How Even Basic Alterations Improve Clothing


The way your clothing fits matters because when you purchase clothing, you’re making an investment in how you look and your overall presentation. It’s rare for clothing off the rack to fit you perfectly, and although that may be fine for more casual clothing, it’s important to have dress clothing that fits well for a polished appearance. Professional tailoring can improve the fit of almost all types of clothing, and if you’re someone who struggles to find flattering, comfortable clothing, an experienced tailor may be exactly what you need.

Key Points Regarding Fit

No one has the ideal “average” form that clothing manufacturers design their garments for so it’s rare to find something that fits a person perfectly off the rack. Tailoring helps you achieve your own version of perfection when it comes to clothing and eliminates the need to put up with shirts, pants, jackets, and skirts that are out of proportion to your body. When you know some key points regarding fit, it can make shopping a bit easier as you remember what tailoring can and can’t fix. As you try on an item of clothing, it shouldn’t pull visibly across your chest, hips, thighs, or stomach, and it should feel comfortable with some room to breathe. Trousers shouldn’t be tight in the behind or crotch area but also shouldn’t sag in the behind or thigh area. Blazers should allow free movement without your shoulders or arms feeling constricted. If the sleeves of a shirt or jacket are too long, you need to decide if a basic hem may solve the problem. Sometimes a waistband that’s too large can be taken in when the bottom and hips of the skirt or pants fit well. Seek advice from an experienced tailor if you’re unsure about the possible alterations on certain garments.

When Alterations are Worth the Investment

Your love for a particular garment is the biggest deciding factor on whether it’s worth it to invest in alterations. Investing in tailoring that costs more than the original garment may seem odd, but when you like the piece and know you’re going to wear it often, spending more than you saved can make long-term sense. When you’re maintaining a garment you own and/or want to restore it to its original form, tailoring is usually a worthwhile investment. Tailoring and alterations can transform those items in your closet that you never or rarely wear into daily favorites that are fresh and wearable for less money than purchasing new items.

Basic Alterations

The pinching, lengthening, and shortening involved with alterations isn’t usually overly complicated or expensive. This is especially true for basic alterations, including taking up hems on pants or skirts, letting out a waistband, repairing seams, and shortening sleeves. Additional basic alterations that can improve a garment include:

  • Placing small, invisible snaps between blouse buttons on a bust line to prevent embarrassing gapping
  • Placing lingerie loops in the shoulders of a blouse to snap over bra straps and keep blouses from sliding around
  • Changing out buttons on a vintage or older blouse, dress, coat, or jacket to give it an updated look
  • Replacing a zipper

Alteration and tailoring prices vary by location and business, but the above type of basic alterations should range from $20-$40 depending on how much work the tailor has to do.

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