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Ever Buy An Item Thinking You’ll Have It Altered? Stop! Read This First

November 13, 2021

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Isn’t it the best feeling? You buy something new. Something you’re super excited to wear. You get it home and realize you already have an awesome pair of shoes to go with it. A beautiful pair of earrings and, of course, the perfect handbag that’ll pull your look altogether.
And you… you can’t wait to get up the next morning and get dressed.

Yet, too often, Petites settle for items that don’t fit quite right. All the while thinking they’ll just take it to the tailor, have it altered, and then it’ll work.

Now, don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to have an item altered.
But that doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be the norm. It’s an unnecessary expense, a waste of your time, and there are things a tailor cannot change about a garment. So, before you buy another too-long, too big item, check out the Can and Can’ts listed below.

But First…

Before we dive into specifics – let’s talk about a general best tailoring practice.
If you’ve lost weight and wear 1 size smaller, you can have most of your favorite items altered.
Lost more than 1 size? Congratulations ya’ little rockstar! And get ready to do some shopping because it’s time to replace those items.
Removing that much material will change the shape of an item and likely require a complete reconstruction to fit correctly.
As far as hemming goes, two inches is fine. Depending upon the style, you may even be able to get away with as much as 4-inches – but no more. You’ll lose too much of the shape, and the garment will end up looking wonky.
One last thing to keep in mind… the more classic and clean the lines of a garment is, the easier it will be to alter and have it come out looking great.


how do petites alter clothes

Can: Sleeves can be shortened. So can the length, but be careful if it’s fitted because shortening it too much can throw off the shape.
Don’t: Armhole height can’t be changed. And that goes for all tops or bodices.


Can: The sleeve and overall length can be shortened.
Can: I’ve also had clients take too-blousy tops and have them tapered to be more flattering.
Don’t: Mess with the shoulders. If the seam hits too low on your upper arm, it requires the entire blouse be deconstructed and is more hassle than it’s worth.


Can: The length of pants and skirts can be shortened, but not more than the two inches we talked about before. Anything more, and it’ll throw off the overall shape and won’t look right.
Can: The waist can be taken in and is usually a quick, easy fix.
Can’t: Stick with the 4-inch max rule when it comes to boot cut or flared leg pants.
Can’t: While super talented tailors can shorten the rise (the measurement from the crotch to the waistband). It’s far easier to buy the correct size from the get-go. Too often, the waistband will lay funny after the rise is shortened, and you won’t be happy with the result.
For more tips on finding your perfect pants, take a look here.


how do petites alter clothes

Can: Shorten the length, nip in the bodice, and shorten straps. Although with the last, if the bodice is tapered, make sure the waist still hits at the correct spot and not too high on your ribcage.
Can’t: Shorten tiered dresses, or the bottom tier will turn into a ruffle.

Put a bow on it…

We live in such an amazing time. We can find literally anything we can dream about online. Even better, designers have caught on to what a big business Petite fashion is and are broadening their offering of items that’ll fit us perfectly.
So the next time you catch yourself thinking, ‘I’ll just have it nipped in there, shortened there, and tacked there, and then it’ll be perfect.’ Stop. And first, take a look at stores that offer clothes already designed to fit you and your Petite height.
Want a little inspiration? You can check out my favorite Petite stores and what they each do best right here.

‘Til next week.

Hugs & happy shopping.

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Hi! I'm Angela. High-achieving Petites hire me to create a closet full of clothes they love to wear.

After working as an executive in the fashion and beauty industry for over 20 years, it became clear, successful Petites needed more than a personal shopper or a random influencer on Instagram telling them to buy the latest trendy jeans.

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