What to ask your tailor to do

What to ask your tailor to do

Four Common Suit, Jacket, and Blazer Adjustments

Below:  Suit by Indochino, Tie by TheTieBar, Shirt by Alfani Red, Watch by D&G, Shoes by Gordon Rush

What do you tell the tailor when you go in?  I just took my first set of stuff to the tailor this week; and while I was there I realized I had no freakin’ idea HOW slim to get things, how long to make my sleeves, etc.


– Shawn (left in the comments here)

A good question, but not an easy one.  Tailoring is all about fitting an individual body, and we’ve all got a unique chassis.  I’m a long torso / big legged / prefer my jackets super close at the rib cage / need some pant length to move kinda guy.  But with that said, there are a few foundational adjustments worth considering.

The red lines indicate where most off the rack athletic suits might fit.  Know that when this suit by Indochino arrived, it was much more dialed in than those red lines.  I still took it to my tailor and had her bring it in just a bit more (for free, thanks to the re-tailoring credit).  These are the adjustments most will ask their tailor to make:


1. Bring in the jacket sides / jacket waist

A jacket waist which darts in gives you that James Bond look.  Have your tailor “pin you up” in front of the mirror.  This is where they gather the fabric that will be taken in, and use pins to give you a preview.  Once they’re done, do the hug test.  Pretend that you’re going to hug someone.  If you feel like you’re going to tear out a pin?  It’s too tight.

2. Bring up / Shorten the sleeves

Wou’ll want to be showing 1/2″ – 1/4″ of shirt cuff when your arms are at your sides.  It’s like a pocket square on your wrists.  That bit of contrast goes a long way.

3. Bring in the pant waist

Most off the rack suits are sold as married pairs.  Meaning the pants that go with the jacket can’t be swapped out.  So if a jacket fits, and you’re not sportin’ a belly, you’ll need those pants taken in at the waist.  You should be able to wear them easily without a belt.  Suit Separates allow you to pick whatever pant size you want.

4. Hem the pant legs

Some guys like stick straight no-break pants that barely graze the tops of their shoes.  If you’ve got bigger upper legs, that’ll cause some issues when you sit because your quands will really bring your pants up to flood stage level.  A medium amount of break with just a bit of kink in the front crease should be just fine.

And those are the basics.  You can always have the circumference of your pants and sleeves slimmed but that can be a little more invasive.  Need a ballpark figure for how much alterations will cost?  Click here.  And yes I cut that entire outfield with a reel mower.  In the suit.  For the hell of it.