Monday, December 16, 2013

Tailor Fitted: The New Standard for Your Clothes, Not Your Shape.

Tailoring should be accessible to a wider variety of client. Providing quality tailoring at a lower price point will hopefully re-establish well-fitted clothing as a fashion standard. The truth is that I’d rather have my work making people feel and look dapper more than marking up its cost. I want everyone to be able to afford tailoring. I want to change the public opinion that tailoring is expensive and snobby; instead it should be seen as a wise investment. It’s a step I can help my clients take towards loving their bodies, liking their clothes, and discovering their personal style.

“Fast fashion” sells junk that loses structure, wears out, and falls apart if you look at it funny. Cheap, quickly-made clothing that doesn’t look good on almost anybody. It’s not supposed to look good on almost anybody; it’s supposed to convince you to spend money. As a result, if so many people spending so much money on crappy clothes, that’s exactly what the market will supply for us. Pretense and schmatte (Bubbie wants to know why you’re spending good money on this schmatte. You can’t even clean the windows with those rags!).

In my head, Louise Nevelson is my Bubbie. 

Off the rack clothing doesn’t fit most people, tailoring is necessary. It’s become common knowledge that mass-producing clothing retailers design their clothes to fit the impossible fictional ideal of women’s and men’s bodies. Then the design is sized up or down; seemingly done by an Apparel Department intern just clicking “OBJECT > TRANSFORM > SCALE > +120%”. Boom, larger garment. Repeat with negative percentages, then take an early lunch. In the real world with real bodies, scaling a design requires math (like that algebra crap from high school you thought you’d never actually use), a knowledge of human proportions, and a good eye for adjusting the construction and details of a garment to look best on a body different than the original pattern. This last skill is quite rare, necessary for good fit, and was voted “Most Likely to Be Utterly Disregarded by the Industry” in the Fast-Fashion High School Year Book (Yeah, I made high school an analogy about the fashion industry. Suck it up, cupcake).
Having a garment tailored is going to make your unique shape and proportions look fab in comparison to wearing off-the-rack. Sometimes your boobs will peek out from between a strained button-up. Sometimes your wide shoulders will hike your suit jacket into your armpits. Sometimes your waist says, “size 10!” while your booty’s all, “size 14, honey!” and your legs chime in with, “petite misses, yo”. But fast-fashion doesn’t plan for that. Tailoring is your back-up, because the final goal of having your clothes tailored is to make you look your best. Not somebody else’s best, fuck that guy.

You want to dress how Lagerfield wants you to dress?
Don’t trust the opinion of a dude in love with a cat.

Shopping with an eye for your proportions and visualizing tailoring potential are good skills to develop. Trying to find just one fucking pair of jeans that doesn’t gap at the small of your back is exhausting. No one gets excited to go shopping anymore; it’s a chore. It’s an exercise in disappointment and embarrassment and that is bullshit. However, a little education and a teeny-tiny tape measure can go a long way in helping your dominate the shame-gauntlet that is clothes shopping. Even if you don’t know what you want to buy, knowing your measurements and knowing clever style secrets that emphasize your features will make the experience less torturous. You don’t have to know how clothing can be tailored, but recognizing that certain parts of a garment can be tailored will put the power over your wardrobe back into your hands. That’s where Velvet Tart comes in; my tailoring services can improve the fit of your clothes, make you look good and feel good, and maybe even make shopping a little enjoyable again.


  1. Curious... why do you think tailoring has a high price point? It can't just be that the public opinion is that it is expensive and snobbish. More importantly, how will Velvet Tart compare with its higher priced competitors while maintaining the low price point necessary to attract more people to the idea that tailoring is a good idea?

  2. My market research on price points for alterations and tailoring has found Minnesota to be a bit above national average. Unfortunately, there also seems to be an attitude of stinginess about purchasing services from other people. Distrust, maybe? The pervasive culture of "get more for less" has led people to suspect that they're always being cheated out of their money. The results of entitlement culture?
    I don't believe I can control the standard prices for tailoring, nor can I control the self-righteous mindset society uses to justify being cheapskates. But I *can* control the message Velvet Tart has; a part of which is to show and teach people the value of tailored clothes.

    I have an advantage over my competitors because I'm reaching out to a market that is largely ignored; Gen X-ers, Gen Y-ers, and Millenials. Having grown up in the age of mass-consumption, mass-production, and fast fashion, they don't know how practical and valuable tailoring is. As I said, I am aiming to re-introduce the idea that a person should care about *what* they wear, as well as care *for* what they wear. I want to snap people out of the toxic self-shaming mindset that the fashion industry has trapped us in; so people can value *themselves*--instead of their *things*. To start, I think providing quality alterations at a lower price point is a good first step.

    Thank you for the insightful questions, Josh! Articulating my answers to you helps solidify my talking points to promote Velvet Tart; as well as think more deeply about my business plan!