My Secret to Having Clothes That Fit Perfectly

My Secret to Having Clothes That Fit Perfectly

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Nancy Mitchell
Sep 16, 2014
(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

Trying on clothes can be a little nightmarish. Unless you are a size 4 fit model, there are probably some ways in which ready-made clothes don't fit quite right: pants are too short, they're too long, the hips fit fine but the waist is too big, shirts have that dreaded gap between the buttons. What are all of us non-model types, with our wonderfully non-standard bodies, to do? You could drive yourself insane looking for the perfect pants, or resign yourself to clothes that don't fit, or just decide you can't wear certain kinds of clothes. But there is another way.

Here's my sneaky secret to making sure my clothes fit properly: tailoring. It's often much cheaper than you would think, and it will open up a whole new world of clothing possibilities.

A few years ago I was in the fitting room at J.Crew and happened to lament to the salesgirl that pencil skirts never fit me. I loved the style, but because I have a small waist and not-so-small hips, all the skirts I tried on were either too tight across the hips or way too big in the waist. The salesgirl listened patiently to my plight, and then suggested — why don't you just buy a skirt in a bigger size and get it tailored? So that is what I did, and post tailoring, the skirt fit perfectly, and I wore it all the time, and then, since pencil skirts had been unlocked for me, I bought like five more and they became a wardrobe staple.

As I mentioned above, tailoring doesn't have to be expensive — obviously, you want to pay your tailor well for their time to make sure you're getting good work, but most shops charge as little as $15 - 20 for basic things like hemming. And many stores (like J.Crew and Banana Republic) offer free tailoring when you buy clothes there. Even for jobs that are a little more expensive, I feel that it's worth the money to have clothes that will fit well and that I can wear for a long time.

If you don't have a tailor, recommendations from friends or from Yelp are a good place to start. Once you have a good relationship with your tailor, you may find yourself going to them all the time. I'm not much of a seamstress, so I rely on my tailor to fix little holes and tears in well-loved clothes. It's green, I save money, and I have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm supporting the local economy by patronizing a small business — everybody wins.

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