Diane von Furstenberg Roccoco Jacket – To Alter, Or Not To Alter…

DVF Jacket 1-1
DVF Jacket 5-1
DVF Jacket 4-1
Top – H&M, size xs
Jeans – Paige Blue Heights 14″ skinny, size 23 (hemmed)
Shoes – Cole Haan Carma suede pumps, size 5
Handbag – Chanel medium flap, fall 2009 – added to help determine jacket chic-ness

As a petite gal, I tend to get stuck on the same few brands, and would love a little variety to my wardrobe every now and then. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the usual suspects of LOFT, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Theory, but it gets a little boring sometimes shopping the same few brands over and over and over and…you get the picture.

So, I’ve been dying to add a little designer to my wardrobe lately. I get all giddy at the sight of a beautifully made, high quality garment, but the sizing keeps me away.

Lots of people mention that high end and European brands tend to run small. This is partially true. I’ve definitely found high end and European garments that fit me around (as in they run very slim), but the proportions are always for a taller person. Wide shoulders, low bust and waist details, and high pant rises prevent me from being to able to wear designer duds. And the ones I could alter, I’d have to invest quite a bit into tailoring costs, on top of the already high price tag of the garment, which deters me.

Then I found this jacket…

I unearthed the Diane von Furstenberg Roccoco jacket on major sale at Nordstrom in white in a size 2 and couldn’t put it down. It was beautiful! Feminine but not girly. Amazing, high quality material (silk). Interesting layered detail. Chanel look and shape. I was captivated.

DVF Jacket Close 1

I stared at it, held it, and tried it on (a million times). My inability to walk away from something usually means I will obsess about it until I have it safely hanging in my closet, so I raced home to search for a size 0 online.

I found size 0 in black, and knew I couldn’t rest until I at least gave it a shot. I figured, black is not only easier to keep clean, but also slimming, so maybe the boxy shape will be lessened by the darker color.

It arrived, and now I’m torn. I love the idea of the jacket (it’s so chic!) but it needs a fairly expensive alteration to get the shoulder taken in. The jacket would be completely worth it, since it’s silk and a classic shape (very Chanel-esque), but I’m scared to take the final plunge, especially considering the jacket, even on sale, was not exactly cheap.

Will the alteration look good and reign in the extra fabric at the back? Will it better align the sleeves so that the whole jacket sits better on me? I’ve never had the shoulder taken in on a garment, and I don’t own a boxy jacket style like this one, so I’m unsure about how it will work out.

Here you can see the shoulder drooping on me, as well as the extra fabric at the back:

DVF Jacket Side 1
DVF Jacket Back 1

Oh, decisions, decisions!

In my head, this jacket will look very sophisticated and fun after alterations, but what if I’m wrong? Eek!

What do you think? Is it chic and worth altering?

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Join the Conversation


  1. says: Tamara

    This jacket is adorable on you – the cropped length, the 3/4 sleeves, and the slightly extra volume on top (with the layers) really flatter your shape. If your tailor is confident they can make the alteration, I say go for it! I have had shoulders taken in before – particularly on winter coats, and it has never been a big deal. The one thing I'd be a little concerned about with this jacket is how it would impact those layers of fabric at the top of the sleeve/shoulder area. Your tailor should be able to assess if it can be done without ruining the jacket. I too have found DVF styles (size 0)tend to run too broad through the shoulders – had to have a wrap dress taken in for this same issue.

  2. says: Karen

    Did you get it an Nordstrom's? I thought they did alterations so they should be able to do it (or recommend not doing it).
    I'd probably leave as is because I haven't gotten to the point where I alter my clothes to fit properly unless it's length lol

  3. says: Elle

    I want to love this so much Kelly but I am not a big fan of how it fits you. I don't know a lot about tailoring but this one might be difficult because of the design and I imagine you paid a small fortune for DVF in a small size so in my opinion it's not worth it to spend much more on alterations. I vote return even though the concept is adorable.

