After two emotionally heavy posts this week, it’s time to shake things up a bit and turn back to the subjects of clothing and style. In today’s “useful links” post, I focus on the topic of alterations, as I believe tailoring our clothing can help us cultivate a minimalist wardrobe filled with things we love to wear.
Few Women Tailor Their Clothes
Alterations have the power to take a ho-hum garment and transform it into something that looks and feels amazing. During my stint as a wardrobe stylist, I learned that very few women tailor their clothes, with the exception of hemming trousers and altering suits and formal wear. While some of my clients merely needed some education on proper fit principles, others required an attitude adjustment in order to embrace the concept of tailoring. Fortunately, most of them came around in the end. In fact, we were often able to salvage many pieces by simple “tweaks” that didn’t break the bank.
“But Alterations are Too Expensive!”
In this time of “fast fashion” and disposable clothing, many women just don’t want to invest the money to ensure their clothing fits them impeccably. They reason that if they paid $20 for a garment, why should they spend another $10 altering it to fit their body perfectly.
As many of us are working towards shopping more ethically and sustainably (see last Friday’s links post for resources to help you in that endeavor), alterations can be a way of extending our wardrobes to make what we have work for us rather than running out to buy more. Of course, it’s an easier “sell” if we’re focusing on quality over quantity when shopping. However, those of us who enjoy thrift and consignment shopping know that quality doesn’t always have to come with a large price tag (see my tips for successful resale shopping).
Modernizing Your Clothes through Tailoring
I definitely recommend taking the time and spending the money to tailor your clothes so they fit you like a glove. Although proper fit is the primary reason for tailoring, alterations can also help to modernize your clothes or update them to line up with your evolving sense of style. As one example, as my preferred trouser silhouette changed, I narrowed many of my wide-legged pants to create a straight-legged look. I also shortened some of my skirts to knee-length after I realized that length is what’s most flattering for my figure.
Some Useful Links on Alterations
While I could definitely go on and on about this topic, let’s now move to the links and let the words of others (as well as one article by yours truly) illustrate my points. If you’re not yet a believer in the power of alterations, perhaps you will be after you read the articles below.
I wrote this article on my styling business blog last year. In it, I list just some of the many tailoring possibilities to give shirts, jackets, pants, skirts, and dresses a new lease on life. In all, I list 34 ways in which a gifted tailor can work magic on your clothing (most of which have been done on my own clothes!), and I’m sure there are as many options I didn’t mention.
Image consultant Imogen Lamport highlights the types of alterations that are easy and relatively inexpensive to perform on our clothes. In addition to listing a plethora of possibilities, Imogen also illustrates a few simple shirt and pant alterations that can be done to improve the fit of our clothing.
Audrey of Putting Me Together (also from San Diego though we’ve never met!) shares her alteration guidelines and tips in Part 3b of her “Wardrobe from Scratch” series. In this post, she helps you decide which garments to alter and she shows a few personal examples of pieces she’s tailored (complete with before and after photos!). I highly recommend checking out Audrey’s entire “Wardrobe from Scratch” series, which helps readers with style definition, color, fit, and more. It’s definitely worth a read!
The actual title of this article is “No shit,” but the gist of it is what I referenced above. The author quotes Clinton Kelly of “What Not to Wear,” who basically stated that celebrity’s clothes fit them so well because they tailor everything. We often think our bodies are somehow “wrong” when we can’t find clothing off the rack to fit us (I’ve frequently thought this about pants!), but everyone has fit issues, even the beautiful, rich, and famous.
Petite Kelly started her blog “Alterations Needed” in 2008 to help other women her size learn how to shop and tailor their wardrobes. Along the way, she’s written a number of excellent alteration and fit tips to help women of all sizes. The link above goes to an archive page that lists all the alteration, style, and fit tips Kelly has written over the years. Some of these tips are “do-it-yourself” suggestions for the more crafty among us, while others require assistance from a tailor (unless you’re a talented seamstress yourself!), but all are useful, well-written, and nicely illustrated with descriptive photos.
Now it’s Your Turn – Your Alterations Feedback and Tips!
I hope you find the links above helpful. Now I’d love to get your feedback.
- Do you tailor your clothes (either yourself or via a tailor)?
- If so, what types of alterations do you do?
- How do you feel about the cost of tailoring? Do you only tailor more expensive garments or do you factor alterations into the price of your clothing?
- Do you have any other alteration tips to share?
As usual, I welcome your comments! I also welcome suggestions for future “useful links” posts and posts in general. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!