Ever wonder why celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, Lupito Nyong’o and Kendall Jenner manage to make an everyday pair of jeans or a white oxford look especially chic? Sure, you could credit their enviable figures, but their real secret weapon is tailoring their clothes. With the help of a team of stylists, these women make ready-to-wear clothing exactly that—ready to wear.
Some might ask whether in the day of fast fashion and busy schedules, it is really worth spending the money and time to take in or let out a garment, but Shao Yang and Garrett Wexler of The Tailory New York argue that there is nothing like a perfect fit. “Tailoring your clothes makes you look 100 times better,” Yang says. “You look taller, thinner, and feel more confident and comfortable in what you are wearing. Most women wear more knits instead of wovens to avoid tailoring, but they are doing themselves a disservice.” With Yang’s and Wexler’s help, we break down the rules for finding your most flattering fit.
It's always easier to make a piece of clothing smaller or tighter than it is to make it bigger. When shopping, always try on multiple sizes, even if you think it will be too big. For example, when trying on a blazer or jacket make sure it fits in the chest first and then you can make the necessary adjustments with a tailor. For skirts and pants, the natural fit of the seat is most important.
Limit How Far You Go
The more areas or seams that you have to tailor on a piece, the farther away you get from the original integrity of the pattern. We suggest a rule of three, so if you are tailoring a blazer, you can tailor the waist, sleeve length and sleeve width, but try not to do much more than that.
It’s All In The Sleeves
The optimal sleeve length should sit at the break of the wrist. If something is longer or shorter, it doesn’t fit. As for sleeve width, more women, like men, should alter this area so not to have billowing or baggy sleeves.
Don’t Touch The Shoulders
A shoulder alteration is probably the most difficult to make, so make sure a jacket or blouse fits there naturally.
Meanwhile, taking in the waist is probably the easiest alteration, so if you have a gape in your natural waist in your trousers or skirts, that is a necessary and polished adjustment to make.
Dart That Blouse
Rather than taking in a top on the sides, ask your tailor to put two darts in the back to narrow the fit.
Stop Skirting the Issue
If you are shorter than 5’4”, office-appropriate pencil skirts should sit at the knee or right above, if you are taller than 5’6”, they should fall right below the knee. When wearing an A-Line skirt or something a little flirtier, hem your skirt to the part of the thigh that starts tapering into your knee.
Don’t Let Your Pants Drag
A lot of women are guilty of this and it results in a pool of fabric at their ankle or feet. Always bring the type of shoe you are planning on wearing with the pant or jean to the tailor to find your perfect length. If you are wearing a narrow pant, the hem should sit at the top of the shoe, whereas if you are wearing a wide-leg or flare, you can cover more of the shoe, but it should never drag.
Do a Cost Benefit Analysis
Even with the most extensive alterations, your total tailoring price for a garment shouldn’t exceed more than half of what you originally paid. If you paid $300, for example, $150 on adjustments is the most you should spend.
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