Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reader inquiry: Evaluating and choosing a tailor

I often receive emails asking for my opinion on two or more tailors and to compare them. Recently I was asked to compare an East Coast tailor to the Savile Row tailors in London.

Each tailor or tailoring house has its own style and no two tailors are quite the "same" in that department. This is why I always think it's better to talk with the tailor or head cutter to get a better sense of what he'll make for you as well as see a jacket or suit in progress.

Here's a little tip. When you visit a tailor you're interested in, wear a well-fitting jacket that you're very familiar with and ask the tailor what he would do differently. Ask him to be specific (chest, shoulder, jacket length) and engage him in a conversation. This is what I did in my visit with Giacomo Trabalza.

You must exercise some caution here and frame the initial question and conversation effectively. If you are interested in having the tailor make something very similar to the jacket you are wearing, then the question should be about establishing similarities not differences. In other words, the question should be "What do you like about this jacket?" and going from there.

Otherwise, focus on the differences and see if the tailor in question is able to address those that you are interested in.

Additional links
- Styleforum thread on selecting a Savile Row tailor

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