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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi folks - just need opinions about Nordstrom tailoring (sorry if this has been covered before).

My situation: I bought a John Varvatos overcoat through Nordstrom. It's a 44R and the fit is pretty close to what I need - but since I'm more of a 42R, the coat needs some work.

So I wouldn't be getting basic alterations. This would be a slightly more complicated "taking in" process. Right now, the coat has nice sharp shoulders (even with the extra room) and a clean line throughout. I don't want to lose that in the tailoring.

My questions: should I take this to a better local tailor (I'm in the Boston area), or can I trust the Nordstrom people? Also, what's the deal if the alterations don't turn out well? How many rounds of tailoring can I expect? And, perhaps most importantly, can an item be returned after the tailoring (because it's Nordstrom work on a Nordstrom item)?

Thanks for any input!

- Nigel
 

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I twice had trousers altered @ the Roosevelt Field NY Nordstrom. Both times they did a terrible job. Way too short. With the dress trousers, the salesman tried to convince me that they could re-do them, but it was obvious there was no material left, not to mention the holes from the stitching, etc. I returned both for a full refund. I would stick with a reputable local merchant.
 

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I've had work done at two of the Nordstroms in Atlanta and had success every time.

If Nordstrom works on something you bought there and they ruin it, it's on them. Any reputable store should be the same way.

There's a legend that Nordstrom's return policies are so generous that they've taken back tires and cookware, even though they don't sell either. The true story, which is taught to each sales associate during orientation, is that Nordstrom expanded into Alaska by buying the assets of a company that was more like Sears, so even though the Nordstrom stores only sold clothing and accessories, they honored returns from their predecessor company.
 

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I bought a Few hickey Freeman suits and various pieces of outerwear from Nordstroms at the Mall of America in Minnesota. Without a doubt, they have the worst alterations department on the planet. Try as I may, I just cannot get them to alther the arms of a suit coat to show even a peak of cuff. It's odd.
 

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I think you need to consider two things:

1. there are a zillion Nordstroms employing dozens of tailors who are in no way equally skilled or dedicated, no matter what the corporate standards are there will be variations in outcome and performance.

2. You bought a coat one size too large, that means its possibly long in the sleeves, a bit long overall, and most importantly too wide. Sleeves are easy, the length can probably be ignored but the coat itself would need to be split in half or darted quite a bit and then the lining would need to be adjusted as well. Its potentially major surgery.

My advice:

First see if (over the phone) Nordstrom can get you a 42 or (who knows) a 43 in exchange, say you bought the wrong size, whatever. If that doesnt work then go to your local tailor first and see what he thinks before committing to anything. Frankly as the coat is OTR I don't know if Norstrom would even take on the job.
 

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BTW I bought a pair of jeans at Nordstrom Rack at the Fortunoff Mall in Westbury NY and the legs needed shortening - a more difficult job than for regular trousers, IMO. The inhouse tailor said that they'd be ready in two days. I said that I really needed them ASAP. He said, come back in an hour (!), I said that I'd bring him a coffee as well.

An hour later, he got his coffee, and I got a wonderfully altered pair of jeans that looked as though they'd been made to my length.

(Perhaps that he was Jamaican and I'm British, and we talked cricket as he was measuring me helped speed the process, though!)
 

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I twice had trousers altered @ the Roosevelt Field NY Nordstrom. Both times they did a terrible job. Way too short. With the dress trousers, the salesman tried to convince me that they could re-do them, but it was obvious there was no material left, not to mention the holes from the stitching, etc. I returned both for a full refund. I would stick with a reputable local merchant.
I guess if you are in Roosevelt Field it pays to shop for trousers at Brooks. As of the last time I was fitted for anything, their taylor was a nice older gent who knew what he was doing.
 

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I think you need to consider two things:

1. there are a zillion Nordstroms employing dozens of tailors who are in no way equally skilled or dedicated, no matter what the corporate standards are there will be variations in outcome and performance.

2. You bought a coat one size too large, that means its possibly long in the sleeves, a bit long overall, and most importantly too wide. Sleeves are easy, the length can probably be ignored but the coat itself would need to be split in half or darted quite a bit and then the lining would need to be adjusted as well. Its potentially major surgery.

