In Tailoring We Trust: Slideshow

It doesn’t take a fairy godmother to transform your wardrobe. Fashion insiders know that a few clever alterations can turn an old dress into something current and upgrade an inexpensive suit. Here’s how.
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Old to New

Before: Frumpy length, outdated style, sloppy sleeves

WHAT IT WAS A long, Elvira-esque dress, bought 20 years ago and stashed in my closetWHAT IT BECAME Cocktail chicHOW IT WAS DONE Dress and sleeves both shortened, sleeves taperedORIGINAL COST $550 (in 1988)TAILORING COSTS $100

After: Chopped and cropped. Hello, legs!

Add a Belt It defines my waist and updates the look (this one’s metallic, big for spring). BR Monogram leather belt, $95,bananarepublic.com. Thea Grant vintage rhinestone necklace, $385, Sucre, 212-352-1640.

Taper the Sleeves "Shorter and slimmer looks more youthful," our tailor says. Donna Karan New York metal clutch, $1,495, donna-karan.com.

Hem It Long is dowdy. With 16 inches taken off, the length is more current and more flattering to my legs. Giuseppe Zanotti Design leather sandals, $775, 212-650-0455.

Cheap to Chic

Before: Big and boxy, devoid of detail

WHAT IT WAS Nondescript gray suit, a size too bigWHAT IT BECAME Polished and boardroom-readyHOW IT WAS DONE Waist nipped, sleeves tapered, buttons replaced, trim addedORIGINAL COST $110TAILORING COSTS $150

After: A shapely standout

Change the Buttons Nothing upscales a suit faster than good buttons. Buttons from M&J Trimming, mjtrim.com.

Add Trim Expensive suits have details, like textural trim. Now mine does too. Raffia trim from M&J Trimming.

Slim the Sleeves A slender sleeve trims the whole body.

Add a Cuff A wide one makes the pants look more expensive, and the added weight helps the drape.

Fendi python tote, price upon request, 800-336-3469 for stores.

Originally published in MORE magazine, May 2009.

 

 

 

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