I woke up last Saturday to find a big tear in the seat of my best suit trousers (Friday night is still a blur). Is there any way to save them? I don't want to lose my favourite suit.
Mr Dapper: Are we only distressed about the trousers, young man? Time to discover the magical world of invisible mending. This centuries-old, painstaking process involves taking threads from a concealed part of a garment, such as the hem, and reweaving them into the cloth around the damaged area. In Europe, one can rely on dry-cleaners to provide this and other clothes-saving services. In Hong Kong, the method is alive and well at Leung Kam Fat (Pedder Lane, Central, tel: 2804 6639). Prices vary but the average cost of repairs of this type is HK$200.
Mr Dandy: Dude, that sucks. It's totally happened to me before. It's a good idea to have an extra pair of trousers made with every custom suit. If it's by a Hong Kong tailor and the suit's new, then get the trousers copied. My dry-cleaner does provide repairs like invisible mending, even if they're not printed on the official price list. Just ask yours. Goodwins, for example, needs to look at the damage first to confirm if they'll take the job (HK$600 and up; Great Food Hall, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1400). You could also use online services if you're willing to mail the trousers back and forth between, say, Britain, which has The Invisible Mending Service (HK$500 and up; www.invisible-mending.co.uk).
Hi. I've heard that when it comes to suits these days, brown is the new black. That colour makes me think of down and out travelling salesmen, which isn't really the look I'm going for. How can I pull it off?
Mr Dandy: The new brown suit is modern, slim cut and totally natty. It shouldn't make you look like you shop at some suburban suit warehouse. Colour and pattern on the shirt, tie and/or pocket square will also update the look. Shoes in a different tone are the hippest way to go (as long as they're the same colour as your belt). A pure chocolate brown is totally now, but it's pretty hard to find. I'd either treat myself to one of Burberry London's modern-fit virgin wool jackets (HK$6,500; Alexandra House, Central, tel: 2868 3511) along with its tailored slim-fit trousers (HK$3,900) or save money with Zara's slim-fit blazer (HK$1,490; Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2918 1099) and trousers (HK$399). Or you could head straight to your favourite tailor. If you like pattern, Prada's skinny suit comes in a small brown check with a red stripe through it (jacket, HK$17,900; trousers, HK$5,200; Alexandra House, tel: 2522 2989). Or choose from the awesome checks at Tom Ford, Valentino, Etro and Lanvin. Tweed's a bit fuddy-duddy for me, but not if it's the mottled brown/green one by Dries Van Noten (HK$15,200; Joyce, 16 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2810 1120).
Mr Dapper: I beg to differ. Plain brown is a difficult colour for a suit, not only in itself but also with reference to how its rather draining hue looks with one's colouring. A tweed jacket, however, is an autumn classic well worth investing in and various incarnations are sold at most fine men's outfitters. Canali carries tweed blazers (HK$15,000; Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, tel: 2918 1745) and a rather stylish three-piece suit in light brown Prince of Wales check (HK$24,000). I must agree, though, that if you want something done right, a visit to the tailor is your best recourse.
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