Wednesday, 23 December 2015

For the larger men in Malaysia - Largest Ready to Wear sizes out there - UPDATED 13TH JAN 2016

Someone wrote to me a while ago on where I usually shop for larger size jackets. This is necessary as I am not a skinny chap but one who is built like a tree trunk (I have a 48inch chest and a 41inch waist...not very tiny at all) Tailoring is the best for me AND for most larger size gentlemen out there. But it is possible to find decent ready to wear items off the rack. This was my reply.

Which jacket or blazer are you referring to? I have posted a few of my jackets in the blog. Suits I have to wear a 58IT with a drop 6 (Drop: eg, jacket size 58 a drop 6 means trousers size 52 - Italian sizes are 58IT equal to 48UK approximately) or 46 or 48uk depending on fit/cut. Drop 7 above would be a tight fit. 

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

The cycle of suit jacket styles - 1950s, the late 1980s, the early 1990s and today

The photo above is taken from voxsartoria's fabulous website about style. It is from 1955 and you can see musician Glenn Gould in a navy blue Double Breasted blazer/sports jacket and a pair of very loose fitting trousers. At first I thought this was from a Giorgio Armani advertisement from the late 1980s or early 1990s

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Neckties that belonged to my dad

The other day my mum gave me all, or most of my dad's neck ties. This was a collection dating from the 1970s, to the 1990s at the very least. It was an amazing treasure trove of ties that were from 4cm wide (must have been from the 1960s) to a whopping 10cm wide of the 1990s. The majority are those between 8-9cm and can be used if one wants to fill out the chest area unlike the current 5-6cm ties of today. It is harder to find ties like this today and I find it nicer to wear with those neapolitan styling that I like today. Note that even Rubinacci sells 8 cm wide ties today unlike the slimmer ones. This wider ties would make peacocking (if there is such a word) a much nicer thing.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The shirt is usually outerwear here

Here in warm, humid Malaysia business wear is usually a long or short sleeved worn with or without a tie. The jacket or suit usually reserved for meetings and functions unless you're a director, CEO etc. Then suddenly you wear a suit. But outside the confines of the air conditioned offices, the jacket is removed. Unless you get those unlined, unconstructed ones in an open weave summer fabric.

So the shirt becomes outerwear. Have many. And since they are outerwear do not be afraid to try out some patterns and textures - stripes, checks etc. for the sake of variety. Within the confines of good taste and your office dress code of course. For all occasions and for work rotation. About thirty to sixty days worth would be good. Having many shirts also allows shirts to last longer as you do not wear them out prematurely.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Vintage Stratton Cufflinks and Tie Clip set

This is a late 1960s or early 1970s cufflinks and tie-clip set that belonged to my father. I have no idea whether he bought it locally or when we were over in the UK in the mid 1970s (I was a tiny tot at the time). The set was made by Stratton, a well known UK company (based in Birmingham) that made a lot of women's accessories as well as some men's accessories like this set. 

Those days Stratton made their cufflinks and tie-clips in their Birmingham factory. Everything was made in the UK and everything was a big deal in some ways. Stratton were not known to make high end stuff, but for the working man. These were not ST Dupont grade items. But you could see a bit of history in them. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Of handsewn buttons and pickstitching everywhere ... Only Novelty?

In my previous post I talked about sewing or stitching crows foot buttons on my polo shirts. Or any of my shirt for that matter. If you know how to sew a little this, and pick stitching could be done by oneself. So personally if one has the skill, it is possible to change or embellish any of your clothing with supposedly hand sewn details that most who market this stuff like to hype about and make it a super big issue.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Fruit of the Loom Polo Shirt Gets A Little More Luxury

I was reading through the Malaysian equivalent of The Style Forum (which is called - Kerbau means buffalo so go figure) and there was this chap who has come up with the most luxurious polo shirt ever made. I think it may be so with crow's foot hand stitched buttons, silky smooth cotton pique material and pick stitching on the shoulder seams and armholes. Even my Brioni Polo Shirts aren't that luxurious. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

More Safari Jacket .....

It was a cloudy and it was still a hazy afternoon today. Temperatures weren't that bad (about 32deg Celsius) with humidity not as ridiculous as it usually is (which is usually over 75%) and wearing a jacket wasn't one of those slightly sweaty experiences out of the shade. So I wore another one of my safari jackets when I was out shopping with the wife and kid.

