The “guaranteed way for you to be more comfortable in everything you wear…”

New dress. Close up of young professional tailor taking measurements of girls waist while being concentrated and precise

If I told you there was one guaranteed way for you to be more comfortable in everything you wear and make your less expensive basics feel more like designer pieces, would you be willing to give it a try?

That magic is a trip to the tailor…and it is part of the secret of a DC Style Factory curated wardrobe. We dress our clients according to their personal style and their body shape. And the secret to making off-the-rack clothes work best for your body is tailoring. Not only can a tailor get your pants to the perfect length for you with quick and inexpensive hemming, a tailor can also nip in the waist, take up the sleeves, or remove bulk so that your proportions are balanced.



It is important to buy the size that fits your largest measurement and tailor from there. For me, as a “more below the waist” body type, that means sometimes sizing up to get the correct fit in the hip and then nipping in the waist for a perfect fit. For a “more above the waist” client, we might need to size up to get the right fit in the shoulders and then have a tailor take up the sleeve length. If you are going to invest in your wardrobe and avoid the trap of fast fashion, tailoring is the step which will make the clothes fit you perfectly and make sure your proportions are balanced. It has the bonus of making your clothes more comfortable to wear – no more tugging or adjusting!

 It is important to know what tailoring is worth the investment and which fixes are too expensive or time consuming. In general the top fixes we recommend to our clients are:


Hemming trousers

Where to adjust: The magic spot for most cigarette/ slim-fit trousers is an inch to two inches above the ankle bone. We recommend this style of pant as a wardrobe essential, not only for Audrey Hepburn vibes, but also for the versatility – you can wear with heels or flats and the hem does not need to be adjusted for the type of shoe. 

Cost: $12-15


Hemming and tapering skirts 

Where to adjust: For most people the most flattering length is knee length. If you are curvier below the waist, your sweet spot is right below the knee. And length isn’t the only thing! To eliminate that boxy shape of many pencil skirts, taper the skirt in toward the knee. This creates an hourglass shape and makes for a more polished look.

Cost: $20-25 for hemming, $25-$35 for tapering


Taking in the waist to avoid gaping

Where to adjust: Pull those pants up! Many of our clients suffer from “saggy pants” syndrome where the waist is too big and the pants end up sliding down. We want the pants to sit up on your waist — not close to your hip. Take it in at this point and your pants will stay up!

Cost: $25-35


Nipping in a jacket under the bust to highlight the waist

Where to adjust: Many blazers don’t go in at the waist enough. A quick nip in right under the bust will give you that hourglass shape. 

Cost: $17-25


Taking up at the shoulder on sleeveless blouses

Where to adjust: This tailoring fix is a must for petites and if you are short-waisted. This ensures the proper fit in the shoulders, under the arms, at the hip, and across the bust. Take it up so that no bra is visible at the arm hole. Usually about an inch to two inches.

Cost: $10


Taking up jacket sleeves

Where to adjust: We don’t like to see jacket sleeves that are close to hitting or hitting that first thumb knuckle. Right past the wrist bone is our sweet spot.

One place to watch out for is a jacket that has to be taken up at the shoulders. That is an expensive fix that involves resetting a shoulder. When should you take up at the shoulder? If you have working buttons on the sleeve of a jacket and don’t want to lose them (it looks funny to have two buttons on a blazer, but not always a dealbreaker depending on the style of the blazer, cost, etc.) 

Cost: $12-20


Where to get your items tailored

We love our Alexandria tailors! Our favorites are:

Fashion Stitch
129 S Royal St. # 3
Alexandria, VA 22314

Suh’s Custom Tailor
101 S West St.
Alexandria, VA 22314


  • The latest from Elizabeth
Elizabeth is a DC Style Factory personal stylist. She is also a senior career diplomat with an intimate knowledge of the wardrobe conundrums the D.C. professional faces. The DCSF team has worked on more than 1,500 closets and wardrobes over the past 10 years. The company has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Washingtonian Magazine, Northern Virginia Magazine, and more. Clients include U.S. politicians, lobbyists, authors, lawyers, and corporate executives.

DC Style Factory is a personal shopping and styling service for men and women looking to add polish and individuality to their wardrobes. We believe personal style is for anyone who wants it — regardless of age, size or budget.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Little Red says:

    Yup. Needless to say, the owners of the nearest tailoring shop love me.

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