- Find a jacket that properly fits your shoulders
- The seams should follow your shoulders and you should comfortably be able to raise your arms without feeling as if your jacket will rip down the middle a la incredible hulk.
- When buttoned, the jacket should not gap or pull
- Check the tag
- Not the brand tag, not the price tag (well maybe), but here I mean the lovely little tag that tells the material used. The fabric tag will let you know whether you are getting what you are paying for. Most suits are made of wool but even if this is claimed you should check the tag to see whether you are paying fancy prices for something that is mostly a polyester blend.
Other fit issues such as waist fit, overall length, and sleeve length, can be addressed by a tailor. Keep in mind that some revisions are more costly than others. A general rule on alteration pricing is that it is determined by how much time and effort is needed. For example, imagining buttons are not an issue, changing the sleeve length on a linen jacket can be quick and easy but if the problem is slimming the sleeve of a silk lined blazer, the alteration can be $$$.
Find your perfect tailor
- A good tailor can elevate your look. Recommendations from well
dressedtailored people are great starters but let's imagine none of those are around and yelp cannot help you in your quest.
Do not simply settle on tailors at dry cleaners (unless you need a quick and easy job I suggest you go to someone who has survived in this economy solely working on clothes because that is a sign that they may be getting repeat business).
I have had the luck of finding a tailor who makes custom dresses for opera singers. When he talks about this work his passion for his career shows. He tells me that designing and making these dresses is challenging but exciting. Finding someone who is confident and can make such garments is a good sign.
A good start is to find a tailor who claims to make custom garments well. Go to this tailor and investigate! A good tailor should not have a problem with showing you samples of his/her work. A good tailor should be proud and maybe even have photos of pieces (s)he has completed. When you are shown garments what you want to look for is validation of awesomeness. ;) To do this, check for a seemingly parallel construction. It is critical to take a closer look at the stitching. Is it falling apart? Does it look clean and secure?
Knowing your needs and expectations before you go makes for good conversation with your tailor. While your tailor will likely know about how a garment should fit and what it takes to get it that way, only you know your specific needs and personal style. Discuss general style preferences with your tailor to make sure (s)he does not hold an outdated view of fashion.
It is important that you get along with your tailor enough that you both can successfully communicate with one another. Before having any work done, check the delay time and make sure you are happy with the turnaround time. If a tailor can commit to a usual turnaround time of one day you should consider whether (s)he has all this time on his/her hands because (s)he lacks customer loyalty. A good tailor may be busy and take one week to return your clothes. Also, you should not have to pay the full balance the day you drop off your items--you should be able to inspect your items.
When you find a tailor who you think you can trust, test the tailor before dropping off a big job or pieces that are important to you. Maybe you have an ill-fitting skirt than can use some slimming or a hem? Leave that one piece.
When picking up your alterations, you should be able to try on the piece again to test the fit.
Lastly, a good tailor will let you know whether an alteration for a particular item is worth it. When I have arrived early for an appointment time or my tailor is working on another client at the same time, I have heard him tell the person if he thinks the alterations will be more costly than buying a similar item new. A great tailor will not waste your money. Maybe you can test your potential tailor by bringing in an old oversized coat to see what the tailor suggests :)
Good luck in your quest!
Do you have a trusted tailor? How long did you search for one? Do you have other tips on finding one?