Money Well Spent: An Alterations Price Guide

I’m often asked how much it costs to get a suit – or other basic menswear items – tailored. The answer? Well, it depends. Alterations and tailoring services vary depending on the tailor, their location and the quality of their services.

However, if one thing is certain, it’s that the cost associated with alterations is always money well spent.

Here is a general price list for common suit jacket/blazer, pants and shirt alterations.

Suit Jacket Alterations

Shorten/Lengthen Sleeves: $60

Shorten/Lengthen Sleeves (with functioning button holes): $150

Let Out/Take In Side Seams: $65

Let Out/Take In Back Seam: $55

Shorten Jacket: $75

Reduce Shoulders: $160

Reline Jacket: $200

Replace Pocket Linings: $25

Replace/Tighten Button: $2-5

COMING SOON: A Guide to Suit Jacket Alterations.

Suit Pants Alterations

Hem: $10

Hem with Cuff: $20

Taper Leg (Two Seam): $30

Taper Leg (Four Seam): $60

Adjust Waist/Seat: $25

Replace Zipper: $25

Add Hem Guard: $25

COMING SOON: A Guide to Suit Pants Alterations.

Shirt Alterations

Add Darts: $15

Taper Sides (Serged): $25

Taper Sides (French Seams): $45

Shorten Shirt Tails: $25

Shorten Sleeves: $25

Move Collar Button: $5

My favorite story of the “money well-spent” aspect of suit alterations is the story of my vintage Yves Saint Laurent three-piece suit. I found it in an LA consignment shop and though it didn’t fit me perfectly – the pants were classic 1970s wide and the jacket sleeves were a little long and wide as well – I knew that I wouldn’t take much for my tailor Earle to whip it into shape.

DONT MISS: The HSS Guide to Finding a Quality Tailor

The suit’s main “selling point” for me was that the shoulders fit immaculately. (N.B. Reducing a suit jacket’s shoulders is major surgery. I would never buy a suit or blazer – vintage or otherwise – if the shoulders didn’t fit. It’s simply not worth the hassle, expense, or potential headache if it doesn’t come out right.) So at $250, it was a steal.

So $150 in alterations later, I had a suit that I’d say I’ve gotten more than my money out of.

Thanks for reading.

Stylishly Yours,

Brian Sacawa
He Spoke Style

Recommended

Chime In

  • wcliffcoleman

    I had a suit custom tailored for my brother’s wedding last May.
    Best money I’ve spent on clothing.
    I would wear it everyday if my job allowed.

    • http://www.39bucksamonth.com Stephen Davis

      What do you do?

      • wcliffcoleman

        First off, I watched this video: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=b4l4khCUnIM

        Then I took my suit to the tailor and made sure they applied those “rules”.

      • wcliffcoleman

        Obviously, I bought a suit that fit the way it was supposed to. I just used this video to help polish off the fine details of what I needed the tailor to do.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Amazing what a little tailoring can do, right?

      • wcliffcoleman

        Absolutely! Worth every penny!

  • http://thejeffbyrnes.com/ Jeff Byrnes

    I’d add that shortening shirt sleeves may involve moving the gauntlet, which makes it considerably more expensive. Just removing the cuff, shortening the sleeve, and re-attaching the cuff, however, is usually about $25–30 at my tailor. I always end up moving the gauntlet though, which is more like $60

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      You’re right, Jeff. Sleeves with cuffs can be shortened to within one inch of the button on the placket – any further and you’re going to have to reset the placket. My tailor charges $50 for that service.

  • http://www.39bucksamonth.com Stephen Davis

    Thanks for the tips. Only thing I’d add is…A PICTURE OF THIS SUIT ?

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Sure thing, Stephen. The suit and shirt I’m being measured for in the photo is from Zegna. You can see it on the site right here: http://hespokestyle.com/classic-navy-suit/

  • Miguel

    Becuase of my frame and height most of the pants and Jackets I get have to be tailored, I found a friend and Taylor’s who has done marvelous work on some pieces that I’ve found, it’s the best money decision I made on clothing.

  • qin

    The most expensive suit sleeve shortening is $25.(no functioning button). The tailor didn’t want to do with my other jacket with functioning button.

    • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

      Sounds like you might want to hunt for a different tailor, Qin.

      First, $25 is very cheap for that kind of alteration – so much so that I’d be suspicious of a tailor charging that kind of price.

      Second, the fact that he didn’t want to tackle another jacket with functioning button holes tells me that he’s probably not in the league you require.

      Finding a tailor can be hard. Best advice is to ask around. Check out our tips for finding a quality tailor: http://hespokestyle.com/finding-a-quality-tailor/

      • qin

        It can depend on the area I think. I live in the Midwest and couldn’t find expensive tailors(not that I want to, lol). I believe a $60 sleeve shortening can be fair in NYC.

        And I agree with you on the functioning button alteration.

        • http://hespokestyle.com/ Brian Sacawa

          It’s not necessarily about finding an expensive tailor, but rather one who has experience and skill. Both of those things add up to someone being able to command a higher price for their work, which is most deserved.

          • qin

            Hi Brian!

            I meant to ask another question but since we are here:

            Is there a rule how long a Pea Coat should fit? I have a Schott pea coat that fits little below the hip(covering the entire hip) and is a 4 * 2 button coat. Do you think I need to get it tailored?

            Thanks!

  • http://www.adammartin.us/ Adam Martin

    Great article Brian. This is really helpful. Do you often buy suits from vintage shops and have them tailored? Is this usually cheaper than buying a new suit?

  • Ryan Anderson

    Good Story, Looking for a tailor in the city of Atlanta -don’t like driving to the suburbs to my last (decent, but not great) tailor.