Frame Le Garcon jeans | size 29, purchased 3/2014, still phenomenal
Everlane linen/cotton top | size small, purchased with credits from Everlane, altered
Everlane street shoe | gift from Everlane to review
Admonish curved leather tote bag | made in the US
Now that I’ve found a tailor I love, I can’t imagine how I ever lived without one. Seriously. I did have a good tailor in Atlanta (besides my mom), and never found one I REALLY really liked in Austin, but even so, I honestly didn’t really consider tailoring an option for much of anything besides jeans. Now, I’m at the tailor every week or so, bringing in new and old things for alterations I’d either given up on, or never considered.
When I took this Everlane linen/cotton shirt to be taken in at the sides (which turned out perfectly, by the way), I also took my Lanston dress (I’ve had it since 10/2011) and Splendid maxi dress (since 12/2013) in to be shortened. I’d sort of given up on both of those recently, because I’ve slimmed down just a teeny bit over the summer and as I have, they started to hang lower and lower so that I was stepping on the hems constantly. I considered getting rid of them both, but I’ve had them for so long, and I truly love them, so decided to try altering them instead.
My tailor took the Lanston dress up at the shoulders, and that makes SUCH A BIG DIFFERENCE!!! It’s not only shorter on me, but I fits so much better at the chest and under the arms. I just got the Splendid dress hemmed a teeny bit. I look forward to loving and wearing both of those dresses for quite a few more years now.
Next, I’m going to take in my Raquel Allegra slip dress in to have the straps shortened even more so I feel better about wearing it as a “tunic” come fall, which realistically suits me better than wearing it as a dress. And since reader Fiona successfully had the side slits on her Reformation dress sewn up a bit, I’m going to try that too, because I think I’ll wear it much more often that way…
That’s it for now, and for a while, I hope. Tailoring isn’t cheap, but if it helps me love the clothes I have already longer, then it’s money well spent in my opinion. And sometimes all it really takes is just a little tweak here and there.
Have you extended the life of your clothes by tailoring them? What was your favorite tailoring experience? Your least favorite??
Happy Friday. It’s been an exciting week here, no? Enjoy your long weekend if you have one!!
In addition to increasing the use of our clothes and limiting waste (not getting rid of them and wearing them longer), it creates work for someone – I always prefer to spend money on tailoring (or repairing) rather than on replacement, which some people around me have a hard time understanding (oh, the never-ending appeal of “new things”). It’s funny how the phrase “but you could buy something new for that price” or “it’s cheaper to buy a new one” has the opposite effect on me : I’ve been known to pay higher to get something repaired rather than replaced, just so it does got to landfills and I can enjoy it longer (new is not necessarily better, on top of it…)!
Correction: it does NOT go to landfill!
Grechen Reiter says
i’d rather spend the money to fix something i really love, and that fits me well, generally, than buy something new most of the time. i’d never really thought much about that until now though, that my weight keeps going down – i want to be able to still wear the things i have..
i’m on and off watching a documentary, “the lightbulb conspiracy” now that deals with the idea that it’s cheaper to replace things than it is to fix them, “planned obsolescence” which has taken hold of the apparel industry now too, with fast fashion. it’s very interesting…
Oh my goodness, I LOVE tailors. They are magicians. Rare is the pair of pants I buy that does NOT need to be tailored! Since my husband and I are both “height challenged,” we pretty much build into the cost of a garment that it is going to have to be altered. In fact, I need to take in my new Everlane wide-leg pants very soon, because fall will soon be upon us…
My only negative experience with a tailor was with my original wedding dress. The moral of that story is that you can only attempt to alter so many sizes down before the shape/drape are destroyed and the garment unwearable. :/
Christine M says
Sadly every time a find a good tailor they disappear. My most recent one close to home – a couple, actually, lost their lease and decided to retire. I’ve heard good things about one near my office so I plan to give him a try. Drawback is it would entail lugging clothes back and forth on my long commute.
For simple hems I’m not picky. But since I have a lot of fit issues, the kind of work I’m generally looking for requires a certain skill.
Best experience: an outlet find – beautiful burgundy and black silk satin tuxedo-style blazer that was too wide in the shoulders (a common problem for me). It got taken in along the back seam, sleeves shortened and a couple other small tweaks and it looked like it was made for me. It’s still in my closet and still fits after about 20 years. I do wear it occasionally – and feel like a million bucks when I do.
Worst experience: a very similar issue actually – a Prada jacket that I never should have bought in the first place, even at the very attractive outlet price. I spent the money to have it altered – shoulder pads de-padded, armholes raised, etc., but it never looked right. I wore it once and donated it to a charity sale.
I’ve found that not everything is fixable – or when an attempt is made to fix it, it can still look wonky. I’ve long since moved on from my blazer fetish so I haven’t been acquiring things that need a big overhaul. I hope one day to find someone who can deal with pants that are too high in the rise. This is a huge problem for me, especially with everything in stores now being so high waisted.
Christine, I still have a blazer fetish haha! My only hesitation with tailoring is the shoulders for jackets and it’s the very thing I desire most! I understand shoulder alterations are some of the most difficult fixes. I am considering going to a men’s suit place to attempt it..one of those old school type places.
As far as slimming sleeves or the sides of items I have no issue and luckily found a great tailor to do original hems for denim although I do tend to just roll jeans up these days. I did learn that my legs are slightly different lengths so always insist she measure both legs even though she thinks not necessary. I think you kind of have to boss tailors in certain things:)
At under 5ft tall, tailoring has always been a necessity for me. Even when I was a little girl, my grandmother would hem all my pants. Now I go to a tailor to fix issues with armholes, hemming sleeves & pants, etc. Those small tweaks always take a piece of clothing from something that I love in theory, to something that actually works for my body type.