Somehow this made perfect sense as I could carry my smartphone, a small powerbank for it, my cardholder, my wallet without any unsightly bulges anywhere. This safari jacket is a ready to wear item from British India (a Malaysian company that has been around for awhile). It has its sleeves altered in length as well as its width. I had the buttons changed from a dull cream colour, which was too similiar in colour to the cotton poplin cloth used for the jacket. 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

A well dressed Malaysian - Tun Abdul Razak

Meeting the chap who invented the Mao Jacket 

Foldable or telescopic umbrella - The easy to carry around brolly

Sorry about the dusty car boot - it's the haze here in Malaysia I tell you. And I was in a hurry. 

Unlike places like Hong Kong or even Singapore, there aren't stores that fully cater to a man's need for accessories. Try finding a bow tie that isn't the ready tied ones and see. You have to order online or hunt for it. You will find one at Hackett another at Brooks Brothers and maybe at some of the older tailoring establishments. No one stop haberdashery to go to for all of one's needs.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

My latest travel jacket - Linen Safari Jacket made in Hua Hin, Thailand

I do apologise for not updating in here more often but I have been busy with other stuff. Business meetings, automotive events, trying out all sorts of vehicles including trucks and buses and other leisure stuff. But today I've decided to wrtie a little about something I got made in Thailand on a recent trip over there.

Most of you would know that Thailand is one happening place to be. It has everything that you think you want (and more). It is also infamous for cheap and ridiculously quick tailoring. I have one or two experiences and can offer you a tip or two. The main tip that you need to follow is that there is no such thing as commissioning a proper suit if you have less than a week. Follow this and you will save some money. You could give them a jacket to follow but if you're looking for bespoke stuff, I'd suggest you don't. 

A short sleeve shirt collared polo shirt on the inside

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A well dressed Malaysian: Jins Shamsuddin

Polo Shirt, dress trousers and a pair of derby shoes. Although I don't recommend buttoning the top most button of the shirt. Image from

Thursday, 27 August 2015

A well dressed Malaysian: Tunku Abdul Rahman

Tuanku Abdul Rahman....and Tunku Abdul Rahman. Both in Baju Melayu. Note the correct sleeve lengths (for a Baju Melayu) and the way the kain samping is worn (one just at the knee, one below the knee)

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Traditional Attire: The Baju Melayu Cekak Musang and Kain Samping

The Baju Melayu, simply translated means Malay Shirt, is the traditional Malay outfit for men. It consists of three parts if worn properly.

The first part is the baju or shirt. This is a long sleeved shirt which has a raised stiff collar known as the cekak musang (fox's leash) collar, a chest pocket on the left and two pockets located below (like in your normal suit jackets or blazers). The cut of the baju melayu is to the middle of the thigh but in a more loose fit than a normal shirt or jacket. 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Clothing Maintenance: Buttons - Crows foot stitching

What you see above is the back pocket of a pair of cotton trousers that I regularly wear. Recently the button at the back pocket went missing. I believe it happened during ingress of a car I was driving at the time. When sliding in the back pocket, and the button, would rub against the seat back and cause it to detach itself. 

Actually buttons on jackets, shirts and trousers would somehow end up missing sometimes. Even if the clothing may be hand sewn, a designer piece or from a factory outlet store the chance of losing a button is always there. So it actually pays for a person who is into how decently dressed he or she is to pick up the simple skill of re-attaching a button to one's clothing. 

The best thing about doing this yourself is that you can add a little flair to the item of clothing. The trousers in question came with a normal style of machine stitching. Now I've used the Crows Foot stitch for the button it is also called “fleur de lis” by some. The thread is sewn from the first hole to the second hole in a straight line. From the first hole, the thread is then sewn diagonally to both sides. The crows foot is one way you can tell whether a button has been sewn on by hand or by machine. It adds a little more flair to the clothing I end up repairing.

