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Ralph Lauren after-sales part 2

24 September 2008

ralph-lauren-pin-stripe-suit-glen-plaid-topcoat

My after-sales experience at Ralph Lauren didn’t end with the description in the previous post. It got better, again through a mixture of good service and luck.

As with the previous suit, this one would need altering in one or two places. In the waist of the jacket, as I am slim compared to my chest breadth, and in the length of the sleeves, as jacket sleeves are always an inch too long for me (again, see recent post).

RL does all these alterations very reasonably in-house, and I would recommend anyone who buys a suit there to have it altered in one or two places (indeed, do this anywhere if it is economical enough).

As this was a Black Label suit, I was recommended to go for a 42-inch chest rather than a 40 – the Black Label suits are cut slimmer generally and therefore the size above is recommended. This would mean that the trousers would also need taking in a little (Black Label suits have a seven-inch drop rather than the standard six, but they would still be too big).

I was resigned to paying for one more alteration than previously. But as I was going to be measured, Gregor (the aforementioned senior assistant) said RL would “swallow the costs of the alterations” as I had already paid for alterations on the first suit. So that £50 earned through finding a suit at a greater discount was all mine.

But as with the first episode, there was one more kick of good luck. Rather than a sales assistant measure me for the alterations, as had happened previously, it would be done this time by the in-house tailor, Jaan. Just because he happened to be there.

Jaan insisted in taking half an inch off each shoulder. That would mean taking the sleeves off, adjusting the width of the wool and its padding, and reattaching the sleeves. A better fit, more expensive, but then Ralph was paying. So now I need a second fitting, once the shoulders have been done, to adjust the sleeves, waist and trousers. It’s a week more of suit-related excitement and anticipation, in total, all for the princely sum of minus £50.

Unfortunate footnote: The jacket of my old suit will be destroyed as part of the exchange. Apparently they “put a knife right through the back of it”. This is a real shame, given there is nothing wrong with the jacket, and it has been altered to my specifications. No one else will want it, but I do.

But it seems it is unavoidable. The store needs something to put against the cost of the new suit. Yet I can’t help feeling that if this were a local tailor rather than a worldwide conglomerate, I would be able to buy the jacket back for some small sum. With this policy, everybody loses. It’s a waste to stab the thing in the back.