Simple Wardrobe Alterations Every Man Should Make

A good fit doesn’t have to be an enigma.


Fit can be a tough topic to wrap one’s head around. Many don’t understand that a few small alterations will elevate their style game from bad to good — or from good to great. Oftentimes the first step to looking better is admitting that some clothes, however sentimental, don’t quite fit right.

The other half of the battle is finding a good tailor. Kirk Miller, co-founder of Miller’s Oath in New York City, is a Minnesota native who developed a love of tailoring from a young age, finding inspiration through his father’s bespoke Anderson & Sheppard suits. After beginning as a bespoke tailoring business nearly nine years ago, Miller’s Oath has since expanded into ready-to-wear formal and casual wear. So if you’ve come to find that tucking in your shirt so that it looks right is an unreasonably delicate operation, listen up.

Buy a shirt that doesn’t need tailoring. Many men buy button-front shirts that don’t quite fit; they either buy into the slim-is-always-better ethos, wearing shirts that threaten to burst at the seams, or, more commonly, opt for shirts with a billowing body, slouching shoulders and sleeves that droop past the wrist. The common-sense solution for the latter is sending these ill-fitting shirts to the tailor, but Miller thinks you’re better off skipping the alterations altogether. “If your shirt doesn’t really fit well,” he says, “I would argue go find a shirt that fits rather than alter a shirt that doesn’t fit.” Miller recommends a shirt with a tapered — but not tight — body and cuffs that hit the wrist. This gives the shirt a proportional look that’s neither skinny nor baggy.

Shorten the jacket sleeves. Though Miller isn’t keen on shortening shirt sleeves, he says sleeve alteration is imperative on a blazer or suit jacket. You don’t need them cut as high as Sammy Davis Jr.’s suits, but they should show a little cuff. “It should be on your wrist, not on your thumb,” Miller says. “Some guys are still scared by that.”


Miller also advised that coats — even in fabrics like tweed and corduroy, which are associated with roomier fits — look best when the sides are tapered. When dressed down, it makes blazers easier to pair with casual garments. “I always think a little bit of shape on a sport coat is really nice, especially when you’re wearing it with a pair of jeans,” he says.

Hem and taper ready-to-wear pants. Miller’s Oath sells high-waisted trousers and jeans, and Miller wears his hem barely touching his shoes. While his no-break look isn’t for everyone, it lends pants a clean look. “Trouser length shouldn’t be super long,” he says. “It shouldn’t be pooling up at your shoe.” Miller also advocates tapering trousers and denim from the thigh down, an easy and inexpensive alteration that makes the legs look trimmer without sacrificing comfort and movability.

More from the Guide to Life 2017

A glimpse into the wide swath of knowledge commonly left off the books. Explore the Guide

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Clothing