Tailoring to the Perfect Fit for You

Xiao Dai/Staff Photographer

Finding the Perfect Fit
Colleen Humfreville

One  particularly memorable moment back in high school, I was walking behind this guy whose pants were sagging so low that he had to walk like a penguin in order for them not to fall down completely.  At the time, I thought that it was ludicrous that he was willing to go to those lengths just to make a statement about his own identity and style.

Case in point: fashion is not created equal. What it comes down to is this: Why settle with the result of your clothing endeavors, particularly if they’re lacking your own personal touches or still need to be altered to fit your body best? There’s no need to walk around in pants twice your size or shirts as big as a tent. You can create your own wardrobe for half the price!

The difference between an average piece of clothing and a red carpet, show stopping outfit is only a few snips away, a couple of inches removed here and there, or perhaps a new hemline. These small changes are cost-effective ways to bring to some new life to your wardrobe by taking those clothes that seem a bit stale and converting them into the next “it” item. Anything can be turned into a memorable piece, even a basic tank or T-shirt.

The first question to ask yourself should be, what is it that you’re looking for? It can sometimes be difficult to visualize your thoughts, but you don’t need a fashion degree to bring out your inner stylist. Are you looking to update the look of a pair of pants that you own, or are you aiming to make your jacket seem more professional by getting it fit to exactly your size?

Ladies and gentlemen, do not be afraid; these small changes are even easier than they sound.

From dress pants to jeans, figure-flattering pants are a key ingredient of any wardrobe. If your pants are too baggy, consider narrowing the inseam – the seam that runs from the crotch to the bottom of the leg. Bringing these seams in will narrow the pant leg, creating a leaner and more form-fitting pair of pants. If the pants are simply too long, a great option is to cut off some length by looking at hem and cuff options. By altering these small details, you can play the designer by making your pants unique to you and your body.

So, now you have the bottom of an outfit, but what about the top?

First off, there is nothing that can make or break an outfit quicker than a blazer or jacket. Outerwear is one of the first things that other people will notice about your outfit. One way of thinking about it is that outerwear essentially serves as a frame for the rest of your clothing and the portrait that it creates. Cheesy, I know.

A loose-fitting blazer with baggy arms or sleeves that reach down to the ground can look unprofessional and even disheveled. One small change that will instantly change the look of the entire blazer/jacket is by hemming the sleeves – the ideal length should have the sleeves hitting just below the wrist bone. If the sleeves are too baggy and bunched up, you can have the sleeves taken in so that the jacket is fitted to the size of your own arms. One important note: make sure that you don’t get it taken in too much! You want to make sure that you can still bend your elbows comfortably.

Now, you have the basics down of how to change clothing that may be too big while also updating your wardrobe with some new looks at the same time. The question is, where can you go to get your clothes tailored without paying a fortune?

Many tailors will often offer free estimates, so if you are worried about the cost, you can go ahead and have them look at what you need fixed before you commit to anything. Also, look up nearby places on Yelp or another helpful site like Citysearch to see the best deals. Fixing a hemline usually runs around $10-15 as long as you stay away from overpriced stores.

Another option adheres to the DIY principle. Is anyone in your family great with a sewing machine? Do you have a family friend who has ever made clothes and knows how to take in clothes and fix hemlines? Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or family members if they know anyone. Who knows, you may find a fantastic deal with someone that you already know and trust.

When it comes to how good you look in your clothing, whether it be a pair of distressed jeans, that new corduroy jacket you just bought or a great new maxi dress, a good fit makes all the difference. Clothes that are too big can come across as unprofessional and unkempt or just plain sloppy. Look for the affordable options that you have access to, and you’ll find a way to update your wardrobe while still sticking to your budget.