Best Ways To Find A Quality Tailor
When it comes down to it, there are two main ways to find a good tailor: word of mouth and online search.
Word of mouth is the absolute best way to find a tailor. If you have a friend who always dresses well and seems to have the perfect fit, ask who his tailor is. The same goes for well-dressed strangers – if you pass someone on the street or in a shop, don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations. Chances are, if he’s into fashion, he’ll be more than happy to share the information.
FURTHER READING: A Complete Guide to Suit Alterations
If you don’t have a personal connection or recommendation from someone you trust, the next option is to do a Google search for any tailors in your area. Check the results for customer reviews to get an idea of what people are saying. If there aren’t many, check with a site like Yelp for more reviews. It might not be as good as getting a personal recommendation, but it can definitely help you narrow down your options.
From the results, choose the best three to five tailors and see if they have a website. In this day and age, they probably do. See what they have to offer, what their general turnaround times are, and what they specialize in. If you need alterations to a suit for a wedding, for example, you’re going to want a tailor who’s experienced in those types of events.
How To Choose A Quality Tailor
Now that you know how to find a tailor, the next step is to figure out if they’re good at what they do. This includes things like their personality and background, as well as their overall quality.
Find The Right Personality
Even if you’ve found the best tailor possible, there’s still a chance that your personalities won’t mesh well. Ideally, you’ll find a tailor who’s a good match for you. But, just like with any relationship – personal, business, or romantic – the one you have with your tailor needs to be built on mutual trust, respect, and communication.
Some tailors can be a little pushy or unwilling to work with you on what you need, especially if you go in not knowing exactly what you want. This can create a weird dynamic in the relationship that’s not good for anyone. Oftentimes, it leads to frustration on all sides – a real lose-lose situation.
Look for a tailor who’s willing to listen and communicate with you. Don’t hesitate to tell them what you like and want. But remember, this goes both ways. Remember to be respectful and patient. And, if they want to offer real advice, listen to them.
Every tailor comes from a particular style background. Some are traditional and used to working with older clients who prefer classic or timeless styles. Others have a more modern way of doing things.
The first time you work with a new tailor, be aware that they won’t automatically know your style preferences. They might not even be familiar with certain choices, like a tapered leg or a slight break. In some cases, they’ll even tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t do something you want.
Depending on the tailor’s background, you might need to show them some examples of what you’re after so they get a clear visual. The best tailors should be able to make any alterations you need, regardless of their own preference. But, if they still won’t work with you, politely thank them for their time and look elsewhere.
Get A Sample Of Their Work
Any respectable tailor should be willing to show you something they’ve done recently. Ask for a sample of their recent work before giving them something of yours to work on. That way, you can get a good idea of what they’re capable of.
Get Some Alterations
If you’re fairly confident in the tailor you’ve found but aren’t quite ready to commit, ask them to make some alterations to something you own. This could be anything from shortening the sleeves of a suit jacket to taking in the waist of a dress shirt.
The best tailors will be able to do anything you ask of them. More than that, they’ll also be able to make some recommendations based on the garment. The more knowledgeable they are, the more likely you’ll be a satisfied customer.
Discuss Turnaround Times
How long it takes a tailor to do your alterations depends on the type of alteration and how busy they are.
For simple alterations, a reasonable turnaround time is no more than a week. This includes things like hemming pants, taking in or letting out the waist, or shortening sleeves. For more involved alterations, like tapering pants, shortening a jacket, or any type of work with the shoulders, expect a longer turnaround time.
Whatever the case, the tailor should be able to give you a good idea of what to expect before they get started.
Figure Out The Cost
Now, the cost of tailoring might not be your main priority, but it’s still worth considering. If you haven’t done this already, compare the prices of different tailors in your area. This will give you a good idea of what’s considered competitive.
If, for example, one tailor charges several times the price of what everyone else does, there’s a chance they’re overcharging for their services. On the other hand, if they do alterations for half the price of everyone else, ask yourself why. There’s such a thing as paying too much or too little for the quality of service you receive.
Some rental companies and most custom suit companies will do free alterations, so ask about their policy. Also, see if they offer any kind of customer satisfaction guarantee. Even if it takes several attempts, a quality tailor will work with you until you’re happy with the final product.
It’s not as common, but some tailors also have a refund in place that covers damaged clothes. This can help give you peace of mind, especially if you’re getting multiple items altered for a special event.
Remember, even bespoke tailoring is an art, not a science. Even the best tailors sometimes have to make multiple alterations before they get it just right. Still, a quality tailor should be able to get you the perfect fit, regardless of your style, their background, or the alterations you need.