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Advice Needed: Alterations vs Acquisitions

California Dreamer

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I guess this is a nice problem to have, but it's looming as an expensive one.

S1nce Christmas I have lost 12-13kg. I've lost 3 inches off my waist, 4 inches off my chest and 1 inch off my neck measurements.

As a consequence, most of my clothes fit me about as well as a clown suit. I work in a corporate environment so I need to have a full panoply of business wear, and am fast running out of options.

I have a lot of suits and jackets that I am most reluctant to part with and would happily alter if the degree of alterations would not end up ruining the suit. So I'm looking for some suggestions as to what would be the maximum you could take in a suit jacket, a pair of pants and a shirt before it would cease to be worthwhile. (I'm assuming virtually nothing for shirt collars; I'm resigned to writing my old shirts off).

TIA.
 

NewYorkIslander

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You could do one of a few things. Get it altered (about 2 sizes down is max, ie, 44-42, and pants for the most part until the pockets get too close) and spend a lot of money for stuff that just fits OK. Spend a little more and get new stuff that really fits. Keep the stuff you really don't want to part with for when (in case) you put the weight back on. B&S the stuff you don't care so much about and put it towards the new stuff.

I was in your position a few years ago, and spent a fortune on alterations that I wish I hadn't.
 

Raralith

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Congrats on losing the weight, and I feel you about the clothes not fitting as well since I was on the same boat last year. I did bring it to a local tailor that does very good work, albiet pricy, and here's the breakdown and suggestions:

Coats:
Unless your shoulder has shrunk (swimming shoulders, fat, etc...), you might be OK. The chest is tough though because I didn't lose that much off my chest, maybe 2 inches, but he was able to take that in.

Pants:
My tailor was hesitant to take in any more on some of them, and said that he could either recut the pants or I can buy new ones. Considering the few slacks that needed to be recut were from BB, it was literally cheaper to buy new slacks.

Shirts:
I was told that if the neck was too lose, your shit out of luck. The rest of it could be taken in, but there was nothing he could do regarding the neck. I ended up going bespoke on these.

Last bit of advice since this happened to me a few months later, store the clothes. I gained maybe 10 lbs back and all my pants were starting to get a bit uncomfortable.
 

California Dreamer

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Thanks guys for the good advice.

Looks like the news is abd about the shirts, as I'd thought. I have thought about a plan where I gradually dispose of suits and pants once they become 4 sizes too large. So now I am selling size 48 suits because I can fit into 44. When I'm comfortably into a 42, I will have to part with my 46 suits (which is most of them). Similarly with pants; I'm at 37 now so I'll start getting rid of my size 40s starting with the ones I wear least. When I get down to 36 I will have to get rid of the 40s, and so on.

My other plan is to hit the thrift stores for clothes that fit pretty well at the new sizes but won't cost a bomb. For example, i picked up a size 42 Brioni that fits now after altering the pants, but will continue to fit for a good long while yet. Course I can't rely on that, but it will save me from having to spend too much on clothes until the weight loss levels out and I get an idea of what my long-term size and shape is likely to be.

Bespoke shirts might be worth it if it's something cheap like Jantzen, but not until things settle down a bit.
 

Raralith

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How much weight are you looking to lose in total? If it's going to go on for a bit more, I'd consider Josh Banks which is decent enough to walk into a meeting with, but cheap enough to throw away after it no longer fits. A good tailor can just alter these every other month until it's no longer good, buy a new size and keep on altering until you hit your desired weight.

Of the few times I've been in a Thrift store, it's been hit or miss, and the suits are split up so you can't always find the matching coat and trousers. Maybe also consider the B&S, than sell it at a 10-20% loss when you are done with it. 44 is a pretty common size it seems.
 

California Dreamer

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Originally Posted by Raralith
How much weight are you looking to lose in total? If it's going to go on for a bit more, I'd consider Josh Banks which is decent enough to walk into a meeting with, but cheap enough to throw away after it no longer fits. A good tailor can just alter these every other month until it's no longer good, buy a new size and keep on altering until you hit your desired weight.

A lot more, probably about another 10 kgs. I'm not sure if I'll get down that low, but that's the aim. That would probably see me around a 32-34" waist.

Is Josh Banks a US tailor? I'm in Australia, so I'd need to find a local who could do what you suggest.

I've actually had pretty good luck in thrift stores, finding Canali, Corneliani, Caruso, Cantarelli, Brioni and Kiton suits over the years. I intend to just occasionally look around and see if there is something I can use. Right now I am wearing thrifted Cantarelli and Brioni suits to work, but I don't have much else that fits.
 

phxlawstudent

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First of all, congratulations! I've lost an inch off my waist myself, and getting all my pants re-altered was really annoying and costly. In addition, my tailor told me thats the end of it. She can't take any more off because the pockets will be too close together. Thankfully, my love handles are gone, so I don't foresee having to slim down the waist anymore.

But 3" is a lot of waist to lose. You really have to make sure the pockets aren't going to be too close together.

I would not touch the jackets. Anything you do to them will be a waste, you need a different jacket size if you keep losing more weight. Plus, they'll look decently on you as long as your shoulders didn't shrink. They'll just look a little baggy, so your friends might notice your not dressing as well.

Thrift stores are a great idea. Plenty of used suits in your new size. None in mine... :| I digress.

If you do alter some pants, only alter three at most. Just go easy because your eventually going to get new clothes and its pointless to try to save something you ultimately will not be able to. Its throwing good money after bad.
 

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