Suit Chronicles: Tailoring Ann Taylor

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Ann Taylor Factory Tweed Suit, sz 0 regular (alterations shown below)
Ann Taylor petal shell (similar in petites) & perfect pumps sz 5, Chanel M/L flap
As a continuation from this post, here is my tweed suit post-alterations. It’s a bit mature and formal when worn as a set, but extremely versatile as separates. One of the first things I look for in a suit is the ability for each piece to shine on it’s own. These were the alterations done:
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Total cost of a well-fitting suit? Suit: $56 (on clearance from $200) Alterations: $100

For such a large alteration job, my tailors had me do a second fitting before “finishing” (ie. sew up hems) the suit. The skirt and sleeves were not slim enough, so they fixed that before we had one final fitting. I was thankful they left the hems unfinished when I arrived, to spare me the stress of having to ask for re-alterations.

I just want to clarify – I’m not recommending that anyone go out and buy a suit that is several sizes too big and spending double the amount on alterations. I fell in love with this texture, took a risk, and it (thankfully) paid off, but I’ve had my fair share of failed & costly alterations. In general, it’s very risky to get structured pieces (jacket, suit) altered anything more than 1-2 sizes.

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I can’t find anything similar in stores right now, but I did see Ann Taylor has a new Linen Tweed Pencil Skirt in petites that looks like a gorgeous warm-weather material. I’m keeping that on my watchlist for the next big sale. Wonder if the tweed blend will counteract crinkly issues that plagues most linen garments?

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49 Comments

  1. Nice alterations. Great work done by you. http://www.mensusa.com/articles/tweed-suits.html

    Posted 11.10.14 Reply
  2. Wow, what a design its imaging, I love those design… keep it up… it's a great work done by you…

    Posted 7.17.13 Reply
  3. Is Loft the same as Ann Taylor petites? I found stuff to be a bit cheaper there but sizes a bit big. What is your take on that.

    P.s. There's a sales promotion going on there, would love to hear your opinion about their stuff!

    http://www.loft.com/?CID=aff_6226516

    Posted 11.15.12 Reply
  4. Tailoring wrote:

    Execellent Admirable Structured and very fitted stitching technique thanks for sharing.

    Posted 9.6.11 Reply
  5. Kristin wrote:

    wow gorgeous suit and it fits you like a glove!! i live in Boston and have been on the hunt for a good tailor — would you mind sharing the tailor you use? Thanks!

    Posted 7.21.11 Reply
  6. Anne wrote:

    I am new to your blog and really enjoying it! Would you be able to share info on the tailor you use? I am also in the Boston area and would love to find a good tailor as so far I haven't had great luck. Many thanks!

    Posted 6.26.11 Reply
  7. Tiffany wrote:

    Thank you for sharing the alterations. I have such a difficult time adjusting to the amount of money I have to shell out for alteraations. But your blog post convinces me of the usefulness of doing it. Please post more of such alterations! Thanks!!

    Posted 6.8.11 Reply
  8. Thanks again, everyone : ) I do feel very lucky to have tailors that do a great job 9 out of 10 times.

    @zhiting I use a Canon T2i : )

    Posted 6.7.11 Reply
  9. Looks stunning! That's an amazing outcome for such a risk! Your tailors did a great job! The colour suits you so well =)

    Posted 6.7.11 Reply
  10. Wendy wrote:

    You look FABULOUS, Jean! Great choice in buying the suit and tailoring it to suit you. You ALWAYS look classy and chic! Love the suit. The color looks wonderful on you.

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  11. Your blog is genius. This is a killer suit. Very Chanel and totally classic and gorgeous on you!

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  12. did your tailors do smthg slightly different to the sleeves? or just shorten it? it seems different to me from the pics.

    I'm noticing lots of different lengths on this suit that I like (skirt length, length of the blazer around the hip bones, and against all my dislike for bracelet length sleeves, your tailors did a nice job here).

    I'd love to see the result of the "contour back" seams in the future when you showcase this jacket again.

