Want to know the single greatest game-changer in this whole getting dressed thing?
In my last post I talked about cutting yourself some slack and accepting that even though things might not be exactly as you wanted them to be, what you have is enough. And today I want to talk about accepting that you aren’t always going to find the perfect pair of pants that fit you right off the rack and hug you just right. You may get lucky sometimes, especially once you find a brand that works for your body, but if you’re anything like me it can be challenging finding clothes that work for your unique body shape.
When I finally accepted that getting my clothes tailored was going to be a regular part of the shopping experience, looking for pants got a whole lot easier.
If clothes don’t fit you right off the rack, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. I used to become so frustrated when it came time to shop for jeans. I’d look at myself in the dressing room mirror and think, “If I hadn’t eaten that pretzel yesterday; If I had taken my running more seriously; If I was more vigilant with working out and eating healthier.” And how un-fun is that!
Here is some news that might be revolutionary for you: You do not have to take clothes at face value. You can make them work for you, instead of you working for them. A few tweaks and suddenly you have a pair of pants that looks stunning on you.
Keep in mind that anything with lining and pieces with intricate detailing are going to take more work. An existing seam where you want an alteration made makes it even easier so I always look at where the seams are on the garment.
That brings us to budgeting and how tailoring plays a part in it.
Some people keep a separate tailoring budget for their clothes, but I prefer to factor it into my overall budget.
I factor in that my jeans will most likely have to be altered when I’m shopping. I know it will cost me anywhere from $10-$40 depending on what I am getting done. I had a lot of alterations made to a pair of jeans (read all about it on my blog today!) that came to $30, but the jeans only cost $15 from Loft. So overall they were still less than expensive than a lot of jeans out there!
A few things to keep in mind:
- Check the return policy. You might buy a garment thinking what you want is an easy fix until you get to the tailor and they tell you it will cost an extra $30 or it will completely change the look of the piece. That might not fit your needs so you want to be able to return the garment.
- The more alterations the garment needs, the more it will cost. I typically won’t buy a piece if it needs more than 1 or 2 alterations, but sometimes a piece warrants the extra time and cost put into it with alterations.
- So how can you find pieces to fit you through alteration? It’s simple. Fit the widest part of your body. For me, that’s my hips and thighs. My waist is pretty small so I buy jeans that fit my thighs comfortably and have the waist taken in. I also have bigger calves so if I want straight leg jeans it’s sometimes easier for me to find boot cut or flare jeans that fit and have the calf (and sometimes knees) taken in.
- If your waist is bigger than your hips, buy pants to fit your waist and have the legs altered. Got a bust that makes the waist of your tops/dresses look baggy? Fit the garment to your bust and have the waist taken in.
- Tailors are extremely helpful. And sometimes they laugh at you. When I took my jeans to my tailor and told her all the things I wanted done she kept going “shorter? shorter? shorter?” when I wasn’t happy with the length she was suggesting. But she has also shown me what a difference taking in the knee of pants can make! They’ll have you try the garment on and they’ll pin all the changes you want made. That way you can get an idea of what it will look like when they’re all done.
- Not all tailors are cut from the same cloth. Like what I did there? I found my tailor on a whim years ago. I didn’t put any time or effort into finding one, I just went to the place closest to my work. Fortunately I lucked out and have been happy with both their work and prices. But I have heard of some bad experiences people have had with tailors and it completely turned them off to the process. Ask around, use the internet to read reviews, and maybe test the tailor with an old garment or a piece you don’t care so much about.
Click on over to my blog to learn more and see the jeans I had altered!
Sweater: JCrew Factory
Pants: Loft (really old– same style and brand)
Shoes: Target (similar)