How to Alter Your Run-of-the-Mill Suit Into Something Uniquely You
Whether you wear one daily for work or you need one for a special event, wearing the perfect suit can make you look and feel sophisticated and dapper. Of course, finding the perfect suit isn’t as easy as it seems. Luckily, we can alter your favorite suit to look like it was made just for you.
Research the Best Brand for You
Different brands tailor their suits to fit different body types. The best way to determine which brands make suits that fit your body type is to try on several suits from several different manufacturers. A salesperson at the store can help you determine which body type you have and recommend some of the best brands and colors for your style and body.
Tailoring the Jacket
The blazer is the most important part of your suit. Even if you don’t have the funds or time to tailor your entire suit, have your jacket tailored to make your look pop. First, know what to look for.
The Body of the Jacket
If your jacket has an “X” shape at the buttons or a divot at the shoulders, it doesn’t fit properly. A good fit means there will be no folds or bunching of the fabric at the buttons and uninterrupted lines at the shoulder. The jacket should outline your body’s natural shape but should not be skin tight. If it is a formal jacket, it will be slightly narrower at the waist to create a “V” shape. A casual jacket doesn’t need to be as fitted. When searching for your jacket, aim to find something with a modern fit rather than the old-fashioned looks, which can be too boxy. If you do find an older jacket that you fall in love with, ask your tailor to cinch it at the waist.
The Sleeves of the Jacket
Ideally, your sleeves will be long enough to feel comfortable but will allow up to a half-inch of your shirt cuff to show when your hands are down to your side. Some jackets have buttons on the cuffs. If yours does, you’ll want your tailor to do his or her work from the shoulder seam. That way, you can get the length you want without sacrificing the function of the buttons. If your sleeves are too short, you can ask your tailor to add length to them. The length you’ll need will depend not only on your body type but on the brand of blazer and its make. Keep in mind that some jacket sleeves cannot be lengthened, so check with the stylist before purchasing one with sleeves that are too short.
The Length of the Jacket
The length of the entire jacket is also important. A jacket that is too long will make you look shorter, but one that is too short will obviously look ill-fitting. The best jacket length is one that just covers the seat of your pants and is not any longer. If possible, avoid buying a jacket that is too short. Manufacturers don’t leave extra fabric in the blazer to allow for lengthening and finding a tailor that can match the fabric may be difficult. Shortening a jacket is much easier, although it is important to ensure it won’t through off the balance of the entire garment. Most importantly, it should still have a good distance between the edge of the jacket and any pockets.
Tailoring the Pants
The length of your dress pants is the most important part of tailoring them. Many people mistakenly believe length depends solely on their height, but tailoring pants to fit correctly actually depends on the shoes you plan to wear with your suit. Tailors can alter the length, waist and seat of your pants as well as taper the legs or change the placement of any buttons. However, experts don’t recommend having more than one full break in the leg.
The Waist and Seat of the Pants
The waist and seat of your pants are what creates the most comfortable pair of pants for you. Manufacturers usually leave a bit of seam allowance in this area so that you can let them out for a bit of wiggle room. It is also easy to take in pants if you lose weight. The biggest issue is ensuring your pants fit well at the waist and do not ride too low. If they ride as low as your jeans do, your dress pants are too low.
The Length of the Pants
Breaks are how you determine the length of your dress pants. Each crease in the leg before your foot is considered a break. Most suit pants have a basic length of 38 inches, which are too long for most people to wear. This means you are almost guaranteed to need to hem your pants. A full break typically has one crease right above your shoes and means there is a bit of extra material or “bagging.” The best break for everyday wear is either a slight break of a half-break. A half break means the bottom of the pants are about one- to two-thirds of the way down your shoe, which creates a slight fold where the cuff of the pants and the shoe meet. Some pants have no break and may also be referred to as “flood” pants. These hems end right at the top of the shoe and are quite trendy in 2018.
Other Considerations for the Pants
Your tailor can alter your suit pants in several other ways as well. He or she can add a crotch guard to decrease friction if you are someone who wears out the crotch of pants easily. Pockets can be removed if they show, or you can have them tapered to prevent billowing. Just remember not to create pants that are too skinny. While this is the trend, trends chance and pants that are too skinny won’t always be fashionable.
Tailoring the Dress Shirt
When tailoring your dress shirt, it is important that the sleeves aren’t so long that they cover the hands or that the body isn’t so large that the shirt billows or creates creases. The first portions of the shirt that your tailor should look at are the chest, shoulders and neck area, although the sleeves are just as important.
The Sleeves of the Shirt
The sleeves of your dress shirt should hit at your natural wrist and hand up to a half-inch out of your suit jacket. Shortening the sleeves is quite easy and often very affordable, but lengthening the sleeves is nearly impossible. Never skip trying on the shirt when you meet with a stylist to find a suit because you could end up with something unwearable. If the sleeves feel too bulky, you can also ask your tailor to taper them.
The Body of the Shirt
The body of your dress shirt shouldn’t feel too full. If it does, ask your tailor to dart it, which will create a more modern style. This is especially helpful if you purchase a shirt that fits perfectly in the neck but is too large in the body.
When looking for tailoring, search for a professional who is experienced, affordable and has excellent references. Contact us to learn more about our alteration services.