Clothing sold off the rack doesn't actually fit most people perfectly. These clothes are made with average measurements of people at a given size, and most people aren't average. Getting alterations to clothing is often the only way to get that perfect fit.

Benefits of Tailoring

Many people don't realize exactly what the proper fit is or how it can benefit them. Clothes that are too big or too small aren't flattering and tend to look unprofessional. If clothes are too baggy, they can make a short person look even shorter. 

What to Tailor

Most clothes can be altered for a better fit, simply choose items you like that fit the widest parts of your body and have the other areas taken in. Items with very delicate fabric or lots of beading may be better left alone, and knit fabrics like sweaters can't usually be tailored. It's easy for a tailor to make alterations like shortening the length of the hem on pants or the sleeves on a shirt, take in the seams on pants or skirts, or replace a zipper. A good tailor can also add loops inside a blouse to hook around bra straps to keep the shirt from sliding around or add snaps or hooks in between buttons to keep shirts closed over your chest.

Cost of Tailoring

When deciding whether tailoring a particular item of clothing is worth it, taking into consideration the cost of the potential alterations, the cost of the garment, and the amount of use you're likely to get out of it. Sometimes it may even be worth it to pay more to alter an item of clothing you love than it actually costs to purchase it. Shortening the length of an item of clothing or replacing a zipper usually costs around $20, altering the waistband costs about $35, and taking in fabric around the hips of an item of clothing can cost between $30 and $40. Altering the shoulders of a jacket costs around $35, taking in a sheath dress costs about $45, and taking in the body of a jacket costs between $40 and $52.00, depending on the number of seams it has.

Shopping Tips

Look for items of clothing that fit well in most ways and just need minor alterations. If something is more than one size too big, the tailor won't be able to get it to fit properly. Likewise, removing heavy shoulder pads will make it so an item won't be properly proportioned or drape correctly. Jeans can't have more than two inches removed from the center seam or it will mess up the pocket placement. While some items of clothing, including some types of pants, can be lengthened slightly, you can't lengthen a jacket. When in doubt, ask the store's tailor what might be possible and what they'd recommend. Some stores will even do certain alterations for free or for a lower cost than having these alterations done elsewhere.

Contact a company like Fifi's Tailor & Custom Design for more information and assistance.