Tailoring secrets – Alterations
Although the pinnacle of men’s style, not everyone can afford to visit a gentleman’s bespoke tailor. So how do you make sure your clothes fit you perfectly? Buy from the high street and visit an alterations tailor to turn a garment that fits you well into a garment that looks like it was made for you, there’s a big difference.
Since most high street clothes are deliberately cut generously to accommodate the largest number of potential customers, most clothes will ‘just about fit you’. For the masses this is good enough, but for a modern gentleman whose clothes have to be ‘just right’. Using an alterations tailor you can get bespoke fit from high street clothes.
What clothes can be altered by a tailor?
If you can wear it, chances are there will be a tailor who can alter it. The notable exception is knitwear, but other than that you should feel confident in having it professionally altered. Trouser leg length and adding darts to your shirts should be a staple of every man concerned with how his clothes fit, but that’s not all. Denim jeans can look amazing tailored in both leg length and in the waist band. Suit jackets can also respond well to being taken in at the waist for a tailored look and overcoats can look amazing with some alterations.
Price guide for alterations
To give you an indication of what can be changed, and the approximate price for the alteration, I found this table of prices from the well respected Cad and the Dandy. The pricing below shows the cost to alter machine made and hand made suits, and reflects the extra work involved in altering hand made jackets. Most off-the-shelf garments are machine made.
|Shorten / Lengthen Jacket Sleeves from Shoulders||£45||£55|
|Shorten / Lengthen Sleeves from Cuff||£30||£35|
|Shorten / Lengthen Jacket Length||£40||£45|
|Take in Centre Seam||£35||£40|
|Take in Side Seam||£45||£50|
|Take in Side & Centre Seams||£55||£60|
|Relining Jackets (Including Lining)||£135||£150|
|Shorten / Lengthen Trousers||£25||£25|
|Shorten / Lengthen Trousers with Turn-Ups||£27||£27|
|Take in or let out Waist||£25||£25|
|Add Braces Buttons||£25||£25|
|Remove Belt Loops, make Side Straps||£40||£40|
The magic of invisible repairs
One little known, but amazing service offered by many Alterations Tailors is invisible repairs. For those of you who only bought one pair of trousers with your suit (not something I would ever recommend), have you ever thrown it away because the seat of the trousers have worn through? I’m embarrassed to say I have before I learned that many alterations tailors can fix that issue with a straight forward repair. Even more impressive is the ability to make holes, nicks and tears vanish. Quality clothes you might feel have been ruined by a minor lapse in concentration can almost certainly be saved by Alterations tailor making an invisible repair.
- Look through your wardrobe for items that could be improved with a minor alteration. You will be surprised how many garments could be improved by the tailored look or need minor repairs.
- Search through your local directories for a list of local alterations tailors. Most will be walk in stores, but there are a growing trend of kiosk style alteration tailors so you may be surprised how many there are local to you.
- Start small! Don’t take your favorite suit jacket for major reconstructive surgery with a tailor you have never used. Take a pair of trousers to have the length you adjusted to ensure you are happy with the service and you can trust you prized clothes with them.
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