This week I answer a question sparked by a conversation I had recently–that a lot of women struggle with: Is tailoring worth it? The answer has nothing to do with the price, but everything to do with value.
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Read the full episode transcript below! – Ep 40 Office Hours Is Tailoring Worth the Money?
Today’s episode of Office Hours is sponsored by Holding Hangers. I know lots of you are spending more time at home right now, and a great way to use this time wisely is to edit your closet, getting rid of things that aren’t working for you anymore. While you’re doing it, take the time to upgrade your closet tools and hangers! Replace your plastic tube hangers with velvet slimline versions, and upgrade your hangers for your pants and skirts to Holding Hangers, which save space, keep your items hung wrinkle-free, and keep your wardrobe even more organized.
Everyday Style listeners can take 15% off their first purchase by going to holding hangers.com and using code STYLE15. That’s STYLE15 in all caps.
Welcome back to Office Hours–the weekly show of the Everyday Style School podcast, where we answer one question, submitted by you, you gorgeous ladies, to help make style easier, and getting dressed more fun.
Today’s question came up after a presentation I gave last week. After the talk was over, I was circulating, answering more questions, and at one of the tables, the conversation turned to tailor.
One of the ladies in the group mentioned she had saw a Facebook post recently, talking about why celebrities always look so good, and one reason is that everything they wear is tailored to fit them perfectly.
I saw the same post, I think it was from Clinton Kelly’s Facebook page, but I couldn’t find it to link to. My apologies.
Anyway, we all agreed that things just look better when they’re custom-tailored for you, and in fact, it’s kind of crazy to expect things to fit your individual body perfectly right off the rack.
But of course, any talk of tailoring turns to the added cost, which no one likes to spend, and how to tell if an item is worth it or not.
This is a question I’ve gotten a lot over the years, and a resistance I’ve faced from a lot of my Lindas, so I figured it was worth an episode here.
Here’s the one thing you need to know about whether or not it is worth it to tailor anything. Tailoring has nothing to do with price, but everything to do with value.
Let me explain the difference between price and value. Price is the relationship between the store and the item, or the service provider, and the service. For example, the price of hemming your pants might be $15. The price of the shirt might be $40.
That’s the price. It is set by the retailer, or the service provider, in exchange for the item, or the service. It has nothing to do with you.
Value, on the other hand, has everything to do with you. Value is the relationship between you and the item or the service. It has nothing to do with the store or the service provider.
Value is personal, and a reflection of how useful an item is to you. By the way, your clothes have absolutely no value if you can’t or don’t wear them.
This is a bigger conversation for another day, but for now, you just need to know that clothes you can’t wear, regardless of how much you paid for them, are worth nothing, value-wise.
So, let’s take those pants that will cost $15 to hem. If they’re sitting in your closet, unable to be worn, because they drag on the ground and trip you, they have no value. If you could spend $15 and have pants that you could wear twice a week, would that be valuable to you?
I would venture to guess yes! If you could spend a little extra to have your clothes fit you better, or be more flattering, and be more confident in how you look, would that be worth it to you? That’s the question you have to answer. Not, is the price worth it, but, would tailoring increase the value. To you.
One thing I’ve heard so often over the years is that it isn’t worth it to tailor inexpensive things, and I beg to differ. I always share the story of the top I found on clearance at Old Navy for $7. It was perfect in almost every way. It was my best color, my favorite neckline, the perfect length, and it laid nicely under cardigans and jackets without getting a messed up collar, which is a huge pet peeve of mine.
The only thing wrong with this top was that the sleeves were too long. My other pet peeve is too long sleeves. The sleeves hung out of the jackets and cardigans, they got stretched out and sloppy, and just didn’t look nice. As it was, this otherwise perfect $7 top would have hung, unworn in my closet.
I spent more on tailoring the sleeves than I did on the shirt, and it became one of the most worn pieces in my wardrobe. The price of the tailoring increased the value of the item, so it was worth every penny.
Instead of asking “is it worth it to tailor this” ask “would tailoring this piece makes it more valuable in my wardrobe”? If the answer is yes, regardless of how much you spent on the item, you should consider having it done.
Also, we often avoid tailoring because we’re afraid of the cost. My advice is to take it to a tailor and ask. You never know. I’ve taken a couple of things in, thinking it would be a simple fix and fairly inexpensive, only to be surprised by how much was quoted. On the other hand, I’ve had some major tailoring overhauls cost way less than I was anticipating.
The key is to ask before you hand your items over. Don’t leave yourself open to surprises, and don’t be afraid to shop around. I had a tailor in a mall quote me $40 for the same changes a tailor in a dry cleaner charged me $20 for. Ask your local network for recommendations to good tailors.
Once you have a rough idea of what costs are, a factor that in when you’re shopping. I spent $15 tailoring my Old Navy top sleeves, which brought the cost of that top to $22. Would I have bought that top, if it were perfect off the rack, for $22? Thousand times yes. I know how much my tailor charges for hemming sleeves, and taking in the hips and legs of pants, so I can make an educated purchase.
Finally, it never hurts to ask if the store offers any alteration services. I’ve linked to a few stores in the show notes above that offer free alterations.
The bottom line, focus on building a wardrobe that’s based on value, not price, and learn to see tailoring as a way to make your wardrobe more valuable.
Thank you to the ladies who sparked this question, and If you’re listening, and have a question you’d like me to cover in Office Hours, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, I’d like to thank Holding Hangers for sponsoring this episode and don’t forget to visit holdinghangers.com and use code STYLE15 (all caps!) to take 15% off of your first purchase
That’s all for today–see you next week!