Suit alterations are great for both the shrinking and expanding man. A good tailor can save you hundreds of dollars on a new suit for a mere fraction of the price.
However, you should know when its appropriate to repair your clothes and when you should throw in the towel.
Areas that can be tailored elegantly are:
1. Waist - The waist can be taken in aggressively to make the pants more snug. Expanding the waist is limited to how much excess material is in the pants. You can tell how much you have by looking inside the back of the pants.
2. Legs - The legs are like the waist in that they can be shortened by great lengths but are limited in the amount you can lengthen them. Again, check to see how much extra material is sewn up into the leg.
3. Jackets - Suit jackets can be let out at the waist and shortened at the sleeves but be careful to get a good tailor if you decide to do anything else.
The shoulders of a jacket really should never be altered. Once the suit has been made, it is incredibly expensive and difficult to change the shoulders of the jacket.
Fortunately, most people will not see their shoulders grow or shrink so dramatically that they would need to get their shoulders tailored.
Another area to keep in mind is suit holes. Good suits do not tear or rip easily, and if you find that you need to get a tear or a hole in your suit repaired, it is time to buy a new suit.
One huge advantage of buying from a local tailor that makes the suits themselves is that you may be able to get more suit alterations done for you. This is because the tailor may store some of the fabric that was originally used to make your suit.
While you will pay more initially for your suit, you'll be able to wear it longer. Not only this, but you'll be supporting a local business.