I am five feet six inches tall and have a broad chest. I also have a concave stomach. I also have moderate OCD. I have been altering clothes for almost as long as I can remember. My tailor lives a block away from me, and it’s only getting worse. Every few weeks, I go in and my guy pins any droopy clothes I’m wearing. We exchange few words. He is reliable and knows my needs and style. I don’t worry about anything getting damaged or unprepared.
However, I didn’t always have the luck of living in New York where there is a seamster for every 20 feet. Every mistake and move I made taught me new techniques to find a good tailor. These are my tips, along with some insights from Drew Jones, founder of D. Jones Clothiers, a bespoke suit company. Drew Jones has a deep understanding of how clothes should fit, and has worked with many great (and terrible!) tailors.
1. Do Your Research
Ask your friends and local menswear shops for advice. Online reviewers are often more knowledgeable than their friends. Yelp is a good option if your friends are all schlubs, and The Buckle is the best menswear choice in town. If that is the case, you may need to travel outside of town to find a good mens tailor in new westminster.
2. You can test them over the phone
Ask if the jacket sleeves can be shortened from the shoulder. Jones said, “This is one the most difficult alterations.” Jones added that it was a distinction between a seamster or a tailor.
3. Visit the Store
Take a look around. What if someone dropped your garment to the ground? Jones states, “The cleanest stores are the best tailors I have worked with.” It’s a sign that they care about appearance. They aren’t lazy or sloppy.
4. Take a look at their work
If you are satisfied with the space, ask for a copy of something they have altered. Although it might seem a bit fussy, a professional tailor should be proud. Check to see if there are any loose threads and if the product is neat.
5. Give them a test run
I learned this one the hard way (RIP almost-perfect-fitting vintage Brioni suit). You don’t have to worry about them ruining your clothes. They’ll be able to see how everything fits together, not just the item you requested. Jones states that the most skilled tailors will recommend more modifications. They should adjust your sleeves to the point where your shoulders meet your shoulderbone. This will help your shirt’s length. Only the most skilled tailors can see wrinkles in your jacket’s back and adjust the fabric to fit your body.
6. Follow your gut
Do you feel cheated if they suggest making changes? It’s important to be able tell whether a tailor wants your clothes to fit properly or is just trying to hustle.
7. Establish a relationship
You can send them back with more challenging changes if they pass these tests. Pay attention to the way your relationship develops. Are they able to remember your name? Are they able to remember your style preferences? When you have found a tailor who not only understands you, but also guides you towards a better fit, you can ask your tailor about his preferences regarding alcohol. This is what you will be bringing to him for the holidays.