Love Is Love When It Alteration Finds

Shakespeare was wrong.

No conversation about renewal and graceful adaptation would be complete without discussing the most important element of any successful wardrobe. Clothes that have been altered to fit your body like a glove. If you don't have a good seamstress you're missing out on the difference between looking good and looking great. For someone like me who is short, round, and physically limited a tailor is indispensable.

Need proof? I often need to have long sleeves shortened on coats and jackets, even if they are Petite. My grey Petite Jessica Simpson coat in Where's That Groundhog? has had the sleeves shortened by a considerable 5". Here it is before the alteration.

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So has the green jacket in Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I have trouble doing up buttoned cuffs so I had them removed to make it easier for me to wear.

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And this trench coat in Fashion Friday: #23 had to have 8" of sleeve shortened and the cuff reconstructed. I challenge you to see any flaw in the alteration.

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Then there are the pants that need hemming, the button-down and V-necked tops that need sewing up so I don't "burst" out of them. If I posted a picture of every garment my seamstress has made a perfect fit we'd be here all day. Instead, I'll post this one and tell you about this very special lady.

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Meet Ann Rich, proud owner of Rich's Alterations on the outskirts of Ashland City. She's been instrumental in insuring my clothes suit my particularly hard-to-fit shape for a number of years now. She knows exactly what to do to make any garment fit me like a glove.

I have yet to walk into her shop and find her relaxing with nothing to do. Although there are always lots of garments stacked up behind her counter waiting to be altered Ann always makes time to talk to me. This little wisp of a lady is smart, witty, and no-nonsense - just what I like in other people.  Every time I come in she tells me a story from her past or shares some of her views about the world that confirm my assessment.

The 81 year old has seen her share of hardships. She lost her husband years ago to pancreatic cancer and is a cancer survivor herself. But there have been lots of high points in Ann's life as well. Fourteen years ago her grandson helped her secure the space that is her shop. Those are his shirts to my right waiting to be tailored. "John's picky about how he wears his shirts," she confessed. "He brought me one that fits him just right and he wants the rest fixed up just like that one."

Have you figured out who her grandson is yet? That poster over her right shoulder with the gold record is a clue. Ann's grandson is one half of the country music duo Big & Rich. The rest of her shop walls are covered in Big & Rich swag and autographed pictures of other country music stars. What's really endearing is he helped her get into business before he made it big.  That's how much he loves his Grandmother. That's really saying something.

I owe him a debt of gratitude for it. Now I know if I find a piece I really love that doesn't quite fit chances are Ann Rich can make it look like it was made for me. She enjoys her life and her work, and she likes me because I'm "so colorful".

Rich's Design & Alterations is located at 1100 N Main St  in Ashland City, Tn. Her number is 615 792-1234.

Do you have a tailor you go to regularly to have your clothes altered? If not, why not?

Fashion Friday: Pumpkin and Oxblood

This week I'm styling a pumpkin colored jacket similar to the one I purchased at Stein Mart a few weeks ago.

This shade of orange looks much better on me than Pantone's Summer 2012 color, Tangerine Tango. Here it is in a shawl-collared version of my trench jacket by 89th & Addison from Stein Mart.  It's paired with treggings in the season's trendy color, oxblood. The bag is a D Lisk Zip Detail Bar Handle Bag in the same color and can either be carried or worn crossbodied. In looking for shoes to pair with this outfit I found two pairs of oxfords that were almost identical save for the heel. Both are by Sperry and I thought it was worth using both heel heights as a styling option. The Merona Olive Self-Tie Felt Cloche hat from Target picks up on the green in the shoes and the leopard crutches from Cool Crutches add a little animal print to the equation.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: September Style

This week I'm going to show you two versions of Fashion Friday. One is the haute couture version; the other is my budget workaround.         

Here are two outfits perfect for running around town in post-Labor Day style. Given that it's made up of separates either outfit's pieces are very versatile and can be dressed up or down in many different ways depending on what each piece is paired with. In my opinion versatility adds value. I'm more inclined to buy separates I can use in multiple ways because it makes my clothing budget money go further.

If you've got money to burn you can opt for the $2,400 Chanel Vintage tweed jacket, the Jason Wu color block stretch jersey pencil skirt for $695, Costume National leather sandals at $400, and the $3,400 Bottega Venata "Cervo" Fire (Orange) Leather Woven Satchel. Total cost for the designer label version is $6,895.

My version is considerably cheaper but no less chic. The black cotton Contrast jacket is from the clearance rack at Marshall's and set me back $19.99. My skirt is fresh off the racks of Forever21+. Can you believe an "XL" is considered a plus size? At $17.80 I could care less what they call it. I call it a good deal. My black XAPPEAL heels are from Rack Room Shoes as part of a BOGO so they cost me $16.50. The bag is a TJ Maxx find, a certified "vegan" bag from Urban Expressions and a steal at $32.00. Total cost for my cheap knockoff look is a whopping $86.25.

Now I'm off to get ready for the British Invasion. I get to play tour guide this weekend - I expect it'll be tons of fun!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!