Putting Theory to Rest…Part II

I explored the brand Theory for work pants some time ago, and walked away with nothing. I was frustrated because all I kept hearing from people were, “Theory runs really small, it would totally fit you!”, but I found the pants to be way too big. You can read my original Theory post here. Since then, I was having a really hard time finding pants that were not jeans. I wanted something in a nice gray fabric, preferably wool or a wool blend. Banana Republic was such a bad fit that my tailor told me they were not worth the trouble when I had her take a look at them. United Colors of Benetton ran small, but the fit was so awful, I questioned if I had mistakenly grabbed a pair of men’s trousers instead. Then I had wonderful luck and found two pairs of pants in the same week! Both needed alterations, of course, but at least they were alterable! The first were my Ann Taylor pants, which you can see here. The second is my new pair of Theory Max C pants!



These are the Theory Max C pants in Tailor (the fabric name) and Charcoal (the color). These are in size 00. Here they are before alterations. They are still big, but the fit is good, so alterations are easy.

 
Before alterations: the waist needs to be taken in, and the pants need some serious hemming.



Before alterations: the leg/thigh needs slimming.

I really liked these pants because the color was perfect, and the fabric was great. These pants are 95% wool/5% lycra, so they are a decent fabric content, and have a nice drape. I hate stiff cheap fabrics, so I was sold on these right away. I took them to my tailor to see what she could do, and here they are after alterations:

After alterations

I had the waist taken in, the leg/thigh slimmed, and the length hemmed. Because they needed three things done, the alterations on these pants got a little pricey (about $50 total), but having a pair of nice fitting pants is totally worth it.

23 Comments

  • Reply September 3, 2009

    co-conspirator

    Great blog! I'm about 105, 5'3", and average sized on top (like a 4 in Theory blazers), but Theory 00 pants are also too big for me! If I get a model that does fit, there is usually gaping in the back. I blame vanity sizing! But where do you go for alterations where taking in the waist + leg tailoring + hemming = only $50?? I live in NYC, and the waist alone would be $30-$35 (and not a fancy place).

  • Reply September 3, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    Hi co-conspirator!

    Unfortunately tailoring prices will vary by where you live. Your tailor has to pay rent on their shop, so if rent prices are high in your city or neighborhood, you'll end up paying more than someone in a city with cheaper rent. And from what I hear, NYC is not cheap! Maybe that accounts for the price difference. Also, my tailor sometimes cuts me a break on stuff that needs a lot of alterations, so maybe she gave me discount this time around. =)

  • Reply September 3, 2009

    Red

    The pants look great!

    Here in Boston, I think I would also pay a bit more total for the alterations you described if I took them to my favorite tailor (who is expensive but worth every penny). However, it is completely worth it, especially if the clothing item is already well made and a classic that will remain in your closet indefinitely.

  • Reply September 3, 2009

    Jackie

    I hate when I try on a 00 and it's too big >_< it makes me feel smaller than I am! Seriously, not worth it, I'm never shopping there. Thank you for warning us about the places that don't fit us tiny petites, saves us some time.

  • Reply September 5, 2009

    Danielle

    First, thanks for your blog! How do you determine if something is worth altering? If I had tried on these pants with your "before alterations" picture, I would have put them back on the rack and given up. However, I see that they were worth your effort!

    What parts of the fit do you look for to determine whether alterations will be worth it?

  • Reply September 6, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    Hi Danielle,

    I look at the rise and the fit in the front to determine if something can be altered. If the fit in the front is baggy or misshapen in some way, it will still look weird after alterations, so don't bother. The rise is difficult and expensive to fix, so if the pants come up to high on you, forget it. I also look at fabric. I refuse to pay to take in a pair of polyester/spandex pants, but a pair of wool pants I'll consider. I have a few pictures of "bad" pant fits that I'll put together in a post. Hopefully the visual will help!

  • Reply September 6, 2009

    JennC

    I have to ask, what do you do for a living that you can afford such nice clothes? I'd love to be able to afford such nice stuff!

    Btw, the pants look great on you!

  • Reply September 10, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    Hi JennC! I work in a biotechnology lab, which is not a very well paying industry unfortunately. However, I tend to live very frugally, and throw my disposable income at my wardrobe. People tend to spend more on what they feel is most important. For some, that's a nice car, or the newest technology, or eating out at nice restaurants. For me, it's clothes! I also search out discount codes, and love love love getting gift cards for birthdays and holidays. =)

  • Reply September 11, 2009

    Academic

    Thanks for offering to post photos of non alterable bad fit pants!

