Women’s clothing is generally produced using standard and universal sizing measurements. But, E/M knows that every body is different –– which means that slight alteration may be necessary to ensure that a garment fits you exactly the way it should.

Alterations should do just that: alter a garment — not remake it. If you feel like you need to overhaul an entire portion of a piece of clothing for it to fit, you should most likely return. You shouldn’t need to resort to more drastic measures (like creating darts where they didn’t exist, or reworking an entire silhouette) to make your clothes flatter and fit your shape.

The first step toward getting expert alterations is finding an expert tailor –– and the best way to do that is through word of mouth. Ask your style-conscious friends who know the city well for recommendations. Read through our recommendations below to educate yourself on some simple rules of tailoring.

Consider Your Body Shape

If your shoulders are broad, fit tops to them first before altering other areas. If you have a fuller bust, ensure your blazer can button properly before tailoring the rest of the piece. If your hips are wider than your waist, fit bottom garments to your hips first before adjusting the fit of the waistband. Keep in mind that items with more structure are easier to alter, their construction often includes more seams and sturdy fabric which will give your tailor more to work with.

The Upper Body

A garment’s shoulder width should be altered to align with the edge of your own shoulders. It’s especially important for those with narrow shoulders to tailor their jackets, tops, and dresses so the garments don’t overwhelm their frame or look oversized.

Dresses and jackets are often made using a pair of darts along the back to shape the frame and draw the eye toward the waistline. If you find a garment that fits in the shoulders but feels too wide around the waist, have the darts taken in a bit.

In terms of arm length, the end of a properly tailored sleeve should graze the top of your wrist –– a sleeve is too long if its hem breaches the line where your hand begins to widen (unless it is designed on purpose that way).

The Lower Body

When considering hem length, simple alterations here can improve the proportions of your garment. While the most common alteration is to have a hem pulled up to make a garment shorter, consider that pants can also be let down and lengthened.

Pants that fit your waist but feel too baggy in the leg should be altered to remove some of their fullness. To execute this, have the tailor take in fabric from the seam starting at the hip bone down to the leg opening.

Also consider belt loops. Unless you are wearing denim, belt loops typically shouldn’t be exposed if they aren’t supporting a belt. If you rarely wear belts, a tailor can easily remove them.

To prevent pant lines made by inner pocket seams, have the pocket linings removed. For an extra-smooth finish, you can also have the top of the pockets sewn closed to keep them from opening up when you move.

Need additional assistance with finding the perfect tailored pieces for your body? Book a complementary digital styling session with one of our personal stylists via emailing us with your needs below.