Summer Collection Suit Jacket

How to avoid a bad tailoring experience

Whether it’s your first time having a bespoke or made to measure suit created or you are a seasoned Savile Row shopper, there are a few things you need to do before and during your appointment with a tailor to ensure you have a great time and come away with a suit that looks fabulous.

I’ve heard some troubling stories in my time as a tailor. Men have been overwhelmed by stuffy, formal showrooms owned by condescending tailors who spout reams of terminology at them; gentlemen have bought suits that they are told are perfect for them but make them feel like someone else; and some poor lads have had such horrible first experiences they have never dared to return to a tailor again.

What saddens me the most is that with a little bit of preparation and know-how, these terrible tailoring scenarios need never have happened. Here’s my list of things every gentleman should do before they visit a tailor to avoid a bad experience.

  1. Do your research. Each tailor has their own style and area of expertise – traditional British, modern on-trend, soft Italian – so it’s important to research what they are best at before you book so that you can be sure their aesthetic matches yours. Take a look at their website, ask for recommendations, read blogs by fashion experts like the Grey Fox and check out magazines like GQ, Esquire, Men’s Journal and Savile Row Style. The driving philosophy behind Alexandra Wood Bespoke is to make Savile Row sexy, so you can expect modern, sleek designs with a classic, British edge. No stuffy showrooms or bossy tailors here!
  2. Give yourself plenty of time. Don’t book appointments if you know you’ll have to rush off to something else. These things take time and the more relaxed you are, the better decisions you can make and the more you’ll enjoy the process. If you are rushed, you may agree to something you aren’t completely happy with. This is time for you – schedule it in with plenty of time either side.
  3. Take a good look at your wardrobe. Not the outside of it – open the door! It’s important to get to grips with your own style, even if it’s a bit of a mixed bag. What colours and styles do you wear most often? Do you buy firm structured clothes or do you tend to go for items that are softer and more casual? Do you like your current wardrobe or are you seeking some direction? Knowing these details will make you feel more confident when the tailor asks you questions about your personal style. At Alexandra Wood Bespoke we take each client through a style review. We ask you questions about your style, what you do and don’t like, and the purpose of your suit so we can choose the right fabric for you, in colours you like and learn about you as a person so we can build your own personal profile.
  4. Start simply. There’s nothing wrong with infusing your personality into a suit – we positively encourage it! But if it’s your first time, concentrate on getting a suit that fits right and is made exquisitely. The world is your oyster when it comes to suits, but we are very much here to guide you as to what will balance your proportions and make you look the best version of you.We take a detailed approach when it comes to designing a suit for you, looking at your body structure, the way you stand and overall posture. This is an essential part of making a suit that will make you look exceptional, rather than just okay. Once you see yourself in a suit that is perfectly fitted, you can then let your imagination run wild over fabrics* and buttons. *On the subject of fabrics…do ask about the origin and quality of the fabrics your tailor uses. We only stock the highest quality fabrics that are test rubbed over 64,000 to meet rigorous industry standards.
  5. Ask lots of questions. Quiz the tailor about suit construction. Do they know how to make you look your best? Would they advise having a half canvas or full? A firm shoulder or soft? This helps you determine if they really know their stuff, and also gives you plenty of information to work with when making decisions. Most importantly, if you don’t understand any terminology please just ask! At Alexandra Wood Bespoke we don’t expect you to know everything about tailoring (that’s our job!) so we work hard to create a relaxed, informal environment where you feel comfortable asking us anything.
  6. Be honest with your tailor. If you don’t like something, say so. They will have plenty of style advice and experience but if you don’t feel comfortable with an idea, let them know immediately. They don’t want you to go through the process of having a suit made that you are not entirely happy with – or worse, walk out of the store with it. Tailors are perfectionists, and it’s only perfect if you are happy with it.

We’d love to talk to you about tailoring and men’s style. Book an appointment with us at our Bishop’s Stortford, Shoreditch or Savile Row stores for a friendly chat by emailing

Still curious about made to measure and bespoke suits? Read our blogs on:

Questions you should ask before buying a made to measure suit

The difference between made to measure and bespoke

6 Reasons not to buy a cheap made to measure suit

Savile Row terminology you never knew existed


Words by Katrina Strathearn @ Veracity Content