I'm a little over tired today, but reading through your thoughts, Tailleuse, I think you have a valid argument. I decided to edit my husband's thoughts and strike the offensive reference completely out. It is really only a distraction to the points being made. I don't know how it works, maybe the moderators can delete the conversations up to that point, if all are in agreement. I'm just smiling back on the "Minnesota" and fashion plate thoughts. lol
How about this:
Last evening, I mentioned this thread to my husband. I'm not sure what got into him, but he wrote out the following thoughts to share on growing the tailor's art. I guess we've been thinking about this topic for a while:
My hunch—being an engineer and not a tailor—is that a lot of people out there could use a good tailor, but don’t yet know that they need one. In other words, tailors can (like engineers, really) no longer assume that their market knows they need their services. They have to do marketing.
And how to do that? I’d suggest a number of factors, starting, of course, with fit. There are all kinds of benefit to good fit, starting with how a person looks, how the garment wears, and the overall comfort of the wearer—it lets air in when it should and does not when it should not. Wrinkles disappear, and you no longer look like you slept in your clothes in the afternoon.
Not that this is any surprise to tailors, but…..say it to prospective customers.
Following close with fit is comfort—even the little bit of tailoring that my wife does makes my shirts fit my waist better (my chest is 46”, my waist 34”—you don’t get that to fit RTW!). Less wrinkling around the waist, an improvised gusset so the garment doesn’t pull out of my pants. It makes a lot of difference around 4pm, to put it mildly. Plus, again, I get air into the garment when I want it, and not when I do not. It’s warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Balance front to back, side to side, actual waist, hip, chest measurements—it all happens as the tailor drapes and drafts the toile. You can’t get that with the standard “square” shirt and suits made RTW, even with the menswear shop’s tailors (we use that term here in the States for the man who does adjustments, hems, and the like, too—apologies to all of you!). I have little doubt that in many situations, a well-adjusted garment that doesn’t need constant adjustment (tuck the shirt in a few times per day, adjust the waistband, etc..) is an advantage in my work and social interactions.
Again, no surprise to a tailor, but again, make sure to say it to prospective customers.
When it’s cooler in summer and warmer in winter, we also see another benefit; lifestyle. Want to go to the church picnic when it’s 90 degrees and be active? Want to be comfortable while watching an outdoor wedding? Natural fibers from your tailor are the ticket, as is that fit we were talking about before.
Now notice that you’re out playing games at the church picnic or wedding reception instead of sitting in the shade—this leads to the next benefit of improved clothing which is improved health. You’re moving because you are comfortable, and because your clothing moves with you. Moreover, the fit of your clothes reminds you to take care of yourself—just ask any woman who works out so she fits in her “skinny” jeans! It’s an investment that can repay itself many times at the doctor’s office. Even with the modestly decent job my family does making some of our own clothes, we often find ourselves the only ones on the tennis court in the summer and the only ones on the ice rink in the winter. It really does make a difference. Your doctor may even notice the change in your cholesterol test—mine did.
A final set of reasons for purchasing tailored garments include ethics, experience, and the environment. Regarding the first, not too many tailors have been killed when their factory collapses, and not too many have been killed as they were sandblasting RTW jeans—yes, these are real stories. Slave labor generally does not make good garments, so you don’t find too many slaves in tailoring—sometimes lowly paid men and women who work more for love of the trade than for money, but not slaves, and not too many sweatshops. The client needs to visit, after all, so you need to take care of basics like “heat” and “light”.
One thing I find enjoyable is interacting with craftsmen and learning a little bit about their craft. Yes, that is worth a portion of the tailor’s fee at least, and I’ve spent many an enjoyable hour listening to how craftsmen repair my shoes, fix my plumbing and electrical issues, and the like. Don’t worry, I don’t keep an individual there for hours—it’s just that when I add up the times I spend listening to these craftsmen, it adds up that much. If they charge me a bit extra—and really they don’t most of the time—that’s OK. That’s also an experience—cup of tea or lunch with the tailor—that can be sold as well.
Finally, as I’ve adjusted my clothing (or rather my wife has, mostly) to fit me personally and not the department store’s mannequin, there are environmental benefits to be had as well. A wonderful column by a gentleman named Jeff Tucker called “Dress like a man” writes that dressing well needs 18 inches of closet space or less. To compare, my wife and I have 21 linear feet of curtain rods in our closet—we fill maybe a third of it, even accounting for winter clothes and the like. Make those clothes fit like a tailor can, and you’re talking a huge savings in space, fabric, energy to heat and light that space, effort to fill that space with clothing, and the like. Live in a smaller house, just with a lot nicer clothing. Plus, those of an environmental bent believe that natural fibers are simply more environmentally responsible than petroleum based fibers—I don’t know how the chemistry and such actually works out, since cotton requires a fair amount of pesticides and such to grow—but whatever the ecological reality, it is at least an image which a tailor can sell. Read also “Overdressed; the Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline.
So there goes. Now I regret to admit that I have few actually tailored clothes—a boiled wool vest and a wonderful linen shirt are about it—but on the flip side, as I’ve gone each step from Wal-Mart to nicer department store clothing to Pendleton wools (which fit my shoulders almost as if tailored--though I am no lumberjack!), I find that I need less clothing that fits better and allows me to do more in my life.
In other words, each step—tailored garments are definitely on that ladder—gets me more comfortable, more prosperous, more ethical, with a quiet conscience about my burden on the earth we share. I’m glad to help you ladies & gentlemen get your businesses to the next level if I can.
Edited by cperry, 14 February 2015 - 05:19 AM.