Why You Need A Good Tailor – No, Really

why you should tailor your clothes header image of shoes with tailored black skinny jeans

There is not one client I have that I don’t suggest clothing alterations to. For me, not recommending alterations would be as disastrous and nightmarish as walking out of a store with a bag of spanking new Crocs.

And because that will never happen, I’m here with my capital letters screaming ‘GET A TAILOR!’. It’s not as expensive as you think and it’s the best investment you can make on your current wardrobe without buying anything new! Can you believe it? I know, now sit down, we have things to celebrate!

When people think of getting a tailor or hiring a local alterations business it’s not exciting at all. It’s like handing a child a library card and telling them to go nuts. It sounds boring as an outsider, that’s understandable. But you know what isn’t boring? Wearing the clothing you already own and looking fabulous from all angles! Looking like you’ve got longer legs, a longer torso and a smaller waist! HAVING PERFECT ARMS!

If you’re not using your fan, you’re welcome to fan me because all of those things sounds fantastic. So, what do you need to know about hiring a tailor and why do you need one?


Why you need a personal tailor:

1. Your clothes will look better from all angles.

2. You’ll look more put together.

3. You’ll get more wear out of clothing you put off wearing because it’s broken, doesn’t fit well or just doesn’t look quite right.

4. You’ll save money by altering what you’ve already got instead of buying a replacement.

What you need to know about finding the perfect tailor:

1. Not all of them are gems, some of them only know how to sew buttons on or hem a pair of pants. I once visited an alterations store and they told me they couldn’t replace a zipper because their manager was the only one who knew how to do it. Don’t leave your precious clothing in incapable hands.

2. Shop around, just because your friend has had one thing altered at a specific place, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you. My tailor, Mimi, looks after all my clients, all I need to do is have a client try on what we need altered and she just knows what I want. She’s my dream tailor and if you’re a Sydney sider, she’s on Level 5 of Westfield Sydney and her shop is called Mimi’s Alterations. Best Tailor In Australia plug aside, you have to shop around and see what you do and don’t like about particular tailors.

3. Some have an area of expertise, if you wear a lot of leather, you’ll need to know if your tailor has the expertise and equipment to deal with that. If you’re one for corporate clothing, you’ll probably want to visit someone who works with a lot of business men and women. If this is the case, visit the best suiting store you know and ask who their tailor is. Just make sure that what you want altered is do-able for your tailor.

4. Know that some items shouldn’t be altered. Alterations unfortunately can’t fix everything. If you love, love, love the item then the alteration is worth it, if it gives you a ho-hum feeling then the price will be ho-hum and so will the outcome. Only alter what you can see yourself wearing, don’t get something altered because you’re putting off throwing it away.

What you need to know about alterations:

SEAM ALLOWANCE: Not all garments can be taken out, because not all garments have enough seam allowance. Traditionally clothing used to have 2.5cm’s allowance on the seams to allow for  this, but these days majority of clothing retailers don’t have this to keep the price down. So, before you take it to the tailor or buy the item, turn it inside out and look at the allowance where you want it taken out.

FABRIC MARKINGS: While we’re on the subject of taking items out, be aware that some fabrics will show stitching marks when let out. While these may not be noticeable from a distance, close up they’ll line every seam.

SHOULDER ALTERATIONS: These are the most expensive alterations you can get but worth it if you have a jacket, shirt or top you love. They’re more expensive because the tailor will need to take the top of the shirt apart, usually from three our four different points to take it in. Another point is not to let a sales assistant talk you into buying a jacket that doesn’t fit well in the shoulders, it’s not worth it if you’re not in love with it.

ADDING DARTS: This is an alteration that enhances your figure and takes it to a whole new level. You can look great from the front, but without the garment fitting well in the back, you can look quite blocky. Adding darts to shirts and jackets is cheap and will make the world of a difference, we’ll finally get to see that waist!

SHORTENING SHIRTS AND JACKETS: Sometimes shirts and jackets just don’t fit right because they’re too long, get some pins out and play around with the length until it looks perfect. You’ll be stunned at how much more in proportion you’ll look with the right length top on. This is a great alteration for petites!

Now that you’re all caught up on why you need a good tailor, go out and do some research on some in your local area, get those things out the wardrobe that just don’t sit right and reevaluate their place in your personal style, are they duds or just in need of a little love?

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Owner / Blogger / Stylist

Alarna Hope is a Fashion Stylist and Writer based in Sydney, she's considered an expert in her field as a Personal Stylist and is also quite good at writing about herself in the third person. She cries during movie makeover scenes, has a jar of Nutella under her bed for safety, and can tell you the synopsis of every Kath & Kim episode ever. She currently resides in Sydney with her Oscar worthy cat, Meryl Streep.

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