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Why do salespersons have to suggest "almost no tailoring needed"?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have a gripe. Almost any time I'm looking at a suit, a shirt, pants, whatever, the salesperson inevitably comments that I need almost no tailoring, as if that's a key selling point. At most, they'll say I need the sleeves hemmed a bit or the jacket taken in, and sometimes they're right, but it annoys me that it's such a key argument.

I'm not looking to buy wrong-sized jackets in terms of shoulder width and since I'm relatively slim and short I expect some alterations required on almost all of my clothing.

Perhaps I look like a newbie clothes guy that they would not expect would anticipate tailoring requirements, etc., etc.

I shop at a variety of stores, but trend toward the Barneys and Saks of the world (not that I'm always buying things there, granted!).

Anyone with similar, dissimilar experiences?
post #2 of 21
It really depends on the quality of the shops. And the question if they have the availability to rend a tailor or not. Mostly the shops without will always try to sell product to there customers even if doesn't fit or match with your bodyshape. Just try to make a selection. if the are reputable or not. And which brands the sell.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGrotius View Post

Almost any time I'm looking at a suit, a shirt, pants, whatever, the salesperson inevitably comments that I need almost no tailoring, as if that's a key selling point.
Don't take it personally. A smart salesman will say that to everyone who tries on a garment because most men -- Americans, at least -- will not take their clothing to an alterations tailor unless at gunpoint. The salesmen who say this to you are just playing the odds.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGrotius View Post

I have a gripe. Almost any time I'm looking at a suit, a shirt, pants, whatever, the salesperson inevitably comments that I need almost no tailoring, as if that's a key selling point. At most, they'll say I need the sleeves hemmed a bit or the jacket taken in, and sometimes they're right, but it annoys me that it's such a key argument.



Anyone with similar, dissimilar experiences?

Do the shops sell alterations? To me this sounds like an opening for the salesmen to sell you in house tailoring. Not a way to push the suit.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Threadbearer View Post

Don't take it personally. A smart salesman will say that to everyone who tries on a garment because most men -- Americans, at least -- will not take their clothing to an alterations tailor unless at gunpoint. The salesmen who say this to you are just playing the odds.

"Playing the odds" is exactly right. As a clothing salesman, you're judged on multiple points the moment you walk in the door. This isn't to say that my level of service will be any less depending on who I think you might be, but the things I say to you will be. For the average Joe who makes up most of the walk-in clients, "Almost no alterations are needed" is a key selling point because that is precisely what most men are looking for. I won't say it if it's not true, but that doesn't mean I will get into the specifics of what a perfect fit consists of. Most guys don't care or don't want to learn. As long as the sleeves are right (getting them to show any cuff is often a struggle), and the waist is slim enough, they're happy.

On the other hand, if they guy is a clothing enthusiast or even approaching it, I'm happy to talk all day about what needs to be done and the intricacies of such alterations. Things like pattern and texture combination, flat front vs. forward pleat, plain hem vs 2" cuff are just plain fun to discuss. Even if the fit and everything else is deemed acceptable, I'll still divulge my knowledge to its entirety (and often learn new things along the way). It all depends on the level of the customer. I work on commission, so at the end of the day I want to sell. 95% of walk-in clients have little to no idea of proper clothing etiquette, and I do my best to help them along the path and to achieve where they want to be. For that extra 5%, I'm happy to oblige with perfectionist debates and the whole nine yards.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by SirGrotius View Post

Ibut trend toward the Barneys and Saks of the world (not that I'm always buying things there, granted!).

Anyone with similar, dissimilar experiences?

This sounds pretty familiar, and I've found that the majority of SA's at department stores don't really know anything. Maybe stores just train their salespeople to dissuade people from getting any alterations in general. Last week I bought a SC at Saks in FL, and I wanted the sleeves hemmed, as well as a bit taken in in the chest and waist. Yesterday I picked up the jacket, tried it on, and the tailoring was very poor -- the back was a mess, and the sleeves were uneven by a very noticeable amount. I had them redo it, and the tailor (a different lady, not the one that pinned it up originally) was saying how the store encouraged them to not suggest any major alterations because they wanted to turn the pieces around very quickly.
post #7 of 21
I used to work at a Bloomingdale's, and the store encouraging things, either right or wrong, didn't really happen. It mainly applied to the salespeople, and whether they wanted to move on to the next sale or build a longer lasting client relationship. The salesperson always has dictation over the tailor. The managers, if they trust you, don't really care as long as you're keeping your numbers satisfactory. Prove yourself as knowledgeable and above the normal customer base in terms of attention to detail (which should not be hard to do) and you should have better results. Go the the salespeople who seem interested in clothing, rather than the veterans.

