When to Visit the Tailor

We all know by now that whether it’s a $20 blouse or a $200 dress, we need to visit a trusted tailor for the achieve the most flattering fit. Bodies come in all shapes and most brands seem to never be using a model shaped like the procurer of their fine garments. But not everything can be fixed. For instance, a piece cannot magically become bigger, but we can almost always make it a size or two smaller. Envisioning what the outfit will look like after a visit to the tailor has given me the comfort to purchase clothing that might not have fit just right off the rack. But how do you know what magic a tailor can perform? If what you imagine is even possible?

From How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making Your Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing, I put together a list of alterations that are worth giving a go and some that are just best avoided. Dapper husband and I often find ourselves inspecting the fit of the garments for each other through the lens of this list: Can that be changed? How difficult is such an alteration? Is it worth it?

7 Alterations to Consider

  1. A shirt that is too long: Shorten it or ask for a shirt-tail hem
  2. Boxy Shirt: (by far the one I run into most often) Anywhere a straight seam exists you can have it taken in.  I have also requested darts be added to a few of my boxy, button-up blouses without issue.
  3. Strappy shirt or dress that hangs too low: You can have the straps taken up.
  4. Pants or Skirt too long? You can get them hemmed.
  5. Pants or Skirt too big at the waist? You can add darts right above the roundest part of your bum for a flattering taper fit.
  6. Sleeves too big and poofy? You can have them slimmed down.
  7. You can also taper a trouser leg

And bonus tip: it is always a good idea to replace plastic zippers with metal ones
Also, I had thought (and even read in a few places) that it is impossible to alter a sweater. My tailor has proven this is not true. If it has a seam, it is worth asking for. I had a handful of sweaters that were great quality wool (and such a steal!) but too boxy. My tailor fixed them right up.


So what about the things you might want to forego attempting? 

  1. Bad armhole
  2. Too long jacket sleeve if there are details that might be difficult to move (cuffs, buttons, etc.)
  3. Too long or too wide of a body with pockets. Pockets can make it nearly impossible to bring in seams.
  4. Too-small garment- there’s only so much fabric

3 Things that tend to run more expensive than others:

  1. Pleated, Sequined, beaded, lace, or chiffon is labor intensive 
  2. If it has a lining it will be about two times the amount to alter it as it’s two times the work.
  3. Leather or suede is expensive. If you want to go for it anyway, you would want to check to make sure they are materials your tailor works with



4 thoughts on “When to Visit the Tailor

  1. Warmest greetings to you from Ireland.
    I found your blog via An Organised Life – and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your articles. I find them inspirational and encouraging. And I was wondering would you consider doing further pieces on being dapper in the workplace? I would really appreciate learning more from you about that particular kind o sartorial elegance.
    Thank you so much!
    With my best wishes to you both for a lifetime of dapper days ahead,


    1. Hi Anne,
      Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the articles! I will start a brainstorm on being dapper in the workplace pronto- it’s a wonderful idea for an article.


      1. Dear Ashley,
        Thank you so much! I am looking forward to that already!
        With my thanks and best wishes,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s