J.Crew bag, Ann Taylor leather trim skirt, YSL heels
This outfit features pieces that have trendier details, but have nevertheless become classics in my fairly conservative wardrobe. A leopard print coat may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I loved the more wearable textured linen unlike the usual faux fur. After trying on so many items that I’ve felt yawningly indifferent about, I’ve been all the more appreciative of pieces that get me excited at first sight!
As expected, the coat was roomy throughout, but I saw potential for a piece that I’d enjoy for years to come. I wish I could say the same for Nick, who was horrified at the massive amount of leopard and dubbed me “Cruella Deville.” I usually value his honest, unfiltered thoughts, but this was something I knew I loved regardless of opposing opinions.
And now for the not so fun but unfortunately necessary part of having well-fitting clothes – getting & paying for alterations. Wendy, who is very similar to me in size, bought the same coat and got it beautifully altered in L.A. (as shown in the below right pic). Her tailor took the torso up by the shoulders, which is a fix I’m familiar with for dresses and tops but never had done for a coat. I imagine it’s very complex, but the end result is a proportionate, properly-tailored garment …versus one that has just been hemmed and taken-in, but with all the details (button and pocket placement, lapels, etc) left unadjusted. I was fascinated! Proper tailoring must be a dying art, as the tailors I asked in Boston said they’d never done that for coats, and quickly shunned my suggestion like it was a bunch of baloney.
Left: Unaltered coat on me in sz 00
Right: Wendy’s coat post-alterations on her – entire torso was lifted by the shoulders, shoulder width was narrowed, sleeves were slimmed, torso was slimmed and hemmed
Wendy so kindly offered to take my coat to her tailor and mail it back, but in the end I just went to one that I’ve been visiting in Chinatown (located on Knapp St & speaks Chinese only). I proposed a “fitting,” and asked the tailor to leave the lining seams unfinished until I could try the coat on and give feedback. I’m a wuss when it comes to asking tailors to re-do work, so figured this request would set some expectations.
A month and a fitting later, the results are not perfect from all angles, but I think my tailor did the best his skills would allow. Unlike Wendy’s results, the lapel/pockets/buttons on mine were not shifted upwards, so the lower button hole comes closer to the shortened hem (I removed the button itself). Despite some issues, I adore the coat – and Nick even had me doubled over in surprise when he mentioned how much he now enjoys it.
Total cost for me was $60 to take in the shoulders, slim and hem the torso, and slim the sleeves. I was expecting to pay well over $100, so note this is unusually low for the amount of work done (which the tailor proclaimed himself afterwards) and not to be expected. My aunt says not to bargain with tailors, if you want your stuff to come back in the best shape possible!
Readers – Have you ever had a coat or blazer taken up by the shoulders (or done it yourself)? If so, please share how it turned out and how much the job cost.