Guys in a navy suit, white/blue shirt, and blue/burgundy tie are dressed that way for a reason. Though all of the elements might be correct, the ensemble is meant to come across as knowledgeable yet trustworthy and safe. The guys in gingham check shirts, linen suits and suede shoes love clothing, but don't understand that in a sales environment, most people wont "get it." I would trust those guys more when trying to obtain a great fit (which defies the average customer's logic).
post #8 of 21
in my opinion, who cares what the salesman says?
knowledge is power, as long as you know your shit thats all it matters
if you have to depend on other people to tell you whats right or whats not right then thats a serious case of information asymmetry
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by junior varsity View Post

in my opinion, who cares what the salesman says?
knowledge is power, as long as you know your shit thats all it matters
if you have to depend on other people to tell you whats right or whats not right then thats a serious case of information asymmetry

I'd agree completely. As I walk into other stores to shop, the salesperson is irrelevant. I might have him grab me sizes of certain things if I can't readily find them myself, but other than that it's really a non-issue. Once you know what you're looking for, it's tough for a salesperson to add on or interject. A great salesperson, though, will show you everything that you might not have, but you'd appreciate. He has to be on your level.
post #10 of 21
I may be slightly different as I've only been an SA in Jermyn Street and Savile Row (thus doing things "right" was more important than turn around), but the reason I say "Almost no alteration" is to gauge the reaction. You will have one of a few responses:

1. The customer is shocked t the idea of alterations. In this scenario it is best to give him the best fit off the rack and allow him to live with the imperfections if he chooses. (about 40% of customers)

2. The customer wants the alterations but is wary. In this case by stating that "almost no" alterations need to be made, I am also inferring that I have done much more extensive work in the past. The customer then has confidence in my ability to alter the garment no matter how major or subtle the changes. (about 50% of customers)

3. The customer wants it done perfectly. By using the phrase "almost no" alterations I am indicating that changing the sleeve length by 1/8" or shortening the body by 3/16" is easily done. By suggesting that tiny adjustments are all that is required I am able to change almost every aspect without say "OMG your body is sooooo strange and I'm having to re-make this whole coat!!11!!" (about 10% of customers)

Very few people would react well to being told that they are freakishly shaped and need major work doing, but by playing down the severity of alterations you make the process much more genial for most people (OP excluded unfortunately). Next time you're told that something only needs "minor alterations" don't take offence, simply understand that the SA is asking you if you're the kind of guy who will do alterations on your suit.
post #11 of 21
As a clothing salesman, you're judged on multiple points the moment you walk in the door.

I judge the salespersons. Went to a Nordstroms not long ago. One of the salesmen was wearing a shirt that was obviously too big for him and (and this is hard for me to say), the narrow end of his tie was almost two inches BELOW its wide end. I wanted to speak with his manager.

Anyway, where it pertains to alterations, I never ask 'if' or 'should'; I say (something to the effect of) "I need these hemmed about X centimeters", etc. I'm fairly close-minded towards salespersons' opinions.

Always try it on, look in the mirror, yadda, yadda. Wear a T-shirt or something you can wear a shirt over so as to make the endeavor of 'trying on' less strenuous. When shopping for pants, plan to wear whatever shoes you'd wear with the type of pants you're planning to buy as also to make trying on clothes and determining what needs to be done (if anything) easier.
post #12 of 21
Because they want to sell their product above anything else.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sentrixx View Post

Because they want to sell their product above anything else.
+1.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Very interesting. Makes a ton of sense.
post #15 of 21
I'd like to lavishly thank the posters above for this thread. I find the SA's perspective to be facinating as I actually avoid certain key stores because of them- even in a market with fewer retialer options than a really big city. After reading SF now for a while, I feel like I'm a lot more informed, so I girded my loins and went into the worst of these dreaded stores a few days ago to look at some shirts. I knew what I wanted, what I had to pay, what the options were, and what the limitations of the store/stock were.

The exchange with the SA was completely different this time. He kept trying to show me how I was wrong about this and that, and then prooving me right. I walked out feeling great without a bag in hand. The dynamic of the SA-client relationship has kept shopping for clothes from being enjoyable for me in the past, and I'm grateful to SF members like the guys above for helping me overcome this barrier.
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