5 Style Lessons I Learned from My Tailor

I spent most of my adult life without a tailor, but now that I’ve found one I visit regularly, I’m amazed at how much she’s taught me about shopping and style in just a short time. Here are 5 style lessons I’ve learned from my tailor!

  • 1. Pointers on body shape 1 of 5

    I thought I had a pretty good handle on my body shape and type. But working with my tailor, she's helped me understand common fit problems I face when I'm shopping. "Why do dresses always gap right here?" I asked, pointing just above my bum. "You have a very long waist," she said. I always thought I was just tall relative to my dress-size, but her insight really helped. Full-skirted dresses may fit me right off the rack, but anything nipped at the waist is going to take an extra bit of help from my tailor to remove that ever-present loose fabric at the small of my back.


    Your turn: Ask tons of questions when you visit a tailor. Discuss common problems with off-the-rack clothes to get their best tips and pointers. You'll have a better handle on what to buy when shopping, and a better understanding of how they can help you make the things you buy look even better.


    Image courtesy of dan /

  • 2. Help thinking outside the box 2 of 5

    When I found this $200 silk dress on sale for $34, it was instant love. I wasn't so sure about the handkerchief-shaped bottom, though. I had no idea if it was something that could be altered, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask. My tailor was all for it when I showed the dress to her before I could say anything, she was marking the bottom, excited to make it all one length. I love how it turned out.


    Your turn: Get creative with personalizing your clothes. It never hurts to take an item to your tailor and at least ask some questions and get their feedback. If the project seems too difficult or too expensive, you can always return the item to the store or sell it second-hand.

  • 3. Alterations reality check 3 of 5

    Me at the tailor a few months ago, "Can you make this dress about a foot longer? Because it's way too short to wear out in public like this." My tailor, "Um, no." I was disappointed, but I also had a feeling that was coming. Not everything is fixable. A torn sweater, a dress that is too short or way too small tailors might be professionals, but unfortunately they aren't magicians.


    Your turn: Have an open mind when it comes to clothes, but also know your limits. Use your time at the tailor to learn what types of things they can fix and what items should be passed over at the mall or put straight in the donate pile. 

  • 4. Rescue when I screw up 4 of 5

    I ordered this dress online and was so excited for it to arrive. I raced to my room, put it on, and the tulle underneath looked ridiculous. It was so cute on the model online, but I looked like I was hiding crumpled up paper towels around my stomach. Without hesitating, I pulled out my scissors and cut the tulle right out of the dress. It looked better … sort of. My knee-jerk reaction and lack of tailoring knowledge had left me with a dress that was way too big with the tulle removed. Thankfully, my tailor was able to rescue my little snafu with no problem by taking it in at the seams.


    Your turn: Avoid making rash decisions and hasty alterations if at all possible. However, if you do find yourself in a bit of a jam, whether you got carried away with a seam ripper or you tore a hem while dancing, you can rest easy knowing a professional tailor can often rescue you. Don't panic and let the pros handle it.

  • 5. Help looking amazing 5 of 5

    One of the dirty little secrets of the fashion world is that absolutely everything you see is altered. Those clothes you are buying on a website? They have been altered to fit that model's body. Celebrity on the red carpet? They were literally sewn into that dress. In other words, tailoring is an important part of looking amazing. It can make a cheap dress look way more expensive, it can make an okay dress look crazy flattering, and it can rescue an item you may have otherwise needed to toss.


    Your turn: Don't have a tailor?  What are you waiting for?! Ask around for recommendations in your city and start developing a relationship with a pro. Your closet and your wallet will thank you!


    Image courtesy of Sicha Pongjivanich /

Article Posted 4 years Ago

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