To Tailor or Not to Tailor?

Contrary to what the phrase suggests, ready-to-wear is a myth. Only 5-10 percent of the population walks into a store, tries on an item and finds it a perfect fit. The rest of us need some sort of alteration. To properly assess fit when trying on a garment, don’t just stand still: Sit, stretch and bend. A jacket should fit through the shoulders, back and body without bunching or pulling. Similarly, a pant should fit through the stomach, thighs, and backside. Both the hem and crease of the pant should fall straight. Relatively easy and inexpensive alterations include shortening or taking in a pant or sleeve. However adjusting the shoulder or armhole of a jacket or the rise in a pant are more involved and costly. Unless you have a master tailor or big alterations budget, take a pass on clothing with these fit challenges. You will also want to skip any item that needs to be lengthened or let out, especially in fabrics such as silk, rayon or velvet as they can show marks. Before cutting the tags off an item in question, ask your tailor for an estimate of the alteration costs. To determine if it’s worth it, consider the item’s versatility, the fabric quality and potential life span.

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