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What Is Special about Tailored Clothing?

Alex Tree
Alex Tree

When buying tailored clothing the customer gets a much better fit than ready to wear items and can often customize the design. Tailored clothing is especially beneficial to people who do not have a standard build. Most off the rack clothing may not fit them well enough to wear without tailoring. In addition, customers can request small alterations like the replacement of buttons or the removal of sleeves. Lastly, in some situations, tailoring can make clothing last longer by adjusting them after a person has lost or gained weight.

Tailored clothing is altered to give the wearer the best fit possible. This is different from clothing found in chain retail stores and even high-end boutiques. The clothing found in such stores are off-the-rack and designed to fit a standard size in which most people do not perfectly fit. For example, an off-the-rack button-up business shirt might not fit a woman with smaller or larger than average breasts, or a man with broader shoulders than most. To get a better fit, these people can usually buy the same shirt one size up, then have a professional tailor alter it to fit them.

Tailored clothing provides the best possible fit.
Tailored clothing provides the best possible fit.

In addition to dissembling and reassembling clothing according to a customer’s measurements, tailors can usually add sleeves, hems, and other things to a piece of clothing. Tailors can also usually remove items like sleeves and rework fraying hems. A customer can drop off clothing, get measured and discuss the details of what they want done, then pick up tailored clothing that fits well and is completely unique.

Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.

Tailored clothing is different from bespoke clothing. Bespoke clothing is made from scratch after a tailor takes a customer’s measurements and usually sketches a unique design. On the other hand, while tailored clothing is altered and can be one of a kind, the tailor started from a ready to wear base. Essentially, tailored clothing is a bridge between ready to wear and bespoke.

Many people like tailored clothing because it allows them to keep their favorite outfits a little longer. Waist size, length, and even chest room can be adjusted to suit the customer. It is not always possible to adjust a clothing’s size well enough to make it wearable again, however. Sometimes there is not enough fabric to do what is requested, and other times there is simply too much fabric in a difficult-to-alter area. A skilled tailor usually tells his or her customers what is possible upfront, without having to first experiment on the garment.

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Discussion Comments


I find it's getting harder and harder to find a good professional tailor these days. I have unusual body proportions. My legs are short (29 inseam) and I have a normal waist size, but I'm very stocky above the waist. I can get my pants off the rack as long as the inseam is correct, but I have to have tailor-made shirts and custom tailored suit jackets.

The last tailor shop in my small town went out of business last year, so I have to drive 45 miles to find the closest shop now. But the difference between compromising on off-the-rack "big and tall" sizes and having tailored clothing makes the drive worthwhile.


If I could afford it, I'd wear nothing but tailored clothing every day. I wore custom tailored clothing when I was an outside sales representative, and I really enjoyed feeling like my clothes finally fit right. It made a real difference in my confidence level. I didn't feel like a traveling salesman in a tight suit jacket.

My biggest problem is finding shirts that actually fit correctly. I have very wide shoulders, so most off the rack dress shirts are too tight. I now buy tailor-made shirts from a local menswear store. They may be a little expensive, but I don't have to worry about looking and feeling uncomfortable in my office all day.

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    • Tailored clothing provides the best possible fit.
      By: tecnofotocr
      Tailored clothing provides the best possible fit.
    • Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
      By: Antonio Gravante
      Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.