There are a few moments in every man's life that distinguish themselves as special. Graduation. The first job interview. The first job. Getting married. The first serious visit to a tailor.
For those in pursuit of greater conquests, appearance is only a way to express excellence. It speaks volumes about that which can only be worn, like an attitude, or a belief. A tailor of worth is an invaluable ally to have. A tailor has the power to give you real confidence – the kind a lesser person might only find a pale shadow of at the bottom of a bottle. With a few quick measurements, a snip here and a snip there, and hands practiced with the weight of a lifetime's work, he has the power to turn you into anything from a tinker to a soldier or a spy.
Now that we've covered the gravitas of your first serious visit to a haberdashery, you might understand better why there is an art to communicating with your clothier. There's a lot more to looking the part than just reaching for your wallet. It involves the making of many myriad decisions, and requires imagination to picture a final result. Being measured for your first bespoke suit is a rite of initiation into the ranks of the truly accomplished. Compared to trying on a mass-produced suit, it feels like much more like a leap of faith. Before you pack your bags and head off to Savile Row, we've put together a few pointers on how to transcend the infinite choices of a made-to-measure experience and emerge a sartorial expert.
Look for a tailor that, first and foremost, uses the term bespoke. Custom suits are great and all, but bespoke is better because the term signifies that that particular suit is made for and owned by exactly one man, and that the suit was hand-drawn and crafted based on exact specifications from the wearer's body. If a tailor does bespoke suits, you'll know that he or she is an expert at taking the careful time and consideration to craft suits based on your body type, as opposed to altering a pre-made pattern to accommodate your size.
Visuals always help. If you're a fan of the Savile Row style of Fred Astaire or appreciate the classy duds of George Clooney, find a picture of their suits that you wouldn't mind emulating, and bring it in as inspiration for your tailor. If possible, try to explain what about this particular suit you like.