One of my favorite things to do with new clothes is to re-design them with my tailor. I started doing this years ago when I began inheriting clothes from my mom during her occasional feng shui attacks that were set off by her overflowing closets. I took her '80s power suits and old Thomas Pink shirts that didn't fit me quite right, or weren't really my style, to our tailor, and a couple weeks later I would have an amazing new dress or shirt that cost a fraction of what something new would. I then started tweaking clothes from my own closet as well as stuff that was purchased brand new. Generally the clothes get small adjustments: a hemline is shortened, cap sleeves become strap sleeves, or the collar of a shirt is removed. These changes always make the clothes look and fit better, and often I'll buy something with the expectation that I'll have it reworked.
Some people say, "why not find the perfect dress in the first place?" Given the seemingly limitless access and options that online shopping gives us, you'd think it would be easier than ever to find something perfect. What I've discovered is the opposite, and that an over-emphasis on trends and a widening quality gap between fast fashion and luxury has left us with fewer options rather than more. To find something that fits your price range, fits you, and generally looks good and will last is harder than it should be. The dress I recently made was inspired by one from one of my favorite companies, Kitsuné.
While I loved the design/silhouette, I wanted a different pattern and something that was less expensive (the dollar to euro rate wasn't doing me any favors!). I then found the perfect pattern and fabric (light, whispy linen) in this Madewell jumpsuit. I took the jumpsuit to the tailor I’ve used since moving to Chicago, and was surprised when she said she it would be too hard to convert it into a dress. A few phone calls to various tailors later and I found the Dress Doctor, who didn’t hesitate when I described what I wanted. In fact, the Dress Doctor made her name converting power suits into power dresses.
The tailor and I created a skirt out of the pants, took up the hem (not that the dress would need less fabric, but still), and then made the top straps a little thinner and tighter. I couldn’t be happier with what we came up with -- and happier still that it’s finally warm enough in Chicago to wear it.