    I have the same problem and would probably have abandoned the Theory pants if they fit the way they fit you off the rack.

    On leg/thigh slimming on pants: do you have a standard diameter you prefer? Any tips on that?

    Btw, I was in a BR recently and a their store manager was curious about our bad fit issues — so I put on a bunch of different clothes for him to see how bad the fit was. He admitted that they were having fit issues across the board. Also pointed him to your blog. I hope they are paying attention.

  • Reply September 12, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    Hi Academic!

    Thanks for pointing BR to my blog! It would be cool for them to see how hungry we are for quality, well fitting, stylish clothes! If they make it…we will buy!

    I was searching for dress pants FOREVER, and never found any off the rack that were fitting, so finally I came across a few "close but not quite right" pants, and just sucked it up and paid for the tailoring. If you really need them, like I did, just find a pair in a color and fabric you like, that comes close to fitting, and ask a good tailor what he/she can do!

    As for pant diameter, I like a slim fitting dress pant because I feel it helps me avoid looking stumpy. Being so short, it's easy to look stumpy when your clothes have too much width. I like fitted silhouettes b/c I feel it helps me look proportioned, not to mention taller. You don't want them to be tight like jeans, but you still want to be able to see the curve of your rear and hips. Slimmer pant fit is also a bit of a younger and more modern looking style. Try on a pair of pants and look in the mirror facing sideways so you see the width of the pant leg. Then pinch the extra fabric around your thigh so it visually slims the pant leg and see if you like it. It all comes down to personal preference.

  • Reply September 12, 2009

    PerfectJeanie

    After reading this I had to run to my closet to see what cut my theory pants are. Max C NEVER worked for me so I'm surprised and pleased to see how good they look on you after alterations… with Max C, the waist and thigh was always swimmingly huge and I never wanted to risk paying so much for pants that my tailor could potentially mess up on. One day, a sales associate recommended "Mark B" … waist was MUCH smaller and thigh much slimmer. The fit was so great I couldn't resist buying two pairs in tailor on the spot. I couldn't believe that the only alterations needed was a simple hem! So next time, be on the lookout for Mark B, I don't see it often!

  • Reply September 12, 2009

    Stacey

    Theory are my go-to for work pants, although I'm trying to wear more dresses because pants are such a problem for me. I totally share your pain in finding well-fitting work pants. I swear I have tried them all, and my Max-C's are the closest I have come to a good, lean fit. Besides, they will last for years. They are very well made.

    There was a brand I used to buy years ago that I could only find at certain boutiques (Noni in Larchmont and Beige on Beverly), but I can't remember the name. They fit very well.

    Benetton run small, but the fit is way off (you're right about the seat being off, the rise is much too long) and the construction is sketchy.

    I'm totally stealing your alterations woman. I've been going to Elias in Santa Monica for years, but he's pricey and the wait is ridiculous.

    Very happy to have found your blog. I've had shopping woes for so long so it's nice to read about solutions.

    BTW, Anthropologie jackets run pretty small as does their Esmie and Edelte line(?). Everything but jersey dresses from BR fits very odd and something is always just a little "off" in their designs. Love JCrew, but can't wear their bottoms at all. The past season everything became huge so no more sweaters for me, but hopefully things will get back to normal. For the most part, mass chain stores don't work for me, but if you're willing to spend more $$, try some of the higher end lines. Sometimes it's worth buying a few really well-constructed items that will last and require less alterations.

    Loved your post on boots. If I could find a pair that didn't make me look like I was standing in buckets, I'd be very happy. Shaft height is a big problem for me as well as calf width.

    I could go on and on….

    :-)

  • Reply September 12, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    PerfectJeanie – I really need to find a pair of Theory "Mark B" pants now! Thanks for the tip! That one is going on my list of things to find/try. =)

    Stacey – If you can think of the pant brand you used to buy, let me know. Maybe someone could hunt it down!

    I have a co-worker who goes to Elias in Santa Monica, and she's had to take a few things back to him to fix after the alterations weren't quite right. I don't like how he does the waist alterations (one big middle seam as opposed to two smaller side seams). Another good one to check out is Murat's. There are 3 of them, one on Montana in Santa Monica that I've been to in the past, one on Pico just east of Overland Ave., and one in Beverly Hills that another petite friend of mine swears by. I love Marina at First Class Tailors on Wilshire and Barrington! I tell everyone I know to go to her. I hope she's ready for the unslaught of petite women coming her way! Choosing a tailor is like dating…you give them a chance, you've gotta be picky, and when you find the right one, you just know!

