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SUIT ALTERATIONS

Opal Alterations Guide to Buying a Suit and Tailoring

If you're buying on a budget, the most essential advice you can follow is to buy an off-the-rack suit in the best fit you can find, and finish the minor adjustments with good tailoring.

Not all adjustments cost the same, some alterations can be more expensive and you may end up spending more than the suit is worth. It is important to understand what alterations are possible, what factors are important to avoid, and how to determine a good fit

This guide is designed to help you find the right suit and Opal Alterations will ensure you achieve the perfect fit.

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How to determine your Size

There are 3 main sizing conversions used today; European (EUR), American (US) and Metric. You might see size 48 in one store, 38 in another and 96 in a third store, but all three are the same size. US and UK jacket sizes use the circumference of the jacket around the chest in inches. European sizes also refer to the same circumference but use half of it in centimeters. E.g. UK/US size 44, that’s a Chest circumference of 44 inches=112 cm, hence a European size 56.

How to determine a Good Fit

When you try on any suit, you want to make sure it looks good in your natural, resting stance; shoulders squared, standing straight and with your arms relaxed at your side.

The Shoulder

The shoulder (and the canvassing thereunder) is arguably one of the most important things to watch out for when buying a suit. The "drape" of a suit jacket always flows from the shoulder first, through the chest piece and flows from there. It is the basis of a good fit - and everything builds from here.

The Four Alterations Every Suit Needs

  • Sleeves Shortened
  • Jacket Waist Suppressed
  • Pants shortened
  • Pants tapered
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The Sleeve length

The rule of thumb for the length of a jacket sleeve is for it to sit just anywhere between 1-2cm above the bottom of the business shirt cuff or 1.5 to 3cm on the cufflinks, when wearing the jacket in your natural stance. For that to happen, the jacket sleeve needs to end just below the bump on the pinky side on your wrist, where your arm meets your hand.

A lot of suits can also be lengthened. Keep in mind that a sleeve can only be lengthened as much as there is material underneath. You can gauge how much material there is by folding over the sleeve at the cuff and seeing the material underneath.

Some jackets have functional buttons and buttonholes, which are also called surgeon's cuffs. These allow the sleeves of the jacket to roll up, however ajusting the sleeves in this case is much harder and more often than not you will need to shorten from the shoulders, and that means more work is involved and a higher price range.

There are multiple ways we here at Opal Alterations can alter sleeves for you and each comes with a different price point.

Jacket’s Waistline Curve/Waist Suppression

Many off-the-rack suit jackets are designed with lesser waist suppression to accomodate people with different body shapes. A jacket’s waistline is one of the most important aspects of a well fitted suit that makes it stand out and avoid a boxy looking shape. In our experience most off the rack suits require this alterations

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Trouser length

Shortening or lengthening a trouser is one of the easiest and most basic adjustments to make. In fact, dress pants are often sold unhemmed, with the assumption that the purchaser will take the trousers to a tailor.

The trouser should always end above or at the top of the heel of the shoe, but it is worth mentioning that a narrower leg will always sit higher. A slimmer fit trouser may not physically be able to fall past the top of the shoe, so keep this in mind when purchasing.

The "break" is the small wrinkle caused when the top of your shoe stops your trouser from falling to its full length. The break should be a minimal feature, only one or two dimples or creases.

Full Break

This length is more of an official and classic style. The full break refers to the one fold or crease at the front of the pants. Full break creates the flexibility to prevent pants from rising too high during walk or sitting down.

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Half Break

This length has the same principles of the full break but with lesser flexibility. Meaning your socks will be seen while you are walking. This style is more of a modern style and would look smart when a nice matching socks are worn. Keep in mind you most likely need to taper your pants when choosing this style otherwise this style may look as the pants are too short and not meant to be this way as an style.

No Break

This length is around the ankle and does not hit the top of the shoe at the front therefore pants won’t have a break at the front. This style is worn with loafers shoes without socks or with dress shoes to show more of the the socks

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Pants Tapered

Tapering your pants is very important to elongate the lines of your suit and create a tailored silhouette. Tapping your pants is a necessary specially when your suit jacket is fitted. Loose/ baggy pants will take away the whole look of a smart fitted suit.

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Terms & conditions

  • Pricing - Our mobile service prices are the same as in-store prices. Orders can be a combination of alterations and dry cleaning. Click Here to see our extremely competitive prices.
  • Appointments - We have 2 types of appointments; standard and window appointments. Standard appointments are regular appointments at your chosen day/time. Window appointments are flexible and will be within a 2 hour time-window that you choose.
  • Payment - Invoices can be paid online before delivery or at the drop off time via Eftpos/Card or Cash to ensure customer satisfaction. We do not collect/Store any credit card details. If you are not going to be home for delivery and would like us to leave your garment at your designated area please make sure payment is made before delivery, otherwise delivery can not be made and a re-delivery fee of $25.00 will apply.
  • Re-Delivery - $25.00 surcharge will apply if you miss your delivery. We can always pick-up and drop off your items at a designated spot if you will not be home for the delivery and agree to it at time of booking.
  • Quotes - You can always contact us for quotes on orders you are not sure about.
  • Quality 100% Guaranteed - Opal is the highest rated Alterations and Dry Cleaning service provider in Canberra, customer satisfaction is our top priority. Thank you.

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Please click on Bridal for all bridal party alterations. For all other alterations and dry cleaning, please click on All other services.

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Terms & Conditions
  • Pricing - Our mobile service prices are the same as in-store prices. Orders can be a combination of alterations and dry cleaning.
  • Appointments - We have 2 types of appointments; standard and window appointments. Standard appointments are regular appointments at your chosen day/time. Window appointments are more flexible and will be within a 2 hour time-window that you choose.
  • Payment - Invoices can be paid online before delivery or at the drop off time via Eftpos/Card or Cash to ensure customer satisfaction. If you are not going to be home for delivery and would like us to leave your garment at your designated area please make sure payment is made before delivery, otherwise delivery can not be made and a full re-delivery fee will apply.
  • Re-Delivery - Full pick-up and delivery fee will apply for re-delivery. We can always pick-up or drop off your items at a designated spot if you will not be home for the appointment and agree to it at the time of booking.
  • Quality 100% Guaranteed - Opal Alterations is the highest rated Alterations and Dry Cleaning service provider in Canberra, customer satisfaction is our top priority.