Fashion Lesson #19 :Tim Gunn Touts Tailors


In honor of tonight’s Project Runway, I thought I would offer a Fashion Lesson from Tim Gunn concerning the need for a good tailor. 

Here are the tips Tim wishes us to aspire to.


Gunn, “Project Runway” mentor and currently fashion’s favorite father figure, is an evangelist for the wonders a tailor can work when it comes to making clothing more flattering.

Tailors and seamstresses have long been relied upon to fix formalwear. But even though they’re an extra step and an extra expense, don’t discount them for your everyday wardrobe, too.

Here are 10 things you need to know before you walk into a tailor shop.

1. If you plan to have a garment tailored, buy the size that is too large, because taking in a garment is easier than letting it out. Also, look for the size that fits your largest body part.

2. When choosing a tailor, ask for referrals. A well-established tailor will have customers who can provide references.

3. When having jeans hemmed, ask the tailor to “keep original.” This means they’ll shorten the legs but keep the original hem. Otherwise, the tailor might simply turn the jeans under and hem them like a pair of slacks, which looks dated.

4. Tell the tailor about any variations in your body, such as a curve in the spine or different leg lengths.

5. Communicate clearly and precisely. Finding a tailor who will learn your likes and dislikes, and appreciate your personal style, is paramount.

6. A good tailor should understand fit and be able to suggest design changes that will make clothes look better.

7. Buy the most expensive clothing you can and choose classic styles, especially with garments such as suits. Usually, more expensive clothing is easier to tailor because it has more fabric in the seam and the fabric is of higher quality. This often means the garment can be tailored or restyled more than once.

8. Consider using a tailor for thrift-store purchases. A classic, well-made garment can be updated for a better fit and more modern style. You might spend $200 altering a Chanel suit from the ’80s, but in the end, you still will have gotten a bargain.

9. Be realistic about what to take to the tailor. Can a tailor fix a pair of pants that is four sizes too big? Yes. Is it practical and cost-efficient? Probably not. Also: Fixing shoulders is one of the most expensive and time-consuming alterations.

10. Think about proportions. Yes, a tailor can shorten sleeves. But if the shirt hangs down to the knees, the shirt will require major reworking, even if fits around the collar.

To read more from the Fashion Sensei on fit go to Fashion Lesson #8: Fit.

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1 Comment

Filed under blogging, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, fit, Metro Detroit, retail, Style

One response to “Fashion Lesson #19 :Tim Gunn Touts Tailors

  1. stacy

    Yes. A tailor is a petite person’s best friend! I need to take nearly everything in for reshaping. Retailers tend to make things for people with unrealistically long legs but short crotches, those with gorilla arms and tiny boobs..or with really thin upper arms but huge boobs–how does that work? I am not even large busted but its either gaping at the armpit and back or puckering at the sleeves..

    I then also have to always buy most things that little bit more expensive…lingerie that really showcases a smaller bust, trousers that flatter a straighter figure, tops and jackets that hit me on my waist and at my hips and the fictional long-waisted Jane that they usually make them for!!

    Don’t even speak to me about trousers. Even petite trousers are that little bit difficult. They are made for very unusual petites with big hips, short waists and short legs. I just have the shorter legs..why cant they just deal with that?? Speaking of which have you ever noticed in those shops that offer petite versions of some of their collection that its always the worst, most fashion-challenged items that they choose to offer to use smaller framed??!!
    Sorry, I am in a weird mood. Sleep deprived from preparing for an interview, hyper from coming out of said interview feeling I did ok and then hearing from a graduate programme (that I interviewed for back in Feb and failed) saying they are still looking for people to fill some places they have for the programme!!! Yay! I will be able to leave this job, I will have a higher salary which means I can move out and still afford my wonderful tailor!!!

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