But heck, you'd have to be really close to tell. And if I was wearing this pair of trousers it would mean someone checking out my behind. Nope. It is definitely for personal satisfaction that I do this. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Thomas Mason fabric for my latest shirt

I decided to commission a shirt using Thomas Mason shirting cloth this time. If you are aware, Thomas Mason is an Italian owned fabric brand that has roots in England. It now made in Italy to what some would say a very high standard. The best around. Or so they say. When you choose fabric from a brand like this it would be because of the quality associated with it. This means a certain grade of material as well as the weave, colour and also some heritage thrown in.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Button Down Shirt Collar Roll - Best with a Brooks Brothers OCBD shirt

This article is one of those articles on how to look prim and proper in hot and humid weather. Usually here in Malaysia it is too hot to wear any sort of jacket outdoors for longer than a few minutes. It is usually sans tie and jacket if one spends most of his time outdoors here. Of course, a nice unlined, unconstructed hopsack linen jacket and a very thin dress shirt could also do wonders. But let's have options for the average man here in the tropics. What would be the best shirt that would look good without a tie or a jacket? 

One of the nicest ready to wear (RTW) button down collared shirts that one can find are those made by Brooks Brothers. Button-down collars have points fastened down by buttons on the front of the shirt. These shirts were first introduced by the American clothing company Brooks Brothers in 1896 and were patterned after the shirts of polo players (who used to wear proper button down shirts instead of the polo shirts we see today). They were used exclusively on sports shirts until the 1950s in America. It is still considered a more casual shirt style because of its collar - different from the usual spread or pointed collars, which are considered as formal. Some do say that traditionalist would not wear a button down collared shirt with a suit as it is a shirt specifically for a sport (polo) and not one to wear with a suit.

Saturday, 6 June 2015

How good things last - Featuring my first leather briefcase

The leather briefcase you see here is something that has been in the family for over twenty years. My mum bought it sometime in the early 1990s on a working trip to Germany. It was then used for a while by my dad. He then needed a bigger briefcase as this was relegated to occasional use. And When I started workin in 1997 I was a lowly legal executive in one of those large companies. Work was like any other corporate setup and I was at the beck and call of my superiors. At their mercy...... I was also paid quite little then. But at least I had a nice bag. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

Basic suede shoe maintenance

The suede driving shoes you see here are ones by Sacoor Brothers. These shoes are my in-house shoes or slippers. Wearing footwear indoors is useful in a house with marble and tiles for flooring which can be cold to the touch on cooler days or when the A/C is running. Driving shoes are useful as slippers as they are usually soft and flexible, therefore easy to slip in and out of. 

I also prefer walking short distances in them as these flat heeled shoes with rubber stubs wear out fast if worn regularly outside and for walking about. So for someone who likes shoes to last awhile ( decades if possible) driving shoes are too flimsy for daily wear. Unless you really use them for driving then heading to the club for drinks and straight home they don't really last longer than a few years before the rubber stubs wear down and out. As I said, I prefer my proper shoes to last a long while. So these, get to be my house 'slippers'.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Essential footwear: Brown Brogues and the Range Rover Sport

It is extremely gratifying to be plugging through mud, water, grime and dirt in a 2015 Range Rover Sport 3.0supecharged. Simply because even on normal road tyres, the Range Rover Sport makes it look extremely easy doing so. The supercharged 3.0liter V6 engine makes about 340ps and the all important 450Nm torque, enabling it to easily clamber around most terrain with relative ease. We did a circuit of obstacles on normal road tyres and if it had off-road knobbies, it would be a walk in the park for the Sport. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

A proper umbrella to use and to have

Most of us tend to take the umbrella for granted. We end up using free ones that we get from purchasing engine oil, cosmetics and other free gifts. Even if we end up buying one it is usually one that costs under RM15 like the one sold in the 7-Eleven stores nationwide. We usually buy one when we are caught out by the rain and there would not really be a thought in actually buying one for the sake of buying one. However, when one is seeking certain perfection in all aspects of their lives, even the simple umbrella must be a projection of one's persona. 

Friday, 8 May 2015

Why buy luxury?

I'll tell you why folks.
It allows you to enjoy the pursuits of artisans around the world. You see, luxury goods are products made by our fellow men and women. While they may seem like any other item that is not labeled as such but what most of us would get when buying luxury goods is the guarantee that the product is of a certain high standard that one may not find in a normal departmental store brand.

