Everything You Need to Know – Custom Tailoring 101

If the way you look is something that really matters to you, buying off the rack without having alterations made probably isn’t your best bet. A lot of guys, whether they wear suits, blazers and slacks, or jeans and sport jackets, buy clothing right off the rack. Maybe a pair of pants gets finished at the bottom by the store, but for the most part, the average man has very little done to his wardrobe these days.

That’s because even an article of clothing that’s a pretty decent fit can always look better. When it comes to looking your best, anyone who knows his sartorial stuff will tell you that fit is king, and all other factors come second. So why wear things right off the rack?

One reason is that many men don’t know a tailor or are afraid to work with one because they’re not too fashion savvy. The fact is that your tailor wants to help – not make fun of you. So shut the fear out and use these steps to find a tailor that will make you look like a million bucks – even if you only spend a few hundred.

Ask Around

Finding the right tailor for you might seem like a difficult task, but the fact is that many tailors work in multiple styles. You probably also don’t have such unique tastes that a tailor couldn’t figure out what you like just by what you’re wearing.

When it comes to finding somebody that offers custom tailoring in your style, one of the best things you can do is ask around to see if anyone knows anyone good. If you have friends or colleagues who you think always look great, make sure to ask them first. If a guy has a tailor he swears by, he will most likely be happy to share that information with you.

Pick Up the Phone

Once you get a few names of places that do custom tailoring, making some quick phone calls is a good place to start. If you’re wondering what good calling a tailor is, you’re probably not the only one.

You need to pick up the phone and call them to get an idea of what their business is like. Does somebody answer the phone or does the call go right to voice mail? Do you get a call back in five minutes, or do you have to call multiple times just to talk to somebody? These details provide a great insight on how they operate.

Another thing you can do is ask them what alterations can be done. Do they do custom work? Can they shorten a jacket from the shoulder to the sleeve? If they can do that, chances are they’re a real tailor with some great skills.

A photo posted by Your Bespoke Life (@yourbespokelife) on Nov 25, 2014 at 1:42am PST

Pay a Visit

If your potential tailor passes the phone test, the next thing that you need to do is pay a visit to their shop in real life. When you visit the shop, take a look around and check for cleanliness. Do you see items on the floor or poorly hung on racks? Are there so many items in the store that it looks disorganized with nothing sorted by date?

A good tailor is organized and runs a solid business. Even if the tailor does good work, a lack of organization and business skills could negatively impact your experience. After all, there’s not much worse than expecting a suit to be ready for an evening only to find your tailor forgot about the work or put it on the wrong rack.

Talk About Services Offered

When you visit a tailor in their shop, take the time to discuss what type of services they offer and excel at. Many tailors will tell you that they do everything, but not all of them do everything with the same level of expertise.

For example, if you’re looking for custom tailoring or custom clothing made for you, finding a tailor that offers those services is important. Some tailors may be ideal for alterations because they do the work regularly, but difficult jobs may be too much for some to handle.

Talk about what your tailor can and regularly does do in their shop to see if they might be a good fit.

A photo posted by Benson & Clegg – London (@bensonandclegg) on Jul 16, 2016 at 6:32am PDT

Let Them Show Off

This next step might sound a little nitpicky, but trust us, it’s definitely worth doing. When you go to visit a tailor for the first time, ask them to show you something that they just finished working on.

A good tailor will be happy to show off their skills and tell you about the work they did. If they’re hesitant to do this, chances are they either aren’t working very much or they aren’t as proud of the work they do as much as they should be.

Discuss Your Style

If the custom tailoring you are shown looks good, go ahead and take the next step. Talking about your style and what you want from your clothing is something that any good tailor should take the time to do.

An excellent tailor is one that assesses your sense of style and runs with it, not fights against it to make you fit into his style or what happens to be the current trend. Your tailor might suggest certain things based on a garment or your body type, but the ultimate decision about how your clothes fit should be up to your preferences.

A photo posted by Bernie and Duff (@bernieandduff) on Jun 19, 2016 at 4:24pm PDT

Go for a Test Run

Once you find a tailor you think might be an excellent fit for your custom tailoring, it’s time to take a test run with them. That means taking a piece of clothing in that you want altered.

One thing you probably shouldn’t do though is bring in that suit or garment you’ve had in the back of the closet for a year just waiting to be perfected. Think of this as an audition – a chance for your tailor to show you that they’re really good at what they do.

After a successful alteration or two you can bring in pieces that are beloved or potentially hard to replace. At that point, you’ll trust them to do excellent work even on complex jobs.

Foster a Relationship

Custom tailoring skills and an understanding of your style are important to find, but the relationship you build with your tailor is just as important. When you see them, take note of whether or not they remember you, your sense of style and what you’re looking for.

If you’ve got an excellent tailor working on your clothes, you also need to do some things to foster that relationship. First, use them regularly and come to them when you need work done instead of shopping around.

A friendly compliment goes a long way too!

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