For a long time I never considered using a tailor. My clothes seemed to fit fine. But once I started to take my style more seriously, I figured I’d give it a try. I found a tailor close to my house and took an old pair of jeans there. I tried explaining to her what I was looking for and she seemed to not pay attention to what I was saying. This turned out to be true. When I went back a week later, the fit was too slim and she cut the pants too short. She would never get any more of my business.
Weeks later I bought my first $100+ pair of jeans that were too long and needed some slimming. I found Ali – a highly recommended tailor on Yelp. Upon arriving, Ali asked me how I found him and other questions about myself. We then chatted as he took measurements and pinned the backside of the legs of my jeans to show me what the outcome would look like before I said yes. It felt odd at first but I trusted that he knew his craft. We chatted a bit longer before I left. I felt like I had made a new friend.
A week later I show up and I’m greeted by an enthusiastic Ali. He has me try on the altered jeans. They were absolutely perfect. The fit was exactly what I requested. I highly underestimated the feel of a tailored fit. From then on I told myself that I’d never not use a tailor for my clothes.
Why You Need a Tailor
With the fit of your clothes being the most important part of style, you’re going to need to find a tailor. This is the person that will turn a good fitting item into a great fitting item. Most people think tailors are only for suits and dresses. This just isn’t true. You should be taking everything to your tailor – shirts, pants, sweaters, etc. Their job is to make all your clothes fit as close to perfect as possible to your body type. Here is a couple of before and after posts (a blazer and a shirt) showing a tailor’s work.
Finding and Choosing a Tailor
Finding a tailor you love will be a task, but worth every minute. Start with word of mouth. Ask around and see if someone, whose opinion you trust, uses a tailor they love. If that’s not an option, sites like Yelp are a great resource for finding a tailor with the best reviews in your area. Or try going to a local dry cleaners and ask if they can recommend someone.
Once you find one, do a test run. Take an item from your current wardrobe that you’d like revived. Make sure it’s something that can use an update, but that you’re not too attached to. In case it goes bad, you want to make sure it’s not a brand new item you just bought. Here are more thoughts on finding a tailor.
Just remember to factor the cost of tailoring into your clothing budget. For example, if your shirt costs $50, you could end up spending $65-$80 total with tailoring. The added cost more than pays for itself.
Befriend Your New Tailor
Your new tailor is someone that you’re going to build a relationship with for a few reasons. This person is going to be a key factor in helping you dress better. They’ll not only get your clothes fitting right, but they’ll learn your style and can make recommendations on places to buy clothes.
You’ll want to tell your new tailor what you’re going after with your style/fit, but you’ll also want to listen because they’re experts at making clothes fit. They’ll make suggestions and give you tips on fit/fabric/etc. It’s a great learning experience. And as a bonus, if you’re in a jam and need something tailored quickly, they’ll help you out with no extra charge. That’s worth having them in your phone book.
I need some big guy fashion tips. I’m not wearing skinny jeans for a variety of valid reasons but I still think I can up my style game a few notches. Where do I start? – James S.
I still hold strong that fit is the most important aspect to looking better. While you may not be chasing a slim fit item, which I wouldn’t recommend for larger body types anyways, you might opt for something like a standard fit in pants instead of wider boot cut types. Baggy certainly isn’t the direction you want to go either, as that doesn’t look good with any body size. Chubstr looks like a great resource for not only style tips, but preferable brands as well. The Art of Manliness also has some great style tips for larger men. And as mentioned above, don’t forget to consult your tailor.
Honestly, there’s not much I can add here that John hasn’t already. Once again, pay close attention to fit. Anything too baggy or too tight will only accentuate your size. Certain prints and patterns might be a no-no, as well (horizontal stripes, etc). That second link John posted has some very solid ideas. I highly recommend reading through it.
If you have style questions for us, let us know at email@example.com.
Never underestimate your socks.
Nice layering for the fall climate.
Hoodie season is here. This is the best one I’ve ever owned. -J
I get a lot of compliments on this shirt. -M
Liven up your outfit with some yellow.
Good layering of the same [herringbone] pattern of different sizes.