Alterations are Not a Sign of Failure



Your clothes don’t fit you perfectly straight off the rack?  So what!

Needing alterations is not a sign of failure.  It’s not a sign that something is wrong with you or your body.

Clothing manufacturers are trying to make clothes:

  1. Cheaply (means cutting clothes straighter rather than curvier)
  2. To get onto the bodies of as many people as possible, (I didn’t say to “fit as many people as possible”!)

They aren’t spending time hoping that it will look great on you.  In fact, it’s in their interest for your clothes not to look great, so you’re dissatisfied and keep shopping (and spending your money, buying more clothes from them).

When you buy “off the rack” you are taking a generic garment, not designed to fit you individually (nobody came and took your measurements before they made the piece did they?).  So needing to get some tweaks to alter that generic garment is completely fine.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with you or your body.

Take Action:

Go through your wardrobe and try on those clothes that you know don’t fit quite right.  Decide if you want to get them altered and what needs to be done to have them made to fit you correctly, write a quick note and pin it to the garment.

Take everything that needs alterations to your dressmaker or tailor (or if you can sew, do it yourself).

If you’re not prepared to invest in an alteration, consider if the garment still earns its place in your wardrobe.


Further Reading

Want to see the power of alterations?  Then look no further than Alterations Needed where there are heaps of great posts to give you some inspiration to go and find an alterations person.

10 Easy alterations – from shortening a shirt sleeve to resizing a bra

Great tips and inspiration for alterations and resources from Recovering Shopaholic

Lazy girls guide from Already Pretty on some easy alterations you can attempt at home!

How to slim sleeves and armholes from Extra Petite

How to tailor your own clothes from Life is Beautiful

Easy alterations and why you need to tailor from Putting me Together


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  • This article is bizarre and I am genuinely puzzled. I can’t begin to imagine why people would think of having tailored clothes as a failure!

    Here in France most medium/higher-end chain stores and all department stores offer free alterations on both men’s and women’s clothes. In fact, trousers are usually sold unhemmed and altered to the exact length on purchase. I have a narrow waist and wide hips/bottom, so all trousers, skirts, dresses and even jackets have to be taken in at the waist. Items I buy online get taken straight to the local dressmaker (every neighbourhood has one) before I wear them.

    Badly fitting clothes look cheap (because only the cheaper stores don’t offer this service) and I can’t imagine anyone thinking they are a failure because their clothes don’t look cheap enough! What a strange concept!

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