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Button Ups

Choosing a Tailor

Tailors are the unsung heroes of fashion, who, behind the scenes, perform their magic to make us look our best in the clothes we choose to wear.  Their skillful craftsmanship transforms clothing from the ridiculous to the exquisite through custom alterations that result in perfectly fitted attire.  However, tailors aren't just limited to nips and tucks.

Try a tailor on for size to experience the ultimate luxury of a custom-made suit, sport jacket, slacks, or dress shirt.  A tailor is the "go-to" professional who has the ability to make outer garments fit and look as though they're specially designed for the wearer, even if they're not.

Chances are, if you use the services of a tailor, you already know that a good tailor is a guy's best friend.  Sure, there are other professionals who know their way around a sewing machine, but few rival the skill level of a first-rate tailor.  I'm not opposed to using the services of a dry cleaner or general seamstress for simple alterations like a pant hem, but when it comes to the necessary precision men's bodies require for a perfect fit... well, let's just say I use no one other than a tailor.

Like every other profession, not all tailors have the same skill and ability levels.  Unfortunately, tailors range from poor to fabulous, and too often, we're the victims of their mishaps, which is why I strongly suggest using a tailor who comes highly recommended by someone whose clothing you admire.  Save yourself a lot of time, aggravation, and money by asking the locals for referrals.  You can also look online for nearby tailors, but that's not a guarantee you'll choose a qualified one.  Word of mouth has always been and still is the safest, most reliable way to find a great tailor.

Still, I wouldn't stop there.  No matter how highly regarded a tailor is, it's smart to drop in and evaluate his work.  Don't be afraid to walk in and request to see samples of finished work; preferably the same type work you need to have done.  Inspect it and trust your judgment – the workmanship is usually obvious.  Notice details like symmetry, straight seams, zippers and button placement.  It's not as scary as it sounds, since we all know how clothing should look – so trust your gut.

You may also want to inquire about the length of time he's been a tailor.  I appreciate that everyone has to start somewhere, but I've learned not to gamble with my clothes by only choosing tailors who have years of experience under their belts.  That's not to say a newbie can't do excellent work.  It simply says I'm not willing to put some of my finest and most expensive clothes at risk.  Can you tell this advice comes from experience?!

What about cost?  Tailors don't come cheap, and depending on your location and part of the world, a tailor, even the bad ones, charge good money for their expertise.  If money concerns are a factor, find out what the prices are before hiring him to do the job.  The cost should be weighted against the cost of buying new clothing that fits from the start.  Alterations rarely cost more than new garments, but it can happen, so decide if it's more practical to forgo the needle and buy new.

Turnaround time is a big consideration, too.  If you need the suit made or altered by a certain date, make sure he can meet your deadline, and if not, go elsewhere.  I once had a pair of pants hemmed for a dinner party I attended.  Unfortunately, I forgot to tell the tailor when I needed them and he didn't ask, so needless to say, I ended up wearing a different pair of slacks to the party.  It wasn't a big problem, but the situation has that potential, so talk with your tailor about your time frame in advance.

Simple alterations, such as hemming, having buttons moved, or replacing zippers don't require much input on your part, but whenever clothing is being custom-made, show the tailor pictures of what you want to avoid confusion.  In addition to style, discuss fabric choices and their care before committing to any fabric, since you'll have to pay for the finished product whether you like it or not.  These steps are very important, so speak with your tailor as much as necessary, in order to ensure you'll get what you want... which leads me to my final point.

Hiring a tailor is business.  It's not about how much you like him, or the fact you went to school with his son.  It is, however, about feeling confident in his work and comfortable dealing with him.  Like a hairstylist, you need to have him listen to what you want, and give you what you pay for.  If he seems dismissive or disinterested in what you have to say, thank him for his time and move on.  Remember, he works for you and should always give excellent customer service.

