I spent about an hour with a man in a final fitting the other day. He was frowning with concentration like the actor Gregory Peck in the photo as the tailor marked trouser cuffs, jacket sleeves, and assorted adjustments on several suits. Fittings of course are the only way a man can have clothes that fit, and fit should be the principal goal that anyone has for their clothes.
Men who buy ready to wear clothing that doesn't quite fit should seriously consider spending a bit less on their clothes and a bit more on their tailoring. That's because a man in inexpensive clothes that fit him is going to look better than a man wearing expensive ready to wear garments with a big ripple behind his jacket neck, sleeves that hang down to his knuckles and extra trouser cloth puddling on his shoes. And, unfortunately, ill-fitting clothes have become the norm. Too many clothing sales people know much less than they should about the products they sell and leave fit to the customer, who usually doesn't understand it either.
This general lack of information or plain disinterest in fit seems to continue in store alterations departments. In-store tailors, who may sometimes be the only people in the process that understand what the clothes are supposed to look like on the customer, have to live with the store's salespeople every day. It is just human nature for them to share the salesperson's desire to get a sale rung up and out the door.
So what can a man do to get fit off the rack? He needs to take responsibility for buying the right size in the first place (the key in my opinion is to stick with a maker once it is established that that maker's clothes are complementary). And then take the stuff to an independent alterations tailor, preferably an older European from somewhere in the south who has been doing the work for thirty or forty years (racial profiling works in this case).
Now I can almost hear the readers thinking to themselves that this is not an easy fix, and they are correct. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes. Getting clothes that fit takes more work every year, and there will be failures along the way.
But the end result is worth the effort.