You want to get your suit tailored.
You’ve got the suit, and it fits.
You’ve found a tailor.
You’ve made an appointment.
So what’s the first thing you say to your tailor when you walk in?
“Communicating effectively with a tailor can prove to be quite difficult when you literally and figuratively do not speak the same language,” said stylist Jessica Cadmus, founder of The Wardrobe Whisperer.
Her company coordinates closets for high-powered executives and other professionals.
“It’s helpful to know exactly what you want before discussing any desired alterations,” she continued. “It’s also helpful to internalize a few buzz words that any tailor should know — even those that don’t speak fluent English.”
In other words, you need to learn tailor lingo. We’ve listed a few terms in bold in their proper context below. Learn them, use them, love them.
- The first thing to do is check out the body of the suit on the hanger. If it hangs like a sack you should tell your tailor it needs to be shaped. Cadmus said: “This is most effectively done through the two darts that appear on the back of the jacket. Have your tailor show you wear he will take it in. If he points to the center seam versus the aforementioned darts, find another tailor.”
- If you want your suit to look custom without spending a ton of money, tell your tailor you want the bottom on each sleeve jacket functioning, and then leave those buttons open. “Take it a step further and have the tailor use thread in a bright or contrasting colour (like cobalt or red) to trim the bottom functioning buttons. These are details commonly associated with bespoke suiting,” said Cadmus.
- Oh, and a non-lingo thing on the sleeves — you want 1/4″- 1/2″ of shirt cuff to show. Sometimes the tailor will take this from the shoulder but it’s best if they take it from the bottom of the sleeve. It is ok to have the tailor remove a sleeve button to do this as long as you have at least three buttons left.
- If you want to play with the waist of your suit pants, you should know you have about 2″ to play with. You can have them let out or taken in. “Taking them in may effect the seat of the pants in which case you may notice your tailor drawing a V shape in tailor’s chalk down the middle of the seat,” said Cadmus. “This just means he’s going to ease the fabric in so that the lines of the pant remain original looking.”
- Now for one of the most crucial parts of the tailoring experience, the hem of the pants. This has to be done right. Be sure to wear your favourite dress shoes and a matching belt (you should wear one unless your pants have a tab front) as your tailor is measuring. “Ask for little to no break. This is current for pant length,” says Cadmus. “This will allow the fabric to fall nicely over your shoe but the fabric in the front of the pants will not cascade.”
Got it? Go into a tailor’s shop with this vocabulary in your arsenal and you should be good to go.
Maybe bookmark this page before you go.