What Are the Pros and Cons of Tailored Shirts? (with pictures)

Marco Sumayao
Marco Sumayao
A tailor's tape measure.
A tailor's tape measure.

The biggest advantages to tailored shirts lie in the aesthetics: the cut, size, and design are all largely influenced by the wearer. Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurements and can contain features requested by a tailor's client. This is especially true for bespoke shirts, which are essentially made from scratch according to the client's specifications. This level of customization, however, is also the root of the biggest con to tailored shirts — having these articles of clothing made is often expensive and time-consuming. Another disadvantage to tailored clothes is their limited second-hand usability; it is harder to share or sell clothes that were tailor-made for another individual.

Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.

The most common type of shirts are commercially-bought items that do not fit the buyer according to his preferences. Tailors can alter shirts that are either too big or too small into sizes more appropriate to their clients' body measurements. This is a major pro for tailored shirts, as in many cases, it allows people to wear clothing that would otherwise be unusable. Tailors can also modify the cut of the clothing to better suit their clients' body types, improving the shirts' overall aesthetics in respect to the wearer.

Fitted dress shirts are not necessarily tailored, and can be found at most department stores in a range of sizes.
Fitted dress shirts are not necessarily tailored, and can be found at most department stores in a range of sizes.

Another advantage to tailored shirts is that they can also be made to adhere to certain stylistic choices individuals might have. It is not uncommon, for example, for people to request the removal of breast pockets on button-down shirts. Other changes, such as the addition of zippers and buttons, are also available depending on the tailor's skill level. Bespoke clothing, in which clothes are made from a pattern developed exclusively for the tailor's client, epitomizes the customization available with tailored items.

The overall cost of a shirt, however, rises when it is tailored, which can be a major con for some individuals. Not only do people have to pay for the original cost of the shirt, but they need to pay for the tailors' services and materials needed to complete the alteration. In addition, tailored shirts can take a significant amount of time to complete, depending on the project's complexity, the tailor's skill level, and the number of other projects being worked on by the tailor.

One con to tailored shirts that is often overlooked is the drop in their second-hand usability. It might be more difficult to give tailored clothing as hand-me-downs, considering they were altered to fit an individual's distinct measurements; the same reasoning might make selling the clothes more difficult as well. Clothing that was originally unisex can also be negatively affected, as a tailored shirt for men will likely have proportions unfit for women, and vice versa.

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    • A tailor's tape measure.
      A tailor's tape measure.
    • Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
      Tailor-made clothing is customized to fit a person's precise body measurments.
    • Fitted dress shirts are not necessarily tailored, and can be found at most department stores in a range of sizes.
      Fitted dress shirts are not necessarily tailored, and can be found at most department stores in a range of sizes.