I stumbled upon your blog about a month ago and have been checking it faithfully ever since! I’m beginning my journey toward a minimalist closet and I’m staying away from ‘fast fashion.’ I’ve never owned higher-end clothing before and I’m a bit nervous about investing in pieces that I might subsequently ruin. For example, the lovely Everlane top you are wearing would probably have yellow stains under the arms after a few wears. Would you ever consider sharing how you care for your clothes to make me a little less anxious about purchasing some quality pieces?
Grechen Reiter says
this is a great idea for a post 🙂 but i’ll say now, that i honestly have never had problems with staining under the arms of my white t-shirts, unless they are many MANY years old. i don’t know if that’s because of my deodorant, or because i really don’t sweat much…i know, special snowflake here!
other than that, i generally don’t dry much (anything anymore, really) and treat stains quickly, which i think helps my clothes last longer. i also have “home” clothes that I wear at home, and “out” clothes, which i don’t wear at home, which obviously means that a lot of pieces don’t get worn as often, and last longer. I do also think i can tell the difference between higher quality things and lower quality things in terms of how long they last with a lot of wear. it’s not always true, of course, but in my experience the brands i buy and the $$ i spend tends to = higher quality, longer lasting clothing. but that also takes a lot of trial and error!!
more later, but maybe that helps a little?? i hope so 🙂
This outfit is so cute! Also wanted to say I’m happy your trip was so much fun for you. On another note… Kristin Chirico wrote an article on Buzzfeed about her “flattering” clothes experiment. It’s really funny and interesting. Don’t know how to do links, but it was a fun read. — Pam
Grechen Reiter says
thank you pam! yes, i read that. i think it mostly confirmed my belief that there is no such thing as “flattering” – it’s truly subjective and depends on way too many things! aside from that, flattering doesn’t matter, it’s how you feel in your clothes that matters.
Christine M says
Oh don’t get me wrong, Karen – I still LOVE blazers but after years of collecting them compulsively, I finally admitted that I don’t have a great body type for them. Busty but narrow chested and with narrow shoulders means it’s really hard to get a nice fit off the rack, and the alterations can be tricky.
And I’ve had that happen too – where they only want to measure one pant leg and I’ve insisted on having both measured.
Gretchen, thanks for the great reminder that we shouldn’t settle for things that don’t fit properly! I have a stack of things that need a visit to the tailor. However, I haven’t taken them because I hate the last tailor I used. She ruined almost everything I took in. Hoping you’ll share the name/location of the tailor you like in Atlanta? Bonus points if he/she is in the Vinings/Buckhead/Smyrna/Sandy Springs area;-).
Grechen Reiter says
Well I don’t remember the name but it was the tailor in the “around Lenox” shopping area where blue genes used to be. I havent been there in five years, but tootsies is still there I think? Maybe American apparel still? Right across from Lenox mall, not across peachtree, across the side street. I loved them there…they did a great original denim hem, but I also took quite a few other things in and was always pleased.
Thanks so much, Grechen! I think my first “investment piece” is going to be a great pair of jeans. I’m just working up the courage to go out and do it! Now at least I know not to put them in the drier. 🙂
Sounds interesting. That’s the rub with capitalism, right? We’ve got to keep creating the “need” for new things. (Guilty, here, btw.)
I like the idea of a “clothing care” post, which could be extended to “shoe care,” also.
I’m with you, Jeanette…yellow pit stains on white garments is my peeve! I’m a “schvitzer” for sure (Gives the term “Sweater Girl” a whole new meaning!). Grechen, you are a special snowflake 😉
I just realized that I have a tailor down a few blocks from my house (Not enough air getting to my brain lately or something…). I had her take in and re-hem my daughter’s bridesmaid dress and she did a great job. I’m going to see what needs work.
Absolutely agree that a tailor is so necessary and I love mine! Only problem is I find I depend on my tailor too much and now tend to size up when ordering online (even when it’s not necessary) just so as not to risk it being too small. I end up spending a fortune on tailoring! Plus there are items that I have paid lots to have altered, only to find that I still don’t like it and end up giving it away anyway (or still sits in my closet unworn).
oh please let me know if the dress works out for you! My problem wiht my tailor is that she does what i ask her to do, which makes sense but ideally i’d love to find a tailor who can tell me when something doesn’t fit right – probably outside the scope of their job 🙂
Grechen Reiter says
ha! i actually think a good tailor SHOULD do that! where i go, there’s a group of women who work together – they’re all amazing – but quite often, they do make suggestions i may not have thought of, which i always appreciate. one tailor i tried in austin actually hemmed my pants too long because she though we marked them too short and “they look better longer”!! i was like…wtf? she was cheap, but that was annoying 😉
Grechen Reiter says
yes, tailoring is definitely getting expensive. and it’s funny you mention it, because i’m on a search for a new pair of jeans this fall and keep thinking i can get them a little big if i need to and get them tailored. it’s good, in a way, because i think ultimately they’ll fit me more like i WANT them to if i size up and then tailor the waist, but then i have to think about how much $$ i will need to add to the cost of the jeans…
This is amazing! Your tailor did phenomenal work and everything looks great on you! You look perfectly polished and I love the idea of transforming old clothes into something new! Definitely a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!