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  13. Loralyn wrote:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  14. Sunshine wrote:

    how many times can i say i'm jealous of your tailor before it gets really annoying? πŸ˜›

    the alterations are impeccable! i especially like how you shorten the sleeves length and remove the pockets. totally make the jacket!

    you look lovely, Jean πŸ™‚

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  15. zhiting wrote:

    Hi Jean,
    May I know what camera you are using ? I love all your photos !!

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  16. Thank you so much everyone for your kind words!

    J – whoa..a well-loved recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    Jean from Singapore – I'd just stick to thin, plain ones for work. I like the occasional decorated one (bow or floral) for casualwear : )

    Claud – ah blogger is having so many issues lately!

    Anon readers – I moderated some comments on here as I'd like the conversations to stay positive : ) I strongly believe that bloggers should have original sites and ideas, so thank you guys – your support is appreciated!

    Posted 6.6.11 Reply
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    wow! You look amazing! now, may I have one of those burgers? πŸ˜‰ yummy.-Claud (btw, i can't post comments anymore when I try to sing in with my google account it keeps taking me back to sing in page and I can't post comments).

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    I just shot you an e-mail, but I am interested in buying the BB Dakota skirt if still available. – Nancy

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  19. Wow, they look great! Money well spent I said. Your tailor is genius!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  20. aneetac wrote:

    I'm interested in the skirt if it's still available :). I really like the lavender color of the suit (I also really liked the lavender skirt you used in your "How to Style a Leopard Cardigan" video). Congrats on a successful alteration!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  21. b_ra wrote:

    I really like how the suit turned out post alterations. Prior to reading your blog, I would never have thought to go beyond the usual hemming of the length of pants but now you have opened up a whole new world of possibilities!

    Have a great week!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  22. jenn wrote:

    I'm still amazed what simple tailoring can do! Love the suit! I'm so glad I found this blog!

    As for the grilling, I personally think it's a male tradition or something that's passed down. My brother and Dad are always grilling and having a beer while waiting for the steaks to cook. Also, I think guys tend to be a bit pickier about their meat. I definitely let the men handle the grilling so I don't have to hear their complaints. πŸ™‚

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  23. Anonymous wrote:

    i am interested in the skirt if it is still available!
    iloverelaxbear@gmail.com

    thanks!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  24. R.L. wrote:

    Yay so glad you're no longer on test prep mode! Like Kelly, I was skeptical after seeing the big pockets and frayed edges in your before photos. But you had great foresight and your tailors did an excellent job! The finished product is stunning. I never thought to judge suit pieces to see if they could stand alone, but now that you mention it I can't wait to see how you'll style the blazer and skirt individually. The tweed material is absolutely gorgeous.

    And I know what mean about men excelling at cooking certain meats. My friend uses only a clay pot for a grill and ends up making delicious burgers. Your last pic has me salivating now πŸ™‚

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  25. Linda wrote:

    Oops! I forgot to leave my email in my previous comment. linda.ngoclinh.nguyen (at) gmail.com

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  26. Ooh, that suit came out wonderfully! Removing the pockets is not something I would have thought of, but is a very clever idea. It makes a huge difference on slimming down the look.

    I agree about the comment on men cooking meat. While I love cooking steak/burgers/etc. myself, my bf insists on cooking if it's steak or something on the grill. He is a complete disaster on everything else, lol (he had a large flare-up making SOUP). I think some guys have some prehistorical caveman traits that burst out when it comes to cooking meat, as I've heard about this from other guys too.

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  27. Anonymous wrote:

    It's probably too late, but I'm also interested in the BB Dakota skirt. Sent you a message with my email but here it is again: melissacelam at gmail.com. Thanks!

    – Melissa

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  28. Vicky wrote:

    Fantastic outcome, Jean! Nice risk taking you got there I have to say. πŸ™‚ You look fantastic as usual and I'm glad to see you back.

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  29. What a great transformation, Jean! I absolutely adore the suit post-alterations on you. I would never have thought to pick up a suit that is several sizes too big and opt for alterations. You definitely have an eye for fashion.

    Congrats on finishing the exam. We're glad to have you back πŸ™‚ Those sliders are definitely a great way to recharge your energy after those long days of study.

