English is not my first language.

I feel the obvious answer is just research, but I'm talking about very specific jobs in a different timeline.

My main character is from Colombia 1950s and is an assistant/son of a tailor.

It's just part of his life, not the overall focus of my story, but I do have to mention some scenarios where there's a time he's helping his father or where the plot is happening in their shop.

I know the common knowledge of how tailor shops work, but I have a hard time depicting years worth of expertise and knowledge on tailoring through the character. It doesn't help I'm neither Colombian nor know much about 1950s clothing in Colombia

Is there a site where I could get some proper research other than Wikipedia, or is there another solution I could hear of?


2 Answers 2


The answer really is research. You can find lots of information just by searching online and refining your search terms. If you don't know what search terms to use then starting with wikipedia or a site like the "Job Evaluator" that Amadeus suggested can get you started.

Since you are looking for something sufficiently recent as the 1900s you could try going to a local public archive. There you might find records from local tailor shops or photos, etc. While they don't match the setting of your story you can use them for more search terms and for the aspects of tailoring that are region independent (maybe aim a bit further back in time if your country would have been more technological in the 1950s than Colombia).

As for the clothing trends, you can look for photos from Columbia from that time frame. Looking explicitly for fashion photos will often restrict things to women's clothing but looking for workers or protestors or restaurants or shops would give a wider variety of subjects. Again though libraries and archives can help (though this time limited to online only). If you can find online archives of colombian newspapers could get you photos and if you can read spanish (or can put the articles through a translator) you could get some ideas about things that are important in that place and time (though be aware that journalists may have biases that will differ from the population somewhat).

A final place to look would be to see if there is a Colombian cultural organization nearby your area. These kinds of organizations can be common wherever a large number of expats from some region move to. If so then they might have access to photos and newspaper articles and other materials from the time and place. You may even find someone you could ask directly some questions about living in Colombia and what things were like there in the 1950s.


There isn't so much one website as the need to draw from multiple sources. For this searching online would help but if you don't know what searches to look for then libraries, archives, newspapers, and cultural organizations could help you formulate your search terms or even by providing the answers themselves.

  • 1
    Yes, researching something like this is challenging and you need to use lateral thinking. Methods like finding someone famous who once had that job, and seeing if there's something in their biography, or finding a book or film set in that world, or looking at ephemeral media from the time (ads, trade magazines, popular press) - sites like archive.org have a surprising range of stuff like magazines and catalogs. But even if it's hard, such research is often very rewarding and can take you on interesting tangents.
    – Stuart F
    Apr 20, 2022 at 20:55

Overall, I'd suggest the site Job Evaluator. That link leads to the table of contents, which lists 120 jobs in alphabetical order.

Within that, this link is for Tailors:

Tailor Career: Salary, Outlook & 85+ Things You Have To Know

I did read some of that, it sounds reasonable and authentic. Below is a copy of the table of contents; I should think this will provide all the detail you need. 1950 would be similar, just pick the skills unlikely to change, and skills that don't depend on any computers or other modern technology.

As for salary, you can scale 2022 salaries back to 1950 using the Consumer Price Index, or if very early, by comparing something like gold prices or even what a day's wages could buy in terms of grain or something.

For 1950, multiply by 8.5%; so the median annual wage given for tailors in 2022, $41K per year, would be $3,485 per year in 1950. But would buy approximately the same things in terms of housing, food, clothing, entertainment, etc. (Presuming the things existed in 1950.)

So typical duties include hand-sewing, alterations (spelt "alternations" in the article), repairs, etc, besides custom fitting and making new clothes from scratch. A tailor requires a strong knowledge of sewing various kinds of stitching, and understanding of many fabrics (how they sew, cut, how they feel and what they weigh, how they breathe, wrinkle, insulate, the environments they are best in.)

But read for yourself.

Table of Contents

What does a Tailor do?
Responsibilities & Duties of a Tailor
What a Typical Day of a Tailor looks like?
Tailor Salary 2022
    Tailor salary brackets 2022
    Tailor salary 2022 by expert level
    Tailor salary by state 2022 (average)
Job Security of Tailors
Future Outlook of Tailors
Working Hours of Tailors
Job Satisfaction of Tailors
Promotion Opportunities of Tailors
Career Levels of Tailors
Fields and Types of Tailors
Educational Requirements for Tailors
How to become a Tailor
Character Traits you need as a Tailor
Tailor Skills
    Hard Skills for Tailors
    Soft Skills for Tailors
Exit Options for Tailors
Tailor – Similar Careers
Tailor Career FAQs
    Is working as a tailor physically demanding?
    Is working as a tailor mentally demanding?
    Is it dangerous to work as a tailor?
    How long do tailors stay in their jobs?
    Is it easy for tailors to find a new job?
    Is it hard to switch from being a tailor to another field of work?
    Do tailors have a high social status?
    Can you help out your family and friends as a tailor?
    Can tailors work remotely?
    Is it easy to find a partner as a tailor?
    Do tailors have to work on weekends?
    Do tailors have to work on holidays?
    Do tailors have to work at nighttime?
    Do you have to travel as a tailor?
    Are tailor pensions good?
    Are tailor salaries going up?
    Can you have a positive impact on society as a tailor?
    How long does it take to become a tailor?
    Is it difficult to become a tailor?
    Do you need to be smart to work as a tailor?
    Do tailors have a good work-life balance?
    Do tailors have to work many extra hours?
    How to maximize your chances of becoming a tailor?
    Can tailors work part-time?
    Do tailors work indoors or outdoors?
    What does the workplace of a tailor look like?
    Do you have to look good for working as a tailor?
    Is a tailor career beneficial for your private life?
    Do you need a college degree for becoming a tailor?
    Do you need to be certified to work as a tailor?
    How much does it cost to become a tailor?
    Is being a tailor a good career?
    Is it easy to start your own business as a tailor?
    Can tailors teach themselves?
    Do tailors make good money?
    Is it ever too late to become a tailor?
    Do tailors have to quit their careers early?
    What is the hardest thing about working as a tailor?
    Can you provide for your family by working as a tailor?
    Will tailors suffer from old-age poverty?
    Can tailors retire early?
    Do tailors get a fixed or variable salary?
    Can you get rich as a tailor?
    Do tailors need a second job?
    Do you get continuous training as a tailor?
    Do you get sick pay as a tailor?
    Do tailors have a high level of responsibility?
    Can tailors work abroad?
    Is it stressful to work as a tailor?
    Is it boring to work as a tailor?
    Is being a tailor hard?
    Are tailors at risk of burnout?
    Is there a dress code for tailors?
    What kind of tailors are paid the most?
    What percentage of tailors are women?
    Do I need a mentor to succeed as a tailor?
    Do tailors have a high life expectancy?
    Do tailors suffer from sleeping problems?
    What states are best for working as a tailor?
    Who do tailors work with?
    Is working as a tailor cool?
    Can you start a side hustle as a tailor?
    Do you have to be creative as a tailor?
    Do tailors suffer from being overweight?
    How employable are tailors?
    Are tailors happy with their jobs?
    Is working as a tailor exciting?
    Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a tailor?
    What are the pros and cons of working as a tailor?

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