Why Clothing Fits Celebrities and Not You (Lessons Learned From Clinton Kelly)

I love this shot of a model/actress (Anne Hathaway?) getting clamped into a dress for what I’m guessing is a photoshoot (source)

I’ve linked to this blog post a few times now, but I haven’t given it a proper look on Alterations Needed until now. I really, really like the point it makes, and it’s made a big enough impression on me that it pops into my mind every now and then. I wish Clinton Kelly (and Stacy London, and anyone else in a similar line of work for that matter) would be more vocal about this kind of stuff. Nobody teaches us these things, and the detriment of not knowing sends so many of us (women mostly) into shame spirals in fitting rooms and anger at an arbitrary number on a pair of jeans.

Here’s my favorite points from the post about clothing, fit, and why celebrities and people on TV look better in clothes than you do. Since there are no direct quotes from Clinton Kelly himself, I’ll quote the blog post. Please note that Clinton Kelly has not been quoted exactly:

“…everything you will ever see on a celebrity’s body, including their outfits when they’re out and about and they just get caught by a paparazzo, has been tailored, and the same goes for everything on What Not To Wear. Jeans, blazers, dresses – everything right down to plain t-shirts and camisoles…Nothing on the show or in People magazine is off the rack and unaltered.  He said that what they do is ignore the actual size numbers on the tags, find something that fits an individual’s widest place, and then have it completely altered to fit.  That’s how celebrities have jeans that magically fit them all over, and the rest of us chumps can’t ever find a pair that doesn’t gape here or ride up or slouch down or have about four yards of extra fabric here and there.”

Mind, blown.

I knew celebrities get their clothing altered (not to mention uber curious about who their fabulous tailors are), but I always figured it stopped at awards gowns and pieces picked out by stylists for appearances. But to alter everything, even down to t-shirts and camisoles? Well, no wonder they always look great.

So, how in the world did these people figure this out? Stylists? PR? And why isn’t this common knowledge for the rest of us? Why is the rest of the world sobbing in fitting rooms over our body hangups, while celebrities are skipping happily down the street to their tailor? Maybe it’s an affluence thing?

“He pointed out that historically, up until the last few generations, the vast majority of people either made their own clothing or had their clothing made by tailors and seamstresses. You had your clothing made to accommodate the measurements of your individual body, and then you moved the fuck on.”

This is a subject that really interests me. The idea of ready-to-wear is a new concept. Going to a store, picking out a piece of clothing based on a number, taking it home and then wearing it off the rack, is something people never did just a few generations ago. I know for a fact that my grandmothers bought clothing in department stores, but they took that clothing to a tailor, seamstress or made simple alterations at home to get it to fit. My mother’s generation (a baby boomer), took a freer, bohemian stance on fashion. Clothes were roomy and floaty, so there was no need to alter anything like their “stuffy” parent’s generation did. Now, as the daughter of a baby boomer, the idea of tailoring exists two generations away from me and my peer group, making it a foreign and sometimes shocking concept.

I really wish Clinton and Stacy would mention these points more on What Not To Wear. I know they talk about altering clothing to work for you, but I never realized the final wardrobe was fully altered for the makeover subject. It’s safe to say I’m thoroughly jealous of women who can get away with off-the-rack fit and still look put together. But for most of us, that’s not the way the cookie crumbles, and I feel we’d be a lot less frustrated with ourselves and our wardrobes if we knew that tailoring is normal, and often a necessity to achieve the look we want.

Every time I read this, I get the urge to shop less, invest in pieces I really love, and cough up the extra cash to get them tailored specifically for me. But then I get tailor sticker shock because of all the alterations a garment typically needs to fit little ol’ me, and I back off, reverting back to my faking fit ways. Maybe this is the year I stick to my guns? =P

Are you surprised to hear everything is tailored on What Not To Wear and celebrities? Do you think this will effect the way you shop and/or tailor your wardrobe?

72 Comments

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Jacqueline C. Rineer

    Great post, Kelly! 

    I’m really not surprised to hear that they tailor everything; it make sense, though I never thought about it being ALL their clothes, even the casual ones. Hey, if you have the money! If I did, I would too! I am surprised to learn that buying off the rack is a new thing…I guess that makes sense too, but we don’t think of that because all our lives have been “off the rack/shelf” everything. 

