"Fashion is complicated now, and most business- people don't have the time to research it - so they avoid it," he says. "It is those men who especially value this service because, let's face it, there aren't too many people to turn to for qualified advice."

What sort of advice can clients expect from a personal tailor? As much or as little as they require. Ray Montalvo, former owner of Montalvo on Montana in Santa Monica, California, says he will do anything from thinning out a client's closet based on color, design, and style, to building them an entirely new wardrobe from scratch. Simpson begins with a wardrobe evaluation, from which he develops a database of what the client owns, what the client needs to own, and which items should be retired and when. For his frequent-traveling clients, Simpson will even take digital photographs of their clothing mixed and matched, "so they can see all their clothing options and don't have to take their entire wardrobes on a three-day business trip."

A full menu of advice, and clients don't have to leave their offices or homes to get it. Montalvo says he'll meet clients anywhere: "In their home, in their office, wherever it is most convenient for them," he says. It's this convenience, he adds, that leads many of his customers to eschew shopping in favor of personal tailoring.

Then there's the issue of fit. Many clients, says Gary Franzen, owner of Los Angeles-based Custom Clothes Ltd., turn to custom clothing because it's the only kind that actually fits. "I made a suit for a big, burly man whose wife insisted he have a nice suit, but the guy couldn't find anything decent to fit him," Franzen recalls. "But the truth is, most people have little nuances that make fitting them difficult. And most wear ill-fitting clothes."