Tailoring 101

As we continue our "Master Your Style" series, I want to talk about the one thing that can truly make or break your wardrobe - tailoring. I've discussed the importance of tailoring countless times, but today I want to delve deeper into this often overlooked but incredibly important piece of your style pie. So, we're going to review why tailoring is so important, how it can transform even the most inexpensive piece into something that looks like a million bucks, and how you can go about getting your own clothing tailored. 


  • Clothing off the rack is designed to fit the masses. Brands use a fit model for each size and then create universal patterns that they use for every size 8 item they create. This means that you'll very rarely find something that fits you perfectly off the rack

  • It doesn't matter how much or how little something costs, if it doesn't fit you well, it won't look as good as it possibly can

  • Tailoring your clothes is a wonderful way to highlight your favorite features and diminish the things you're not so crazy about. So with a few small tweaks you can look taller, thinner, curvier etc. Plus, the better something fits, the better it looks

  • If you take the time to find a piece for your wardrobe that you want to have for years to come, you should also take the time to make it perfect

  • Tailoring something to your body makes it look bespoke which makes it look way more expensive than it may have been otherwise - i.e. you can spend $20 at the thrift store and $30 tailoring and walk away with a piece for $50 that looks a million times better than a $400 item straight off the rack.

  • It's a wonderful way to preserve the life of a piece because you can adjust it (within reason) as your body changes

  • Our society has taught us not to invest in ourselves and our appearance unless we're perfectly how we want to be and I encourage you to resist that temptation. Instead of waiting to have things tailored because you may lose weight or gain weight, have some of your favorite pieces tailored to you right now and I think your confidence will skyrocket and you can start living right now



Now I want to share a quick rundown of some of the things you should keep in mind when tailoring your clothes. I go into more detail in my corresponding video below and like always I would love to know if you have anything to add.

  • First things first, it’s important to be realistic. Certain things can't be tailored so it's important to familiarize yourself with what can and can't be done. That way you save yourself time and money and don't buy something thinking it can be tailored when it can't. Some examples of things that can't easily be fixed or adjusted by a tailor are:

    • Generally speaking, you can take sleeves and hems up and down an inch or two - just make sure that if you want to make something longer you have enough extra fabric to do so. Also, for blazers and jackets etc sometimes you can take the sleeve up or down at the shoulder to avoid removing the bottom button (taking it from 4 to 3 buttons), but you should confirm that with your tailor before hand. That method is more intensive so it usually takes longer and costs a little more

    • For jeans, your tailor should be able to shorten them and reattach the original hem. This is the sign of a good tailor and makes your jeans look like they were truly made for you

    • You can also typically take things in or out by no more than a few inches or one size (anymore can alter the silhouette and shape too much)

    • For the best results you should start with things that almost fit you but can be perfected

  • Next when it comes time to find a tailor you want to do your research! Check yelp, ask a friend, ask a coworker that always looks great. Take your time finding a tailor and then call them to get a feel for their pricing. Some tailors will even offer free consultations so you can get a feel for them, their style and their pricing before you commit

  • Ask questions! When you do find a tailor, ask as many questions as possible. A great tailor will be happy to answer your questions and should do so freely. The more they can help you up front, the more knowledgable you'll become and the better you'll be at spotting things that can and can't be tailored. You'll also start to familiarize yourself with the tweaks you like to make for clothes to feel and look better on you

  • When you do settle on a tailor, test them out with something inexpensive and fairly simple like a pant hem or taking a blazer in

  • Keep in mind that generally speaking, the common places for tailoring are the shoulders, the waist (for both pants and jackets), the length (for both sleeves and pants) and taper on pants

  • When you go to your appointment make sure you bring along the shoes you plan to wear with any bottoms you’re having tailored so that you can ensure they are hemmed perfectly.

  • When you get to your appointment, the tailor will have you try the items on (with the shoes you plan to wear them with) and they’ll will pin your clothes where you want things tailored so that you can see how the finished product looks before they make a single cut

  • Once everything looks good they’ll take the items and work their magic. This process typically takes between 1 and 2 weeks to complete depending on what you’re having done and how busy your tailor is