Courtesy of Nate DeMars / Pursuit
Jake Mendel is the director of development for Pursuit, a men’s clothing store located in the South Campus Gateway.
When looking into buying a suit, there are a ton of details that come to mind. What color should I buy? How many buttons do I want? Should I get a center vent or side vents?
All of these details are important, but they have a tendency to cloud one of the most important details of all: the importance of a good tailor. The truth is, unless you’re buying a pricey custom suit or you happen to get really lucky and perfectly fit a suit off the rack, you’re going to need a good tailor to get the look you really want.
Tailors can change almost everything in a suit. Sleeve length, waistband width, pant hem, you name it. The most important aspect of having a good tailor is knowing what you want when you walk in. A tailor is there to facilitate your needs, your style and your opinion. A good tailor will make suggestions based on your personality type, not their own.
Know your common alterations. The most common suit alteration is the pant hem. This changes the length of the pant so that it rests on, or just above the shoe. Also consider talking to your tailor about trimming extra fabric in your pants to get a slimmer, cleaner look. If you’ve bought a non-slim suit, chances are you’ll need to get the pants and sleeves trimmed and have the coat taken in to fit you just right.
When shopping for suits, try to keep in mind that a tailor’s job is to make alterations. Spend some time looking at different suit cuts and styles so that you get as close to a perfect fit as possible. In most cases, you’ll find that the only alterations you’ll need to get are sleeve length and pant length alterations. This will save you from having to spend money on alterations, and will help to preserve the fresh, original look of the suit.
Now that you’re armed with this knowledge, feel confident when speaking with a tailor. Bring in your suit, and talk through all the different options that your tailor can give you. Start from the very bottom of the suit and work your way up, asking the tailor to explain which alterations are available, what they do and what look they’ll give you. Explain to the tailor your personal style, which event you plan on wearing the suit for and any other details that inform the tailor about you and your tastes. A good tailor will just do what you tell them to. A great tailor will listen to you, guide you and teach you how to dress better. Look for those great tailors and cultivate a relationship with them. You never know when you’ll have an impromptu interview the next day and need a favor.