    I agree that they need to be more vocal about these things. So many woman have trouble with clothes regardless of their size. I remember having meltdowns in fitting rooms because the smallest size was waaay too big and I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it. 

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thanks Jackie! Yes, it kinda drives me crazy how clueless so many people are about alterations, probably because I’ve been forced to go to a tailor so often, but no one teaches us these things! I remember once I was in a fitting room, about to bust out and school another shopper about hemming when she was complaining loudly that the pair of jeans she was trying on fit perfectly everywhere but were “just soooo long!!!”. I was flabbergasted that she didn’t know she could get them hemmed. =P

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Tiwarigirls

    Really enjoyed reading this post! It’s such a deceptively simple truth that I’m surprised I didn’t guess it. This should be common knowledge so people don’t feel so bad about the clothes they try to fit in!

    http://www.urbanmantra.blogspot.com

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thank you Tiwarigirls! Yes! So many people would feel so much better about themselves if they knew the clothing they try on isn’t supposed to fit them off the rack. I hope more people start talking about this kind of thing.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    pimpIT

    Hi Kelly,
    this is my first comment on your blog- found your link on twitter- and I love this post so much! Being petite and skinny I always have problems with the fitting and sizes of clothes. Kid’s section isn’t a solution ; )
    That’s why I feel really blessed to be a seamstress and pattern maker myself. You won’t believe how many- now well fitting clothes- I’ve altered into a perfect piece. If I had a tailor he’d be rich now. But he wouldn’t have fun with me being his customer because I am a perfectionist who is hard to please- 100% is not good enough ; )
    I forged a special ‘relationship’ to each item I’ve been working on and wear it with a different attitude after. That’s really fun!
    When I walk through the streets I can see so many people who don’t care about their look neither got any sense of taste. They don’t need a tailor for a better air. 
    But I am not surprised about celebrities altering EVERYTHING. For me this is ridiculous and over exaggerated. Like stars act sometimes. 
    Like your blog a lot! Nice to meet you…
    Love from Hamburg, Germany
    Corinna

    • Reply February 21, 2012

      SugarNikita

      Corinna, where can you learn pattern making, other than going to design school? I sew, but am considering designing some pieces for myself, and am not sure where to start! Any advice would be appreciated. :)

      • Reply February 21, 2012

        pimpIT

        Hi,
        thanks for demand. You are right, I went to design school and I finished the study as pattern maker after one year (preexisting 3 year apprenticeship as a seamstress) . To be really good in this job needs a lot of experience after studying. I always call pattern maker ‘the architects of fashion’. They are a very important connectors between the designer and dressmaker but always act in background and never get famous ; ) even though they do fantastic work.
        Now to your question: if you just need it for private use some design schools- in Germany- are offering evening courses or maybe try to find somebody in your city who is doing private courses at home. You absolutely need some assistance, I think it is too complicated to just learn by doing. Hope this helped a little…
        Good luck!

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thank you for your comment pimpIT! When I was younger, I found sewing BORING, and would have never wanted to learn it…now I wish I had been as smart as you, because like you said, my tailor is getting RICH off me…LOL.

      • Reply February 22, 2012

        pimpIT

        Thanks so much for replying!
        So, what about your tailor? Is he driving a Rolls Royce and can he get lost in his house right now? LOL.
        Oh, yes I am sewing since I’ve been a little girl and after graduating german “Abitur” I’d love to make an apprenticeship as a seamstress, but my parents thought it is an ‘unprofitable art’ and being a good girl I defered to them. So it took some years until I fulfilled my own dream. 
        Have a wonderful day so far!
        Corinna

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Lisa Ng

    I saw a behind the scenes episode of What Not to Wear once and they showed the clothes being altered after the guests had bought them. It was very interesting! So I’m not surprised by that. But who has $$ to alter ts and camis, right? Not us. I am sorry to say that I wear things off the rack all the time b/c I don’t take the time to get them altered. I wish I cared more and could see it like you — investing in high quality pieces and spending the $$ to alter. Because in the long run, I’d feel better in my clothes and isn’t that the best feeling?? Unfortunately, I consider “first cost” too much. Tks for sharing!

