with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
I’m in the middle of a huge closet clean out; I want to be able to go into my closet and see only pieces I love. I also want to see only pieces that easily work together. That’s not too much to ask, is it?
Not at all.
Conventional closet cleaning advice recommends dividing everything into a keep pile, a giveaway pile and a pile that needs attention — either dry cleaning or tailoring. Dry cleaning is easy; you just have to commit to taking things to the cleaners. Tailoring can be more of a mystery — you know something doesn’t fit right, but how do you know if it can be fixed?
The first rule of tailoring is that it’s always easier to make something smaller than it is to make it bigger. If you’re considering buying a dress or skirt or pair of pants and having them let out, think twice; instead, opt for a larger size, even if that size is a little big. You’ll have better luck having the too-big garment taken in than you will having the too-small garment let out. I promise.
Some alterations are simple; you can have a hem shortened without much trouble, for example. (Or, if you’re dealing with a straight hem, you can DIY it with some iron-on hem tape — that’s what I do, but don’t tell my tailor.) Sleeves are also simple to shorten (on a jacket, for example) and most of the time, it’s easy to pull the waist in on a garment.
Shortening the rise on a pair of pants, though, is nearly impossible — if the waist of your pants fits by the crotch falls too low, you’re stuck with it. Those pants probably just need to go; they don’t fit right and cannot be saved. The same is true for pants with a rise that is too short — there’s nothing your tailor can do to fix that. Sorry.
You can take the waist in on a pair of pants, but only if the pants are no more than two sizes too big — anything beyond that and the alteration will ruin the line of the pants. Think of it this way: If you’re suddenly down more than two pants sizes, you deserve to go shopping. Seriously.
A dress can be taken in through the mid section, but again, if it’s more than two sizes too big, the alterations may dramatically change the line of the dress. And when you take in the middle, be sure to have your tailor assess how that will affect the top of the dress; pulling in the waist on a sheath dress, for example, changes the way the dress fits under the arms, which can do bad things to the armholes.
Can you get by without taking things to a tailor? Sure — belts are great if you’re talking about pieces that are almost the right size but not quite, and you can do a lot with hem tape and a needle and thread. But for structured garments, or anything that was a real investment (a suit, say, or a beautiful pair of wool trousers) you need to trust a professional. And you need to recognize that not everything can be salvaged by the tailor.
Photo via True Image Bank.
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