10 things to ask your tailor
The tailor can be an intimidating place. The urge to pretend that you know everything about the process is strong, but foolhardy. Remember, as a customer you're about to put down a hefty deposit on a bespoke item of clothing, so make sure you are comfortable with what you are paying for.
To help you out, Esquire spoke to Michael Alden of highbrow clothes forum thelondonlounge.net for ten questions you should always ask your tailor:
1. "Can I see some clothes the tailor has recently made?"
It is important to examine the style, fit and finish of pervious pieces so that they instill you with trust and confidence of their abilities.
2. "Will the proposed style, cut and cloth meet my practical needs?"
Explain to the tailor know where you plan to wear the item of clothing. Is it a suit for a wedding? Are they everyday work shirts? Do you have an active lifestyle, and therefore need it to be flexible and breathable? etc
3. Whos' going to cut the pattern?
Remember, the confident, cocksure salesman may have said all the right things to get you to come into the tailors, but he will not be the one making your suit. Make sure you discuss what you want with the actual cutter.
4. What is the time fram for completion, and how many fittings are needed?
If you are getting something made for a specific event then make sure that you and your tailor plan a calendar. Good things take time to create, and while the tendency is to leave things to the last minute, a bit of forward planning often makes all the difference.
5. Which cloth makes up best?
Remember, you're the customer here and if you're not clear about what you want then nobody will be happy. Spending time studying a variety of similar fabrics from different bunches in the colour and style you require will help you (and your tailor) understand exactly what it is you need.
6. Will the tailor make an individual paper pattern?
This is what seperates traditional bespoke tailoring and made-to-measure. If you specifically want bespoke products, ensure that your tailor will create an individual paper pattern for you. You'd be surprised by how many tailors claim to be "bespoke" but actually offer made-to-measure services, which are cut from pre-existing patterns.
7. Does this commission seem like agood idea?
It's always good to gauge opinion on what you want made with a professional. A good tailor will alert you to any concern about the material, form or style.
8. Am I at a weight I can maintain?
When a tailor asks whether you workout, he's not questioning your masculinity, he is merely trying to establish whether you will be putting on or losing weight over the course of the suit being made. You should maintain a steady weight and size, or if you are dieting, then let your tailor know.
9. Who is making the clothes?
Many large firms use outsourced tailors. Ideally the person will see you before starting.
10. Will you read the order back to me?
Like checking a bill at a restaurant, you should always double-check that what you've ordered is what you want. Make a note in a conspicuous manner so that there won't be any confusion later on.