  4. says: Really Petite

    Ooo I have been waiting for this post! Hum…I want to say yes but I just can't especially given the steep price of the jacket to begin with plus alterations….

    I do like the length and fabric but not in love with the fit overall. I say no to alterations:(

  5. says: Anonymous

    I have a jacket something like that. Stein Mart Boutique. You will adore the jacket if altered to fit. Look on facebook at graduation pics of my daughter…….had it on then. Wore it to church yesterday with graphic print tank from WHBM and skinny pants with ankle boots with bows on side. Got the best compliment! Mine is short sleeved. Sometimes in Boutique at Stein Mart we get xs and pxs…Michael Kors and other name brands. Bonnie

  6. says: AubreyOhDang!

    Ditto on Elle and Annie's comment.

    Although I want you to be happy, some things just aren't meant to be, no matter how hard we try to make it "be." Trust me, I'm 25, single, and dating. I apply this concept to clothes as much as my dating life. HAHAHAHHA.

  7. says: kileen

    wow, this jacket is so beautiful!! the jacket is a little boxy, but if you like that and plan to keep the jacket, I would say to go for the alterations. Especially since you have a tailor you trust and knows how to alter clothes for your body.

  8. says: Michelle

    Oof. It's got so much potential to look pretty on someone a little larger, but if you alter it and it doesn't work out, that's a few hundred dollars completely down the drain. I suspect you'd need the back/sides taken in as well, as that's a LOT of extra fabric in the back. I think it's too expensively risky to take a chance on, given the high chance of failure. Another black jacket will come around like that soon enough. That's my thoughts!

    – mich_lim on Twitter

  9. says: A.Li

    I think you should alter it if you have a great tailor. They should know what they are doing and can give you great recommendation on what to do. The jacket itself, without alteration, looks great on you already so with alteration it could look a whole lot better. I have had one of my winter trench coat shoulder taken in and it was worth it. Most likely your tailor will alter the shoulder width and take in the extra back fabric to fit the shoulder and extra back fabric problem.
    Good luck.

  10. says: Alex

    Kelly, you're smart, polished and put together and this jacket just simply isn't you. I say take it back. A better fitting black designer jacket won't be much of a hassle to find.

    LOL at Aubrey's comment. I love it so much I might just make it my new motto.

  11. says: Abhitoabby

    I hear you about getting limited to a few brands…But for the price of this jacket and alterations, you could fly halfway to Germany and get a lot more choice :P
    Here's what I propose- we'll all help you create a psychological escrow account. Return this and your 'money' is safe with us till you find the right one.. :). When you do, we'll be ready to give our blessing…!

  12. says: Anonymous

    I totally agree with AubreyOhDang's comment.

    My sister had the same jacket in size 0 and she's 5'4 1/2". Took her 2 months to finally pull the trigger with a vendor discount. I won't attempt the alteration path. Return it and save some $$$.

  13. says: littlenashua

    I've made several jackets in my brief sewing career, and that is not an alteration that I would want to attempt. To put it in perspective, I bought a Zara long sleeve button front blouse at a thrift store for $5. It needs the shoulders taken in and I just won't go there for fear that I will destroy the sleeve, and that is a shirt that cost me less than a cup of gourmet coffee.

    The problem with taking it in at the shoulder is that it will drastically change the way the armscye (armhole opening) fits. The armscye is shaped to accept the head of the sleeve, and it's not a simple matter of just taking it in. The entire sleeve would need to be removed, along with the lining which is sewn in separately. The fabric would need to be trimmed at the shoulder seam, which would then affect the way the sleeve is reinserted. Think of it as a pipe and a hole. The pipe is 5" in diameter, and the hole is 5.025" in diameter – just large enough to accept the pipe. If you change even the placement of the armhole at the shoulder, the sleeve will insert differently. That's not an alteration, that is something that really should be done on the pattern before the garment is sewn. If this were an unlined blouse, it would probably work. But it may have shoulder pads, a sleeve head, and a lining, which all would need to be dealt with separately. There is no guaranteeing it will come out looking right.

