Tony Salgado looks somewhat sullen when he speaks about the demise of some of the hands-on aspects of his trade.
“It’s a dying art,” the suit maker says at his bespoke tailor’s shop House Of Salgado, located on the TD Centre’s subterranean concourse level.
While machinery has replaced much of a tailor’s handiwork, it hasn’t hurt sales — Salgado manages a booming business with his son and co-owner Mark, catering to professionals who long ago learned that matching sartorial savvy with business acumen is one key to success in the corporate world.
For those of us yet to ascend to the skyscraping pinnacle of the ivory tower, there is something to be learned from the movers and shakers who shun off-the-rack for hand-measured perfection — namely, that such a privilege can be more affordable than one might think.
Salgado’s custom-made shirts start at around $165 on sale, while his suits start at about $1,500 (as low as $950 on sale) — a survey of several other small custom shops around the city returned price points in the same range.
While you may not have the means to take the custom plunge just yet, you might in the future and could save yourself money long term with the characteristic longevity of garments of this quality. But, as Salgado points out, there are points to remember when buying custom:
Find a reputable tailor who understands your preferences and follows current trends.
Choose material (always natural fibres such as a super 100 quality wool — the tailor will know what you’re talking about — that will be comfortable sitting against your skin for hours at a time.
Unless your last name is Trump or Branson, opt for a classic cut that won’t look outdated within two months of purchase.
Be patient and expect to be asked in for several fittings.
Chris Atchison has been working as a journalist for the past seven years in both freelance and full-time capacities. A Guy Thing, his take on the everyday travails of the urban male, runs bi-weekly.