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       I completely know what you’re talking about. We’re so used to buying lots of clothing, for cheap, that making the thought switch to buying hardly anything, but making it something more expensive and of good quality and then coughing up the money to further alter it for a perfect fit sounds crazy! That’s the concept behind the “French wardrobe” that I hear so much about. Supposedly, French women will only buy a few wardrobe items each season, but it’s high quality and tailored to fit. If you think about it, we probably spend way more on lots of small cheap items than the French women do on one expensive item…at least I’m pretty sure I do. =P

      • Reply February 22, 2012

        Lisa Ng

         I think I’m also too scared to get things altered b/c my body weight and shape don’t stay the same for long. UGH! You look great though!!!!

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Tania Asnes

    um, isn’t that Teri Hatcher?

    • Reply February 21, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Is it? It looked like Anne Hathaway from that “Bride Wars” movie she did…but I’m awful with faces so I could be terribly wrong…lol.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    respect_the_shoes

    If celebrities have the money and resources to tailor everything, more power to them. I should probably do that more often myself, but I’m lazy and cheap! I only get the more expensive and/or professional pieces in my wardrobe done and I guess I “make do” with everything else.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi Lisa! Yeah, that’s the smartest way to go about it for us regular folk I think. Although there are a few cheapie items in my closet that I really like, and know don’t fit very well. It’s a mental battle trying to figure out if I should invest money in altering these things or just continue “making do”.

      • Reply February 22, 2012

        respect_the_shoes

        I know! I’ve got some pieces from H&M or Zara or something that I know I’d get a lot more wear out of if I had them tailored, but then I always ponder if it makes sense to spend $10 to tailor a $20 shirt or something. Oh I wish I could sew!

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Guest

    Hi Kelly,

    Buying clothes in the USA was a disappointing experience that I had to get used to. The quality of garments was poor, and continues to deteriorate (passing off polyesters as ‘silk’, tsk tsk). I’m from India where almost every piece of clothing is tailored from scratch or to fit, including men’s shirts and suits. Every family has their preferred tailor that has had their business for generations. Unfortunately, tailors in this country (USA) charge ridiculous prices for simple alterations, which puts something that I considered a given back home out of my reach here.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Thank you for your comment! Yes, I totally agree with you. Quality is going down hill, and I’ve heard from many people who live or travel overseas that tailoring is much cheaper (and a common thing to get done) compared to the US. Do you travel back to India often? When you do, do you go on a shopping/tailoring spree? I know I would! =)

      • Reply March 14, 2013

        Guest

        Yes I do travel overseas to shop. Atleast a week of my vacation time goes in buying material, deciding on style and getting it stitched . I am petite. I’ve been getting all my formal clothes tailored to fit from there. These days I am having a hard time finding party dresses that fit well on me. Looks like I’ll have to add that to my shopping list when I travel overseas next time.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Guest2

       Glad someone is voicing these opinions here.  Although I’ve been lucky to find Ann Taylor who seem to make most clothing that are a perfect fit for a 0P or 2P me, my pet peeve is that you’ve to pay top dollar for prettier colors.  Most of the colors in my closet end up being from India.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Mello

    I just started using a tailor last year.  At 5′ 10” and slim, I have to get pants to fit the my height.  Use a tailor for quality pieces that you can get years of life out of.  Other than that, belt, twist and tuck the less expensive pieces.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       5’10″! My goodness, pants and sleeves that are long enough much be the most frustrating thing in the world for you. Do you ever have your tailor custom make pants for you?

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Cee

    The first time I heard about this (forget from where) was when Lauren Conrad had EVERYTHING tailored to fit her — and she wears pretty casual clothing too! I too was shocked. The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Celebs are photographed constantly so it’d make sense they would want to look their best. Tailors are one profession that’s not going out of business any time soon, that’s for sure.

    Thanks for a great read, Kelly!

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       LC!? Really? Everything she wears is so California Boho…I can’t imagine what she’s having tailored…LOL.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Petiteish

    The problem I have is that even with tailoring, clothes don’t fit on me the way it does on celebrities :( The celebrity secret I want to know is where do they find their tailors?