    The slimming of the shoulders is not going to fix the amount of excess fabric across the back, either. This entire jacket is simply designed and scaled for someone with broader dimensions that you. Sometimes you can get away with things being slimmed at the side seams, but this is getting too complicated.

    I would be so worried the end result would look messed up. There is no way to determine that until you go in and start hacking away fabric. I would be scared to remove a sleeve and then reinsert it later into an armhole of different dimension.

  14. says: Jen

    I have to agree with most of the comments here, it doesn't seem "OMG AMAZING I WILL DIE WITHOUT" kind of a purchase. I went through my closet this weekend and one thing I really want to have as a wardrobe goal is to LOVE everything in my closet despite the label. Alterations on this piece makes me nervous and I think if you had tried the 0 on in stores you wouldn't have bought it. If you LOVED it you wouldn't need to make so many excuses to keep it. :)

  15. says: littlenashua

    Notice that I didn't say "get rid of it". Although the fit isn't perfect, it's not awful. I think it looks fine from the front.

  16. says: fashionforteens

    First off, I LOVE your chanel bag! You're rightt, the jacket looks very chanelesque. To be honest, right now, it looks a little sloppy because it's too big but I think with alterations it would look nice. It is significantly too large though, so I would probably say to skip it. I have seen a lot of those type of chanely jackets and last year they had some really cute ones at forever21 and H&M. I say to keep looking unless you really love it.

  17. says: Rebecca

    Too big! It is a lovely jacket, but it is also not an uncommon style. I've seen a variety of jackets like this around – I notice because I always am drawn to them, but with my large chest, they always look terrible! Point is, with a bit of shopping, you should be able to find a better fitting one.

    The complexity of the tailoring issue has been amply covered, but I just want to add — note how well the ruffles line up from the sleeve to the body. It is going to take a *very* skilled tailor to get them to line up again.

  18. says: Em

    I also say no to the alteration. I think the loose boxiness is stylish and flattering on you. You might think alterations may make the jacket fit better (and it probably will) but it would totally alter the vibe of the jacket, not to mention cost you a lot of money. Littlenashua's assessment of the alterations sounds on point. I say keep it without any alterations. But if you just don't feel comfortable wearing it without alterations, I'd return it.

  19. says: Alterations Needed

    Oh boy! Thank you for all the comments! It's so hard to decide! It's days like this that I really really wish I was just an average height and didn't have to worry about altering down EVERYTHING.

    On one hand, no, it's not a perfect fit, and the alterations could be difficult. I could walk away from this jacket and try to find a better fit, but…

    Clothing of this quality is not made in petite sizes, so any jacket even CLOSE to the design/quality of this jacket will need alterations, pretty much guaranteed.

    Oh the decisions!

    @Tamara – The soft silk layers have me worried too. The alteration would have to be done very carefully.

    @Karen – I ended up finding this at Barney's Coop. Nordstrom had it at a great price, but the size 0's were totally gone store-wide.

    @Elle – I know! It's not a great fit right now, so it's hard to imagine after alterations. I see the potential, but I'm afraid the difficulty of alterations may not be worth it. Hmm.

  20. says: Alterations Needed

    @Michelle – I'm wondering if a seam down the center could not only bring in the shoulder, but also some of that extra back fabric. But you're right, if I go for it and it doesn't work out, that's hundreds of dollars down the drain. Eek!

    @A.Li – That's pretty much exactly what I thought might be able to be done. Add a seam down the center of the back taking it all in at the back.

    @Alex – LOL. Thanks for the pep talk Alex! I just worry that any other designer or garment of similar quality will have the same problems. I wish designers made petites!

