Going to a tailor can be a daunting experience for a young man.
Many questions are likely swirling through your mind: “How do I know what to ask for?”, “How do I know if I’m getting my suit tailored the way I want it to be?”, and “What do I even ask for?”
Well, worry no more. Here’s your cheat sheet.
Know what tailors can actually do.
A tailor is not a miracle worker, and there are only a few set common alterations a tailor will be able to make to your suits and shirts.
According to Primer, here they are:
- Shortening suit jacket sleeves.
- Hemming pants to make them shorter.
- Adding or removing pant cuffs.
- Slimming the arms or sides of a suit jacket.
- Slimming the rear and legs of the pants.
- Adding darts to make a dress shirt fit slimmer, and shortening the cuffs.
Familiarise yourself with the tailor’s approach.
Tailors are not a one-size-fits-all affair, according to Men’s Journal. A traditional Wall Street-style tailor is going to tailor the suit a little more conservatively than one that specialises in the more modern, closer-fitting style.
Know what your tailor is known for, as you might need to give additional instructions to get exactly what you want.
Learn the language.
It’s simple: It’s a lot easier to ask for what you want if you know how. Chances are, a good tailor will already know what needs to be done, but it will never hurt to be more specific. The three most important terms to know are:
- Let it out (you want more fabric here).
- Take it in (you want less fabric so it fits closer to the body).
- Break (how your pants will drape over your shoes).
With these three under your belt, you’ll likely sound like you know what you’re talking about, even if you really haven’t a clue.
Know what’s in style.
In order to be certain that what you’re asking for is appropriate, you need to know what the current trends are for men’s suiting.
- For shirt cuffs, you’re going to want between 1/4″ and 1/2″ showing.
- Pant breaks should be kept to little or no break so that the pant flows seamlessly into the shoe with little extra fabric draping over.
- Jackets should be kept slim-fitting, with only the slightest hint of tugging at the front when buttoned.
- Pants should be relatively slim fit and flattering, with a slight taper to your ankles.