• Hi, I am the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • This site contains affiliate links for which Styleforum may be compensated.
  • We would like to welcome House of Huntington as an official Affiliate Vendor. Shop past season Drake's, Nigel Cabourn, Private White V.C. and other menswear luxury brands at exceptional prices below retail. Please visit the Houise of Huntington thread and welcome them to the forum.

  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

    Styleforum is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

guaging a new tailor in town

graymerica

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
65
Reaction score
1
I live in a small city in North Carolina (Wilmington) and we have never had a custom menswhere tailor since I moved here. We have fine tailors for alterations, places that will order MTM, but no actual bespoke tailors.

I stopped by a new shop this weekend that claims to make suits. I did not have a lot of time to investigate, but he did have a couple of examples of suits he has made. The couple are in their 50s, Chinese and have a large amount of machines and other equipment. The place was clean and well organized and in nice retail strip mall.

He told me that a two piece suit, custom made by him, not MTM, would be $500 labor plus material. He estimates I needed 5 yards at between $30-$80 per yard. (I am 6' and wear a BB 42R)

The two examples he had on manikins, that he made, look nice, solid style, two button suits.

I have only ever bought off the rack and MTM in the past and was wondering what I should look for if I want to order a custom suit from a new tailor.

Should I have them make me a sports coat first?

Without giving the guy the third degree, what kinds of questions should I ask?

What details should I look for in the work that he has done in the past?

Should I take in a suit I like and tell him to make one that compares, or would that be an insult?

I am excited to give this guy a try, but I want to make sure I am not going to get a satorial quagmire.

thanks in advance for the advice.
 

phxlawstudent

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
1,193
Reaction score
4
Originally Posted by graymerica
[Located in a] strip mall. He told me that a two piece suit, custom made by him, not MTM, would be $500 labor plus material. He estimates I needed 5 yards at between $30-$80 per yard. (I am 6' and wear a BB 42R)
That's enough info for me to PASS!!!
 

bringusingoodale

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
1,410
Reaction score
44
If I remember correctly, it only takes about 2 1/2 yards for a SC. Or is this for pants? I forget. Either way it doesn't sound like a steal, but there's no way of gauging this without seeing an end result. I made up my mind some time ago that when doing bespoke, the best rule to follow is cry once (for the initial price) for a reputable tailor.
 

graymerica

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
65
Reaction score
1
phxlawstudent,

was it the price or the strip mall?

The shopping center is attached to http://www.landfall.org It is a strip mall, but a pretty nice one.

thanks,

Andrew
 

phxlawstudent

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2009
Messages
1,193
Reaction score
4
Price mostly. There's no way the suit is only $500 plus materials. Unless he's going to use up $500 worth of materials, the price does not equate to even low level bespoke. MTM, maybe, but you said you already have good MTM suiting. But I'd still pass, he's obviously lying/miscommunicating about the custom part/expectations, or the construction is shoddy and he uses a ton of shortcuts that I cannot even think of.
 

greger

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
1,470
Reaction score
193
The price that he is charging is so low that anything he makes is probably fine for that price. Generally custom is thousands more. If the garment is equal to something in the store for the same price then it is fine. And he can probably make stuff that you can't find in a store and at those prices it is a bargain. You can't compare it with a $5,000 custom made from a world known famous tailor, such as those on SR.
 

graymerica

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 11, 2010
Messages
65
Reaction score
1
greger, great point.

I really wanted a black and grey seer sucker jacket I saw in Charlotte last year, but they wanted $2200 for it. Which is crazy.

I bet I could get him to make me one for under $300 since seer sucker is about $15 per yard and it would not need to be extensively lined.

Worse case scenario, I have a crappy casual jacket, but he might have some skills. Wilmington is at the beach and there is a lot of seer sucker here in the summer, especially at weddings and parties, so I would have a use for it,

thanks
 

a tailor

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Jul 22, 2006
Messages
2,855
Reaction score
145
if you decide to try him then do this.
wear a suit that you like the best for fit. then tell him what you like and dont like about it.
one thing at a time. the length for instance, if it is too long or short, tell him by how much.
do the same for the shoulder width. and so on.
 

Concordia

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
7,661
Reaction score
1,643
Originally Posted by a tailor
if you decide to try him then do this.
wear a suit that you like the best for fit. then tell him what you like and dont like about it.
one thing at a time. the length for instance, if it is too long or short, tell him by how much.
do the same for the shoulder width. and so on.


+1.

Jackets are typically 2/3 of the cost of a suit.

