• Hi, I'm 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. Please visit ou very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are posted, including the latest, updated, very comprehensive, Styleforum Black Friday Sales List

    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.
  • 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!

Menswear Shop Refusing to Tailor "Outside" Clothing | Experiences or Advice?

rdstour

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
370
Reaction score
5
All, just wanted to get a 2nd opinion on this and wondering how you may have dealt with this:

I was in a well established menswear shop in Houston (ND) recently to have some clothes assessed by their tailor (enough material in sleeves to lengthen adequately? Etc.) A sales associate took me aside to tell me that since I only tend to use their tailoring for "outside" clothing in the past (e.g. clothing not purchased from their own store, which nearly all RTW from a variety of brands), this would be the last time they could do this for me.

Reasons given included:
1) "Inside" Clothing backlog from their customers
2) I had "done a lot of tailoring" with them. (Sport coat and two trousers over 2 years)

I argued back that they:
1) Have a price guide for "outside clothing" and I have never minded that it was more $$ and lower priority
2) Has never been an issue until today.

From a business perspective,this befuddles me. They are essentially turning away business/revenue from a customer who doesn't mine paying more and waiting longer, and have alienated me from returning (when I have purchased a variety shoe accessories and ties, just not clothing from them).

I've always had a good experiences with the tailoring and customer service at this place, but wondering how you would have handled it / similar instances?

Thanks.
 
Last edited:

Tabooku

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
Messages
118
Reaction score
272
That seems ridiculous. It's not like they're doing you a favour or anything, they are still making a profit. If there are other places around, you should try them if you haven't already. If there really is nowhere else then maybe go back, but I would have serious doubts about going there again.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

Tabooku

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2015
Messages
118
Reaction score
272
@LA Guy I read your post and see your point. But if it isn't a worthwhile service that 'doesn't keep the lights on', why bother offering the service in the first place?
 

breakaway01

Distinguished Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2013
Messages
2,008
Reaction score
885
I would probably reach out to the store manager and ask whether this is a new across-the-board policy for the store. Unfortunately, they have the right to decline tailoring 'outside' clothing, regardless of whether this makes business sense to you. I suspect that more and more people are buying clothes online (not saying that you are, just that this is happening more frequently) and bringing them in to high-end clothing shops for tailoring.

Tailoring is a necessary service for a high-end clothing store but it is unlikely to contribute the majority of their revenue. Increasing volume of requests for tailoring 'outside' clothing ties up their in-house tailor and slows down their service to customers who purchase from the store.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

heldentenor

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
2,829
Reaction score
6,209
It's a necessary service for any good B&M store. You see if from Macy's, which offers just basic hemming, to high end stores which offer complementary alterations on suiting and jackets bought in-house. Outside alterations, unless a big part of your business is alterations, and I know of such stores, are just a drag on your operations, unless they are paying crazy rates. And even then, it diminishes the value proposition of your store. If someone can buy something cheaper, elsewhere, and then just get you to tailor it, why would anyone buy at your store? You are offering the competition your advantage. The practice, if you think about it that way, makes no business sense at all. Sometimes, the smart business move is to turn away the short term money for long term viability, especially if that short term money is just a few bucks (or a hundred dollars vs. $2K for a suit).

I guess that the take home message here is that you gotta give respect to get respect.
All of your points are well-taken, but if you live outside a major metro, you can find yourself with very few options. "Alterations tailor" in a place that isn't New York or San Francisco can translate to "buttons and hems for Joseph A. Bank customers." Finding someone who will do good work at any price and isn't also in the retail business is a nightmare, which leaves customers with a stark choice: $1295 for a decent suit, tailoring included, or $400-$600 something of far superior quality that a hack tailor then butchers. I'm going MTM in the future largely for this reason.
 
Last edited:

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

heldentenor

Distinguished Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2013
Messages
2,829
Reaction score
6,209
I live in... Moscow Idaho, so I know that feels. We did, on the other hand, get a fantastic seamstress/alterationist in town. In those towns, the retail shops understand their own limitations, and are also often much more diversified. My wife and I bring in our shoes to be topied at the local cobblers, for example. And the guy does a lot of shoe repairs an even rebuilds of "outside" shoes, because he understands that a lot of the stuff that people want, he could not possibly stock.

The OP, however, is in a major metropolitan area. It's Houston, which has plenty of specialty shops and where there is a lot of money. The outlook and attitude of retailers is understandably quite different.

As an aside, re Moscow ID. It's a wierd but rather cool town, with a lot of random businesses. It's a nice community that draws in a lot of people from bigger cities with big city expertise who suddenly find themselves in a place where they can easily strike out on their own/have no competition that makes the barrier to entry difficult/have no real other choice for gainful employment other than starting their own business. We just got a really quite decent home bakery, literally a block and a half away. A good pastry chef decided to move here to live with her sister, and seeing that there was no good cake bakery, bought a website domain, advertised at the local market, and bam, a professional bakery.
If a job ever comes up at the University of Idaho, I'm sold.
 
Last edited:

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

rdstour

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2009
Messages
370
Reaction score
5
All,

All fair points taken, and LA Guy, Thanks for chiming in on this.

I definitely understand most aspects of such a policy extending beyond the "business lens", but let me compare this with an analogous business, a boutique jewelry business (which part of my extended family operates) since it serves as a good parallel (although $$ per product is much, much higher).

This long established store is in a major metropolitan city in Asia, selling $$$$-level one-of-a-kind jewelry and fine timepieces (Patek-level and beyond).
Even in such a city as that, we've encountered numerous customers who bring for repairs/service:
  • our jewelry (of-a-kind, made by us)
  • "outside jewelry" (made by other stores),
  • fine timepieces (same brands as what we sold, but not purchased from us)

Now it makes sense to ask that clients bring our pieces to our shops (since we made them one-of-a-kind and know best how to fix them), or to do minor repairs on less complicated "outside" jewelry, or to service watches (since we have relationships with the original vendors).

At the same time we service existing clients to show we value their business (as they have purchased from us in the past) and to service new customers (in the luxury business, customer service goes a long way in being a differentiator).

However, to tell a customer we wouldn't help them "next time" seems like a sure-fire way to lose their future patronage/business (consider that a customer not only patronizes the business, but can share their experience word-of-mouth = double-edged sword).

I understand they are thinking beyond just a business lens, but when their primary products are non-custom RTW, it just seems odd to me they are trying to impose this kind of policy. In other words, I would find it far more understandable if they were a primary bespoke/MTO tailor with this policy.

Not sure if that makes sense, but that's where I feel a bit of a disconnect. Just my thoughts.
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,650
Reaction score
23,850

jefferyd

Distinguished Member
Affiliate Vendor
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
1,601
Reaction score
732
I hear it all the time from retailers that it's becoming increasingly impossible to find decent tailors to do alterations in-house so they are getting backed up with work. If a store is not able to service their own customers in a decent amount of time it stands to reason that they would not want to take in work on "outside" garments. Fok makes a good point about the examples not being analogous (I am a tailor and my brother is a goldsmith so I am somewhat familiar with both business models).
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
448,724
Messages
9,711,224
Members
202,713
Latest member
[email protected]
Top