    Just an FYI, the floating advertisement is popping up again on your blog. I am not sure if you knew. Have a great Sunday, Jean!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  30. Tara wrote:

    Wow, this was totally worth all of the altering…it fits you perfectly, and looks so gorgeous on you! I would never have thought to remove pockets….genius!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  31. Cee wrote:

    I can't get enough of the fit post-alterations. I'm so glad this suit turned out as expected. Mme Coco Chanel would approve!

    Would you mind sharing how much alterations like this would cost? I'm imagining close to $100?

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  32. Anonymous wrote:

    Jean's a fashion genius!

    I love the suit – got to agree with the first poster that it is very Chanel. I think the alterations are worth it!

    p/s On a separate note, any tips on styling headbands for work? πŸ™‚

    -jean (from singapore)

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  33. Your tailored surpassed himself! That's a beautiful suit to serve you many, many times over in so many different ways.
    Personally I would have kept the pockets because I love pockets on jackets plus it helps to give me hips to balance my shoulders. But can totally appreciate the clean look too.

    I'm seriously considering the taupe colour now that I've seen your gorgeous CC bag with many different outfits and looks.

    Very well done all round!!!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  34. modniza wrote:

    love your style , so chanel!! you are fab girl! xoxo

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  35. I am definitely interested in the skirt if it is still available. My email is hannahactually@gmail.com & I can pay immediately! πŸ™‚

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  36. Elle wrote:

    The alterations came out BEAUTIFULLY! I am drooling over the beautiful spring tweed all over my keyboard. You definitely have an eye for things that (could) work, I am so bummed that this didn't come in a petite version because I am not nearly adventurous enough to foot a $100 tailing bill on something that might not turn out the way I intended. Your tailors again did a wonderful job though!

    Congrats on finishing your exam!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  37. Linda wrote:

    Hi Jean! If Anonymous #1 changes her mind, may I have the groton skirt? Thank you! You look gorgeous by the way πŸ˜€

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  38. DSK Steph wrote:

    I love the color of your outfit! Glad to see you back on the blog! πŸ™‚

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  39. Million times better after alterations! When I saw the before photos in your post a while back I was a little skeptical, but removing the pockets from the jacket was a fantastic idea.

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  40. This is a great suit!!! It fits you so well with the alterations! I also love the lavender ruffle top you are wearing! Great pairing

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  41. What a huge difference from before and after Jean! You look gorgeous- but you always do:-) Too bad the suit didn't come in petites!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  42. eve wrote:

    Love how you match the color!:)
    U look gorgeous!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  43. Victoria wrote:

    Wow, a lot of work but the result is stunning.

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  44. what a transformation!!!!!!!

    the suit is almost unrecognizable. it was a huge risk to have such fitted pieces sized so far down; what a rewarding result. so sleek and absolutely gorgeous.

    jenny
    http://goldnturquoise.blogspot.com/

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  45. I absolutely love your suit post alterations! You are right – it is very risky to do alterations on something that needs to be taken in 2+ sizes. When people ask me to take something in for them, I turn them down when I find out they want it to be 2 sizes smaller. It's just way too risky and very difficult.

    The burgers look delicious!!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  46. J wrote:

    Love the suit – I like that it is more mature, on the rare occasion that you need to appear thus. Btw, this chili is TDF and might make you a decent contender for Nick: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Boilermaker-Tailgate-Chili/Detail.aspx

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  47. That suit was altered beautifully! I can't imagine how much intricacy it takes to make a suit look like it came like that.

    And those mini burgers are looking delicious. I am a huge burger fan and even huger cheese fan πŸ™‚ !! YUM!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  48. Anonymous wrote:

    i am interested in buying the skirt…

    anna 126 m (at) yahoo

    (no spaces)

    thank you!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply
  49. wow! the alterations were amazing!! The suit is gorgeous, very Chanel-esque material. What a great deal for $56, I think it was worth the risk & alterations costs for you =]

    damn, those burgers made me hungry!! I love sliders!

    Posted 6.5.11 Reply

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