I never once got a piece of clothing altered growing up. I also wasn’t as much of a consumer then as I am now, and I just wore whatever I had and whatever was given to me as it was. As an adult, I’ve started shopping waaaaay more than I ever thought I would, and become aware of how those shopping habits are impacting the planet negatively. I mostly buy clothes online, since we don’t have most of the big fashion stores locally (Zara, H&M, Topshop, ASOS, etc.), so I rarely get to try things on before committing. I’m also a bargain hunter, so 90% of the time the stuff I’ve bought is on sale, and non-refundable. Result? I’ve gotten my share of clothes that kind of/sort of fit, at least enough to be wearable, but are nothing like what I’d imagine. I mostly wear them out of guilt for having bought them, and am constantly disappointed at how badly they fit me since they’re SO cute. The last straw for me? This gingham number from Topshop that I bought on sale last summer:
These were THE shorts. My mind could never dream up a more adorable pair of shorts if I spent a million years trying. They were going FAST on the sale, and they only had a size 8 left. No big deal, I’m usually a size 6 but I never buy shorts from Topshop in that size because my bum won’t fit in them, so a size 8 made sense. Right? Wrong. As soon as I tried them on, I realized they were a good few inches too big around the waist, but fit perfectly around the bum and thighs. The biggest issue was that they fell down to sit on my hips rather than hugging my waist, which made them look frumpy and mishapen. I only wore them a few times, and constantly had my hands in my pockets to hold them up.
So, I brought them to a seamstress — The Sewing Shop in Thunder Bay, to be exact. I didn’t end up altering them last summer though, because the seamstress told me I needed to wash them at least once. I went home and washed them, and then never brought them back out of pure laziness (it was late in the summer by that point anyways).
This year, I’m planning a move overseas on September 1st. So I’ve spent the whole summer trying to get rid of clothes and minimalize my wardrobe. This year, I also have my very first adult summer wedding (omg, am I old???) I hated the thought that I would buy yet another dress to wear just this one time.
Looking through my closet, I found this beautiful pink satin dress that I had worn just once, to my history formal in second year. I had to tape my boobs up when I wore it because the chest didn’t fit right. Then, I loaned it to a friend to wear and she had broken the strap, and ‘fixed it’ by butchering it with some pink thread and a needle. Even though it’s perfect for a wedding, I couldn’t wear it with the beat up strap, and I’m over taping my boobs. Solution? Get. It. Altered.
Result: I brought both my gingham shorts and my pink satin dress in to the seamstress and had them altered. I now have two pieces of clothing that fit me like a glove, and that I know I will love until the day I die. I, ever the forward thinker, took before and after photos to document the result.
The shorts were taken in at the back and fit perfectly around my waist now, not too snug, but they don’t fall down anymore. It only cost $12 CAD to have them done, so all in all it cost me around $50 to get super stylish, perfect fitting gingham shorts.
The dress was taken in along the top of each side of the chest. Now,I can wear it without a bra and it’s super comfortable and even more flattering. The strap was fixed and looks as good as new, and all the holes made by my friend were steamed out – no trace of the mishap whatsoever. The alterations cost around $25, and the dress was $70 from ASOS, which brings the total to STILL under $100 for this dress! Craziness!
If you’ve bought something that just sings straight to your heart, but doesn’t fit how you wish it would for whatever reason: bring it to a seamstress! It’s usually very affordable and honestly, I can hardly put a price on having something that I genuinely feel beautiful AND comfortable in. My only advice is: if you’re going to dish out some extra cash, make sure the item is going to last a good while, use the 30 wears rule. If something is calling out to you, and you know you’re going to wear it a ton annnnd it’s going to last all those wears, it’s generally worth another $30 to get it to fit you how you want.
From now on, I’ll always ask myself if it would be better to have something altered or fixed, before donating it and buying myself a newer version.
Next up: should I be taking my shoes to a cobbler to get them fixed up, rather than throwing them away and buying new ones? I’m particularly worried about replacing my oxfords…… updates to follow (but please give me advise if you use a cobbler!).