Home CommentaryStudent Life Doesn’t fit? Take it to your tailor

Doesn’t fit? Take it to your tailor

by The Concordian January 24, 2012

It’s happened to the best of us—we look in a fitting room mirror, and our shoulders sink, our facial expressions become sullen, and we focus less on the garment adorning our bodies and more on our bodies themselves. Why doesn’t it fit? If only the waist wasn’t so loose, if only my shoulders weren’t so broad, then I could buy this.
I personally have this problem a lot and I struggle trying to dress myself. I’ll cut out pictures in magazines of outfits I like on celebrities I adore, and try to copy what they wear. Then, when I find something that meets my inexplicably high standards, it just doesn’t fit. Why does it feel like every garment I’ve ever liked is made for celebrities, and not for normal people like me?
Contrary to my belief, which I’d like to think is popular, celebrities aren’t genetically composed to wear clothes better than the average person. Clothes don’t magically work for them because they have more money to buy expensive items. They just have a tailor to make what they love work for them.
Tailoring is a clothes connoisseur’s secret weapon. That pair of pants that fits your behind but not your waist can be adjusted to fit you like a glove. Buying a shirt to fit your shoulders and adding darts to fit the rest of your frame is perfectly viable. And it can even be affordable if you look for the right people.
“I’ve used a tailor before, jeans are always too long for me,” says Nathan Hartill, a political science student. “They usually just take off a couple inches, and the jeans are too baggy where the jeans meet the shoes.
And, after I get them hemmed, I really like my jeans,” he said, affirming my original notion about tailoring. “I usually pay no more than $15 for hemming. I won’t let something like length stop me from buying jeans I like.”
Another approach is much cheaper than finding a tailor. “I don’t use a tailor, because I just fix the clothes myself. I alter about 10 per cent of my clothes,” said Manuela Serje, a first-year art student. “It’s easy for me and I can do it, so I might as well. I’m short so a lot of things need to be shortened and sometimes tightened. It only takes about half an hour, so I might as well do it myself.”
Not armed with the skills to do it myself, I still decided to test the magic of tailoring for myself. So, I headed to Forever 21, bought a pair of jeans that fit me in length and around my behind, but were huge on my waist.
I then carted my purchase off to a tailor in Westmount—the closest one to my apartment to be exact—and asked him to do what he does best. He instructed me to put on my jeans, and then proceeded to tug at the denim until I told him to stop.
After repeatedly asking me if I was “sure they won’t be too tight,” and my constant reassurance that breathing is not necessary when putting on jeans, he set my jeans in a garment bag, and said I’d have them back two days from then. I asked how long the process actually took, and his response kind of surprised me. “Oh not long, a few hours. The only reason it’ll take until Friday is because I have a bunch of alterations to do before yours.” Apparently everyone in Westmount has discovered the beauty of a tailor. Except for me, that is.
I then decided that this mission extends far beyond the borders of Montreal. Taking to my home city of Toronto, I talked to a tailor named Severino Stillo at the Yorkville Holt Renfrew who has worked there for many years, and who also happens to be my uncle. He’s tailored suits for actors—the likes of celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and Sean Penn have both entrusted their suits into his precise hands.
“It really doesn’t take much to alter something to fit people. I’ve altered things for your cousins in the same day,” explained Severino to me, in a thick Italian accent.
My cousins, might I point out, have vastly different body types. One is short and bigger-boned, and her younger sister taller and curvaceous. Yet now, both have clothes that fit them perfectly. And, when I returned to Montreal to pick up my jeans from the tailor I had enlisted, my jeans fit, too.
For the small price of $11.95, I really did have a fairy godmother—or should I say fairy godfather in this case—in my arsenal. Head to your nearest tailor and discover the magic for yourself!

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