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       I wonder the same thing all the time. They must have the best tailors in the world tucked away in their guest rooms or something. =P

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Tamara H. Leicester

    I’m not really surprised celebrities tailor everything. (Although, it’s hard to imagine tailoring a t-shirt). But it’s a really fascinating point you make about the generational differences – that “off the rack” is a relatively new concept. I was shopping with my mom, who is also petite (but rather curvy) and she is a baby boomer and CANNOT bring herself to spend the money to tailor anything. If there is a waist gap or the length is too long it’s game over! Which makes her super frustrated with clothes shopping. Is there an “Alterations Needed” blog for the over 50 set?

    • Reply February 21, 2012

      Braub

      hey, I  am over 50 and this blog is great! I do not relate to thinking by age :)
       

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi Tamara! My mom is the same way! She complains up and down about how nothing fits, but absolutely refuses to get things tailored…those baby boomers are stubborn! See if your mom likes this site:

      http://www.fabulousafter40.com/

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    alice

    I never knew this either but now that it’s been pointed out it seems SO obvious.  Of course they get everything tailored!  I have no experience at all with tailors so I’m afraid to get anything done.  So instead, I’m super picky about what I buy in the first place and make sure the fit is right before I even consider buying.  But this makes me wonder if I even know what true perfect fit is, since I’ve never had anything tailored just for me…

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Hi Alice! Good fit is a learning process for sure! I still wear things and look in the mirror, thinking, “what was I thinking? This fits awful!”…lol. Starting off with getting things hemmed is the safest and cheapest way to start getting comfortable with alterations. My denim collection skyrocketed once I realized all I needed was a $12 hem job to make my denim dreams come true. Hehe.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Shoppingisfun

    Given the poor fitting clothes I’ve seen on many celebs in the pages of magazines like “Us” , I seriously doubt that celebs all have their “everyday” clothes (clothes that they wear grocery shopping, taking baby to the park, out on the street, etc) clothes tailored. I have no doubt that all their clothes are tailored when they go to any kind of event where they’re expecting to get their photo taken, though. 

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Very true…I think that statement was made as a sweeping generalization, more so for those shots of “so and so shopping on Rodeo in J.Brands and Zara…doesn’t she make dressing hi-lo look effortless?”. It’s those shots when I’m inspecting those photos thinking…”Zara sure doesn’t look like that on ME!” LOL.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    witheachpassingday

    Oh the pains we go through just to find /get a good fit. How wonderful it would be if we can have our own personal tailor. 

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Yes! I want a tailor to follow behind me when I go shopping and go, “tsk tsk…we’ll have to take those shoulders in a mile, but wait until I’m done…you’ll look fabulous!” LOL.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Kim

    I have spent years finding my perfect pair of jeans. I guess that is what we non-celebrity people have to do. Additionally many celebrities have outrageously fit/slim bodies, which bodes well for looking good in an outfit. I appreciate the honesty though. 

    Kim
    http://www.aprettythought.com

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Years…yes. Me too…and then my favorite Paige jeans went and changed their fit on me recently, and I’m scrambling once again to find a new brand. Good point about many celebrities being very fit. That certainly helps the look of clothes on them as well.

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Braub

    the problem for me is finding someone who can do a good job!!  When I was younger and had a mom, she would fit things for me and, unlike the tailors now who have you put something on then jab a pin in it and that is it til you go to pick it up, i might try it on several times during the process…pin..baste…try on…etc. to get the fit JUST right. I wish I had a body double dummy that I could stick things on to attempt to fit… Even tank tops are too long in the straps usually…and who wants to pay $8-10 for a cheap tank top to be altered? (IF they can get that right).

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Interesting point. I’ve also run into the issue where the tailor shop has several tailors doing the alterations. So, even if the person who pinned my garments is fantastic and has a great eye for fit, the tailor who actually alters my garment may not have done such a great job. Although, it sounds like you’re ahead of the game since you were so lucky to have a mom who was so talented. Your eye for fit must be exceptional. =)

  • Reply February 21, 2012

    Angie

    this is an amazing article kelly! i never knew that they had EVERYTHING altered. in fact, hopefully someday the norm will be cheaper clothes altogether so that we can invest in alterations and maybe more tailor shops can boom in business.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

      Good point Angie! The idea that has crossed my mind is…why not make clothes with unfinished seams, with the expectation that they will need alterations? Lots of men’s suiting is sold like this, so it’s easier to take an item to a tailor for alterations. It would probably bring the cost of the item down too, because now all those seams don’t have to be perfectly finished.

