Men's and Women's Tailoring
Prior to your move to Indonesia, it may be difficult to anticipate the wardrobe required by changes in lifestyle that you will face once you are full swing into the expat scene. You may have thought you planned well, but find that the wardrobe you brought with you needs to be supplemented after your arrival.
Did you come to Jakarta thinking that you wouldn't need a good suit, tuxedo ... so did many others. But don't worry, you don't have to wait until your next home leave to get into your storage as there are excellent tailors in Jakarta which can custom make a suit, tuxedo and other clothing for men.
Suitable office wear
You may find that your three-piece suits are a bit too formal for everyday office wear as men in your Jakarta office may dress more casually than in your home country. In that case, you may choose to wear a safari suit or long-sleeved batik shirt to work. Tailors can outfit you in these as well. Then, save your double breasted three-piece suits for formal occasions. Most Jakarta offices require only that senior management wear shirt and tie for everyday attire, and only require suits for important meetings involving guests or people outside the company.
Big and Tall
For those men whose size exceeds the average, in any direction, finding clothes that fit, let alone the styles they prefer, has always been difficult. While in Jakarta, take advantage of the excellent tailoring services to have shirts, trousers, jackets and suits made to fit you. Custom tailoring isn't only for the wealthy in Indonesia as prices are very reasonable.
Made to Fit
Based on your actual measurements, your tailored attire will fit better than anything bought off a rack. You can also choose the fabric, style, cut and buttons you prefer. If you want to follow the fashion dictates of Italian, French or American designers, good tailors are knowledgeable about current fashion trends. If you have your own favorite classic styles, they can be made up as well. Better tailors stock imported fabric from quality Asian sources as well as from the famous fashion houses overseas.
If you want to camouflage a widening waist line or give your body the appearance of additional height, a good tailor can suggest modifications or enhancements to the design of your garments to give the desired effect. If you prefer a certain type of collar, pocket placement or cuff, a tailor can make business or leisure shirts to fit your most exacting requirements. A perfect fit should be your goal, as well as your tailors.
The better tailors emphasize customer service and will come to your home or office to show you swatches, pictures of styles and take your measurements. You can have further fittings in your office or home or at the tailor's shop. 24-hour service is even available. Imagine ... an affordable suit, in the precise fabric and style you prefer, at a very reasonable cost ... in 24 hours. Now that's service!
How to find a good Tailor
Ask around and talk to other expats that have been in Indonesia longer than you and seek their advice to locate a good tailor.
Be sure to ask lots of questions about their satisfaction with the tailor's service, how the garment survived its first and subsequent washings or dry cleanings, if the tailor stuck with his original price estimate, how long it took him to complete the garment, etc. Ask your tailor if he will make alterations to your garments in the future. Try to locate a full-service tailor who is more likely to keep up with fashion, have quality fabrics and excellent tailoring skills. If the firm has been in business for a long time, you can be sure there are many satisfied customers around. Ask the firm for referrals from recent customers.
Within the expatriate community there are a number of occasions for which you will need formal attire. The Christmas/New Year's season is celebrated with several black tie balls and special events. At home you may have rented a tuxedo for those rare occasions for which you needed dress attire. Rental of such attire is difficult in Jakarta, but it is possible to get a tuxedo custom-made. If you aren't a Big and Tall, you may be able to rent a tuxedo from one of the Bridal photo shops would outfit wedding parties. Tuxedos are available for rent from Laxmi Tailors.
You may have planned the wardrobe you brought for your stay in equatorial Indonesia ... having forgotten the inevitable business trip home during the winter months or the possible holiday to Australia or New Zealand during their winter months. If you find yourself in need of winter clothes during your stay in Indonesia you may be able to find sweaters and coats in your size from the factory outlet stores in Jakarta and Bandung. Failing that, ask your tailor if they can outfit you in warmer wear for unexpected trips to colder climes.
Whatever your wardrobe requires, a good tailor will be able to help you meet your requirements.
Photo Credits: Laxmi Tailor
Tailoring FAQs with Laxmi Tailors
We all known one size does not fit all, and thankfully we have good options for bespoke clothing in Jakarta. But before you invest in some made-to-measure clothes, make sure you have the basics covered. We sat down to ask a few questions of Nathan Tengko of Laxmi Tailors to help you learn more about tailoring in Jakarta:
What are some things people should know in order to get the best suit possible?
First and foremost, when it comes to suits, many tailors around town subcontract the actual work to other tailors. The person who takes your measurements doesn’t always cut or sew your suit together. I don’t think many people know that. Here at Laxmi, we have in-house tailors and the person who takes your measurements will also cut your order. The added advantage of this is that person has seen your body and has talked with you personally about your preferences and can create a better-fitting item of clothing for you.
Laxmi has been established in Jakarta since 1949. My grandfather started the business and it has been a family business ever since, so we have a lot of experience with bespoke clothing and working with customers in Jakarta.
Another thing people don’t really think about is fabric quality. When tailors outsource, the clients are never 100% sure of their fabric quality. We source and buy our own high-quality fabrics from the best suppliers in the world, along with our threads and buttons. So customers can be assured of quality materials plus with our in-house work - which means greater quality control. We oversee every step of production, resulting in a better product.
What are the best fabrics for hot or tropical climates?
Wool is best suited for our tropical climate. Many people have the wrong perception that wool is only a “hot” fabric for use in colder climes. In fact, wool is a natural fabric and in 200- or 250-gram weights (300 grams are usually used in colder climates), it’s perfect for formal occasions in hot climates. Another good natural fabric is cotton, which works well for shirts and casual suits, and linen. The only problem with using linen is that it wrinkles easily, so we don’t recommend it for formal events.
Why should people invest in bespoke suits or tailoring?
The overwhelming trend in products is about customization now, from cars to coffee, so why not clothing? Clothes that are made-to-order or tailored fit you perfectly and you get exactly what you want. It’s about the same price to get a suit custom-made, as it is to buy a ready-made suit in the shops, so why not get it custom-made. Only two out of 10 times does a ready-made suit need no alternations so if you are going to spend money, why not have a custom suit, made to fit you perfectly from the beginning?
How long does it take to get a suit made?
It takes about two weeks after the measurements are taken. The whole process also includes fittings. Usually only one fitting is needed after the initial assembling of the suit, but we can arrange more if needed. If our clients are too busy to come to one of our three shops in Jakarta, we can have one of our tailors come to their home or office at their convenience.
Other than suits, what are other services or products that Laxmi provides?
When people think of Laxmi they think of suits but we also make shirts, pants, jackets, and simple women’s skirts and dresses. We also have an assortment of accessories including bow ties, cummerbunds, cufflinks, even patent-leather shoes and tuxedos for rent. We’re really a one-stop shop for black-tie events.
If you have additional questions for Laxmi Tailors, please contact us and we'll get the answers for you!
Photo credits: Laxmi Tailor
Last updated February 12, 2020