We may earn a small commission from product links. Blog posts at Nimble Made are written to provide value and advice for our readers—any product(s) we recommend are items readers use and love.
A great suit can only take your look so far. To really get the full experience of looking sharp in a suit even with a budget-friendly, off-the-rack suit, you will need to get it tailored. Properly tailored suits are transformative – they will accentuate your every angle, broaden your shoulders, and trim your waist. Many people who wear suits have no idea what is involved with getting one tailored.
Tailoring consists of way more than simply hemming the pants. Understanding the basics of tailoring will help you discern the proper fit and how to work with your tailor to get the perfect fit for a great look.
The short answer: if you want to look your best you should certainly get it tailored. So if you have someone to impress, or you're playing a part in a wedding or other formal gathering, then you'll definitely want to get it tailored.
How to Tailor a Suit
Whether you need a new suit for a job or an event, you will need to get it tailored by a professional to accentuate your features and get the most bang for your buck. So, the obvious question is: Where do you go? And, what will the tailor do to your new suit?
How Long Does it Take to Tailor A Suit
How long it takes to tailor a suit really depends on 2 things - what time of the year and where you go. If you go to large department stores such as Nordstroms or big brands like Men's Warehouse it can easily take 3-4 weeks, and even as long as 6 weeks.
However, if you're in a rush you'll have a better chance of finding a mom and pop shop that can do it in less than 2 weeks, and often for a better price. When I had to get my suit tailored for a wedding I was getting quotes of 3 weeks, but then I went to a local small shop and they finished it 3 days. Life savers.
Men’s Clothing Store
A regular department store will not cater to your needs for a proper tailoring. While they may hem the pants, or attempt to measure you for a fitting, they typically are not professionals in men’s wear.
Stores catered to men’s fashion will be much more suited to adjusting your suit. A professional tailor will measure, measure again, fit, and refit you to get the ideal suit for your body. You can go to Men's Wearhouse, Friar Tux, Nordstroms, and more. At these places it can cost anywhere from $25-$250 depending on which place you go, and how much work you need done. Getting this done at a higher end tailor can be more expensive.
One of our employees had his slacks adjusted in one area, and his suit jacket in one area and it came out to be $50.00. The more areas for each article of clothing, the more expensive.
That’s right – collar gaps. Your tailor will measure your neck so they can ensure that the collar fits properly against your neck. Ill-fitting suits sit away from the shirt collar, creating an unsightly gap. You may not be able to see it, but other people will.
Snug fit around the shoulders
The tailor should craft your suit jacket to fit your shoulders snugly. Avoid wearing a suit that's too baggy, where the fabric in the shoulders are pointing outwards. You want to be able to have natural movement with no sagging, but not too tight. The shoulders on a suit are so important that many tailors will work with you to find a suit off-the-rack that fits your shoulders perfectly, and then they will make additional adjustments from there.
Hemmed Sleeves and Trousers
Extra-long trousers and a long sleeve slength create a sloppy overall appearance. Long trousers make you appear shorter and stout.
Trousers that brush the tops of your shoes are properly fitted and elongate the appearance of your legs. Popular styles right now take this a step further and show off more leg – time to show off those fancy socks.
Proper length trousers with socks showing
Dress suit jackets should not fit like a regular outdoor jacket. They should not hit your knuckles or hang from your arms. Your Jacket sleeve should end about a quarter- to half-inch before the shirt sleeve are preferred. This look will show a slight sliver of your shirt cuff and adds a touch more class to your style.
Suit jacket with sliver of shirt cuff showing
Tapered Sleeves and Trousers
Tapering the sleeves and trousers of your suit will emphasize your silhouette and elongate the lines of the suit.
Off-the-rack suits are often designed to fit men with a bit of girth in their midsection. For those who are a bit huskier or slimmer, you will need to have your suit adjusted. If you are slim, the boxy fit of an off-the-rack suit creates a sloppy look.
At the same time, never settle for a suit that is too tightly fitted. In most circumstances, you will be wearing this suit jacket for a lengthy period and you will want it to fit comfortably.
How to Tailor a Suit Jacket Yourself
While a name brand suit crafted to your body might be preferred, not everybody has that kind of time or money. There are some nifty hacks that you can perform to get a more tailored look on your own.
Shorten the sleeves of your suit jacket by flipping the jacket sleeves inwards. Once the desired length is achieved, secure them with a couple of bobby pins that match your suit’s color.
If your pants are a bit loose and a belt does not match with your outfit, you can use binder clips for a better fit. Cinch the fabric at the back of your waistline and use the binder clips to hold them in place.
Using fabric tape, cuff/fold your pants inward to the desired hemline and secure with fabric tape.
Know Your Size
While department stores are not the place to go for professional tailoring, they can measure you and help you determine what size and cuts are best suited for your suits. In the era of online shopping, it is imperative to know your measurements.
Different brands will fit you differently, even if they are the same size, so be sure to check size guides that list measurements if you are shopping online.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Suit Tailored?
If you are a new client to the tailor, then this process will take a bit longer since they will need to start from scratch. However, typically, you should expect a 2-to 4-week total from purchase to complete set. With smaller shops you can get it as fast as 2 days.
Keep in mind that things like busy seasons can make this take longer. Some tailors may have rush service that will require an additional fee if you need your suit completed faster.
The type of tailoring that you need may also interfere with the time of completion. For example, if the store does not have a particular fabric in stock, you will need to factor in shipping times for that.
Suiting Your Suit Needs
A sharp looking suit on a hanger can fall flat and look sloppy once you put it on, and that can damage our confidence. The last thing we need when going on a job interview or a vital meeting is to have our self-esteem damaged by an ill-fitting suit. Last minute hacks can elongate and accentuate your look in a moment of need. Whether you go to the tailor or DIY hem, the importance of a properly fitting suit is clear to dress like a lawyer.
How much does it cost to get a suit tailored?
It costs anywhere from $40-$400 for a suit to get tailored. This is a big range because it depends on how much tailoring is required and who you go to for tailoring. The local tailor will be a lot more affordable than a special, high-end tailor.
How quickly can a suit be tailored?
A suit can be tailored in a few days, even in a few hours if the store has the bandwidth. However, typically there is some wait and you should expect to wait 2 days all the way up to 2 weeks if the store is busy.
What does it mean to get a suit tailored?
When a suit is tailored it means it is going to fit your measurements. You'll be measured so that the suit can be customized to better fit your body (arms, chest, stomach, and legs) so that it is tight around your body and looks better.