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    Cynthia C. M.

    Nope, not surprised.  That’s why I always say that the reason why short celebs look so great is because they have “people.”  Even the best tailors we see won’t necessarily be able to replicate what, say, Christina Ricci wears in public because she either gets things made especially for her or tailors reconstruct things off the rack.

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       Exactly. I’m always insanely jealous of the short celebrities who are dressed in head to toe designer at fashion shows and the like. You KNOW the designer had that specially made just for them. Where’s my custom Chanel Mr. Lagerfeld!?

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    New Petite

    I was shocked when I read it a while ago I think one of those E! or style channels where they mentioned that they get everything fitted and they have their stylists to do that! With that kinda money and tailor, I bet even I will look like a runway model ;-) fake fit and little DIY is the  option right now until you know I get famous :-D    

    Thanks for the good read! 

    • Reply February 22, 2012

      Alterations Needed

       When you get famous, will you share your fabulous tailor with me? Hehe. =)

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    birdie22

    No, this is not surprising. They have mentioned it often enough.  They also tweak and pull clothes on the women enough that one can gauge they are reworking the fit for tailoring.  This is the way to do it. This is also the reason that I have such a hard time with thrifting…I find thrifted clothes harder to tailor.

    I have had boys’ Hanes V-necks tailored. I  once read that one should always include tailoring as part of ones clothing budget. Heck, I even “tailor” my boots. I have had heels lowered and shafts tightened to fit my calf. 

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    PF

    do the best you can and call it a day

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    Diaryofashopper

    I guess that makes sense. I feel your pain! I have gotten so tired of searching for things that fit, that I have given up. I buy very few things now, and I don’t worry about a perfect fit because I know I am taking it to the tailor anyways. It works out perfectly- I can’t afford to buy very much so my closet stays nice and trim and easy to navigate. And what little I do have is perfect. However, I don’t go so far as to fully alter tees and jeans! WOW.

  • Reply February 22, 2012

    birdie22

    Yes, the comments about Europe and India are correct ( I am Spanish ) , but what I find so strange here is the sheer amount. I am willing to bet that people in India ( or Spain or Portugal or France ) don’t have the large wardrobes that women have here. We squander smaller amounts on allot of clothing.  In other countries, women spend more or fewer items that fit perfectly or close to it.

  • Reply February 23, 2012

    TOBeautyReviews

    WOW I did NOT realize that even t-shirts and camis got altered! My mind is blown too!

  • Reply February 23, 2012

    Mingming Lei

    I knew that on TV everything was altered so it fit people, but I didn’t know celebs had EVERYTHING done. Part of me wants to do this to all my clothes too now… It’d really force me to prioritize my wardrobe I think. 

    I actually took up sewing as a hobby to feed the fact that nothing fits me right. I’m thinking I may need to focus more on fit!

  • Reply February 25, 2012

    carol_prettythings

    Always good to keep this in mind, when in the fitting room. I agree with everyone else – it’s finding a skilled and qualified tailor that’s the hard part. It’s certainly not for want of trying….

  • Reply February 26, 2012

    Bonhomie

    I was aware that celebrities get most things altered, and I definitely agree that there should be more awareness of this….especially in young girls.  There are too many women whose self esteem is affected in such a negative way. I’ve been spoiled that I have a mom that can do all sorts of alterations for me, except she can’t do original hems on jeans or work with leather.  Having had to have pants hemmed, skirts shortened, and blazers taken in most of my life some how made me really believe that it was the garment’s fault, not mine, that it did not fit properly. So I do not beat myself up over clothing not fitting properly in a fitting room. I just think about how much work it would be and if it would be worth altering the item. It makes me pickier about what I buy.

