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You just bought your new men's suit off-the-rack. But if you're like most men, buying it is just the beginning of a laborious process. Next, you'll need to have numerous alterations made so the suit fits you perfect. Adding to your headaches, you must endure this painful process every time you buy a new suit. Ouch!

So, what are most common alterations you'll need? How much will these cost in terms of time and money?

If you research prices and services at local companies that do alterations, you'll find it's not unheard of for someone to buy a new men's business suit or wedding suit for $800 or more only to spend another $200 to alter the sleeves, trouser length, and jacket chest to get the fit right.

We've found the average alterations cost for a new men's suit is around $75 to $100. Add to this the time wasted going back and forth to have it altered, and you'll realise the off-the-rack suit you just bought isn't feeling as good as when you first tried it on.

4 common suit alterations

1 - Trouser length taken up/down

Almost every off-the-rack suit needs a trouser length adjustment. This is a simple procedure and should cost around $8 to $25. If you pay more than that, you're getting ripped off.

2 - Sleeve length shortening / lengthening

Jacket sleeves are another common alteration. While you might find a suit jacket that fits you ok around the chest, often the sleeves are the wrong length or are not cut to show off the right amount of shirt sleeve.


Depending on whether the jacket sleeve can be taken up/down from the end or from the shoulder, adjusting the sleeve length can be cheap or expensive. Expect to pay from $30 to $60 to adjust from the end and in the range of $100 to adjust from the shoulder.

3 - Jacket length shortening / lengthening

Adjusting the jacket length is also common. In this scenario, the off-the-rack suit has the right chest size for you, but it didn't come in the right [S]hort, [R]egular or [L]ong length. This means the jacket length must be adjusted to cover your posterior. This alteration can cost anywhere from $50 to $100.

4 - Jacket chest tightening / loosening

If the jacket isn't the right size around your chest, you are looking at a major alteration and a correspondingly high price.


When buying off-the-rack, it's vitally important to get the chest size right. However, if you did not and need a chest adjustment, expect to pay from $50 - $150.

The best way

Sometimes, even if all these changes are made, your suit may not fit you perfectly. You may find the sleeve circumference is too loose or tight around your upper arm or your trouser leg is not slim enough.

If you're thinking the extra cost and wasted time of suit alterations is something you'd rather avoid, there is a better route: custom made suits. Since these are made to measure (i.e. made to your exact body measurements as taken by a professional tailor), they are guaranteed to fit you perfectly without any costly alterations.


However, the best part of going the custom tailored route is your measurements are usually kept on file. This means the next time you need a suit, jacket or even a shirt, the shopping process is a breeze.

In most cases, you won't even need to get re-measured. All you have to do is pick the fabric you want; you can rest assured your finished suit will fit you like a glove. Just imagine - how convenient to have perfectly fitting clothes every time you make a purchase!

Buyer Beware

When choosing a custom tailor, beware of online custom suit companies. The two main reasons for being wary about making a purchase this way?

  • You must take your own measurements.
  • Their alterations policies are often restrictive.

You're better off finding a good tailor in your local area who offers custom suiting. They will offer you style advice and answer your questions as well as provide more options for you to choose from. Most local tailors want to form long-term relationships with their customers so they'll typically look after you better. Many men find the process so rewarding they keep going back for all their clothing needs.

If that's the type of customer service you're in the market for, you need look no further. At Montagio Custom Tailoring, we pride ourselves on our exceptional customer service and expertise in tailoring. Call or pop by our showroom and give us an opportunity to strut our stuff - you'll be glad you did!

Prices in this article are stated in $AUD at January 1 2012.

Image Credits © Rob Van Esch | Dreamstime.com © Essentialimagemedia | Dreamstime.com © Artisticco Llc | Dreamstime.com © Francesco Mou | Dreamstime.com


We tailor make mens suits, jackets and shirts for all occasions. Each garment is custom designed, precisely made-to-measure and is guaranteed to fit you perfectly. Unlike others, we offer you end-to-end service and a personalised styling session where we take the time to understand your needs to ensure you get the colour, style and fit you want.

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Never bought custom made before?

Wondering what all the hype is about? Here's why you'll never go back to off-the-rack:

How It Works

About Montagio

Since 2010, we've paved the way for uncompromising men to get suited up in style with our full service tailored mens suits, shirts and coats. Our showrooms are packed full of suit samples and thousands of fabrics making it easy for you to get the look and fit you want. We offer a remarkably personal shopping experience and specialise in individually hand crafted garments for business, weddings, formal and casual events. We have personally tailored mens suits for thousands of happy customers, and you too can experience the same red carpet treatment. Book your personal appointment today to have your uniquely styled and perfectly tailored garment ready within a few short weeks.

Simon Frazer

Montagio did a great job on wedding suits for me and my two groomsmen. Bally provided us with fantastic service and the result was definitely superior to an off-the-rack option... more »

Kiran Dosanjh

I have bought a total of 11 pieces custom made so far - quality and attention to detail is spectacular, material choice is broad and the input customers have in creating the exact look they want is a great experience... more »

Roy Soliman

I went back for another suit, a few shirts and some ties. Outstanding! I had so many complements on my new suit yesterday! more »

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