A Guide to Vintage Tailoring

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There’s something undeniably attractive about a vintage suit. The quality of the tailoring, the classic period styles and even the faint whiff of the many sights the garment has seen… it all comes together to create something potentially very special.

If you’re partial to retro and antique threads, it’s possible to search out excellent finds in vintage markets, second hand shops and online auctions. However, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind.

Standard shapes will be different

Our tastes and lifestyles have changed a great deal over the years and you’ll likely find that vintage suits feel very different to modern ones. One of the main things to consider is that the trouser rise is likely to be a lot higher. 

Finding the perfect fit can be tricky

Whether you are wearing new or antique clothing, how good you look in it will be vastly influenced by how well it fits. Finding the perfect garment that fits like it was made for you is the stuff of vintage fairytales! Instead, it’s far more likely that you’ll need to take your finds to a tailor. 

When choosing pieces, make sure you know what can be adapted and what can’t. For example: the most difficult part of a jacket to adapt is the shoulders. So long as a jacket fits across the shoulders, most other measurements tend to be relatively easy to amend. 

Vintage VS vintage inspired

Searching out authentic vintage clothing can feel like a full time job in itself. It’s also worth noting that is isn’t always a big money saver, especially when you consider the high likelihood that you’ll need to take the pieces you find to a tailor anyway.

Unless you’re super passionate about this stage of the process, you may want to skip it altogether.  Working with a bespoke gentlemen’s tailor to create vintage inspired pieces can be a great way to create the iconic look you love without  having to deal with second hand clothes, unexpected fits or unidentified stains. 

Want some inspiration for a retro tailoring look? We love these vintage tailoring illustrations.