BY THE TAILOR.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL: BUTTON STYLE, LAPEL SIZE, “BARCHETTA” POCKET STYLE, ETC.

TIMING: THE TIME IT TAKES TO COMPLETE THE SUIT. 7 TO 10 DAYS IS TYPICAL.

FIT: I HAVE PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED SUITS THAT DIDN’T FIT AS SOON AS I PURCHASED THEM (JOYCE & RITA #129, I’M LOOKING AT YOU!). THEREFORE, THIS IS ARGUABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT CATEGORY FOR ME AND ANY PERSON GETTING A CUSTOM MADE-TO-MEASURE SUIT.

SHOULDERS: ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT AREAS TO GET RIGHT ON A SUIT. A SKILLED TAILOR CAN MAKE THE APPROPRIATE MEASUREMENTS AND ENSURE THERE IS NO ‘DIVOT’ WHERE THE TOP OF THE JACKET’S SHOULDER PAD MEETS THE TOP OF MY SHOULDER.

 

COLLAR GAP: ANOTHER DIFFICULT AREA THAT SKILLED TAILORS SHOULD BE ABLE TO AVOID.

TAILOR’S KNOWLEDGE: I HAVE A HEAVYSET BUILD. WHILE MOST TAILORS ARE ACCUSTOMED TO A SLIM-FIT OR A ‘SKINNY’ STYLE, IT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR MY BODY TYPE. THE TAILOR SHOULD BE ABLE TO SEE THAT A ‘STRAIGHT’ LEG LOOK IS BETTER FOR MY BUILD COMPARED TO A SUPER-TAPERED ‘SKINNY’ LEG.

TAILORS WILL RECEIVE 1 TO 5 STARS IN EACH CATEGORY, AND THEY WILL RECEIVE AN OVERALL SCORE BASED ON THE RATINGS IN EACH CATEGORY.