We know that a Birkin handbag by Hermes may cost upwards of RM40,000 but why does it cost so much. Aside from the obvious markups due to wanting to make it exclusive, amortising overheads like advertising, employee wages and  store upkeep there is that all important fact called Quality Control that is prevalent in all luxury products.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How good things last and how some don't really stay the same - Featuring my Parker ballpoint pens

I have been using the stainless steel Parker Jotter ballpoint pen you see here in the photographs as my main pen for over a decade. Those that have been following my exploits would know that I posted about it here. 

It does not mean that I am a one pen person. I have others. I have fountain pens too (Lots of them). But I find the ballpoint pen practical for daily use especially when filling up those forms at the banks, where you need to apply some force to make sure the duplicates are legible. So aside from the fact that I dread the fact of losing one of my vintage Parker, Pelikan or MontBlanc pens I like having the very affordable Parker Jotter with me most of the time. 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

The one good dress watch: Vintage Omega Seamaster Calendar

Every man needs a watch to use on special occasions. These days with watches larger than 41mm in diameter in the market it tends to stick out and will push your shirt cuff/ sleeve up making the watch the first thing that stands out. 

Whilst it seems to be the norm, I believe that it should still sit under the cuff  of your dress shirt if one is dressed for black tie, white tie or underneath the cuff of a batik shirt. This is where a slender dress watch comes into play. 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Blazer or suit Jacket maintenance - What I do after each use

Suit jackets, sports coats and blazers need to be looked after after each and every time you put them on. I do not wear them often simply because I do not need to most of the time. Firstly, temperatures are usually above 34 degrees Celsius and the high humidity is a killer too. Secondly, business attire in Malaysia is acceptable if you put on a long sleeved shirt and a pair of trousers. A tie is sometimes required but if you work like me, only when necessary. Even in most instances I prefer an unstructured and unlined blazer sans tie. It looks better actually and even though you are covered up, at least you don't have a noose around your neck in this weather. Hot weather dress means less layering. And using the correct fabrics and clothing. 

Monday, 20 April 2015

Wear a hat when you are outdoors

I have quite recently picked up the occasional habit of wearing a hat when I am out and about. Not the usual baseball cap or tiny little trilby that some wear but the larger sized hats that actually work in keeping the sunshine and if it isn't a panama straw hat, the rain away.

A hat does complement one's way of dress. It is also functional. Here in Malaysia the sun beats down on us and then very often the heavens open up too. One could carry an umbrella around most of the time but A hat is easier to carry around. Once you are outdoors, its on your head leaving your hands free to move about.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The high collar or shirt collar polo shirt. Where to buy them and the one by Brioni


One of the things that most men wear these days is the polo shirt (or polo tee as most of us here in Malaysia call them). The polo shirt, was first used as a golf shirt and tennis shirt. It is a fairly new invention actually, sometime after the 1860s after which tennis was first invented. The polo shirt is a shirt with a collar, a placket with buttons, and sometimes comes with one chest pocket. . Polo shirts are usually made of knitted cloth rather than made from woven cloth that dress shirts are made of. It is made from woven cotton usually but you also have them in wool, silk, polyester and a combination of materials too. 

I personally like using them on weekends, on holidays and other more casual outings. One thing that always bugged me about polo shirts is the way they sit underneath a sports jacket. The collar, made out of the same material as the body of the shirt but ribbed and just folded over to create a collar, sits flatly underneath any jacket. In fact, even when wearing the polo shirt on its own, it may curl up or be very limp. Buttoning up till the top does not work. In fact, buttoning up the top most button on a polo shirt would actually make you look like Forrest Gump. Whilst the character is amazing and shows you how people can survive with what was given or not given to them, he also showed us a certain stereotype which one should never follow unless you're Forrest Gump. This here is a tip folks. Do not button up the top button on your polo shirt.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Shoe tips: Why you should not wear really generic, cheap shoes...and photos of some decent ones

If you want to go out and buy cheap mens shoes the first thing you should know is that you shouldn't. If you still do, make sure that they are made out of leather. These last a whole lot longer than synthetic stuff. But that being said, I once experimented on buying those cheap leather shoes from BATA and even with stuffing in shoe trees and regular polishing the leather gave way after about two years or so. The over processed and stretched too thin leather could not take the usual twice a week usage I put them through. Then the heel was also plastic instead of impact absorbing stacked leather or wood. There was a lot wrong with it except the style of the shoe. It was an ordinary looking brown cap toe derby.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

A visit to Kamal the tailor's workshop

I was at my tailor's workshop yesterday. Mr. Kamal, who is shown writing down measurement details for a suit that my friend Azidi wants made. I usually get things tailor made by Kamal's protege over at his shop in Bukit Indah, Ampang. 

