Finding a Great Tailor in Your Town

Submitted by SharpMan Editorial Team on Thursday 14th October 2010
In this article
  • How to find a tailor that fits your needs.
  • Communicating with your tailor.
  • The Tailor’s Top Five.

You got the threads; now make sure they look their best on you. Simply taking the time to alter the clothes you buy can make a world of difference in the image you present. Check out the 411 on finding a great tailor and making the most of his or her services:

Finding a Tailor Who Fits Your Needs

To find a great tailor in your area, use one of the following tried and true methods:

Ask those who look good around you. Question well-dressed male coworkers, friends and acquaintances. And don’t be shy — who won’t be flattered to hear that they look good enough to offer a recommendation? Although well-dressed female coworkers may have tailors, recognize that not all tailors of women’s clothing will be equally skilled with men’s items — regardless of what they say.

Ask older married women. Seasoned partners of suit-wearing men have often spent years sampling the offerings of local tailors and can often point you in the direction of a great tailor.

Consult a high-end men’s clothing store. Nearly every town has a great old men’s furnishings store that alters items for their customers. Often this work is performed by a trusted local tailor. Call one of these stores for a recommendation, or ask if your work can be done by their in-house staff.

Consult a hotel. As a last resort, call a local, established hotel. The concierges of high-end hotels often call upon local tailors to mend items for their guests. In many cases a local concierge can be a great source of information on the "best" of your city.

Communicating With Your Tailor

While finding a great tailor is important, properly communicating with your new tailor is paramount. Failing to do so may result in a total botch on an otherwise perfect clothing item.

Speak up. Be clear about exactly what you want done with your clothing. Whether it’s a two-inch hem on your trousers or a waist adjustment to a shirt, make sure you feel comfortable with the measurements and marks your tailor has made. If the item feels too snug or too loose once it’s been pinned, point it out to your tailor. Remember, tailors are there to fulfill your needs, not to impose their own preferences.

Listen up. Having said that, recognize that a tailor’s experience is worth its weight in gold. Got questions about what looks best or what "hangs" properly? Ask away — tailors can offer invaluable advice on trends and classics, and which look best on your body type. So if you’re going for a specific trendy look, be sure to ask your tailor if he or she would recommend this for your build. Just because a certain hem or fit looks great in the pages of GQ doesn’t mean it’s going to flatter you. Ask for guidance and consider your tailor’s advice. Looking great is more important that sporting the latest fad.

Check up. When you pick up your altered items, make a point of trying them on in your tailor’s shop. If an item doesn’t fit properly, tell your tailor immediately. Never leave the shop with a piece of clothing that feels wrong. If it’s not comfortable at the tailor’s shop, it won’t look or feel any better once you get it home. A good tailor will be responsive to your needs.

The Tailor’s Top Five

If tailors had their way, every piece of clothing in your closet would be altered to specifically fit your body. Of course, it isn’t always necessary to ensure that your socks line up properly with your calves. What should you take to your tailor? Consider the following Top Five:

  • Alter the length of your trousers. Whether it’s hemming or shortening your trouser legs or finding a matching fabric to lengthen "high waters" or "flood pants" (pants that are too short for your legs, a much more difficult fix), your tailor will help you find the perfect length for your slacks. He or she will even take your shoes into consideration to ensure that your slacks "break" or crease in a stylish fashion.
  • Properly fit your suits. Drowning in an oversized suit (or squeezing into a style that fits tighter that Steve Martin’s navy retro classic in Father of the Bride) definitely makes a statement; it just may not be the statement you want to make. And since most SharpMen only don suits for important, image-conscious occasions such as work, interviews, client meetings and the like, it pays to throw down a few clams to look your best. Your tailor can ensure that your pants hang properly and that your jacket hugs your torso as it should.
  • Alter dress shirts. Most SharpMen are not proportioned like Donna Karan and Georgio Armani male models. Although SharpMen may know their shirt size, the fit of their shirts may require some alteration. Got sleeves that skim your knuckles and buttons that pop off your chest? Allow your tailor to alter your shirts to your form.
  • Take in or let out your waistband. While you may have stopped growing vertically after age 20, chances are good that — at some point — you may grow or shrink in your midsection. Your tailor can take in pants that are too large for you, or take out pants when you’ve grown too large for your pants.
  • Transform your wardrobe. Want to turn your double-breasted suit into a single? How about turning an old sport coat into a new vest? Or, why not create a new winter scarf from an old sweater? Your tailor can facilitate these transformations and more. The key is too weigh the cost of your tailor’s labor against the price of a new item.
This article last updated on Thursday 14th October 2010
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