Ever since autumn signaled the beginning of a new school year, fall has felt like the chance to start fresh. Like clockwork, I usually feel the tug to clean out my closet and get rid of things that don’t fit as soon as the first leaves start falling. The choice to part with particular pieces can be easy, but sometimes it’s bittersweet—something that could be amazing but just isn’t right.
Are you with me? I’ve got good news, girlfriends: The tailor can work magic on pieces that I never would’ve thought possible. I typically swing by the seamstress when I need jeans hemmed or a dress taken in, but there’s a whole lot more a professional can do with pieces that might otherwise wind up in the giveaway bin. To investigate, I connected with designer Elizabeth Rosbottom, who does custom work and totally shocked me with three basics that can benefit from some TLC.
I was so surprised to hear that my cable-knits could be altered. “You can slim down the sleeves and side seams for a better fit,” Rosbottom suggested. “If the sweater itself is too short, you can do fun things like add chiffon to the hem.” If long sleeves plague you, a tailor can remove the cuffs, cut to shorten the length, and reattach the cuffs.
“A boxy or baggy one can definitely be tailored to create something chicer,” she said, suggesting that you ask your tailor to take in the side seams and create darts on the bust and back to create a more fitted look. “To slim sleeves, pin along the inner seam of the sleeve to achieve the desired fit.”
I know, I know—duh. But, per Rosbottom, there’s so much more than making long jeans shorter. “Have your favorite pair of jeans tailored to your waist, hips, legs, and ankles. Every single part can be tailored or reconstructed to achieve a perfect fit.” Did your mind just get blown or what?