  21. says: Alterations Needed

    @Abhitoabby – LOL! Interesting idea. =)

    @Anonymous – Aww man. Disappointing to hear I'd have to grow 5 inches to fit the size 0. LOL.

    @littlenashua – I had no idea taking in the shoulders required the sleeves to be re-set. I thought it dealt only with taking the garment in at the back seam, perhaps removing and re-attaching the collar. I'm finding it hard to imagine why the sleeve would be detached, but again, I'm no expert. Thank you for your detailed description Kerry!

  22. says: Alterations Needed

    @Jen – Totally agree, I want to love everything in my wardrobe too. That's why I'm looking for better quality and fabrics, like this jacket. If it were to get altered to the perfection that I have in my head, I would love it. It's not so much making excuses, it's that I'm afraid of what the alterations won't or will do to the jacket. =P

    @fashionforteens – Thanks! The red Chanel is my baby. When I found this jacket, my first thought was how great it would look with the handbag. =P

    This style is pretty popular right now (but it's so classic, that I don't think that Chanel-esque look ever really goes out of fashion). I just love the special design of this one, which is why I'm freaking out over it so much. LOL.

    @Rebecca – Yeah, if the sleeves do have to be detached as littlenashua said, then it would be difficult to get the silk tiers to line up again. That would take some skill.

    @Em – Yes, it's either alter it, or return it, because I'm not 100% happy with the fit as is. If I'm not 100% happy, then I'm not keeping it.

    @Petiteélégant – You're right, Alice + Olivia can be petite-friendly too. I haven't checked up on their styles lately. I should see what they have right now. =)

  23. says: Jackie

    I love it! But I think I agree with the nay-sayers on this; it's just too much to alter.

    I would say yes, but with the ruffles the alterations could end up costing a lot.

  24. says: PetiteXXS

    From the front, I actually didn't think it was too bad and was going to vote for no alterations… but then I saw the side view and realized its boxiness. From what others had said, it sounds like a difficult alteration and might not turn out well despite the high cost. If it were me, this would be an item I'd have trouble letting go of, but usually end up regretting down the line. But you're not me :) So I guess it depends on if you love it enough to either overlook the side view or risk investing even more $$? Hmm don't think I helped you at all there lol, sorry!

  25. says: Michelle

    Aw! As usual, I love Aubrey's comment! :p

    I am so wishy-washy about this! When you say that you could not stop thinking about the jacket, that makes me think you will regret returning it. But…you are also nervous about alterations, which would have me all psyched out, too! So, like Liane said…I am of no help! :p

  26. says: grace

    I hate work web sense (I went to comment this morning, only to submit and tell me it was blocked!), so here I am, a bit late in the game.

    I thought it looked really great in the front, but it wasn't until the side and the back that I thought it definitely need an alteration if you want it more fitted. It's ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS though, so I can understand if you want to keep it. If you think you can't imagine parting from it, I say go for the alteration. Maybe go to Francois ;);) and even though it will be pricy. It all comes down to whether or not you will totally love and wear the jacket without being reminded of the price each time :D

    Let us know what you decide!

  27. says: couturecoco

    Hi there
    I love the jacket and to be honest the shoulders look fine to me but it all just depends on what you're used to and how it feels on you.
    As a rule I would not alter a tailored garment in the shoulders.
    Please check out Italian and French made designs or designers. They almost always cut closer to the body and shoulders (excepet in the 80's lol!).
    All the best

  28. says: Canadianpetite

    I had an evening gown taken in at the shoulders and yup…it narrowed the armhole. But my gown had no embellishments on the front to complicate the alteration. If it had been a Loft or J.Crew (for argument's sake), would you have kept it?

  29. says: Anonymous

    From my experience, that will be a very difficult and expensive alteration. The pleating will definitely add to to complicate everything else. Unless your tailor is absolutely confident- I wouldn't risk it, at the chance of the jacket puckering at the shoulders because of the pleating. But I hear ya-the jacket is oh-so-chic and timeless. Quel domage :/

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