Fine Tailoring.

Sunday, 29 March 2009


A common perception of made-to-measure customers a tripled chinned Citibank Hedge Fund managers sitting at his executive desk with elbows rested on a goat skin desk mat while passionately caressing his Marquis Jet card that grants them access to a Gulfstream 450. Given the colossal salaries, hedge fund managers buy tailored clothes simply because they can.

What if tailored clothes are not a luxury indulgence but a necessity for getting maximum value for your money? Finding a shirt that fits the body so perfect that you want a blow kiss to whoever made it, is like encountering Amy Winehouse zero levels of toxicity or illegal substances in her blood stream. A shirt size 38 is available in a million different configuration and colours. One shirt might have sleeves that are slight short, another shirt might be too wide in the waist while other shirt don’t have the desired cuff or collar style. Trying shirts on in shops is not for the vain or lazy as it requires removing all layers of clothing that are on the upper body and might potentially ruin ones hair style in the process. Faced with countless of ill-fitting shirts shirt, a common solution is to settle for the best of the worst.

This is where tailoring is the saviour supporting the saying “If you want something done then get it done yourself”. A tailored shirt is not just a shirt, it’s a dream turned into reality. The genie needed to turn a visionary outfit into a reality is a tailor paying attention to your every need ranging from cuff design and neck width to fabric thickness and choice of breast pocket. I had my first tailored experience at Imparali Custom Tailors on 5th Avenue in New York two months ago. In a relaxed environment I got to flick through hundreds of fabric sample and chose from a buffet of different components that make up a shirt. Forget standing on your toes trying to reach of your shirt size laying on a rack too high up in a store. In the world of tailoring all you do is stand with your arms out and let the tailor do his magic with a tape measure.

The other side of the coin of tailoring is the cost, fine tailoring is expensive. For the money conscious there is way of meeting a tailor in the middle and that’s through alterations. This is a forgotten world that shoppers often ignore. Light alterations rarely total to more than 20% of the purchase price for the shirt or suit, but the satisfaction can be worth the world. An understandable fear is that the tailor lacks craft skills to produce the desired result. Practice makes perfect and means that more experienced tailors are better than new comers on the market. Most crucial is communication, and the same principle is applied as when visiting a hairdresser. Rather than expecting the potentially big headed craftsman to magically understand your vision, make sure to emphasize several times what you want done. A dissatisfactory work is both bad for the customer and craftsman. The customer shed a tear for his ruined shirt and the tailor lose out on a customer spreading good publicity and returning for business.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Shirt was crafted with magic

-h said...

The Dandy Project is really good for custom tailoring. The work his tailor does is phenomenal!
Since I'm not ready and a bit intimidated (i'm a girl after all) to make the leap into bespoke tailoring, i go with alterations. Fit really makes all the difference.

Your shirt came out beautiful, and i love the double breasted blue jacket.

Grant said...

Alterations are a fantastic middle ground. I often find vintage pieces that I love that come in really strange or ridiculous sizes, and my tailor usually has very little trouble altering them to meet my needs. And he's a lovely man who doesn't really charge me much at all!

What's not to love?

Nicole Santos said...

fantastic fantastic blog. love it.

Anonymous said...

here in Asia (i'm in south korea at the moment), tailoring is bloody cheap! in fact it's cheaper than buying mediocre dress shirts...and department store dress shirts are astronomically more. tailors here are a dime a dozen, and they're all highly skilled and highly competitive (korea is known for their textiles). i believe it's about $45-70 depending on the fabric and what you want. and alterations, bah! i had my pants altered last week for less than USD$1!

i forgot how fancy shmancy tailoring is considered in the West...probably should get a few shirts made for me before i leave...