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Category Archives: <span>clothing care</span>

The pitfalls of online shopping in the age of the coronavirus

Let’s start with the obvious: For better or worse, there has been a surge in online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. For those of us who actually *like* personal service, this experience has merely reinforced what we have long suspected, i.e., Big Box Stores and eRetail giants cannot provide the love that living, breathing humans need and crave. In many cases, if there’s a snag in your order, you’re expected to navigate a labyrinth of webpages, links and voicemail choices to get to a human–and even then, the experience is usually unsatisfactory.

Nowhere is this problem more challenging than shopping for menswear online, for 1) you probably don’t know your “real” sizes, and 2) manufacturers offer a variety of fits (or “cuts”), which are not standardized, and so EVEN IF YOU DO know your “true” size, you need to know your size in each individual cut. One company’s slim-fit is another company’s tailored fit is another company’s European fit, and so on. If you’re doing it on your own, good luck with that.

So, it’s inevitable that today’s online shopper will end up with clothing that doesn’t fit quite right. What to do? Well, bring it to us! Sure, you should have bought your suit directly from your friendly local men’s store, but even if you bought a garment elsewhere, we’ll help you get a better fit. For example, let’s take a look at our model Brad here.

In this photo, Brad is wearing a size 40S classic-fit sportcoat. If this were a typical case, Brad would tell us, “There was no sales professionals to help me in the big box store (or online), so I tried on coats until I found one that felt comfortable.” Immediately, we would have told him that if the coat is comfortable, it’s too big. When a coat fits correctly, it should not pull across the shoulders or back, but it should hug the body.

Some of you are looking at this photo and thinking, “I don’t think it looks that bad.” To that, we would say, “not that bad” is a pretty low bar, and if you go through life aspiring to “not that bad,” you need to stand up, throw your shoulders back, straighten your tie, and demand better of yourself, and your tailoring.

Here’s a profile view before tailoring. The coat adds 30lbs to Brad’s svelte frame. For those of you wondering, Brad’s true size is a 34-36R, so this coat is the equivalent of  FOUR sizes too big. It’s not easy to take a coat down four sizes–it cannot always be done–and it requires a tremendously talented tailor. Fortunately, our head tailor, Mary, is ridiculously talented. Let’s see what happens.

The first thing she’ll do is reduce the coat from the center back seam. If the coat were just a little big, one might only do that and call it a day (although it usually works better to divide the amount between the two side seams to accentuate the waistline). In this case, the coat is huge, so Mary will have to pin all three seams.

Next, Mary hits the side seams. Unfortunately for Brad, Mary will have to recut the side vents, which is more work (and more money). But any job worth doing is worth doing well, so Brad is willing to make the investment because in the end, it will be worth it.

Some of you may be wondering, “How much will all this work cost?”

Well, it varies with the scope of the work. In this case here, Brad’s looking at a tailoring bill of around $57, which is peanuts when you consider all of the time it takes to perform the fitting and the labor that follows. Trust us, we’re not paying the mortgage on our third vacation home with the dough we collect in tailoring. After overhead, it’s practically a public service. But when you see the final result below, ISN’T IT WORTH IT?! 

If you’re staring at a closetful of clothes that fit you poorly, call us for an appointment, and Mary will use her magic to transform you from a lowly caterpillar into a gorgeous butterfly, like Brad!



The tuX files: Washboard blabs

Violating probably every labor law (and if you listen to him, maybe the Geneva Convention), Robert’s son Baylen builds character by scrubbing rental shirts, circa 2011.

Monday is “return day,” at Main Street Formals, so much of the day is spent laundering shirts from the weekend’s rentals. How do we keep our shirts so clean? It’s not as simple as you might think. First, we spot-treat rental shirts for obvious stains and blemishes. Then, we soak them for hours in a piping hot solution of water, detergent, and a whitening agent. Then, we wash the shirts with standard detergent in hot water again. And then, we send the shirts out to be spot-treated and washed again by a professional laundry service. Finally, they starch and press the shirts, which we then inspect for stubborn stains before they are returned to our rental inventory. Yes, we do this to EVERY shirt. During last prom season, our (former) laundry service dropped the ball and couldn’t turn our shirts around for us, so we were at the shop through the wee hours of the night, hand-pressing shirts for our prom rentals. However, making lemonade from lemons, we are grateful we had to grunt it out, for the experience ultimately led us to our great new laundry company, Bush Cleaners, who has been fantastic!

You might ask: Why do we go to such great effort and expense to keep our rental shirts pristine? Well, to us, it’s not “just a rental shirt.” It’s the foundation of your formalwear ensemble, the canvas upon which your sartorial work of art is painted. And so if the shirt doesn’t “pop,” neither will your tuxedo. You’re paying for the “pop,” and we’re committed to delivering it. Even if it is, as we say in Southern Massachusetts, a wicked lot of work.