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What Tailors Don’t Want You to Do in Fittings and Consultations

They can be the perfect agony aunt. Subservient, attentive, loyal, and discreet. But whilst you may confide in your tailor about everything, it doesn't mean it's reciprocal. There are certainly some things your tailor is not telling you. For example, what is it that irks them the most about you? What do tailors wish their customers wouldn't do in fittings or consultations? I've reached out to some tailors and asked their pet peeves.

Timothy Everest M.B.E Studios 

Misinformation and not asking questions - With an abundance of information online from menswear blogs to social media, we understand this is a good tool for clients learning about tailoring however a bug bear would be when a client comes in tooled up with information in which they may not fully understand. Having been in the tailoring industry for over 30 years, we encourage clients to listen to our advice and feel free to openly ask questions to fully understand our craft. 

Leaving it to the last minute - As goes for everything that is made to order, it takes time. Don’t leave it to last minute to have something made, especially if it’s for a special event. There is nothing more anxiety inducing than having two weeks to make a suit for the groom! 

Timothy is available for appointments at M.B.E Studios (beneath Grey Flannel).

Niven Bespoke 

The biggest issue with clients, especially those with no experience of bespoke is managing expectations. "No mate you are not going to look like Connery," because lighting, camera angles will make any actor look good, especially one as photogenic as Connery and his successor Roger Moore. Clients have an idea or image which may be unrealistic for them. Lapels, jacket lengths, details all have to be adjusted for a client's build to make him look good and for the suit or jacket to fit as perfectly as possible. E. G., We have made three half Norfolk jackets modeled on the ones Connery wore in Diamonds Are Forever. The first one was for our mutual friend Eisuke (Inspired by Bond). He wanted an exact replica. I explained that unlike Connery he's not almost 6.3 with a 46-8-inch chest. We had to build up the shoulders and slim the lapels otherwise he would have looked unbalanced. The two we made after that were for gentlemen with broad shoulders, so padding was a minimum. Our job is to make the client look his best and that requires being honest with the client even if they insist on a certain direction. Sometimes a "No" is necessary. I have to explain fabrics, their suitability for what they want and what isn't suitable regardless of them sending me pictures, "what you think?" Quite recently a new client sent me a picture of fabrics he had seen at a "tailors". The fabrics from a British mill were discontinued in 2018.

He was disappointed but after I explained I can get similar not identical fabrics he understood. He was under the impression fabrics are always in production. Most people of course won't know, we educate as well as craft clothing. Mills will discontinue any fabric if there is no demand for it like any business selling a product incidentally. There is also the time factor. A suit is a minimum of 6 weeks. I think my prices are very reasonable, but some people are shocked. Savile Row suits start at £5,500 or did last summer by the way. I explain the price of fabrics, trimmings, time and effort, plus they are getting 30 plus years of experience being poured into their creation that will last decades if looked after. Most of my clients do understand but occasionally someone will say they need a suit in 2 to 3 weeks. A hand cut pattern, hand stitched chest canvas, hand padded and hand sewn suit in 3 weeks? Try Chinese CMT (Cut, Make, Trim) where they use a machined canvas and can churn out suits like a sausage factory. Incidentally I'm regularly messaged by CMT sales reps pitching for work. I'd rather fry my ears than cut corners and penny pinch. Quality takes time. With social media, one tap is all it takes to look at hundreds of types of fabrics, styles, details etc. Someone getting out of car with not one crease in his suit? There are so many unrealistic pictures, posts and video clips of a model or actor looking flawless but try looking flawless after the morning commute in 30c heat while being late for your appointment. We can't guarantee you'll look like your idol, but we aim to make you a garment that fits you, flatters you and makes you look and feel like a secret agent even though the only mission you'll be on is calling Doris in sales to ask her where's the invoice for last month's doughnuts. 

Sajid is available for appointments at Niven Tailors.

David Robert Reeves 

Don’t bring “back up” this isn’t a car dealership or somewhere your going to “get taken advantage of” this is between you and your tailor he or she will be able to be more attentive to you without the distraction as well. Don’t stand unnaturally in front of the big mirror. I.E sucking in or puffing out your chest. Don’t fart when I’m hemming trousers especially when I’m right in the line of fire. This has happened only once, but once is enough. Don’t start moving around like some kind of shape shifter with exaggerated theatrical movements and then say the suit isn’t comfortable you aren’t meant to do acrobatics in a suit. Kingsman was just a movie not a documentary. Don’t look for problems. The aim of the fitting is for the tailor to fit you, not for you to fit yourself. Let him or her do his work. It’s alright to ask questions and to provide feedback but don’t tell a good tailor how to fit suits. As a professional myself, I am aware of this, and I hold back a lot when I am being fitted myself unless asked. Hold still! 

David Reeves is available for appointments in NYC.

Delroy Smith Master Tailor 

This is an interesting question! I have quite a few but I’ll give you a couple. 1. When a client tells me my measurements are wrong, particularly the waist measurement. 2. When they stand to attention in front of the mirror. This isn’t any one natural relaxed stance. This also alters the balance of the jacket and the fit. 3. In a consultation, it helps to trust your salesman or Cutter, hence why you consult them in the first place for guidance. Also understand that it’s a handmade Bespoke commission so the process is entirely different from Ready to Wear or Made to Measure. So rushing and putting deadlines on a Cutter without an established pattern, isn’t always good to get the very best results. Have an idea of what you want and what for helps massively. If your partner is accompanying you at the time try not to have too many contradictions as this can be confusing. 

Delroy Smith is available for appointments in London.

Peter Brooker

Peter is a published author on men's style, a huge James Bond fanatic and the host of our very own Menswear Style Podcast. His new book 'From Tailors with Love: An Evolution of Menswear Through the Bond Films' is available now.

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