Ever wonder why celebrities always look so sharp in a suit? It’s not because of their perfect physiques (OK, that helps). It’s because they understand that clothes never fit perfectly off the rack; but you don’t have to be Ryan Reynolds to nail the perfect cut. Thirty dollars at the tailor can save you hundreds at the mall.
To help you leave the tailor looking like a new man, we spoke to Jeremy Miller, operating partner at Alteration Specialists, and KJ Singh, sales manager at Mohan’s Custom Tailoring. Here are their four best tips.
Don’t size up
Miller says men typically wear stuff that’s three sizes too big on them. The reason that’s a bad idea: It makes you look 10 kilograms. heavier. You might also be guilty of buying a suit that just covers your gut but drowns your legs in fabric.
Have a tailor taper the width of your pants and take in the jacket at your natural waist. It will be worth it, too. Miller says wives come in to rave about the slimming effects of these quick fixes all the time.
Just as they can hide imperfections, a tailor can build out certain assets. Ask yours to take in the seat of your pants to give shape to a pancake (i.e. flat) butt.
Reinvent your outdated pieces
A big, boxy suit was all the rage in the ’90s. However, guys today want to stand out in slender suits with thin lapels.
That doesn’t mean you should chuck your vintage duds and waste money building a wardrobe from scratch – a tailor can refresh a suit by slimming or shortening a coat. They can also update a pant by taking out a pleat or a cuff. Just make sure to shorten your pant legs if they’re pooling at your shoe – the first sign of a bad suit, Singh says.
Align the Shoulders
Jackets off the rack are built for shoulders that flare out slightly from the collarbone. In reality, not all shoulders are factory made.
Guys with square or sloping shoulders won’t necessarily find their perfect suit in a store. If someone with more curved shoulders wears a square jacket, it creates a gap between their body and the shoulder pad.
“The guy is going to look like a football player,” Singh says.
Restructuring a jacket’s shoulder can get as pricey as a custom suit (which are cheaper these days). You’ll have more luck with this trick on unlined, casual pieces and dress shirts.
Plan for Your Consultation
An expert tailor will take the reins to make you look your best, but you have to help him out first. Bring every component of your suit with you, even if you are just taking in the jacket. Reason being: Jeans and suit pants fall at different places on your hips, and your tailor needs to know your taste in shoes and dress shirts to nail the perfect cuff lengths.
Plan on wearing a belt? Bring that, too, and don’t pull your pants up or down from where you normally wear them. Miller says you want the tailor to see how you plan to wear your clothes out in the real world. This way, you won’t be disappointed when you put it on for your next business meeting.
This article was originally published on MensHealth.com