Finding a tailor whose hands are golden isn't difficult.  It does require some effort on your part to find one you'll be truly satisfied with, though.  So, do your homework before handing over your new Gucci suit, and enjoy your new found partner in fashion!

by Aaron Marino
Modern Tailor, The Prefect Tailor Every Time

Past Topics

New Topics Added Weekly!
The Tailored Slim Dress Shirt  -
October 16, 2012
Modern Tailor Will Make It Slim! Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses the perfect fitted shirt, like on the mannequins in the store. Fitted doesn't mean super snug or tight. Fitted simply means tailored with a drop and less shirt body bagginess. The shirt tapers smoothly to the waist. This is the idea-- look for a shirt that is slim and tailored in construction. Banana Republic has come out with theRead More»
Business Casual | What to Wear to Work -
October 12, 2012
Alpha starts with a story about business casual. If it were true, it would be an amazing tale of an incredible fashion significance. It all starts with the 1982 Docker khaki and the tactic for selling these khaki pants. A mass memo about business casual was passed around to all white collar workers encouraging men to toss the tie and lose the suit. Business casual was born. In reality, the corporaRead More»
Know Your Neck Size | Neck Measurements for Shirts -
October 2, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. gives advice on how to determine your neck size. If you don't find a shirt in the proper neck and sleeve length and you are going to wear the shirt without a tie, you don't need to get the shirt of the proper neck size. Go into a department store and get a shirt measurement. They'll give you an arm measurement as well as the neck measurement. You can do this as home as weRead More»
Deeper V Neck Undershirts -
September 27, 2012
Canvas Unisex Deep V-Neck Tee One of the most controversial videos that Aaron Marino of alpha m. did on YouTube was about men's undershirts. People have strong opinions about undershirts. Aaron doesn't wear them for several reasons. However, if you need to wear an undershirt but you don't want it to show, many men wear v neck undershirts. Aaron discovered a deep v neck from a company, Canvas. If yRead More»

How to Remove Yellow Armpit Stains -
September 25, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. presents a simple trick to remove those unsightly yellow armpit stains. Antiperspirant deodorant causes the stains- specifically the aluminum. You could simply throw away your tee shirts or wife beaters; however, you can remove the stains simply. Bleach will make the yellow stains worse. OxiClean takes the yellow stains out of shirts, and actually removes any stain for thaRead More»
How to Layer with a Button Up Shirt | Layering with Sweaters, Cardigans, Vests -
September 21, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. states that layering is going to be huge this fall and winter season. Light weight sweaters, cardigans, and vests are all part of layering. So, how to you execute properly a button-up shirt with a cardigan or pull-over sweater? The shirt needs to be proper length if left untucked. Alpha displays the zones, which you need an inch to two inches from the bottom of your rise tRead More»
Shirt Shoulder Placement  -
July 27, 2012
Where should the shoulder seam of a man's shirt sit for proper fit? Aaron Marino of alpha m. analyzes where a men's shirt seam should sit on his shoulder. The seam shouldn't crest the outside of the shoulder- should be some room should be available. When you locate your collar bone, an inch difference should be visible. Next time you are buying a men's shirt, explore buying the next size down whicRead More»
Avoid Shoulder Nipples | Properly Fold and Hang -
April 25, 2012
Do you have little marks or irregular dents when you hang a heavy men's shirt or men's sweater on a hanger? You have shoulder nipples! Aaron Marino of alpha m. talks about how to avoid shoulder nipples and how to fix them. Don't hang heavy shirts or sweaters on hangers, period. Store sweaters by folding and hang on a pant hanger. All of Alpha's sweaters are neatly folded and draped on a pant hangeRead More»
Tailoring Men's Button Up Shirts | Clothing Alterations -
March 30, 2012
Aaron Marino of alpha m. discusses what a tailor can and cannot alter regarding the fit of your men's button-up shirt. A tailor can get that shirt that fits 'eeh' to fitting 'mwah'! The tailor can make the body of the shirt fit better by reducing amount of fabric.They can also reduce the length to enable wearing untucked. They can also replace buttons. They can reduce the diameter of the sleeves aRead More»

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