You’ve put this off long enough. You’ve tried begging Mom to do your alternations, buying an off-the-rack suit that doesn’t really fit, but now you’re ready to give in. Finding a tailor isn’t an easy task but we’re right here with you to walk you through some dos and don’t of finding a great tailor. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and colleagues about their recommendations. After all, that’s how you’ll know and trust that you’re in great hands. Once you’ve got a fairly good list, you can start your research.
We’re going to tell you right now that this is the most important thing to look for. How long has this guy been in business? Where did he learn his craft? Who did he study under? Good tailors boast that they learned their trade from respected tailoring houses, such as WW Chan & Sons of Hong Kong, or Kilgour of London’s Savile Row.
Ask around, on the Internet, from well dressed friends and family and any other sources of information. Word of mouth is powerful. Satisfied customers should put your worries at ease, and if they’re unhappy with their tailor they’ll let you know, and why.
Talk It Out
Before you get started, you should also have a clear vision yourself, of what you’re looking for in a suit or jacket. Ultra modern Italian cut? Swedish minimalism? English classic three-piece? For example, an older hand can give you some of the best old style tailoring, while a younger tailor might be better for cutting those ultra slick modern suits.
Bring in photographs and other examples of what you want in a suit, and talk it out with your potential tailor. Drape, cut, fabric, style, liner, anything you can think of. Even if he can’t help, he might be able to give you the names of some colleagues or friends that can.
The best tailor is helpful, and expects you to treat him with the respect he deserves. Conversely, he also expects you to know what you want, and he will do his best to provide it to you. He will not veto ideas, but he will offer suggestions. He may sigh, he may say that he worries about the youth of today, but the suit will come back exactly as you requested it. And in the event that you’re unhappy with the result, he will remind you that this was your idea.
The First Commission
You’ve found someone to work with, but now’s not the time to jump headlong into things and commission a three-piece. You should build a working relationship, and you should see some samples, and commission a (relatively) small job, such as a shirt.
This will give you the chance to get a working relationship with the tailor, and also give you a small sampling of his work. Ask questions, about how your shirt will be made, see other ones he’s made, and ask about price points and how long your job will take.
Your future tailor should also be asking questions. Questions about your needs and lifestyle rather than you doing all the work. He should ask about the type of person you are, what your goals and needs are for a particular garment and what kind of environment you will be wearing these clothes in. Your tailor should be working with you to achieve a result that works for you. It should be about your vision, style and how you want to present yourself to others. You should feel comfortable enough to share your vision, and your tailor should want to help you create it.
Finding a great tailor can take time and effort. Don’t get frustrated. You’re going to be making a big commitment to whomever you choose, so make sure you invest the time to check up on your potential tailor. Remember, you need to be comfortable working with this person because it’s going to be a very personal relationship.
Questions? Comments? Horror or success stories? Concerns about a tailor? Leave us a message below.