Using a Tailor to Get the Perfect Fit | Men’s Stylist

Fit is king. It doesn’t matter how expensive your suit is, how well the colour of your shirt complements your skin, or how crisp the details on the garments are. If the garment doesn’t fit well, it’s not going to look good on you.

Do your clothes fit? Do you want them to fit better? Go and have them tailored. It’s an easy solution and it works!

The benefits of having your clothes tailored

Going to a tailor and having your clothes altered not only ensures that your clothes fit you perfectly, but it can also help extend the life of your garments. Do you have a pair of trousers that have become too snug or a jacket that acquired a small tear? A tailor can save those, so you can keep wearing your best clothes while saving up on the cost of buying a new wardrobe.

Anything in your closet can look good on you when they fit. A tailor can adjust the sleeve length, excess blousing around the torso, take the waistband in or out, and re-shape a jacket – to name just a few of the alterations they can make. It’s very likely that you can salvage many of the garments you no longer wear by having them tailored to fit.

Common alterations and their costs

The cost of alterations will depend on the scope of the job and the level of skill required to do it. Basic alterations usually cost low while alterations requiring high skills will be more expensive.

Basic skill alterations

  • Button and zipper replacement
  • Trouser leg length
  • Jacket sleeve length, with non-working buttons and unlined

Medium skill alterations

  • Fixing neck roll
  • Adjusting torso on a jacket
  • Adjusting waistband or seat of trousers
  • Tapering trouser legs
  • Shortening a shirt sleeve
  • Replacing a shirt collar
  • Adding darts
  • Tapering the shirt

High skill alterations

  • Jacket sleeve length, with working buttons and lined
  • Jacket length
  • Rotating the jacket sleeve
  • Relining the jacket
  • Reducing shirt shoulders
  • Re-weaving – small holes are fixed by using fabric found elsewhere on the suit to create an invisible patch

When alterations are impossible

Tailors are superbly talented, yes, but they have their limitations too! Unfortunately, a tailor can’t help when the following happens. It may be time to purchase new clothes.

  • Long fabric tears
  • Holes larger than 1.5 inches in circumference
  • Heavy abrasion damage
  • Severe weakening of the fibres caused by alkaline or acid exposure
  • Burnt fabric

Another scenario wherein a tailor would be of little help is when the garment doesn’t have enough fabric. If you need to extend a sleeve or open up a pair of trousers, but there is no excess fabric to work with, even the most talented and creative tailor won’t be able to help.

Finally, a tailor may also be limited by proportion. If you need to shorten your jacket by two inches, a tailor can’t reposition the pockets. Or bringing in a pair of trousers by more than two inches often moves the pockets too. In both cases, the garments just look wrong and even comical.

Choosing the right tailor

This can be tricky. While there are tailors that are undoubtedly talented, honest and reliable, there are also those who over promise and under deliver. So how do you find the right tailor? We recommend asking for recommendations. Do you have a colleague, friend or family member who always looks dapper in his suit? Ask him who his tailor is.

When choosing a tailor, also consider their communication skills. Do they understand the job you require? Are they able to communicate any limitations honestly and clearly to you? When you call or visit, do they make time to accommodate you? Being able to communicate effectively can ensure a good and lasting relationship between the tailor and yourself.

Finally, make sure to examine their handiwork. Look at the outside and inside stitching, as well as the seam work. You’ll see a tailor’s level of skill in the details of their finished product.

If you have off-the-rack suits or ill-fitting clothes that need to be altered to fit, then having a good tailor you can rely on not only ensures that your clothes fit you perfectly, but also that you can keep wearing them for a long time.