Especially if you might wear them as separates, no harm in adding trousers to the seersucker order. If he's awful, you'll find out on the cheap. If not bad (or better), you've got a source lined up.
 

markspencer

Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2011
Messages
10
Reaction score
0
It is a little expesive. I think it will be cheaper to buy a suit and then tailor it to fit you perfectly.
 

greger

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
1,470
Reaction score
193
Originally Posted by markspencer
It is a little expensive. I think it will be cheaper to buy a suit and then tailor it to fit you perfectly.

There are pluses and minuses to this. If he (tailor) can do better than off the rack and you buy rtw and then have it altered, then that is not an improvement. You can only give this tailor a try and if it goes fine, then over time they will probably get better. Another minus is rtw only gives you what is available, whereas, custom may give many choices beyond what rtw provides.

Once when in a store I looked at shirts. There were four or five shirts and each one had a feature that I liked. I could buy four or five shirts or I could have one custom with all of those futures.
 

jack220

Active Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2011
Messages
37
Reaction score
1
Originally Posted by graymerica
I live in a small city in North Carolina (Wilmington) and we have never had a custom menswhere tailor since I moved here. We have fine tailors for alterations, places that will order MTM, but no actual bespoke tailors.

I stopped by a new shop this weekend that claims to make suits. I did not have a lot of time to investigate, but he did have a couple of examples of suits he has made. The couple are in their 50s, Chinese and have a large amount of machines and other equipment. The place was clean and well organized and in nice retail strip mall.

He told me that a two piece suit, custom made by him, not MTM, would be $500 labor plus material. He estimates I needed 5 yards at between $30-$80 per yard. (I am 6' and wear a BB 42R)

The two examples he had on manikins, that he made, look nice, solid style, two button suits.

I have only ever bought off the rack and MTM in the past and was wondering what I should look for if I want to order a custom suit from a new tailor.

Should I have them make me a sports coat first?

Without giving the guy the third degree, what kinds of questions should I ask?

What details should I look for in the work that he has done in the past?

Should I take in a suit I like and tell him to make one that compares, or would that be an insult?

I am excited to give this guy a try, but I want to make sure I am not going to get a satorial quagmire.

thanks in advance for the advice.


If you're Asian (like me!), you'd know what to look for
laugh.gif


Fused or canvassed? Buttons handmade or machine sewn? Armsyce deep or high? Shoulder pads thick and boxy, or natural? How does the suit in the manikin fit? Do you dig the silhouette? Clean lines, front and back?

You need to ask, because he's Chinese, and most likely has no formal knowledge in tailoring. Most likely self-taught, and many of the SF-approved style details are alien to them.

Bring pictures of the above to him, and ask him if he knows how to do it, or is willing to try...
facepalm.gif
 

CYstyle

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jul 18, 2009
Messages
1,219
Reaction score
24
Originally Posted by phxlawstudent
Price mostly. There's no way the suit is only $500 plus materials. Unless he's going to use up $500 worth of materials, the price does not equate to even low level bespoke. MTM, maybe, but you said you already have good MTM suiting. But I'd still pass, he's obviously lying/miscommunicating about the custom part/expectations, or the construction is shoddy and he uses a ton of shortcuts that I cannot even think of.

The $500 is for labor, meaning his profit/wages + material cost on top of that. The end result of a suit is not going to be $500 after all adding in fabric that's easily another $400, and pocketing material, buttons etc, over $1k. Granted most tailors charge $1k+ labor, it could be he's charging lower fees to get new business then gradually increasing prices as he gets more business.
 

Michael Ay329

Distinguished Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2007
Messages
1,585
Reaction score
54
His prices sound reasonable...give him a try...especially since he does the work on premises

Does he provide fitting(s)? This is crucial
 

greger

Distinguished Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2009
Messages
1,470
Reaction score
193
No saying yay or nay for this tailor, but some of you are talking like to expect a $5,000 suit for $1,000 suit. Hand made button holes for a $1,000 suit? Get real.

I would expect two fittings, maybe three, though. And not after he is finished. It is much easier to correct fitting problems at certain stage of construction than afterwards.
 

Featured Sponsor

What's your favorite style of coat for winter? Choose up to 3

  • Peacoat

  • Great coat

  • Trench

  • Mac

  • Chesterfield

  • Duffle coat

  • Topcoat

  • Shearling

  • Balmacaan

  • Parka

  • Loden

  • Car coat


Results are only viewable after voting.

Forum statistics

Threads
502,757
Messages
10,560,278
Members
223,245
Latest member
Aroma
Top