Last Updated on May 9, 2023 by Alterations Express Staff
Have you ever felt like no matter which clothing brand you buy from or what your measurements are, clothes just don’t flatter your body type? We get that. And there is a reason for it. Since the introduction of ‘ready-to-wear’ garments into the U.S. clothing market, custom clothing, tailoring, and clothing alterations have become less and less common for individual consumers to purchase.
But what if we told you that tailoring and alterations could completely transform your closet? And that the introduction of custom tailoring into your wardrobe could revolutionize the way you feel about your clothing, all without breaking the bank? Learn more about the evolution of the clothing industry and find out if the added cost of alterations is actually worth it.
- A Brief History of ‘Ready-to-Wear’ Clothing
- Alterations & Tailoring Today
- Are Alterations Worth It?
- What Affects the Cost of Alterations?
- Are Alterations & Tailoring Something You Can Afford?
A Brief History of ‘Ready-to-Wear’
In 1939, the United States government began an initiative to standardize the sizing and relative measurements of women’s clothing. From 1939-1940, US women were measured to formulate ‘average sizing.’ This ‘average sizing’ initiative subsequently gave birth to the mass production of ‘ready-to-wear’ clothing (based on these measurements). Since then, ready-to-wear has taken over the clothing industry in the United States. This change allowed major clothing manufacturers to relatively eliminate the costs of clothing alterations.
Fast forward to 2021: Ready-to-wear is just not cutting it anymore. Even with big-name brands embracing the body positivity movement (see Aerie & Modcloth) and major retailers beginning to produce plus-size clothing lines, the sizing and fit of ready-to-wear clothing are still not ideal for consumers. The majority of clothing sold today is not made to last but instead manufactured to be worn a few times (at best) over a garment’s lifetime.
Alterations & Tailoring Today
Clothing alterations and tailoring have transformed into something that your mom might recommend to you. But what you might not know is that your favorite celebrities, influencers, and fashion icons employ personal tailors and seamstresses to alter practically every garment in their closet (yes, even streetwear!).
Expert celebrity tailors and seamstresses like RichFresh, Roshan Melwani, and Ludmila Tomashevskay provide beautiful alterations and custom tailoring for famous clients like Selena Gomez, Anthony Anderson, Kim Kardashian, David Bowie, Miley Cyrus, and Bruno Mars. So, what do celebrities know that we don’t? Are custom alterations only affordable and available to the rich and famous? And are custom alterations really worth the investment?
Are Alterations Worth It?
Honestly, it really just depends — on a couple of things. Tailoring and alterations can completely transform your wardrobe and the way that you feel in your clothing. Tailoring can elongate, accentuate, make you look taller and leaner, and even help you minimize certain areas to achieve the perfect fit in your favorite pieces. However, it is an added investment that you need to be willing to make. We’ve found that its best for our customers to invest in alterations during three scenarios:
- New Clothes: When you invest in new clothing, especially when the garments are expensive and you intend to wear them for a long time, it’s best to invest in alterations. Alterations allow you to achieve the ideal fit in your clothing while also ensuring that your clothing can evolve with you for years to come. Alterations will allow you to continue to wear your expensive pieces even if your measurements fluctuate or your body is changing.
- Special Occasion Clothing: Prom, Homecoming, weddings, or even a job interview that you need to nail — your clothes must make you feel confident on your most important days. Alterations can transform your garments’ into pieces that you can wear for years to come, garments that can evolve with style trends and transition between different potential fits. Because when you know your clothes fit you perfectly, you feel confident to take wear them for any occasion.
- Favorite Garments: Do you have a pair of jeans that you love? What about a favorite work suit that is just your favorite and has never failed to impress? Alterations can enable you to get more wear out of your favorite garments. Alterations also allow you to change the fit of your favorite garments to your individual specifications over time.
What Affects the Cost of Alterations?
Alright, now let’s talk about cost. And again, it really just depends on a couple of factors:
- Type of Garment: Men’s suit, women’s skirt, formal dress, bridal gown, jeans, or sport coat — the cost of alterations depends greatly on the clothing item that you want to get altered. For garments like formal dresses, suits, or bridal gowns, you can expect to pay more for alterations. When you visit the tailor, make sure to get a professional fitting and a price estimate for your alterations.
- Type of Alterations: Hems, vents, darts, tapering, waist and seat, cuffs — alterations can get complicated and sometimes expensive. However, the majority of the time, alterations are extremely affordable and worth the investment for the average consumer. During your visit, don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up if you have concerns! You will achieve the desired fit that you’re looking for, but be willing to work with your tailor too.
- Timeframe: Depending on how soon you need the alterations completed, you may have to pay extra for faster alterations. Usually, an average tailor can complete most garment alterations within two weeks. However, we recommend getting alterations completed sooner rather than later just in case any adjustments need to be made. Learn more about our express alteration services.
So, are alterations & tailoring something you can afford?
Yes, absolutely! Are they something that you should implement into your style? Yes, 100%! Alterations and tailoring can be transformational and can also help you save money where you otherwise wouldn’t. But make sure to consider the investment required for alterations and custom tailoring. Alterations and custom tailoring are a luxury. So, before getting work done by a seamstress or tailor, make sure that you’re willing to make the added investment.