An Easy Alteration – Tapering the shape of a skirt or dress

As I am headed home for Thanksgiving, this will be my last post for the week. To my US readers: have a wonderful holiday! And don’t forget about Black Friday deals. I am envious of those who live in the NYC and the LA area, near the supposedly awesome Woodbury Common and Desert Hills Premium Outlets. I’ve never been to either but I hear their Thanksgiving Midnight Madness is truly madness!

So ever since I found a good tailor whom I can trust, my outlook on shopping has changed. Instead of asking “Will this fit?” I now ask “Does this have the potential to fit?” Now, whenever I see something nice on eBay for a good price, I make mental alterations to see what can be done, if needed.

This is a Theory Gamia combo dress that I found in a size 0 last month. It’s nothing special in the pics, but I thought it had the potential to become a welcome addition to my winter work wardrobe. The top is a knit black stretch fabric (which, from past experience, I was pretty sure would fit me) and the bottom is a unique gray and black textured material over an ivory underlay.

I instantly took a dislike, however, to the full and swingy A-line skirt. Unless it’s Halloween and I’m a 50’s poodle girl, I try to stay away from such skirts as they tend to overwhelm tiny petites.

It even looks matronly on the Theory model who is probably at least 5’10” plus heels, so imagine how it looked on me. Unfortunately, this was when I just started blogging, so I wasn’t yet in the habit of taking before-and-after pics.

I figured that the skirt would be an easy alteration, and went ahead and bought the dress. When I tried it on at Hemmingway Tailors, they instantly “tsk tsk tsk’d” at the huge skirt and started pinning away. They recommended shortening to right above the knee, and changing the A-line to a more tapered shape. Click “Read More” to see the end result.

Side story: I brought this dress in to the tailors at the same time as my black Burberry coat which needed a difficult lapel alteration. They quoted me $30 to hem and taper the lined dress, and an amount for the Burberry coat which will remain undisclosed, but let’s just say it pretty much cleared out my checking account that day. After getting that Burberry quote, I called them to say hold off on the dress until next time.

Turns out, they altered the dress for me anyways, free of charge! They chattered about how they hated to see a pretty dress sit around, not fitting the right way. It was so sweet of them, and their recommendation was right on … I love the shape now!

End result:

Before –> After

With tights to survive the wrath of New England winters:


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  1. Yikes! So I was wrong .. ended over $88, a bit more than what I paid. I guess other women out there find this shape flattering as-is : )

    Posted 11.28.09 Reply
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    You definitely have good tailors. Plus you being a regular customer also helps.

    Posted 11.26.09 Reply
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    That's such a cute dress. It looks great on you! Aaaand of course now that you've linked to the dress, it's up to $41. 🙂

    Posted 11.26.09 Reply

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