  • Reply February 26, 2012

    Sme

    Kelly, I remember this post. I was so disappointed because I thought it was just me not finding the tight clothes. Funny how I was content with that reasoning instead of needing to take clothes to get altered. Clothes are expensive and for me I don’t know if I’d spend the extra money on alterations especially because my weight fluctuates. I do thank your forum for helping me to find jeans that fit! Delia’s… Now I just have to order a longer length because with shoes they are a tad too short.

    • Reply February 26, 2012

      Sme

      Right not tight

  • Reply March 1, 2012

    Cassie

    I think this settles it for me. I’m done with hunting for a white button down that fits me off the rack. I’m going to save up and have one made for me.

  • Reply March 2, 2012

    kokopuff

    I figured this out when I lose 50 pounds a few years ago and had to have EVERYTHING in my closet altered.  (Well, I got rid of some of the floaty, elastic waistband pieces that I never wanted to see again).  I found a great tailor who could alter jackets, pants with pockets, etc.  Some of my favorites made the cut, some just didn’t look right once they were made smaller.  I’m lucky, now I’m a size where I can find pants at Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic that fit off the rack, but it’s totally worth buying a few good, standard pieces like jeans, black, navy and khaki pants, a couple of blazers and a couple of white blouses and get them tailored perfectly to you.  Then you can accessorize with sweaters, vests, scarves and other items.  

  • Reply March 17, 2012

    Elissa

    This is a great thing to be reminded of, indeed. I did not know, however, that celebrities have -everything- altered.  As well, from your post and reading some of the comments, I didn’t know that having a favored tailor is normal in countries such as India, France, Spain, etc. That’s great. =)
    I’ve worked at an alterations business before and yes they are too expensive. I’m sure you’ve mentioned this before Kelly, I wouldn’t recommend taking in cheaper pieces to have altered. It’s not worth your money or time. 
    I’m considering having clothes made for me when I visit Thailand, where my husband is from. A great example, his dad bought fabric from Germany for a suit, then tailor made in Thailand, which cost between $300-400. =]

    http://littlerosetrove.blogspot.com/

  • Reply March 30, 2012

    Ruth

    We mortals don’t have the budget to have everything altered like that. Clothing manufacturers should take that into account, but they don’t. It’s especially hard if you’re curvy. Most garments are made to fit stick figures.

  • Reply September 3, 2012

    Amber Dawn

    sewing machine… I do understand not everyone has the time/desire but it can be a nice happy medium between wearing clothes that don’t fit and getting everything tailored by someone else

  • Reply October 8, 2012

    Katherine

    I know this is an old post, but the lack of tailoring in the US is one of my pet peeves. I am British, and tailors are demi-gods here. Saville Row in London only offers bespoke clothing, and the tailors there charge a pretty penny for their services, but the shirts and suits look fantastic. Most Brits have their suits and trousers tailored to fit. We prefer a tighter fit for jackets, and unless you buy bespoke that fit can only be achieved through tailoring. I am always amazed when I see the poor fit of clothes in the US. It’s also obvious when it comes to military uniforms: a British officer will easily spend £1,500 on a custom mess dress uniform, but end up with a high quality, pure wool, perfectly tailored garment, whereas American officers (my husband is a US Navy officer) will avoid buying mess dress at all.
    It’s really a different mindset: quality over quantity, fewer items that fit and look better.
    Fortunately, I am handy with a sewing machine, but I still get lots of things altered, because I find it difficult to pin myself. I might need to invest in a good dress form.

    • Reply October 8, 2012

      Alterations Needed

      Thank you for commenting Katherine! Getting a custom made 3-piece suit from Saville Row is a dream of mine. You’re spot on with everything you said. Even I have a hard time shaking the American mentality of avoiding tailoring…and I love tailored clothing. You’re fortunate that it’s so ingrained in you!