  • Reply September 27, 2009

    Anonymous

    This is for RED that left the earlier comment. I don't know ifyou check back I just saw this post and was wondering what tailor you go to in Boston? If you see this please let me know. It is so hard to find anyone good. Thanks. -Ali

  • Reply October 17, 2009

    FashionableFinance

    Anonymous – I'm in Boston as well and go to Hemmingway Tailors in Watertown/Belmont. It's a tiny bit out of the city, but I have tried a LOT of tailors in the Boston area. These ladies are fantastic. I trust them with all my beloved Theory clothes : )

  • Reply October 25, 2009

    April

    Hi,

    I love the fit of the pants! Especially the slimmer thigh & leg shape. Does your tailor slim them uniformly down the whole length of the pant or does it vary by section (more in the calves/less in the thigh etc)? Just wondering what to ask the tailor!

    BTW, I'm also in NYC and looking for a good tailor. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

    Thanks!

  • Reply October 25, 2009

    Alterations Needed

    Hi April!

    My tailor slimmed the thigh so it tapered to my knee, then slightly flared a little at the bottom, like a bootcut. But you can have your tailor do whatever you want. Just let them know what you want, bootcut, wide leg, skinny, straight leg. They should be able to pin it any way you want. Just make sure to take a good look at the pinned garment on you, and approve of the way it looks before you hand it over for tailoring. It's easier to re-pin a garment than it is to fix a mistake after alterations.

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    April

    Hi,

    I love the fit of the pants! Especially the slimmer thigh & leg shape. Does your tailor slim them uniformly down the whole length of the pant or does it vary by section (more in the calves/less in the thigh etc)? Just wondering what to ask the tailor!

    BTW, I'm also in NYC and looking for a good tailor. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!

    Thanks!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Stacey

    Theory are my go-to for work pants, although I'm trying to wear more dresses because pants are such a problem for me. I totally share your pain in finding well-fitting work pants. I swear I have tried them all, and my Max-C's are the closest I have come to a good, lean fit. Besides, they will last for years. They are very well made.

    There was a brand I used to buy years ago that I could only find at certain boutiques (Noni in Larchmont and Beige on Beverly), but I can't remember the name. They fit very well.

    Benetton run small, but the fit is way off (you're right about the seat being off, the rise is much too long) and the construction is sketchy.

    I'm totally stealing your alterations woman. I've been going to Elias in Santa Monica for years, but he's pricey and the wait is ridiculous.

    Very happy to have found your blog. I've had shopping woes for so long so it's nice to read about solutions.

    BTW, Anthropologie jackets run pretty small as does their Esmie and Edelte line(?). Everything but jersey dresses from BR fits very odd and something is always just a little "off" in their designs. Love JCrew, but can't wear their bottoms at all. The past season everything became huge so no more sweaters for me, but hopefully things will get back to normal. For the most part, mass chain stores don't work for me, but if you're willing to spend more $$, try some of the higher end lines. Sometimes it's worth buying a few really well-constructed items that will last and require less alterations.

    Loved your post on boots. If I could find a pair that didn't make me look like I was standing in buckets, I'd be very happy. Shaft height is a big problem for me as well as calf width.

    I could go on and on….

    :-)

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    FashionableFinance

    Anonymous – I'm in Boston as well and go to Hemmingway Tailors in Watertown/Belmont. It's a tiny bit out of the city, but I have tried a LOT of tailors in the Boston area. These ladies are fantastic. I trust them with all my beloved Theory clothes : )

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Alterations Needed

    Hi JennC! I work in a biotechnology lab, which is not a very well paying industry unfortunately. However, I tend to live very frugally, and throw my disposable income at my wardrobe. People tend to spend more on what they feel is most important. For some, that's a nice car, or the newest technology, or eating out at nice restaurants. For me, it's clothes! I also search out discount codes, and love love love getting gift cards for birthdays and holidays. =)

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    JennC

    I have to ask, what do you do for a living that you can afford such nice clothes? I'd love to be able to afford such nice stuff!

    Btw, the pants look great on you!

  • Reply May 25, 2011

    Danielle

    First, thanks for your blog! How do you determine if something is worth altering? If I had tried on these pants with your "before alterations" picture, I would have put them back on the rack and given up. However, I see that they were worth your effort!

    What parts of the fit do you look for to determine whether alterations will be worth it?

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