My advice:

First see if (over the phone) Nordstrom can get you a 42 or (who knows) a 43 in exchange, say you bought the wrong size, whatever. If that doesnt work then go to your local tailor first and see what he thinks before committing to anything. Frankly as the coat is OTR I don't know if Norstrom would even take on the job.
+1

But if they can't find the correct size I'd be inclined to leave it in the hands of Nordstrom's tailors. As was quoted here the odds are that your location could have a good tailor. More importantly, if something does go wrong you will have no problem getting your $ back; I used to work at Nordstrom and the rumors are true - you can return ANYTHING with nary a blink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quick update . . .

Just paid a visit to the Nordstrom tailor and they were pretty helpful. They made it clear that they couldn't provide the kind of alterations I needed, but felt that the work could still be done by a skilled tailor (I never figured out why, exactly, Nordstrom couldn't do it).

Anyway, the tailor took time to indicate where on the coat the most complicated work would be needed. That was helpful.

So, all in all, I have a good impression of the Nordstrom tailoring services, but I can't comment on their actual work!
 

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I've had work done at two of the Nordstroms in Atlanta and had success every time.

If Nordstrom works on something you bought there and they ruin it, it's on them. Any reputable store should be the same way.

There's a legend that Nordstrom's return policies are so generous that they've taken back tires and cookware, even though they don't sell either. The true story, which is taught to each sales associate during orientation, is that Nordstrom expanded into Alaska by buying the assets of a company that was more like Sears, so even though the Nordstrom stores only sold clothing and accessories, they honored returns from their predecessor company.
You got lucky I think. That or I've been terribly unlucky. I've had two botched suits from Nordstrom. A Canali at Perimeter and a Hickey Freeman at Phipps. For Perimeter, the suit took 5 fittings before they got it remotely wearable, and even then, I was so worn down, I just took the thing home and rarely wear it. Worse is they would argue with me about the problems I was seeing. I actually had to get another salesperson who was honest enough to agree with me that the suit still had problems.

For simple alterations, maybe. More complex, take to a tailor you trust. Its worth it in the long run..
 

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There are two types of tailors, one is actually a tailor and the other is a "pants hemmer". It was my experience that Nordstrom has the latter.

I purchased a Zegna suit during one of their sales and against my better judgement, allowed their tailor to do the work as it needed only a few minor tweaks.

Obviously I needed the pants hemmed and the jacket sleeves a touch longer.

Additionally, this suit needed the button sewn on once the sleeves were set correctly. I didn't want functional buttons, etc. just sewn on...

Well they were sewn on alright... THROUGH THE LINING OF THE JACKET!

I got the alterations refunded and went running to my regular tailor an swore never to stray outside our relationship again.
 

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There are two types of tailors, one is actually a tailor and the other is a "pants hemmer". It was my experience that Nordstrom has the latter.

I purchased a Zegna suit during one of their sales and against my better judgement, allowed their tailor to do the work as it needed only a few minor tweaks.

Obviously I needed the pants hemmed and the jacket sleeves a touch longer.

Additionally, this suit needed the button sewn on once the sleeves were set correctly. I didn't want functional buttons, etc. just sewn on...

Well they were sewn on alright... THROUGH THE LINING OF THE JACKET!

I got the alterations refunded and went running to my regular tailor an swore never to stray outside our relationship again.
There is no task so simple that you cannot find a "tailor" to mess it up for you.
 

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I know I went to the Nordstrom Rack at Mall of America, and I saw a Hickey Freeman sportcoat I liked, except the lining was falling apart. So I asked if they could repair it before I decided, which they did. It was a job poorly done. The lady who did it had a whole room full of alterations to do. I think part of the problem is they have too much to do for a given amount of time, so they have to rush their job.
 

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There is no task so simple that you cannot find a "tailor" to mess it up for you.
Disagree to an extent. That's the equivalent of a mechanic not knowing a car needs oil. People can have a bad day I suppose but if a mechanic dumps washer fluid in your engine, odds are he isn't a mechanic.

I won't say that every tailor at JWN's is terrible, but if they're bringing on people who can blow it that badly... geez.
 
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