Jul 012011

Chalked clothIn this world of standard sizing and mass produced garments destined for the charity shop, it is so tempting to take advantage of cheap tailors, especially when you’re on a trip to the Far East.  The idea of being measured, choosing the fabrics, styles and details for your dream garment, or workhorse work wear is a very seductive one.

However, these garments seldom live up to the dreams which invoked their conception.  I see huge numbers of suits and dresses still folded from suitcases they returned from Hong Kong, Singapore, India or Egypt in, which have never been quite good enough to wear.  Often the adjustments are needed are small, but an unwearable item is not a cheap one.

Here are my tips for embarking on a trip to a tailors in a foreign land.

•  Know what you want and communicate this, ideally verbally and visually.  A tailor is not a mind reader, and with a sartorial difference between your cultures there is plenty of scope for the best plans to go awry.

•  Make sure the man measuring you, who you deal with,  is the man cutting your garment.  So much can be lost in translation.  If necessary, insist the cutter is present.  Salesmen are not tailors.

•  Wear your favourite suit, jacket, dress or whatever.  You will never get an exact copy, but to explain to the tailor why you like it, where you wear it and which details you want retained.

•  Look hard at fabrics.  Scrunch them up in your hand to see if they crease.  Rub them against your cheek to check for itchiness.

•  Demand interim fittings.   A garment which is measured for one night and delivered completed over breakfast will not have the fit you are going through this process to obtain.

•  Ask to see buttons, linings and trimmings before they are applied.  If I had a pound for every garment cheapened by shiny plastic buttons, the wrong shade of zip, foam shoulder pads…..

I hope that helps.  Don’t expect miracles, carbon copies, to morph into James Bond or take home a Vivienne Westwood style jacket nipping in your waist and framing your cleavage, but do demand quality, fit and a wearable addition to your wardrobe.

And if you have been a little disappointed by your tailor, please get in touch and we’ll bring the garment back into circulation!
Tailoring alterations start at £25.