It may take some searching, but the right tailor makes all the difference
Written by Clifford Chen
It doesn’t matter what your body type is, every man can benefit with the help of an experienced tailor. A $1,000 jacket still looks bad when it lays on your body awkwardly. While a higher price point usually means better quality, fit is the ultimate rule to follow. A custom fit tailored to your body will always look better than something that’s straight off the rack. While not every single t-shirt you own needs to be tailored, key items such as a coat or suit should be trimmed to your specifications. It won’t be easy to trust your suit with a stranger completely, but the finished product is worth the effort.
Methods for Finding a Tailor
Yeah, we know this might seem obvious, but you’ve gotta start somewhere. Doing a quick Google search will give you a database of all the tailors in the area. This will be the most complete method for finding potential tailors, but proceed with caution. With so many listings, you’ll also have to sift through tons of results. Most businesses will be listed on Google, but their information may be out of date. Be sure to call ahead of time to confirm their current address and hours.
Yelp is a great resource to use because the results will be more filtered than a Google search. The best thing about Yelp is that it is extremely up to date and includes extensive user feedback. Yelp also has photos from previous customers to put your mind at ease, and you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into. The written reviews will also give you a rough idea of what to expect and what to look out for. Obviously, stay away from the guys who have a bunch of one-star reviews. Once a garment has been ruined, they can’t always be repaired.
Word of Mouth
Your best-dressed friend definitely wouldn’t be able to live without their go-to tailor. Once you find a tailor you trust, they are likely to become your seamster for life. A dry cleaners will usually have a tailor for repairs, so feel free to ask for their input. Be wary of the dry cleaners that also do alterations in-house. Since it isn’t their speciality, their work usually isn’t as good.
How to Tell if You Have a Good Tailor
While finding any tailor in today’s era isn’t too hard, finding the right one is difficult. Tailors can be a dime a dozen, and you really need to build trust and establish a relationship with them. After all, you are trading your money and clothes in the hopes that they don’t mess it all up. You do want to trust your tailor’s expertise because they usually know what they’re doing, but look out for these tips as well.
While we don’t expect you to know all of the alteration terms, your tailor should be well-versed. Any tailor that rushes you or pushes back on what alterations you want done is definitely a red flag. They are there to edit your clothes as you see fit, so they should be following all of your instructions. Listening to their input is one thing, but if they are adamant about something, it may be time to go elsewhere. If they have a strong opinion, it should be grounded in technical limitations, not their own personal preferences. Good communication with your tailor also ensures that you don’t run into any awkward situations where your clothes are altered incorrectly. Imagine how devastating it would be to receive your suit jacket that is now too small to wear. Don’t be shy about asking questions about the whole process, since it’s always better to be safe than sorry. A good tailor will always be willing to work with you, give recommendations, and prioritize your wants over theirs.
The best tailor in the world is useless if they can never be reached. Or worse yet, they have already received your clothes but don’t seem to be making any progress on it. Plan accordingly if you need your clothing altered by a specific date. Busy tailors can take up to 2-3 weeks for a typical job. However, be wary of turnaround times that are too quick as they may indicate a hasty job. The trick is finding the sweet spot between wait time and quality of work. Generally, it’s worth a little extra wait when your garment comes back perfectly altered. However, we would personally recommend against any tailor that asks for over 3 weeks to finish any alterations.
It would definitely be a mistake to assume that all tailors are great dressers. While they tailor clothes all day, their sartorial advice shouldn’t be the final word. You’ll also want to consider that they come from all different backgrounds and cultures, which can result in wild differences in opinion. At the end of the day, it’s your outfit so you should have the final say. Don’t be put off if their style is a little different from yours. Just remember to say no if they try to embed a polka dot pocket square inside your suit pocket.
Build a Relationship
Your relationship with your tailor, just like with anyone else, will be built on trust. You will be trusting a stranger to accept your money and give back your clothing that’s (hopefully) altered the right way. Being on a first-name basis means that communication will be improved and your style preferences will be understood. Expect discounts, quicker turnaround times, and better alterations if you establish a friendship with your tailor.
You should be running away as fast as possible if you aren’t able to see the bottom of the floor. A clean store is a sign that the tailor cares about their profession. If there are clothes littered everywhere, you can expect to find a lazy tailor. The presentation of the store matters because it’s a portrayal of their career. How can you expect excellent skill and care from someone that can’t even clean up their store? You should stay far, far away.
After you get your first suit tailored, you’ll never want to live in a pre-tailor world ever again. Next time you roam the streets, we don’t blame you if you can’t stop noticing people that are in dire need of a tailor. Just make sure that you don’t bring it up to them. Not only do fitted clothes look great on you, we guarantee that you’ll be feeling great too. Nothing quite brings the confidence as a custom suit that’s tailored for yourself only.
Photo Of Clifford Chen
SOURCE: THE GENTLEMANUAL