Suzy Gershman, author, Frommer's Born to Shop Hong Kong 1999
OK, let me just blurt this our in the beginning, so you can fully understand the import of what I have to share. My husband is chubby.
We don't like the word fat.
When he was a young man, he bought his first suit in the CHUNKY department of his mother's favorite department store. He grew and grew and well, grew. He's tall, broad shouldered and, uh, chubby.
Once we got together, I took one look at those big shoulders, that barrel chest, the adorable teddy bear look of him and whispered "Hong Kong."
I brought my husband to W.W.Chan after I had done research on all the tailors in Hong Kong for the first editions of Born to Shop Hong Kong, over a dozen years ago.
W.W. Chan is headed up by Peter Chan who carries on a family business, which he has built and expanded over the years. He is the only Big Three tailor with offices in Kowloon and I happen to hang out in Kowloon far more than on the Victoria side of Hong Kong. But that's just me. Everyone gets to Kowloon many times in a visit to Hong Kong, so it's no big deal.
We've given so much work to Peter that he has become our Chinese family. He was even on the cover of one of the editions of Born to Shop: Hong Kong, many years ago. Please Note: for those of you who think Peter will be your personal tailor, Peter runs the business--which has expanded into the U.S. and to China--and does not personally fit suits. Not to worry.
While my husband can buy a suit off the rack, even at a discount store, nothing makes him look successful like a custom tailored suit. The price difference is worth it one hundred times over in not only the pleasure the suit gives but the message it sends out.
The W.W.Chan showroom is decidedly more relaxed than the other two big-time contenders. The showroom itself is neat, clean, modern, and even spacious, which is hard to find in Hong Kong. But the location in Kowloon and the approach to the actual showroom are not so swank; businessmen who are used to wall-to- wall carpet may need a moment to adjust, until they are inside the show room (which has wall-to wall carpet).
The showroom is wood-paneled and divided into two parts; one-half is primarily for men, although there are more men' s fabrics on the side that appears to be for women. The walls are divided into bins, which house zillions of bolts of fabric, most of which come from Europe. More booklets and fabric swatches lie around. When we are picking fabric for suits, we always try to provide a hind at what we want (gray flannel, for instance) because the task of just looking at all the possibilities can be daunting.
The quality of the W.W. Chan product is equal to its first-rate reputation; customers here tend to be those who demand the best and like to find it for themselves. The Bijan crowd may prefer H. Baromon; the British tycoons may be happier in Central. The people who come to W. W. Chan feel like they are members of a club.
I've actually made friends with other customers who were having fittings; there is a constant flow of airline pilots and businessmen coming through the doors. Single women may want to hang out just to meet men.
If you can't get to Hong Kong, not to worry-Hong Kong will come to you. Twice a year W.W. Chan tailors make the rounds of the U.S. In fact, we now have the schedule worked into our routine so that we make the trip into New York, have a fitting, then go out to dinner and celebrate.
Good clothes are always worth celebrating.