The Modern Suit of Armor

Designing a Custom Suit with Chookhare and Sons

I’ve always thought that the suit is a modern suit of armor. It should fit like a second skin. And whereas I’ve been buying suits off the rack for years, I’ve found that it’s been always full of compromises— whether arm holes are too tight or the crotch doesn’t fit quite right. And since fitment is everything (honestly, more important to me than quality), going with a fully custom suit was an experience I was excited, and ready, to have.

I recently had a chance to partner with Chookhare and Sons, a custom men’s clothier with showrooms located in cities all across the country including Los Angeles, New York City and Portland, and personally worked with the company’s owner, Ton Chookhare, in getting fitted for my very first custom suit. Now I’ve heard that finding the perfect tailor is as important (and personal) as finding the right doctor or dentist– and this was right. It was so easy to build rapport with Ton– getting to understand his personal story, his reasons for starting up a suit company, and understanding each other’s aesthetics and where they meet in the middle for the design of my suit. And that term, design… he gave me the chance to design my suit, as opposed to dictating to me what he thought I should be wearing– and as I used my own Instagram influences, I perused several of his fabric books and finally settled on a color and fabric. Trust me, that was no easy task.

As I’m partial to the Italian style of suits, which are generally characterized by moderately padded shoulders, strongly tapered sides, shorter jackets, I decided on slightly wider pointed lapel and one-button closure. However, I still wanted an inspired British flair and thus decided on making this a three-piece suit— something that could stand out when all put together but also look sharp when just worn without the waistcoat. I also decided on a rich blue whose hue is somewhere between royal and navy blue. Versatility was what I was going for.

Ton spent nearly 15 minutes measuring me, paying attention to my posture and proportions and asking my feedback along the way– since I want a slimmer and modern silhouette, I wanted to make sure this is a 3-piece suit that can serve as a foundation of my wardrobe. And it turned out to be a stunning piece: as the suit was unveiled to me on a recent trip to Los Angeles, I was very satisfied by the details– the stitching, the extra fabric in case the suit needed to be let out, my name and signature embroidered on the inside of the jacket– and can assuredly say that my first custom suit by Chookhare and Sons won’t be my last.