A tailoring professional is a person who tailors, makes, or alter clothing professionally, particularly men’s clothing and suits. Though the word evolved in the late thirteenth century, tailoring took on its specific modern sense in the mid-eighteenth century and nowadays properly refers only to manufacturers of men’s and women’s tailored suits, pants, coats, and other similar garments, usually of silk, wool, or cotton. It is thought that the first tailor was a tailor working for the king or another high-ranking official in a royal household, but the name is somewhat misleading, as the profession really took off only later in the nineteenth century. The earliest known tailoring job records date from the eleven hundreds, and the need for skilled seamstresses was apparent.
Tailors are always making and taking measurements. At the same time, however, they are also making other important decisions about how to manufacture a garment. For example, in order to get a well-fitted suit, the tailor has to know the size of his customer’s shoulders. That is, the tailor has to take measurements of both the width and the length of the shoulders. In order to get a tailor-made garment to fit right, it must be correctly sized.
Many men buy custom-made suits, or ones made-to-measure. Men can choose to have their suit made-to-measure, with the tailor taking the measurements of each part of the suit. They can buy customized slacks instead of pants, for example, or can order cut-and-sew tailored slacks instead of ready-made pants. Ready-made clothing, in turn, can have a large variety of cuts and patterns, allowing the person who bought it to customize it for him or herself.
One of the most common garments tailor made-to-measure were gowns. The tailor might measure a woman’s torso at the waistline, take her measurements again while she is standing and make the necessary adjustments. Then, the tailor would fit the dress to the woman. The materials that the tailor used were carefully chosen so that he could produce quality clothing that was beautiful and durable. It was not unusual to find suits in the eighteenth century that were so finely crafted that they had to be laced with precious gems so that the owner could wear them with pride. Such was the love for fine clothing that tailoring became an avocation, much like needlework or carpentry.
In the late eighteen hundreds, advances in transportation and textile technology allowed the manufacture of cheaper cloths, which allowed tailoring companies to produce clothing at a lower cost. The dress tailor also became a more common sight in public places, as companies began to sell their products without using tailoring services. A gentleman tailor usually worked for a company or shop as an outside contractor. In order to get work, he would need to prove that his work was of a high caliber and would pass a quality inspection before being hired.
As time went by and new innovations in textile production allowed factories to mass manufacture clothing, the demand for tailoring services declined. The creation of retail clothing meant that a tailor could once again start his own business. Many tailoring shops remained independently as they continued to hire seamstresses who performed basic alterations and modifications to clothing purchased from other businesses. A more widespread use of tailoring services became available when clothing was no longer sold by merchants. There was no longer a need for tailors to work for only one shop because any company wishing to sell clothing could create their own catalogs and advertisements in order to sell their goods.
Tailors no longer needed to have an in-house tailor because there was no longer a need to create custom clothing because of the increased production of clothes. Shops had become worldwide and could produce clothing for all sorts of customers. Because of this, tailoring services for tailor made suits became more popular. With these services, customers traveling from far away places could now have their clothing altered and tailored. This opportunity provided them an opportunity to buy clothing created by a tailor and take it home with them. These customers were able to customize their clothing by having their measurements taken and then having the clothing made to fit them perfectly.
Tailoring services for men’s clothing first started appearing in clothing advertisements during World War I. This was the time when businessmen wanted to advertise their products by using a more masculine form of advertising which was the custom tailored suit. Men began to wear their custom tailored suits at work to make a better impression on their superiors. They also used this custom apparel in leisure time to look more impressive. Many businessmen started making money by wearing their custom suits in events such as car and golf tournaments. This custom menswear became so popular that soon, all businessmen started sporting a custom suit in formal occasions.