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7 Signs of a Great Tailor

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Looking to get that new suit tailored? Here are 7 ways to find the best tailor for the job.

1. Do Your Research

Start by asking stylish friends or local menswear stores. They usually have better insight than online reviewers. But if all your friends are schlubs and the best menswear option in town is The Buckle, then you can turn to Yelp. Of course, if that's the case, then you might also have to leave town for a good tailor.

2. Test Them Over the Phone

Call and ask if they can shorten a jacket sleeve from the shoulder. "This is one of the more difficult alterations," Jones says, "It's a true distinction between a seamster and a tailor."

3. Visit the Store

Look around. Would you be grossed out if someone dropped your garment on the floor? "The best tailors I've worked with also have the cleanest store," Jones says. "It's a sign they care about presentation. They're not lazy or sloppy."

4. Check Their Work

If the space is clean, go in and ask to see something they just altered. It might seem fussy, but a good tailor should be proud of their work. See if they leave loose threads or if the finished product is tidy.

5. Give Them A Test Run

I learned this one the hard way (RIP almost-perfect-fitting vintage Brioni suit). Give them a garment you don't mind them ruining. If they're worth their stiches, they'll notice how everything else fits—not just what you asked to be altered. "The impressive tailors are ones that recommend more alterations," Jones says. "They should take in the rise, adjust the shoulders on your shirts where the seam is on your shoulder bone, which in turn helps the sleeve length, and move your cuff buttons to make your shirt cuffs more comfortable." But only the best tailors will notice wrinkles in the back of your jacket and know how to alter the fabric so it drapes properly on your body.

6. Go With Your Gut

If they do suggest changes, do you feel like you're being swindled? You should be able to tell if a tailor actually wants your clothes to fit or if they're just trying to hustle you.

7. Build a Relationship

If they pass all these tests, then feel free to come back with more difficult alterations. But pay attention to how your relationship develops. Do they remember your name? Do they remember your style preferences or do they just push what they think looks proper. Once you find a great tailor that understands you but also nudges you in the direction of better fit, then you should ask him his preference of alcohol—because that's what you'll be bringing him come the holidays.

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