Have a clear idea of what you want before you visit your tailor – eg suit, sports jacket, Dinner Jacket. If you can, take a picture of what you have in mind.
If buying a suit is it for business, a wedding or other special occasion or do you want it to cover all bases? Knowing what use you expect from your suit will help when you come to select cloth.
How ‘heavy’ are you on trousers? Do you find that in the past they wear between the thighs? If so think about having a second pair made to get a full-life from your suit. If you are thinking about a waistcoat or extra trousers to go with your suit then order them at the same time you place the commission. Waiting until later may result in either the cloth being ‘out (of stock)’ or a colour mis-match due to a different dye batch being used.
If you’re really busy, as a lot of people are these days, then ask if your preferred tailor will visit you at home or at work.
Don’t visit your tailor without a proper shirt with a collar and long sleeves and the shoes you expect to wear with the finished suit.
If you can, wear a suit. If you do not, then don’t be surprised if you are asked to try one on in the tailor’s shop. If you take a favourite suit then it gives the tailor an idea of what you like to wear.
Be punctual. You wouldn’t want to be kept waiting because the client before you had over-ran and allow yourself about an hour for your first visit.
If budget is an issue ask your tailor about the construction techniques used in making his suits. A fused garment will be less expensive that a fully hand-canvassed jacket. Expect to pay a deposit of 50%, the balance to be paid on collection of the finished items.
Remember, you are developing a relationship with your tailor – as he gets to know you better, your personality, posture, lifestyle etc, so you should see a subtle improvement in each suit he makes for you. Think of this as a marriage, not a one-night stand.
Talking of which, here is a plea from all tailors out there. You’re a big boy now so please try and visit your tailor on your own without your partner, wife, girlfriend or mother. They may have an idea on what they think would look good on you – your tailor will know. Feel free to challenge your tailor but also be prepared to listen to his advice.