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What can (should) be tailored on an OTR suit?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Since I can't afford a bespoke suit right now, I guess I am limited to off the rack. Since these are made to fit a wide range of people, what should I have tailored after purchasing such a suit? The obvious answer is the trouser length. What else can be modified? What are some of the common things you notice regarding poor fit on a person wearing an OTR suit?
post #2 of 17
A good tailor can do wonders, adjusting everything from sleeve length to collar fit to the amount of waist suppression. Just start with a good fit in the chest and shoulders and go from there.

Some common problem areas that a tailor can often solve:
Poor collar fit
Sleeves too long
Sleeves too short
Problems at the sleeveheads
Excess fabric/bunching in the back
Trousers too long
Trousers too short
Trousers too tight
Trousers too loose

The fewer problems to start, the better, of course. But it's almost shocking what a good tailor can do. It's a shame more folks don't take advantage of their services these days.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Just start with a good fit in the chest and shoulders

If there are any problems in the chest and shoulders, best to put it down and walk away.
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DocHolliday
Excess fabric/bunching in the back

would this be equivalent to taking in the waist on a suit jacket or is it something completely different?

-Jeff
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomasso
If there are any problems in the chest and shoulders, best to put it down and walk away.


This is real good advice! You'll be much happier getting a piece that fits you as close to properly off the rack than you will be by altering it significantly.

I wouldn't touch the shoulders, chest or length, unless it's a special piece (and price) or unless you have a real, real good tailor. I'm also not a big fan of alterations if the sleeves already have working or faux button holes.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
This is real good advice! You'll be much happier getting a piece that fits you as close to properly off the rack than you will be by altering it significantly.

I wouldn't touch the shoulders, chest or length, unless it's a special piece (and price) or unless you have a real, real good tailor. I'm also not a big fan of alterations if the sleeves already have working or faux button holes.

My amateur understanding is not that it's merely difficult to fix shoulder fit, but rather that it's nearly impossible. It's the one common fit problem that simply can't be corrected. Especially true if the shoulders are too tight, of course. Correct me if I'm wrong. . .
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
I'm also not a big fan of alterations if the sleeves already have working or faux button holes.

Faux buttonholes are not usually that big of a problem because the stitching that makes up the faux buttonhole can just be removed by the tailor and usually does not leave behind any visible marks. I've done this on a couple of suits without any issue.

I definitely agree, though, that sleeves with working button holes are very difficult to alter.
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by odoreater
Faux buttonholes are not usually that big of a problem because the stitching that makes up the faux buttonhole can just be removed by the tailor and usually does not leave behind any visible marks. I've done this on a couple of suits without any issue.

I definitely agree, though, that sleeves with working button holes are very difficult to alter.

Having relatively long arms, I've rarely found an OTR jacket that didn't need work on the sleeves. If tailors have problems taking out sleeves with faux buttonholes, I haven't encountered them.
post #9 of 17
I have a tailor who normally does bespoke but has on occassion taken in shoulders for me. He does a great job but the minimum price is $150 and I find it not to be worth it. This has been done on suits that were too big as a result of weight loss. I imagine it's not possible for shoulders that are too tight.
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by pengesq
I have a tailor who normally does bespoke but has on occassion taken in shoulders for me. He does a great job but the minimum price is $150 and I find it not to be worth it. This has been done on suits that were too big as a result of weight loss. I imagine it's not possible for shoulders that are too tight.

How far in are we talking about? An inch? I'm looking at doing this with some suits that I can basically get for free.
post #11 of 17
I would be concerned about taking in anything more than a pinch (e.g., 1/2 inch or so). All sorts of things get thrown off when done too much.

Another option is some tailors will add slight padding to the back of the shoulder so that it carries better on the shoulder.

I would not touch the shoulder (or even the collar or the length) unless the tailor also did bespoke.

I'm also increasingly picky about working buttonholes. I've had few jackets done by a decent downtown (Boston) tailor and every time I look at them I can't but help compare them to stuff done by Joe at Rizzo's which are unreal.
post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
I would not touch the shoulder (or even the collar or the length) unless the tailor also did bespoke.

If we're talking about a good bespoke tailor, is it worth it to get the whole thing recut? (Again, assume the suit is of reasonable quality and freely available.)
post #13 of 17
My own two cents and others may differ, but if you go into a nice store if they're any good they'll find a jacket that comes pretty darn close to being perfect (unless you're a truly problem fit) and which shouldn't require alterations to tough spots.

However, if you get a steal, let's say a Kiton or Isaia that you like a lot at a rock bottom price then it may be worth the risk of getting some alterations to problem areas (but even then there would be some I'd totally avoid).

I had a Kiton cashmere jacket i bought on ebay BNWT (basting threads etc.) at what I believe to be a great price. I had it altered so it fit well and it cost nearly 300 for things like sleeve length, button holes, collar, jacket length). If I was buying the jacket from a store I would never want to buy a jacket that needed that level of alteration -- even if the store was going to the alterations for free. In this case it was a 52 (IT) and if I bought from a store I'd probably need a 51 (IT). However, given the circumstances it was worth it.

Personally, I'd never let a tailor touch the sleeve head in a fine jacket. I just don't see how they'll be able to get things the way you expect. If they need to muck with that, the jacket is the wrong size to begin with -- or OTR is clearly the wrong choice for your build.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
I would not touch the shoulder (or even the collar or the length) unless the tailor also did bespoke.


I'll add to this issue of altering the skirt of the jacket. I have a tailor and he will shorten about 1.5" max. Anything more and the pockets look funny and he will quite literally refuse to do it. But some shortening CAN be done. I have to have it done on all R length jackets. [Those these days I try to buy shorts exclusively.]

bob
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by horton
However, if you get a steal, let's say a Kiton or Isaia that you like a lot at a rock bottom price then it may be worth the risk of getting some alterations to problem areas (but even then there would be some I'd totally avoid).

Great post. Thanks.
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