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6 Tailor Alterations That Make All The Difference

Having a skilled tailor in your corner is one of the best partners you can have to take a few years off your appearance or better yet, create the visual effect of shaving a few pounds off your frame. 

For those who are inexperienced with tailors, here are 6 common and basic adjustments that your tailor can help you with. 

1. “Taper” or “Let Out” the sides of a jacket or sometimes even a shirt. 

Ask your tailor to adjust the midsection of your jacket so that it hugs your midsection but is not too tight. It’s a fine balance but a skilled tailor can help you out. 

The two most common problems to be aware of are below. 

A) If it’s too loose your torso will look very square and blocky. 

B) Although you want to have a snug fit, you should also make sure your suit isn’t too tight where you can’t do up that top button. 

With respect to the shirt, not all brands add “darts” to the back of their shirts but if they exist you might be able to get an extra inch out of that favourite shirt. It will also come down to whether the cost of the alteration justifies the price you paid for the shirt. You will have to ask yourself that however keep in mind that all our shirts come with darted backs to help with weight fluctuations. 

2. “Let out” or “Take in” the waist in your pants. 

We’ve all been there, either lost a few inches in the waistline or if you’re like me over the last year have added a few too many. 

Ask your tailor to adjust your waist. The waist should be tight enough that you don’t need to wear a belt. How tight? Make sure you can fit 1 finger into your pants.

Again this is brand dependent as most off the rack or more affordable brands will not build in extra fabric as an effort to cut costs. Your tailor will be able to tell you in a minute. 

3. “Taper” or “widen” the pant legs 

Tapering the bottom of your pants will allow you to better display the beauty of your footwear and help accentuate your body shape. 

Strive for a balance that creates a tapered look but not too slim nor too tight, both ends of the spectrum do nothing for your appearance and look terrible. 

This will also let you show off all of the cool and tacky socks that you have.  If the gap is too large, it will look like it’s going to swallow your shoe and it won’t look clean at all.

4. “Taper” the biceps and arms 

This is all too common with store bought jackets and shirts, way too much fabric around the biceps and you look like you’re swimming in them. 

This only goes one way as you cannot let them out so if you’re coming off a cycle and massive gains you’ll have to opt to buy new. 

5. Shorten or Lengthen the sleeves

Just like how a pocket square contrasts with your jacket, your cuff colour should do the same. If you’re wearing a dress shirt underneath, you should be able to see ¼ to ½ inch of your shirt cuff. This is usually only available for ready made or OTR with sleeves that buttons do not work but go with custom menswear and you wont have to worry about it. 

6. Lengthen or shorten the pant legs.

It’s not likely that you have grown or shrunk enough but if you have some pants in your closet that just don’t sit right on your shoes this is an easy fix. 

If you want your ankles to show, tell them that you want no break, it looks like you're ready for a flood but does the intended job.

If you want your pants to gently rest on top of the shoes and to cover the openings of the shoe, tell them you want a half-break (or medium break). Lastly, if you want your pants to fully rest on top of your shoes so that you can fold them or if you like the baggier pants look, you can tell your tailor to give you a full break.

Generally speaking, a half break gives off the cleanest and most professional look. 

Last Words

Most things can be tailored at a reasonable cost if it’s not excessive. It is important to keep in mind that there are limitations to the amount your suit can be adjusted. This can be due to the amount of fabric that you actually have on your suit, the proportions of the suit, and the skill level of your tailor.

A growing concern that this industry is facing is that many of the skilled tailors and seamstresses out there are retiring, expiring and not being replaced. 

If you’re in the market for new Custom Tailored Menswear and are looking for a convenient at-home shopping experience check out The Brotherhood of Style's new and revised process for delivering the best and most convenient way to get clothing made for your size. 

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