This post might come off half informational and half rant. But here goes.
As recently as two months ago, I couldn’t give a crud about what I looked like in a suit. I paged through GQ and figured everything was too expensive, too unattainable. And then I came into some money, well, at least, a credit of some amount at a local Men’s Warehouse.
I’ll just start out by saying this: Probably don’t go to Men’s Warehouse in any suburb if you’re looking for a fitted, modern look. The sales people are seemingly pulled off the street. If I sound vindictive it’s because I was mostly belittled by a elvish little woman who not only rolled her eyes at my requests, but actually had the audacity to poke fun at me, the customer. Anyway in hindsight, I learned what I wanted in a suit. It was one, long, joyless learning experience.
It’s funny because Men’s Warehouse claims to have tailors on staff, yet they won’t narrow jacket sleeves and suit pants at the location I visited (Roseville). These are two essential elements to making a suit fit. Most traditional brands cut sleeves overly large, same with pants. I had some adjustments done, and they were mostly good upon completion, but even that was a battle. My requests might as well have been in a foreign language to the MW tailor.
It’s a fine line between requesting what you want forcefully, and not coming off as a dick. This is how this tailor came off: “OK, so you really want this, even though I’m thinking it looks ridiculous. OK I will purposely screw it up to make you realize how stupid you’ll look.” I wouldn’t put it beyond the amateurs at this MW location believe it or not. The kids that work there even feel each other up, right in front of customers. That’s when I was like, ehhh…
Enough ripping MW. The bottom line is I knew more about what I wanted to look like than they did. Despite these trials, I was invigorated. I wanted to get old and sloppy suits and coats I have tailored to fit. Before I go any further, don’t do this. If you have old sloppy suits, probably just go on Gilt and buy a new one more your size. I spent about the same amount as a new suit cleaning up this old Calvin Klein I have at Tom’s Tailors on Grand Avenue. Thankfully it looks great now, and I’m happy with the adjustments, but not every tailor is going to get it right. They’re humans, you know.
My experience at Tom’s was where I felt most understood. Tom (the tailor) listened, and generally agreed with what I requested (“You see! Looks nice!”) I would have had him do my other two, newer suits from MW that still needed narrowing, but his operation is a bit cramped, busy and disorganized (he didn’t have my pants ready after two weeks).
So I have my old suit done (i.e. pants hemmed and cuffed, narrowed, jacket sleeves narrowed, shortened, nipped at the sides, shoulders fitted, etc), and I still have these two other suits, and I was a bit frustrated with Tom’s lack of organization. So that same night, I thought to give Heimies Haberdashery’s tailors a try. It’s in walking distance through the skyways, and open till 7 on weeknights.
The place is like the dapper man’s dream world. I could spend too much money in the place. I didn’t bother being tempted by merchandise, just got the suits done. Anyway, the place comes off a little more traditional, and the folks there were nice enough but still gave me a little bit of eye roll. “The garment fits you fine.” Yes that may be true, but not in the way I want it to fit.
Moral of the story, it can seem like an uphill battle finding a good tailor. I’m sure there are many places in the Twin Cities that would be more conducive to my tastes, but this is a mini-review of the three places I visited. For the record, my three suits turned out great. My insistence of how I wanted it them to fit, no matter how feeble, paid off in the end. The tailoring handiwork was good, not cheap, and should not have been questioned. Why act so surprised? I want to pay you.