What Measurements does a Tailor need for a Made-To-Measure suit?

People always ask about the amount of work it takes for your tailor to make a complete made-to-measure suit. The answer is, of course, it depends how much material is required! This doesn’t necessarily refer to someone’s weight, either. The style of suit, together with such accents as hems, pleats, lapels, pockets and all of the rest of the cool items that you take for granted when you look at a tailored two or three piece suit, all go to make the final look.

Most tailors will always request two fittings (at least), to measure against any changes as the work progresses, too. There are always undefined things to take into account such as how it feels, movement room and how the material and linings move together that all go into the final details. People often ask: “if you tell me what measurements you need, I can do it for you and hone them in.” But, that really doesn’t work. A tailor has to see how all of the measurements go together to make something that will be comfortable and durable for life. If you were ever tempted to take your own measurements, here’s a taste of the tailor does when you aren’t paying attention.

Your total height and weight: While the individual measurements associated with the suit are important to get the right fit, basic height and weight helps tailors determine your “drop” of the suit, which is the difference between the size of the pants and jacket. It'll help the suit be tailored more quickly.

Over-arm shoulder width: This helps to create the width of the entire jacket, from shoulder-to-shoulder.

The Chest: An essential measurement to get the right body-fit and flattering cut for the jacket, around the fullest part of the chest, and underneath both your arms.

Arms: From the shoulder down the arm to your wrist. How much shirt cuff do you lie to show?

Hips: To get the right waist size for the pants, measuring the widest part of the hip bones, generally where your pants normally sit.

Waist: Depending on the style of the pants, your tailor will find a starting point slightly above either hip bone along your waistline. Then, looping the tape measure around your waist and back to the starting point, helps get an accurate measurement for the waist of the suit pants.

The Outseam: This is the measurement of the outer-most leg of your pants, trailing down from hip to ankle, from your belt-line to the side of your foot (in shoes).

The Inseam: Beginning the measurement at the top, inside part of the leg where it meets your groin, down the inside of the leg to a point near the middle of your foot, while wearing appropriate shoes, once again.

We’ve only just begun, here: Jacket size and style, length, pant ’ride’, the list goes one. Definitely something you shouldn’t be trying at home by yourself, or guessing based on old, out-of-date, existing parts of your wardrobe.

A tailor will ensure that all of the measurements are correct for you, and will make you suits that will last for years, so if you are tempted to get a couple of wardrobe pieces Made To Measure, don’t try this at home! Go to a professional that knows what he is doing – and take a picture of the style of suit you like with you, too, to be helpful!

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