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Weight loss and tailoring options


New Member
Jul 1, 2018
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Hi - I recently got a couple of nice sports coats for a good price that fit me very well now, and I really like. However I am hoping to lose 15 lbs in the next ~6 months (down to 200 lbs at 5 ‘ 10”). I estimate 1.5 to 2 inches would be lost from my waist and maybe an inch in my chest. My questions are related to sizing. Is it easy for a tailor to reliably bring in the waist and maybe the chest a corresponding amount? What is a ballpark cost for this (I live in central NJ)? Does the existence of a full lining or canvased construction change the price much?

A related issue, I also have 10 MTM dress shirts from Proper Cloth and 15 pairs of chinos/jeans/dress pants that fit me well now, is it easy and inexpensive to do a similar alteration to those? I want to lose some weight but don’t want to have to spend thousands of dollars and dozens of hours building a new wardrobe.

Thanks in advance for any insight!


Senior Member
Nov 1, 2016
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Among the very few things in life more important than style, one is certainly physical well-being. In your case I would prioritize losing weight, then worry about your clothes.

Your jackets can no doubt be altered without difficulty since losing 15 pounds is unlikely to affect your shoulders, the hardest thing to change. Waist and chest are usually easy to take in.

The shirts could be trickier because weight loss usually affects collar width. If you’re not wearing ties it may not matter.

I would expect a good East Coast tailor to charge at least $100 for each jacket alteration, and perhaps $25-$50 per shirt. You may decide the shirts, or even the jackets, aren’t worth it. The good thing about buying a new wardrobe is the incentive it provides to keep the weight off.


New Member
Jul 1, 2018
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Thanks for the quick response maxalex! I almost never wear ties so collar size won't be a factor, and many of my Proper Cloth shirts cost $125 to $160 so would be worth it to alter instead of buying new, similarly my sports coats would be worth altering too if under $100. Agree that health is more important than my clothes, although fortunately while carrying some extra weight around the midsection overall at 45 I am pretty healthy, work out 4x times per week, don't smoke, rarely drink, get enough sleep, and make 95% of my food, I just need to cut the extra calories really as after a very healthy meal I tend to eat some desserts. I think I will keep one sports coat and return the others, and buy at the holidays when hopefully at my target weight and there are likely good sales. Thanks again.


New Member
Nov 26, 2019
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my weight has been between 230 lb and 300 lb the last 20 years.

at 300 lb, i was probably 51/43 on a suit....... at 230 (just a guess), 45/34..... at 250, 47/38

i feel like the differences in size with weight should be more..... but i have large bones and have been fairly muscular (fairly fat most of the time too)..............

right now, 280 lb. just bought some nice 50/42 suits. a bit worried as i've starting losing weight successfully (after a few years of no success).. i think the pants will be fine with alot of weight loss, not sure as to jackets though (of course, it should be other way around, but pants are tighter to start and never seem to have a huge amount of room no matter what)

many years ago, i bought some tailored suits......... fit so well, and still fit well with pretty big weight changes.

papa kot

Senior Member
Jul 1, 2012
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Taking a jacket at the waist should not be an issue. Depending on your body geometry, it may be as little as .5"; a reasonable tailor can do it well. My tailor charges me $50 but I go top end as most of my stuff is custom made.

Losing weight in shoulders will be problematic if the jacket currently fits well. Ditto for the neck. It really depends on how much you care about your suit being perfectly dialed in.

Shirts? I would not worry about them too much. As I've stated earlier elsewhere on this forum, do not become obsessed with +1" here and -0.057" there. I won't do you good. See what your new physique brings about and who knows perhaps those shirts will work.

Pants are typically not an issue provided that you have chinos that allow room for alteration. With fabrics, you usually have no issues taking in cotton, linen, or wool. However, if your new body shape calls for taking pants out, cottons and linen will pose a risk.

You can avoid having these problems by doing a few things.

First, try to get a stable weight with +/- 5lbs. You should be able to do it, unless you're a pro-body builder who has to bulk up and then slim down.

Secondly, buy clothing that forgives slight body weight fluctuations. Alternative is to have some clothing items that fit more on a looser side and some that are more trim. That way you won't have to throw things away if you get to the end of your weight spectrum.

Thirdly, once you have your sizes established and you know what is what, eBay and classifieds on this forum will become your best friends.


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