  • Reply January 5, 2013

    cat

    I have to say, this is a silly generalization from a stylist who isn’t 100% correct, or isn’t 100% clear, at least. Celebs say, in MOVIES and on TV do indeed have everything tailored. A script calls for one thing and the director and producers wants everyone to look good, and the majority of the time, the costume designer will find the right piece for the scene but it’s a size too big or even too small and it is altered. Obviously, all garments worn on the red carpet for a high profile event are indeed altered as well, if need be. However, clothing worn in daily life is NOT ALWAYS altered by a stylist for every day wear. Most celebrities wouldn’t go around tailoring tee shirts or jeans when the majority of people buy clothes that fit them and a lot of celebrities wear designer products that are made to fit body types in a more fitted manner than say other clothing at cheaper retailers. Call that tailored if you want, but it’s more likely for every day wear that the fashion designer created a tailored shape for a piece than the designer took the piece home from a store and had it tailored. Unless, of course, it didn’t fit properly when they bought it. “Everything you see on a celebrities body…down to clothes they wear out and about,” is such a big generalization and if you look at pictures of celebrities, you’d see that either someone is wearing something very fitted by a specific designer that is referenced that makes fitted clothing, or it’s something looser.

  • Reply January 16, 2013

    liz

    ahhhh ! NOW I find this out ?! How unfair. All those years of knowing I needed alterations but to that extent ? However, it makes me feel much better knowing and realize that I HAVE to get everything altered and it’s okay, it’s really okay.

  • Reply February 18, 2013

    DB

    Thank you so much for this post. I stumbled upon your blog tonight and although we have different body types (I’m tall and hourglass/curvy), I’m sure we share the same levels of frustrations with off the rack clothing. I have tried tailoring in the past and gave up after wasting money on getting a suit tailored from Macy’s (Macy’s didn’t do the tailoring). I think a lot of people are out there claiming to be tailors and you wind up wasting money on both the clothing and then the tailoring.

    But nothing fits me off the rack. Pants are especially hard…nothing fits as is. I’ve decided that I’m going to have to work to find a good tailor in my city. It’s really frustrating that our culture lies to us and doesn’t tell the full scoop on celebs and their clothing. And while I’ve heard Clinton & Kelly talk about tailoring, I’ve NEVER heard or known that they tailor the entire final wardrobe! No wonder they look so good at the end! It’s deceitful.

    Thanks again. I’m glad I found your site.

  • Reply February 27, 2013

    Stitch It Clothing Alterations

    Kelly, we completely agree with you. If you can’t afford to buy and have expensive garments altered, then buy less expensive, invest in the alterations and they will look like you bought highend tailored clothes.

  • Reply July 8, 2013

    ytd

    Thanks for this article! I’ve always been disappointed with the way clothes fit me. When I moved overseas, I realized that tailors are abundant and relatively inexpensive, and got used to using tailors regularly. Back at home in the U.S., tailoring is really quite expensive. It’s unnerving to have to pay $100 or more for a dress or a jacket that just doesn’t fit right, then pay another $25 on top of that to have it tailored, and wait 3-4 days to pick up the finished piece. But tailoring does make all he difference in the world, if you can find a good one.

  • Reply July 10, 2013

    yuthid

    The answer is to make your own clothes as I have since I was 9yrs old. No one ever wears the same. I can choose any style, and material and make everything co-ordinate, not mention fit perfectly. Its easy, so learn yourself now.

  • Reply September 18, 2013

    Anita Jones

    “How come I am a size 0 in brand X but a size 4 in brand Y” and it still doesn’t fit right. I became so focused on this long standing problem and think I have created a solution and need feedback. I am the CEO of a startup that will launch in the next 6 months. We want to help with this problem. Specifically the idea is to give women the ability to discover how a brand/garment fits by browsing images of other women with the same body type wearing the garment. It may not be as exact as tailoring but would be close. It is a simple 2 minute survey.

    I am posting a link to a quiz/survey to get your anonymous opinions. Please help me today and I may be able to help you tomorrow ;) The link is

    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/BKL9XNW

  • Reply November 4, 2013

    Maharani

    Just found this-I am Indian too-grew up in the UK and live in the US and am fed up with the rubbish that is on sale. I used to make my own clothes so I know what proper fit feels and looks like-and generally you cant buy it at the mall. Not only do I have to get everything tailored, I am now so fed up with shopping I am getting clothes made from scratch. Today I bought fabric for 2 pairs of dress pants and 2 pencil skirts. Fabulous wool and wool/silk blends with a great “hand”. Yes, I will have to wait a month or so but they will fit perfectly, last forever and look great with my other things. I have relatively few pieces and wear them to death. My shopping is mostly for accessories, underwear and hose.

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