Every year around this time there’s a brief sea change in the demographics at my tailor—a sudden influx of teenagers each taking in seams for one communal destination: prom. It’s hard to conceal a smile amid the contagious excitement encircling limo rides, graduation, goodbyes, and the like; however, it’s also hard to conceal some frustration…Why are these crowds primarily female? (An unsettling trend which then carries through to adulthood.)
Eighteen years of side-by-side life experience plus twelve years of standardized schooling, yet the prom-bound male remains by and large oblivious to the idea of not wearing clothes purchased straight off the rack. Fast forward a few decades, and it becomes readily apparent we’ve pinpointed the origins of the room-for-two dress shirts and flood-ready slacks that are longstanding epidemics among middle-aged men nationwide.
If you’re nodding in agreement above shirt cuffs that end promptly at the wrist, there’s probably no need to keep reading. However, if you’re of the mentality that tailors exist merely to replace broken buttons and zippers, please allow me to champion their cause.
That’s why approximate sizes like large, medium, or even 34/35 sleeve are really only the beginnings of a “proper fit”—a phrase we’ll use to describe clothing that does more than cover all of your bare parts, but frames these parts in a manner that’s flattering, dynamic, and capable of telegraphing a lasting impression of refined togetherness.
Considering we spend the majority of our wakeful hours in clothes and take them with us absolutely everywhere (offices, grocery stores, gas stations, vacations, you name it), there’s arguably no greater catalyst for supporting our confidence visually—excepting, perhaps, great hair and a close shave.
Meanwhile, the same applies for our impact on others, women in particular. If you think the women in your life—or the women you’d like in your life—aren’t noticing the cut of your jib, I’m sorry to break it to you…but they’re no strangers to the importance of tailoring—and haven’t been since high school.
If you ask me to choose between a $200 shirt off the rack and a $20 shirt with tailoring, I’ll choose the tailored piece all day long.