Suits Have A Great Deal of Practicality for Daily Wear

On our fifth interview for “Suit Geek”, we invited our client & good friend Mr. Meng Fanyi. This Finance field’s newcomer just got into the suit world not so long ago, but he has already developed his own style. It looks like an easy process, but he actually spent quite some effort on getting there. Today he will be sharing his journey to tailored clothing, how he finds his personal style, and the stories of becoming a ‘swing dance-aholic’.

“Meng Fanyi is gonna drop by (again).”

Chances are you would bump into Meng at our shop, it’s like he’s one of the back-up staff. In fact, he has joked about it once, saying if he had to choose again, he would want to work at PRINCIPLE M, selling some menswear.

Sometimes he comes with a plus one or two (or more), bringing some new friends to introduce. Sometimes he comes alone, or simply stops by before going to a dancing class, chats with us for a bit, checks out the fabric, maybe buys some new stuff…

‘Suiting up’ is his strict dress code for working, but he finds his way to make it a lot more fun: search for a rare vintage fabric, and pair it up with shirts in the brightest colours. Meng once said, “the reason why I got into the suit world is that I found suits have a great deal of practicality and versatlity for daily wear.”

Then you look at him, and the way he dresses himself, you’d probably think, well, no wonder he said that!

– Meng Fanyi –

“I work in Finance.

My title is Junior,
super junior”

/On His Very First Suit

“I actually just found that picture of me wearing my first-ever suit the other day. I bought it when I was in grad school, for my internship, and that was in 2016. My first suit was black, just like what any other Chinese boy would buy for their first haha.” 

“Back then I’d think black suits are suitable for most occasions, so I bought a black one. But if I were to do that again, I would totally go for Navy or Tabacco. Now I know black is way too formal for most occasions, so it wouldn’t be the perfect choice for your first suit. I wasn’t very sensitive to colours when I was young and didn’t know about suits much either.”

Mr.Meng shows us the photo of his very first suit.

“As for my first jacket, it was a Xiabushi cotton jacket, a very casual one, with no lining, single-breasted, and very skinny lapels. As for the style, it wasn’t very slim.” 

“It was my mom who first persuaded me to buy that jacket. She thought that this is something I’ve never tried before, and it was worth a shot. But I barely wore that jacket.”

/On His Journey to Tailoring

“It was when I started interning, one step into the real adult world, that I thought I should change the way I dress myself. Some of my friends also liked wearing suits. Then I realised suits were not only designed for work, it also has great potential for daily dressing style.” 

“I was living around the outlet shops in Fangshan back then, so I went to buy some ready-to-wear suits, like Brooks Brothers and CERRUTI 1881. That was my first step to the suit world.” 

· MTM Double-breasted Caccioppoli Suit Made by PRINCIPLE M in 2018 ·

“I also started following your store on social media at the same time. I made my first tailored suit here at PRINCIPLE M.”

“Before I made up my mind to make customised suits, I actually did a lot of research. I wanted to choose a place with a reasonable price. The first time I visited your store, I didn’t buy anything, just had a chat with you guys, took a look around. I remember you guys didn’t try to push me to buy anything. Then you added my WeChat, still went pretty quiet on me haha. I really like this kind of attitude. It’s like when you go to salons, they always want you to get a membership card. I really don’t like that. That will actually push me to do the opposite.” 

Suits can help adjust your body shape and proportion. Some people also worry that they may get fat, so they want to make the suit bigger, add a bit more on the chest or waist, then it turns out looking like a bucket. You’ll look even more fat in a ‘bucket’.”

“The suits that I make, the sides have to be pretty close to my body. I’ve been trying to do suits with no vents, like the one I made with B&Tailor, I really liked how it looked. I have a pretty big body, so I want something that can make me look slim, by adjusting the waist.”

· 3-Piece Grey Purple Suit made by B&Tailor in 2019 ·

“I don’t understand why some tailors like to make the suits slimmer, like it’s not slim enough already. There are wrinkles everywhere when you’re wearing it. You can see pictures like that all the time on Weibo, the suits all look really tight and short. Short is fine, but tight? I can’t stand that.” 

“Good suits take “comfortability” very seriously, but that doesn’t mean to make the chest or waist wider, like a bucket. Good suits are the kind of suits that look very slim and well-fit, but when you stretch the front chest part, you can see a lot of space.” 

“You look small on the outside, but feel big on the inside. That’s a good suit!”

· Semi-bespoke Brown Linen Suit Made by PRINCIPLE M in 2020 ·

/On His Daily Style

“To be honest, double-breasted suits or stripes are not my cups of tea. They’re too serious for me. Most of my clothes are a bit too…colourful, ha. One of my favourite suits is the beige suit with blue stripes I got from PM, matching it with a red shirt or a tie with red and white stripes, to balance out the seriousness a stripe suit has.” 

· MTM KK Beige Blue Stripe Suit Made by PRINCIPLE M in 2019·

“When I’m at work, our dress code doesn’t really say much about the colours you can wear, as long as you’re wearing a shirt, a suit or a jacket, instead of jeans, Polo shirts, or T-shirts. Off work, you can wear whatever you want, so I get to try out more suit styles.” 

