Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alterations: BR Black Sheath Dress

Following the tradition of AN & PAG, I wanted to share my very first experience going to a professional tailor in the US.  I've been "saving" up a pile of clothes that I wanted to get altered, and goodness, my first tailoring bill was quite a shock!  But I'm still trying to be in denial about that and focus on the results instead!

Luckily I live only 5 minutes away from AN’s favorite tailor, so I didn’t even search around for any other tailors.  The experience was definitely no fuss.  I went into a dressing stall and put each item on one at a time, came out and stood on this small platform in front of some full-length mirrors.  The tailor proceeded to pin the garment down to fit while discussing options and prices and different ways to make it look better.  A week later, everything was ready for pick-up!

Some of the alterations were more successful than others, and this is one of the more successful ones.  I bought this black sheath dress literally years ago when Banana Republic first came out with 00P sizes.  I remember thinking at the time that I was so happy that I found such a wardrobe staple that actually fits!  Well, years and many petite blogs later, I realize now how ill-fitting it really was.

Here are the before and after pictures... hopefully you can see the difference!

Front View

Side View

Before, it was too long, too baggy, and rather shapeless.  She basically just took in the sides (which was more expensive because of the side zipper) and hemmed it, and what a difference it made!

I threw on some newly acquired long-strand pearls along with my Ann Taylor peep-toe pumps (post) and it was amazing how much more "grown-up" I instantly felt!

Pearls: Nordstrom 6 mm Glass Pearl Necklace in White
Shoes: Ann Taylor Sofia in size 5.5

I really love the way it turned out, but the nit-picky me is questioning whether it’s still a tad too long.  Right now it’s hitting me about mid to lower knee, and I was considering taking the hem up another inch or two to slightly above the knee:

 Now                                                   Shorter?

I feel like right now it looks more professional and mature, but shorter looks more proportional and youthful.  What do you think?  Should I leave it as is or take it back to the tailor?


  1. Happy to hear that your first experience with a tailor turned out well :). If this is my dress, and I would to be wearing it, I would hem it shorter. A sheath dress by itself gives off a more conservative and professional look. A shorter length would make it more fun at the same time. Since you've already spent quite a bit of money on it I assume, I'd make the dress more versatile (both for work and for going out). The dress as it is of now is somewhat too conservative for going out.

  2. Yes i can definitly see the diff-- the backview looks really good..haha i sound like a perv. it shows off your back nicely! yes i thought the same thing too...maybe 2 inches shorter would have been perfect, but that's me. i like my skirts and dresses right at the knee or above the knee. i have short legs so showing a little more skin gives the illusion of longer legs :)

  3. I agree with PetiteGorgeous. As I was looking at the photos, I was thinking it would be cuter and better for your proportions if it were hemmed just a tiny bit shorter, like just right above the knee. I don't think that length would be unprofessional at all. I'm also a resident physician and I wear skirts & dresses right above the knee all the time. Being short, it's just a lot more flattering. Now if one starts migrating several inches above the knee, then one might be getting into questionable territory for work appropriateness depending on one's occupation.

  4. With the shoes + pearls you look very polished and sophisticated! I can picture you in an upscale bar with a martini in your hand ^_~

  5. I would like it to be shorter. It really isn't too hard to adjust the length yourself though, so you wouldn't have to spend more money at the tailor! Haha. And it looks so much better altered!

  6. Thanks for everyone's input! I'm hoping that the tailor would re-do the hem for free, since I did pay for a hem job originally. She was really nice and made it seem like if I'm not happy with something she would re-do it or put the $$ I paid towards other adjustments.

  7. Yay! You went to Marina! How'd you like her?

    Agree with Sophia, you look so sophisticated, and really should be holding a martini in your hand. =)

    The alterations made a world of difference. If you feel uncomfortable with the length, then I think you should get it taken up a little bit. If you're not 100% satisfied, you won't feel as good in the dress as you could.

  8. What a great post! I def think you should go shorter on the hem. I have a BR sheath dress and love it! You look very chic!

  9. I prefer shorter as well. It's funny how you mentioned when you first purchased the dress you were so happy with it and thought it fit, and now you think it's so ill fitted that it needs an alteration. I think with all the online petite bloggers as resources, you pay a price for developing higher standard. :)

  10. wow what a difference! i actually like it longer. since it's such a professional looking dress, it is better to leave it below the knee. my first impression was that i liked the length anyway :)

    care to model as the new audrey hepburn, miss classy lady?

  11. Funny that you mention the length. I was actually thinking that even before I got to reading your paragraph about it. It looks great as is, but looked even better when you put it above the knee.

  12. I hate to say it, but I think it needs to go shorter. Boo.

    Love what you did with the necklaces!

  13. I think it should be shorter because like others have mentioned, it is a very conservative dress/cut plus it is one solid dark color. Maybe 1 to 1.5 inches? Only thing is, check to see whether the slit in the back might be too short after another hemming. If so you might want to get it stitched shut altogether.

    Either way you look FANTASTIC and you do look so sophisticated it it. The side view comparisons are ridiculous...huge difference!

  14. I like it shorter too. :( Looks like there is a consensus here.

  15. this is such a SEXY alteration!!

  16. Everyone said the samething..go shorter :) Wearing shorter dress will make your legs look longer. Nice dress!

  17. I guess the consensus is to go shorter! Who am I to argue with the general majority :)

    AN - Marina was great... I can definitely see why she's so popular! She actually told me to return one of the jackets I brought, because it wasn't worth the $$ to alter it.

    Angie - Wow I'm flattered by the Audrey Hepburn association! All I need is a tiara and the long cigarette thingies and I can dress up as her for Halloween :P

    PAG - Thanks for the tip about the back slit... I'll have to take a closer look to see how it is now.

  18. What a big difference! I also vote for going a bit shorter.

    I've been looking for the perfect pearls for a while not. I just might have to stop by Nordstrom sometime this week!

  19. The dress looks fabulous and very chic with the pearls + heels. If only all petite girls had their very own tailors that followed them everywhere =P Agreed that you should definitely go shorter, I had a dress similar in length and I wore it much more often after I had it hemmed.

  20. Very pretty and just a bit shorter would be perfect!

  21. Ahh, what a difference a good tailor makes. I can totally see an improved fit. In terms of length, I prefer it shorter. I think it can still be just as professional as long as the hem is just above the knees, and you are right-- it definitely looks more proportional.

    Have a great weekend!



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