How to Speak to a Tailor to Get the Perfect Fit
In every arena of life, there is nuance and protocol that we use to navigate social interactions. We have a different vocabulary at work versus dinner with friends. There are established standards of behavior and decorum for every situation. In certain situations, it helps to know the vernacular that that world uses so that you can get what you can communicate effectively and get what you want. If you’ve never worked with a tailor, you should know that they have a language all their own. Instead of taking the risk that the tailor will make something you don’t like, learn how to speak to a tailor to get the perfect fit and style for you.
Jacket Fit Jargon
When you first look at the jacket on a hanger, check out the body. If it hangs like a potato sack, then tell the tailor it needs “shaping.” The best way to shape the jacket is with the two darts on the back. Have the tailor show you where he will take it in. If he points to the center seam instead of the darts, then find a new tailor. If you want the suit to really pop with a custom look, tell the tailor you want the bottom of each jacket sleeve “functioning,” and then leave those buttons open. Go a step further and have the tailor use bright, contrasting thread color when sewing on the buttons.
The Parlance on Pants
The plan is to have the suit for a while, so you’ll need room for adjusting later. To adjust the size of the waist on your pants, you should have two inches to play with. Tell the tailor that you want the ability to “let out or take in” the pants at a later date. Taking in pants might affect the seat, in which case you could see the tailor draw a V shape down the middle of the seat. This means he’s going to ease the fabric in, so the pant lines look original. The hem of any pant is the most important part. If the tailor doesn’t do it right, the pants will never look right. Wear your favorite dress shoes for the fitting, and, as the tailor is measuring, ask for “little to no break.” This will allow the fabric to fall nicely over the shoe, but the fabric in the front won’t “cascade.” Knowing how to speak to a tailor to get the perfect fit is more than just memorizing a few buzz words. Learn what they mean and how to use them contextually.
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