I am currently looking for good tailor in Chicago. Do you have any suggestions you can throw out?

- Asked by certifiedholic

I’ve had all my alterations done by Paul Chang Custom Tailors in the Loop on the corner of LaSalle and Lake inside the Accenture building. I’ve been going to see Paul for the past 4-5 years. 

One of the things I always stress to people who want to visit a tailor is to learn how to communicate exactly what you want. Bring photos, if you must. Open up and talk with them about how you like things — but listen to their feedback (if they don’t offer it, ask). Tailors aren’t mindreaders. They’re skilled at executing, but you have to provide the instructions. So, keep that in mind. 

(This reminds me I need to do a FAQ section as this keeps coming up!)


When you pull the waist of a suit forward, should its back be tightening against yours right away, or a little breathing room in between is fine? Thanks, bro.

- Asked by Anonymous

Depends on your preference, but you should be comfortable and maybe have enough room to layer a sweater underneath.


Can shoulder pads be removed to give sportcoats a more natural look? I'm a pretty small guy 34-36 chest so I usually don't have a wide variety of sportcoats to choose from. If this is possible I might start doing this more often.

- Asked by Anonymous

Maybe? Ask a tailor. I wouldn’t have any real expertise. I’ve only had padding removed from an overcoat, which helped tremendously. Still, I don’t think you’re gonna get a 36 out of a 38 in a lot of cases. 

If finding jackets is tough in your size, it’s been highly recommended that folks in your situation check out the boys section of major menswear retails (ie: Brooks Brothers and Ralph Lauren), as they’ll have pretty top-notch stuff at cheap prices. Another, crazier maybe, option is to source from Asia, which cuts trimmer and shorter in suiting. 

acuteobtuse said: 

Yes, they can be removed. My tailor charged me about $20 for it, but I live in New York.


is it possible to tailor and dress up cords without looking like your other pants are at the cleaners?

- Asked by Anonymous

Yes, you can have almost any pair of trousers altered, cords included. 

As for how to “dress up” cords, I think the key is to use them like a cold-weather chino. Put it with a navy blazer and OCBD and you’ve got something that works. 

Also, they’d probably look great with a chunky knit old-man wool sweater. 


hola, i just had a question about a problem i've had when taking suit jackets to the tailor. when i want the midsection taken in, the tailor pins the suit from the back, which creates a good fitted look when you look from the sides or behind. but when looking in front of the mirror, the jacket still looks a bit boxy, failing to achieve that tapered look. is it the tailor (cause hes pretty old school in terms of style today) or the originial construction of the jacket? thanks!

- Asked by Anonymous

Could be the problem with the front of the jacket’s cut? Hard to say really, as I’m not a tailor. He could be styling it a bit more boxy and if he’s not willing to do it the way you want, then time to find a new tailor or at least have a conversation. 

Hard to really know w/o photos and such, but it’s probably something you should bring up with the guy altering your clothing. After all, he is working for you in this instance.


Question from a fellow Chicagoan - I received a new coat and though I love the fit and the style, I'm not too crazy about the length and would like for it to be shortened. Do you happen to know of any reputable tailors in the area that would be able to provide such a service? Thanks and happy holidays!

- Asked by idealistically

Heyo fellow Windy Citizen! 

Any chance you can take it back and exchange it? I’ve never gone through the trouble of hemming the length of a jacket. Could it be done? Sure… but I’ve often heard mixed things about such an operation.

As for where to take it, I’ve been going to Paul Chang Custom Tailors for probably about two or more years now. He’s in the Loop on LaSalle and Lake. I’d bring it in and ask what he thinks. He’ll have a better answer for you than I would. He’s usually pretty blunt about whether or not a certain alteration should be attempted and if it’s worth the money. 

afistfulofstyle said: 

FWIW, In my experience if you’re moving it from below knee to above knee (or adjust in that range) you’ll be okay, if you’re shortening it from mid thigh to shorter, it may throw off the balance quite a bit and may not be doable.


Thanks for the advice I'm 5 8 and you looking and my style posts and how my pants jeans look what would you prefer for me no break or little to no break

- Asked by acollectedgentleman

I think no-break is what you’d want to go for, especially on casual stuff. Having a cleaner line will make your legs look longer. 

A slight break might be more suited for, well, suits. 


I've read a lot online about full verses half canvas jackets. I wonder what your take is on this subject and if a half canvas jacket is really a bad option for a neophyte entering the professional world?

- Asked by Anonymous

It really all depends on what you can afford. Better to have one one well-fitting fused-canvas jacket that a closet full of ill-fitting full-canvased jackets. 

I think I might have one half-canvas jacket in my entire wardrobe, so, no, it’s not a terrible option by any stretch. How it fits in the shoulders and around your body is going to be more important at this point than the various craftsmanship checkoffs. 


Following up on yesterday's question about the alterations on the LE suit... How much does it cost to take in the seat and also slim the legs of the slacks? Also, does this change the way the pants flow if you alter them too much?

- Asked by Anonymous

"It costs what it costs." Sounds elitist to say that, but it’s true. Different tailors/alterationists in different cities and locations will charge different prices. My tailor in the downtown Chicago Loop charges higher prices because of costs associated with doing business at that location than a tailor might charge in the suburbs. Put This On has a price-range list of how much suit alterations cost.

Typically, I tell people to set aside $100-150 for alterations and always factor that into their purchasing decision. This is a big reason why I like thrifting and eBay, because the cost of adjustments is fixed and will more than likely need to be done on most items you buy. The cost of a garment though is highly variable.

As for how it changes the flow of the pants, I wouldn’t say they’re less comfortable to wear. Frankly, they’ll fit better to your body.


I have the same LE suit that you wore in your 11-30 picture. Mine seems much baggier so I assume you got both the jacket and slacks taken in? I need to find a tailor to do the same alterations, if so. Also, did you shorten the jacket at all because mine seems much longer?

- Asked by Anonymous

Yup, definitely had my tailor do some work on it. The side have been taken in on the jacket, the trousers have had the seat and waist taken in and the legs tapered to a 7.5” leg opening.

I didn’t shorten the jacket, but I am 5’11”-ish and am wearing a regular. Maybe that’s the reason?


Hey, I've got a question about altering pants. Typically, how much can pants be brought in at the waist? I'm typically a 33, but for the suit that I wanted to pick up, they've only got 35 in stock. Is that too much of a difference to have them brought in and still look okay? Also, will I be looking at a higher cost because of the bigger tailoring job? Thanks

- Asked by Anonymous

Eh, might be better if you altered from a 34 or 32. Two inches isn’t a lot, but I would think that they’d be cutting the fabric wider all around (seat, legs, etc.) than just the waist. You’d really have to ask a tailor if it would look right. I wouldn’t think it’d be a more expensive tailoring job than you’d probably already have to do to take in the seat and legs though than it normally should cost you.

About The Silentist

A menswear blog on finding your personal style, written by Kiyoshi Martinez.

I work at Khaki's of Carmel and live in the Monterey Bay area. Formerly from Chicago.

E-mail me, I'm fairly nice: thesilentist@gmail.com

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