“I have my own theory when it comes to clothes: I don’t want to dress like everybody else.” 

· Mr.Meng’s Daily Look ·

“When I was young, my mom really enjoyed buying me all kinds of clothes. She was a fan of colours, especially bright colours. I also like taking photos, so I really like colours.” 

“When I plan an outfit, at least one piece of the clothing should be in a bright colour, for me that piece of clothing is normally a shirt.” 

“During the weekend, or whenever I’m off-work, I wear white a lot, especially white suits. Also some of the colours that are not suitable to wear to work, like Tuna pink, and shorts.”

“Why did I wear that Pokémon shirt to PM that day? Well, I injured my foot! I could only wear flip-flops! Then I thought, I better wear something that could go with flip-flops.” 

“Whenever I’m out, I’m out in a suit. I’ve got nothing else anyway, haha.” 

What would you wear for a first date?

 “Well, I’d wear something formal, and maybe a little bit more than formal, like a white suit. Last Christmas, I went on a date, I wore the semi-bespoke 3-piece suit I got at PM. It was a vintage fabric, with pinstripes. I’d polish my shoes, wear a good watch, and last but not least, wear a tie!”

“3- piece has its advantage: when you’re wearing a waistcoat, it’s hard to bend, so you always sit really straight while eating. This is a very good point.”

Do you have a piece of clothing that has Sentimental value for you?

“Last summer, one of my suit geek friends got a very rare Japanese cotton/linen blend fabric. It was only 10 meters long, only enough for 5 of us. It’s like a group uniform thing that only five of us have. It’s got sentimental value. Sometimes you share the same piece of fabric with someone, and make the same suit, it’s like sharing a bond you have with this person. I think that’s really meaningful.

· Mr.Meng in Chad Prom 2020 S/S Stripe Shirt
Available at PRINCIPLE M ·

/On His Lifestyle

“I started dancing last November. Lindy hop. It’s a type of swing dance with very simple steps. Really relaxed-looking. You can’t swing it like that if you’re too stiff. At first I only learned it because my friend did it. Then I thought doing this type of dance in suits could be really cool, and that made up my mind about dancing.“

”Lindy Hop was very popular during the 1930s and 1940s in America, but died down after the WWII. During the wartime, the economy was so bad, people wouldn’t spend a dime going to a club and dancing all night. Since it’s a social dance, it has “open” and “close” positions, and a lot of swirls, to avoid too much intimate interaction.”

“Most of the dancing tutorials you see online, the guys are wearing suits. Because it’s a swing dance, there aren’t too many movements, all pretty relaxed, you can still feel comfortable in a suit. The only disadvantage might be…you’d probably sweat a lot, haha! Especially for Lindy hop, the male dancer leads the dance, so you can get really hot after two or three numbers.” 

“Sweat or no sweat, I have to wear suits! Just like what Mr.Bao said, life deserves a bit more “formality”!”

“Some people would buy clothes for a dance. For me, it’s the opposite, I have so many suits, and I want an occasion to showcase them so I dance!” 

· Mr.Meng and Mr.Bao ·

“I like rock n roll. I’ve been listening to a lot of jazz recently, so I’m used to that, too.”

“I went to college in Hangzhou, it was a very quiet, gentle city, so I listened to a lot of folk music at that time. After I moved to Beijing I kind of stopped listening to that.”

“After grad school, I rarely find chances to read. Even so, I’d still force myself to spend a whole afternoon reading a hundred pages. Recently I read Love in the Time of Cholera. I really went deep into it. The writer, Gabriel García Márquez likes to write about 18th and 19th centuries, and what it was like in South America. People living at that period of time, they were persistent in love and romance.” 

My favourite book has to be Haruki Murakami’s ‘Hear the Wind Sing’. You can’t find the word “sad” in the book, yet while you’re reading it, all you can feel is sad and depressed.” 

· Mr.Meng in MTM Olive Kruger available at PRINCIPLE M ·

“Some of my favourite films are Trainspotting, and The Godfather Part I. I’ve seen them both several times. Also, V for Vendetta, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy— they are all good films. I like some of the Chinese films too, especially Wong Kar-wai.” 

“I don’t think Wong Kar-wai is too sentimental. I saw some of the French New Wave films, but those were too much for me, too deep. I can understand Wong Kar-wai’s films because he added many eastern cultures and values into his films.” 

“My favourite film of his is Ashes of Time, perfectly portrayed how a guy deals with his first love, very struggling and unclear, like how we used to be when we were in high school.”

If you’re not doing this, what do you think you’d be doing?

“When I was at high school, I wanted to be a writer. When I was in college, I wanted to be a photographer. Right now, if I’m not doing what I’m doing, I would want to work at PRINCIPLE M haha, sell some clothes.” 

“I’m kidding! I want to separate my hobby with my career. If I could choose again, I’d probably do something that has an impact to society, like a doctor.” 

“You know what? Forget about what I just said, I’ve always wanted to be a rock star! You can write it this way in your article: he pauses for a little, then he says: forget it, I want to be a rock star!” 

Interviewer: Justin
Writer: Carrie
Photographer: Adora
Produced by PRINCIPLE M

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