We often speak here about how important it is to get your suits and shirts altered.  Nothing fits perfectly off the rack.  That’s why we personally prefer to go as custom-made as possible.  However, if you have to buy off the rack and you have to get things altered, do you know what exactly to look for when doing a fitting at your tailor?  Many people buy a suit off the rack, understand that it doesn’t fit perfectly (though they are often not exactly sure why it doesn’t fit properly), head to the tailor and leave themselves in their tailor’s hands.  Not all tailors are created equal!  Some have generation-after-generation’s worth of knowledge passed down through their families; in these cases, it’s safe to say you can be left in their hands. Others perhaps run a tight ship and don’t have time for your pesky questions and naivety.  So, here today, we’re giving away 6 secret tips to help you make your next trip to the tailor for an alteration a truly successful one.


Your Suit Sleeve


#1. With your arms resting by your side, your suit sleeve should never cover your shirt sleeve cuff completely.  Leave 2cm-4cm visible.

#2. To make sure that one suit sleeve is not longer than the other, bend your elbow and lift it slightly, form a ‘thumbs’ up with your hand and check the distance between the base of the joint of your thumb and the end of your suit sleeve.  The same amount of shirt sleeve should be visible under your suit jacket on both sides.


Your Suit


#3. Never fasten the last button during your fitting.  When people try on a jacket, they automatically seem to button up all the buttons, this is wrong. The last button of a jacket should never be buttoned up, so why get it altered based on a silhouette where you’ve buttoned it up?  When trying on a 3-button suit jacket, button up only the middle button during a suit fitting.


#4. The way the suit sits against your neck is of paramount importance.  Often, men forget to check this, as they focus only on what’s visible from a frontal view in the mirror.  Make sure your suit jacket sits flat against your neck; no bunching, no gaping.


Your Trousers


#5. Trouser fit is also incredibly important.  Traditionally, casual vs formal trouser styles had very different rules by which to abide.  These days, designers take liberty with those rules.  However, if you want to remain true to history, make sure that your trousers sit at your hips.  If you have a slight paunch, it’s advised that you raise the waistband of your trouser slightly for increased comfort and a sleeker look.


#6. Bring along the pair of shoes you intend to wear most often with your suit.  This will help your tailor perfect the length of your trousers.  There should be absolutely no bunching of the your trousers at your feet whatsoever.  When standing, your trouser legs should stop below your ankles but above your shoes.