Are Custom Tailoring Services Online a Joke or The Real Deal?

    Since 2015, I have spent more than $2,000 on online suits tailoring services. Why? Although I am not obsessed with tailoring, it has a way of giving me more options when it comes to formal outfits like suits and dress pants. This is especially true for someone corpulent or can’t quite fit in his or her suits or dress pants.

    I like local tailors, their fabric qualities, and perfect fits but they are too expensive. After hesitation, I decided to give online tailors a try. 
Frustrations

    
Frustrations

    After reading plenty of online reviews, I chose an online tailored suits seller, who seemed to have a good reputation. The seller had a nice and easy-to-use website, several clicks for suit details, and about 30 minutes for measurements taking. I spent my first $400.

    The delivery was very quick. In exactly 18 days I received my package. The fabric was very nice as well as the lining quality. Jacket length, sleeves, and shoulders were ok. But when I looked myself in the mirror, I felt fat in the so-called custom suit. Besides some bulging and unpleasant wrinkles on the suit’s back, the waist area was a disaster. So I contacted the after-sale services hoping I’d be offered a less expensive solution. Instead, the frustrations started.

    The after-sale service told me that I should alter the suit myself: “find a local tailor, alter it, and we will reimburse up to $65”. So I brought it to a tailor nearby, and he told me that it would cost me at least $280 to fix the waist area, plus some adjustments on the back, in total about $450.

    Again, I went back to the same after-sale service guy, hoping that I could get a refund because it was not an option for me to spend another $450 on this suit.

    Surprise! They don’t accept refund! They said that each garment was custom made and cannot accept return and refund.

    The rest of the story was not funny and not worth telling: I contacted, contacted, until one day, they stopped answering my emails.

    Paid more attention to after-sale services

    The second tentative was a year after that. I tried another one, which seemed to have better after sale services and accept unconditional return and refund. However, the price was higher. For a 3-piece navy blue suit and a shirt, I paid in total $890.

    This time, things went better. The first suit was still not good, too big and too wide around the chest, and they made a mistake (very rare, according to them) about the sleeves length. They offered me another suit with the correct measurements, and I wasn’t too disappointed. Plus, they offered me a free shirt. But I knew with almost $1000, I could get better local tailoring in my neighborhood.Start thinking

    Start thinking

    I finally realized that online tailoring services are cheaper for a reason: unlike local tailors, these online sellers cannot guarantee a thing (even though they brag about perfect fit all the time), especially for the first making. A little too big here and a little too small there, there are always some fitting problems. It’s not easy taking your own measurements. You need to follow the photos and video instructions to get close to a best fit. But as a non-professional tailor, it is always hard to guarantee accurate measures.

    Lesson learned

    Based on my experiences, I recommend those looking for online tailoring shops to remember two things:

    1. Check the reputation of the tailor
    2. Check the after-sale services, especially the return and refund policy when things go wrong. I also recommend avoiding any website that does not offer an unconditional refund. I thought Indochino, BlackLapel and NCG Tailor had good after-sale services. Hope my experience helps you make the right choices.

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