Terry gets a retailored suit makeover

Like most men, I don’t really enjoy clothes shopping. But my BFF and favorite corporate image consultant (Joanne) said it was time for a new suit. So I whined and complained… and then we went shopping.

Eco–friendly solution

We saw a lot of new suits that we liked ranging from $600 to $2000. I’m value conscious (read frugal or cheap) and we both read Overdressed – The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion – (see our previous blog post), so we were also looking for an eco-friendly solution.

Photo before and after of a tailor altered restyle, retailored, retailoring, tailoring, alterations, updated, modernized, suits and resulting restyled clothing.

Restyle clothing?

Joanne suggested that we visit a tailor to see about clothing restyling and updating one of my existing suits. I’ve had alterations done but I’d never had a suit re-styled. So I was a little skeptical.

How to modernize your suit

We visited Paris Tailors in Edmonton (104-10109 106 St NW, Edmonton, Alberta) and explained what we wanted. They said they restyle clothing and update suits all the time. I put on the suit so he could evaluate and take some measurements.


Luckily, my existing suit had fairly narrow lapels that are current but the jacket was rather boxy. It was also a little bit long in the body and the pants were definitely wide in the leg compared to the new styles.

Not too avant-garde

I didn’t want anything too avant-garde because I wanted to still get another two or three years out of it. But I still wasn’t sure that restyling and retailoring would work to my satisfaction.

I was surprised

Fast-forward to the next weekend when we picked up my suit. When I tried it on, I was completely satisfied with what the tailor had done. It looked like a new suit in the current style. I had saved the planet and had only spent $160.

Re-styling advice

See the photos above

  • They had taken in the jacket on the sides and under the armholes, making it more continental in styling which means it fits closer to my body (this current form fitting styling is especially flattering on a slender guy like moi).
  • They had shortened the bottom of the jacket and hidden the pocket flaps in the pockets.
  • The pants, which fortunately had originally been flat fronted, had been taken in at the waist and seat and narrowed down the leg. The legs were also shortened because the new style is to show more sock with little or no break (bend of fabric) where the pant meets the shoe.

This is a great option for updating your suits

If you are contemplating getting a suit retailored here’s some how to tips:

Tip 1 – Make sure the older suit is of good quality. It should be 100% wool and high quality fabric (this is the bonus of buying better quality to start with).

Tip 2 – Be sure it’s not showing too much wear (I’m pretty easy on my clothes because I’m careful about hanging my jackets up and not wearing them while driving).

Tip 3 – Some alterations are more time consuming and expensive. If the lapels and shoulder width have changed quite a bit, it will cost more money to make those alterations.

Tip 4 – Find a reliable tailor by checking internet reviews or colleagues’ advice. Then take your suit in for an appraisal and estimate. It’s free so what do you have to lose?

Tip 5 – If your suit doesn’t lend itself to restyling, donate it to a worthy charity store, which is also good for the planet

(Let us know what results you have had with restyled clothing.)

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Posted by Terry Pithers – Canadian corporate image consultant and frugal suit restyler

About the author 

Terry Pithers

TERRY PITHERS Canadian speaker, humorist and business etiquette expert. If you are interested in booking me for a presentation, keynote or workshop, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

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  1. D’oh! We just gave away all of W’s suits after he lost 60 lbs. It was weird to see a 6’6″ man looking like he was dressed in his Dad’s clothes. Well, we’ll know for next time.

  2. Yes, Jason, I was very happy with my results and you are right about better quality in many older suits. Do check out the book Overdressed, it’s a real eye opener. I also highly recommend No Logo and Shock Doctrine, both by Naomi Klein – http://www.naomiklein.org/main

  3. Great post! I’ve never considered this and I’ve got 3-4 suits that just sit in the closet. Would love to see if this would work on second-hand suits. Environmentally friendly / good for the environment. Also some of the older suits are so well made.

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