What to expect when you go to a tailor
Don’t go to the dry cleaners
Dry cleaners often have alteration services on site. Usually, the services provided are fairly basic and oriented towards repair, such as replacing buttons, rather than enhancement. There is huge variation in what different tailors can do; you will have the best luck going for businesses that market themselves as tailoring services rather than alterations. A tailor is nothing without a reputation, so do your research and look up reviews before you engage the services of your tailor.
Tell them what you want
The objective of going to a tailor is to get your pre-existing clothes to fit you better. If you want them to make a garment just for you, tell them in advance and ask if they are able to do it. You will come to your appointment armed with the garments that you would like altered, and you should have some idea of what you want. An experienced tailor will be able to see what needs to be changed, but you will have a much easier time of it if you have some requests in mind, even if they are as simple as making the jacket sleeves shorter or taking the pants waistline in.
Try everything on
Once your tailor has made the alterations, which will take somewhere in the realm of two weeks, you will need to return to pick up your improved garments. A good tailor will have you try everything on when you arrive to collect your items, and check that they fit will and you are happy with them. A low-budget or lazy tailor may just hand you the clothes, take your payment, and expect you to leave straightaway. If they try to push you out of the door with the package, insist on checking that you have everything, and trying it all on. This final fitting is part of their job. It also ensures you will not be ripped off by unscrupulous tailors that fail to return all of your items or give your clothing back in poor condition.
With so many kinds of tailors, from cheap home business set-ups to department store services to name brand bespoke tailors, there is a lot of variation in prices between tailors. As with any product or service, acceptable price ranges shift depending on the area. Do not be afraid to call around and ask for an indication of prices. As a rough guide, in the US you can expect to pay around $50 for a jacket to be taken in, $20 for a shirt to be taken in, and around $250 for an entire suit to be tailored. Services such as hemming are generally pretty cheap, around $10 apiece. Payment usually occurs when you pick up your clothes. Occasionally, a tailor may ask for a deposit, especially if they are making you a garment from scratch. Bring cash, especially if you are going to a tailor that works out of their house.
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About Natasha Abrahams Natasha Abrahams is a writer and journalism student from Melbourne, Australia. When she is not busy with being a principal writer on Weekendnotes or skipping lectures, she can be found emptying her wallet at the nearest shopping centre. You can read more from Natasha at: http://mensstyleandfashion.com/