One of the reasons I have chosen this small tailoring shop in Ampang is the personal touch given to me and the willingness to try new things and experiment on the clothing I want. Be it from a traditional Baju Melayu, to dress shirts, to trousers/pants and suits.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Patina & Why Cheap Italian Shoes Are Useful: Part II

I wrote an article awhile back about Patina or shoes and why cheap shoes are good as practice for home made shoe patina. Anyway, according to the webpage analytics, it is one of the most popular posts in here. Not that this blog is popular in the first place but it does get a majority of the hits herein. That article is here.

Anyway, the shoe is still alive and kicking even after being used for almost a decade at almost once a week (7-8 years old shoes). Why so? Because it isn't blake stitched or goodyear welted but only stuck together with glue. Of course occasional gluing of its sole helped. But it has lasted this long. So much for those that say glued shoes do not last. 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

The argument for woven leather loafers for the tropics again and some pics from Instagram

Let me present my argument, again, for the most appropriate casual shoe to use in the tropics as well as highlight some of my postings from Instagram. 

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Kulitkraf officers shoe - the cheapest Goodyear welted shoes you can buy. But don't.

The pair of shoes pictured herein are undoubtedly the cheapest pair of Goodyear Welted shoes that you can purchase in Malaysia and to some extant, anywhere in the world. They are made by Kulitkraf and are actually official issue shoes for officers in the Royal Malaysia Police and the Malaysian Armed Forces too. Somehow, the issued shoes are full brogues in either patent leather for use during full dress functions and these ones that are made out of bookbinder/corrected grain leather. The other ranks (non-officer) get normal cap toe oxfords that use stuck on construction.Why the officers don't get the usual captoes I don't have a clue but if you do frequent the Ministry of Defense located along Jalan Semarak or Bukit Aman (the Police HQ), you'd notice most officers using these issued shoes and the other ranks using basic cap toes.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Have a long shoe horn at home

Any man who has pairs and pairs of shoes, particularly lace ups should have a shoe horn at home, at the office and if possible, in his car or briefcase too. This is to ensure that the shoe's counter (that part that wraps around the back of the foot) isn't stressed of bent out of shape when you slip your foot into the shoe. Keeping this part of the shoe in good nick is important if you want to see years of service from your shoe. I've seen many men destroy pairs of shoes because they simple force their foot and heel into tge shoe. Some shoes may be easy to slip in and out but some, like the more closed up formal balmoral oxfords are harder to just slip into. So a shoe horn comes in handy.

Friday, 20 March 2015

When in need of a good affordable suit..... buy Marks and Spencer

Photo:The Guardian

A few of my friends have actually asked me over the years on what off the peg suit or blazer should they buy when they're on a budget (of usually under RM1,000). I have always recommended Marks and Spencer. This British retailer of clothing and food have been around Malaysia since the late 1990s (with the opening of the Suria KLCC shopping centre) and has been the place for me to go when I buy ready to wear clothing.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Exotic leather shoes - Something to indulge after you have owned the basics

Fratelli Rossetti Crocodile Balmorals (l) and Teju Lizard Derby shoes (r)

What every working man should have are shoes to rotate so that the shoes do not die a premature death. I had suggested that working men have at least two good pair of shoes to rotate every other day. They should then build this up to at least five pairs of dress shoes and about two or three good pair of casual weekday shoes as well as a pair of patent leather oxfords or formal patent leather slippers/pumps for those black tie functions. With this outlay, it is easy to ensure that the shoes you have invested your money will actually last a decade or so with proper maintenance and care.

Monday, 16 March 2015

RTW Blazers in Kuala Lumpur - Massimo Dutti or Sacoor Brothers?

Sacoor Brothers 

Massimo Dutti
Two of the nicer, high street ready to wear stores in and around Kuala Lumpur are by Massimo Dutti and Sacoor Brothers. Both are European in origin, with Massimo Dutti being Spanish (and part of the group which owns ZARA) and Sacoor Brothers from Portugal. Both brands have only been around Malaysia for less than a decade but have made their mark with a lot of people who seek clothes that are more classically styled instead of being following the trends.


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