Behind Door #3: The Tailor

Vivienne Westwood’s quote is interesting in its ambiguity. “No matter where she gets her clothes from.” She doesn’t say use the words ‘shop’ or ‘buy’. Yet that’s how most of us think about clothes: you go out and buy them. Or you don’t (sadface).

As a society, we love shiny and new and different (if not, Apple would be screwed). Shiny and new and different = better. But consider its seedy dark side: wasteful and expensive. So it is frequently posited: to buy or not to buy. Even we did it. Our binge and purge society tends to view things through the prism of dichotomy like that. Let’s remember that there’s always a door number three. And in this case, it’s the tailor.

The most basic reason to go shopping: you have no clothes. If you are reading this blog or are a female aged 18-65 with a pulse, this is unlikely to be true. It’s more typically: “nothing fits.” This is a bad feeling, and it happens to the best of us. Maybe you had a baby, maybe you OD’d on pricey cheese – I’m not judging. Regardless of the cause, putting on your old clothes becomes a depressing exercise that leads to the inevitable messy Freudian spiral (“I hate myself and you, too”). And then you:

  1. shove the offending item in a bag destined for Goodwill – or –
  2. hide the previously-adored pants in the back of your closet so that they won’t shame you on a daily basis – or –
  3. wear ill-fitting clothes.

None of these are particularly good options. The first two can lead to redundant shopping (i.e. buying a black skirt when you already have one that’s now a size too small) and the latter is just not pretty.

Let me make it easy for you. So your black skirt is tight. Take it to the tailor. Put it on. Point out the unfortunate love handle squeezing/pulling cross the thigh situation to said tailor. Pay $12 to forego emotional damage AND have skirt that fits. See? Tailor = better than new.

Maybe you’ve never been to the tailor. That’s cool, not everyone grew up going to the tailor with their mother so frequently that you still remember her name fifteen years and 2500 miles later (Charo). Ask your lady friends or Yelp for recommendations. And then when you go, build a relationship on honesty. They don’t care what size you are and they aren’t judging you. So just throw on the clothes and let them mark you up with some chalk. Voila.

Okay, now your clothes fit. So you have no excuse to buy no clothes, hooray! False. You buy them anyway. Why? You’re kinda bored with what you have. And you’re itching for something new (better). This is vastly the reason we buy new clothes – not because we need them, but because we want something new. And so we go out and buy something. But stop and think about it. Surely you have something that you don’t wear anymore because it’s two styles removed from in style: fabulous in 1998, not so fabulous in 2011. You know where I’m going with this.

Tailors aren’t just for making clothes fit. They can also make old new again. Either visit your new friend the tailor or, if you’re lucky, stop by a place like DC’s Ginger Root Design. The two plucky ladies of Ginger Root help you re-imagine your old, less exciting clothes, tweaking the design and adding some bells and whistles like contrasting fabrics. Taking a hemline up a few inches or sleeves off a dress can make a world of difference. And then you’ve spent less money and consumed less to boot. You win! You have something fun and new or old and beautifully-tailored and your bank balance is in the black.


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3 responses to “Behind Door #3: The Tailor”

  1. Nicole says :

    Sometimes I wish this could happen with shoes. A reimagined heel or a motorcycle boot sole on a vintage pair of boots.

  2. Brieahn J. DeMeo says :

    I am in need of some good recommendations for DC tailors. I’ve got the one on G street on the list for expensive pieces, but need to find a tailor that won’t cost me a fortune to take in a few skirts and dresses. any suggestions would be lovely.


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