Reader Question: Finding a Quality Tailor
Behind every well-dressed man is a quality tailor. This is a central part of the menswear gospel that I preach. But if you’re just getting started, it can be hard to know how and where to find a good tailor. Here’s some advice in answer to a reader question about how to find a quality tailor.
The grey tweed suit is fantastic, and like always, you make it look great. I’m a college student, and while I’m not in the market for suits yet, I soon will be. My question is: how do you find a quality tailor you can trust? It seems like your tailor did a magnificent job on that suit.
First, thanks for the compliments, Jay. My tailor, Earle Bannister from the Quinntessential Gentleman, is THE MAN, which is why he’s the only tailor I visit. In terms of finding a reputable tailor who you can trust, begin by simply asking around. Word of mouth is a great way to find a tailor—it’s how I found Earle, actually. After that, schedule a consultation or some alterations and take it from there to see if he’s a good fit for you.
Here are a few other really important things to keep in mind:
– Cultivate a relationship with your tailor. Just like any other relationship—personal, business, or romantic—a relationship with your tailor is built on mutual trust and respect. Always keep in mind that your tailor is coming from a particular style background—mine spent years as the in-house tailor at my local Brooks Brothers—and will have his or her own views on how menswear should be. They might be steeped in traditional practices so asking for a really tapered trouser leg with no break, for example, might really throw them for a loop. They might even tell you that you can’t, or shouldn’t, do that.
– Be respectful and be patient. Listen to them, and if you feel like they’re not quite on the same style page, show them some examples of what you’re after so they can get a visual. You are learning their preferences and they are learning yours. Talking to many of my friends who put some effort into the fit of their clothes, it seems quite common to have these sorts of small disagreements with a tailor in the beginning. Just remember that the quality of a tailor’s work is more important than their personal preferences for fit.
– Tailoring is an art, not a science. Some alterations—like hemming pants, for example—are pretty straight forward. Others can get much more complicated. Though there is a general blueprint for how to deal with any alteration, factors such as the fabric and your body shape can require more than a little improvisation. This is where a tailor’s experience and creativity come into play.
Have a style question or need a recommendation? Send me an email and I will get back to you as quickly as I can.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style
Photography by me.