Know You'll Never Get To The Tailor? Here's How To Make It Fit Anyway

You'd think that someone who writes about fashion for a living would buy clothing that actually fits. Wrong. Recently, on yet another night spent sorting through my closet, I made the four piles I always do when re-evaluating my wardrobe: keep, donate, sell, and "need to get tailored." The only problem was, deep down, I knew the tailoring pile would never actually make it there — because it never has before.

It might be because I haven't found an alterations place I really like or trust, or because I feel like the dry cleaner and tailor in my neighborhood are only open during the most inconvenient hours for people with full-time jobs (seriously, who can actually drop their goods off between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.?). Then, there's the whole issue of why I end up with so many pieces of ill-fitting clothing in the first place: I'm petite, so I tend to settle when shopping for bottoms, buying them even when they don't fit perfectly. And don't even get me started on my aversion to fitting rooms — I've mistakenly purchased so many things without even trying them on.

So this time, I decided to accept the fact that I'm too lazy to take my clothes to get altered, and refocus that energy on figuring out how to make these closet duds work sans thread and needle. As it turns out, with a little creativity and the right styling, I was able to turn a few ill-fitting pieces into flattering ones. Read on to see how I did it.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Bad Fit: Droopy Straps
My best friend gave me this jumpsuit because it didn't really suit her style, and I happily accepted — even though the fit was off. The straps were made for someone with a longer torso than mine, so they sagged around the chest and always slipped off my shoulders.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Hack: The Tie-&-Lift
I took a silk scarf that used to decorate my wall and tied the two straps together in the back. The jumpsuit felt like it was an entirely new piece: The straps sat securely on my shoulders, and the front looked neat and trim, even if I bent over. And as a bonus, I had a cute, added detail on the back. Problem solved.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Bad Fit: Too-Big Waists
No matter how many times I've done it, I'll never learn: I continue to buy pants from websites whose sizing I'm not familiar with. And since I'm barely over five feet tall and have the hips of a 12-year-old boy, they rarely ever fit properly. These trousers were too big in the waist, and the rise and inseam were way off with my proportions. While some people might be able to rock a drop-crotch look, all I know is that these pinstripe pants didn't look anything like this on the e-comm model.


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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Hack: The D.I.Y Paperbag
To remedy this, all you need is a belt. The paperbag waist trend is back, and you can make a pair of pants way more flattering by hiking them up and wrapping a big belt over top (ignore the belt loops!). See how much longer my legs look in the after shot? Plus, it saved me the $30 I might have spent getting them taken in.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Bad Fit: Oversized Bottoms
I received these shorts as a gift, and while absolutely adorable, they were just too big. But, the shape and material of the shorts would have never lent itself to a paperbag waist — I had to get craftier.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Hack: The Sneaky Tuck-in
Not too long ago, I discovered a sneaky way to make some big bottoms fit more snugly: just tuck in a thicker top. When I swapped my usual thin long-sleeved shirt for a chunky knit, the shorts were immediately more flattering around my waist, rather than sagging down to my hips. Sure, this means I won't be able to wear them during the summer, and that I'll probably always need to pair them with tights, but I'll do anything to wear this pair out of the house!
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Bad Fit: Too-Long Legs
Something about rolling the bottom of my jeans just irks me — I can never get them situated in that perfect spot between "done" and "disheveled." And call me squeamish, but cutting the bottoms off feels too final for me. But then, scrolling through last season's Fashion Week street style, I saw a new way to approach too-long jeans.
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Photographed by Alexandra Gavillet.
The Hack: The Oversized Cuff
Obviously, it's not difficult— simply cuff your pants once over to the desired length, no scrunching, fussing, or tucking required. That's it.
Remember, all of these styling situations are very case-by-case — I can't guarantee that belting every ill-fitting pair of pants will automatically make them look better. Instead, my takeaway from this experiment was that, yet again, the key to getting more wear out of every item in your closet is to think outside of the styling box — before you shell out hundreds of dollars to get just a few pieces "fixed."

Of course, if you have the time and money to have all of your clothing impeccably tailored — go for it. But if you don't, all you really need to be is willing to get inventive, crafty, and take a style risk or two, even if it feels weird at first. Then, you can simply sit back and watch all of the compliments roll in.
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