As I have mentioned on numerous occasions, I am a strong advocate of tailoring clothing in order to achieve optimal fit. My introductory article on this topic and my continuing series are geared toward driving this point home to all of my clients and readers.
Neglected Items Can Become Wardrobe Favorites
While some alterations are straight-forward and intuitive, others are rarely considered but can be equally or more powerful. Sometimes a relatively simple alteration can make the difference between loving a garment and having it be unworn or discarded. For me, narrowing the legs on some of my pants and jeans has turned neglected items into wardrobe favorites.
Fashion – and Our Personal Style – is Continually Evolving…
As I’m sure you know, the shape of common garments is continuously evolving. Likewise, our personal style aesthetic and sartorial preferences are perpetually in a state of flux. For years, I preferred my pants and jeans to be boot-cut or wide-legged. Since those styles were readily available in stores and offered in long/tall lengths (which I always need and can’t always find!), virtually all of my trousers were cut in those two shapes.
With the proliferation of the skinny jeans style over the past few years, my eye has been trained to prefer a narrower pant cut. Consequently, I have begun to purchase pants and jeans in those shapes when I am able to find styles that both fit and flatter my frame. That is a tall order for me (pun intended!), so I did not want to simply discard all of my older pants that are still in good condition. Yet I wasn’t all that inspired to wear them, either…
From Boot-Cut to Straight-Legged
What to do? I took a few pairs of my boot-cut and wide-legged pants to my trusty tailor and discussed the possibility of narrowing the legs to create more of a straight-legged style. I was assured that this was easy to do, and after a few pins, a few days, and a few dollars (well, actually more like $12 per pair), I had old pants that were transformed and seemed brand new!
I don’t have many before/after photos of the altered pants and jeans, but here’s one such illustration. My Gap Long and Lean Jeans, a boot-cut style (referred to by Gap as “flare leg”), were tapered to more of a straight-leg fit. I am very happy with the effect and have since had the majority of my old pants narrowed to this silhouette. I am now enjoying my pants much more and feel that they better suit my evolving style!
One Tailoring Caveat…
I don’t know if narrowing pants or jeans to a skinny style would be as successful, as it would be necessary to remove a lot more fabric. In general, garments can be taken down a size or two, and removing a number of inches from pant legs may be equivalent to a larger alteration. However, if you prefer a skinny fit and would likely discard your wider-leg pants anyway, it could be worth a try to do that riskier alteration. I would recommend taking just one pair of pants to your tailor at first. If you are happy with the result, go ahead and alter the rest of your wider-leg pants and enjoy your like-new pants!