As much as I avoid clichés, I can’t here. Finding the right tailor is truly like searching for a needle in a haystack. A bespoke tailor, by trade, is supposed to be an individual that treats his product with compassion, and as an extension of that, cares about every detail in your outfit. This meticulousness should be the yardstick by which you measure his craft as a tailor. Most tailors are pump and dump houses. They want you in and out. They probably won’t even check your measurements properly when they receive your finished product from the workshop.
If the tailor is attentive to what you want, and asks for what you are specifically interested in, chances are a lot higher that he is a tailor of significantly higher caliber than the average. If he asks you what kind of collar you would like with your shirt, whether you want center or side pleats at the back of your shirts, how much longer than your suit you want your shirt sleeve length to be, whether you want an allowance on one cuff for your wrist watch, what type of monograms you want, and whether you want collar stays in your shirt, you know he is attentive.
Regarding the suit, if he asks about lapel width, how many buttons you would like, whether you would like workable buttons, what color lining you want inside the suit jacket, if you want reinforced fabric around the pants so they don’t fade when rubbing against the back of your shoes, you know that your tailor is concerned with you having a quality product.
If, on the other hand, he takes your measurements quickly, seems eager to move onto the next guy/ girl and doesn’t generally offer you choices unless you specifically ask for them – and when you do ask for them he seems a little hesitant, you know he’s in the game for one thing only – Volume. That’s when you run for the doors. Or you beat him at his own game. Play his diplomacy game back – tell him you’ll return later in the day with two close associates – and never show up!
Remember, you are paying top dollar for a customized suit because of the attention to detail. That is the whole point, and that is what justifies the margins in their business. If, on the other hand, their interests are rooted solely in generating as much volume as possible, it signifies that the business is being run like a ‘one size fits all’ concept, where the goal is to move as much product as possible, which can only be done if you are paying less attention to each piece. Either that, or they hire significantly more people to pay attention to the clients’ needs, which would also erode their margins. So you figure which option they’re going for.
So, if you want a state of the art suit, pick your tailor as deliberately as you would the details of that spanking new custom suit of yours! Unless of course, you want to dress like this: