Friday, April 17, 2009

Cut and Paste

Tailoring is a completely foreign concept to most people for most things. Women and men daily walk away from outfits they swear were made for them because of minor issues in fitting. That they are likely to recount the fish story of, "the one that got away" does nothing to warm them to the suggestion that they might take the piece in question to a professional for a little snip and stitch. When presented with such an option, the unwitting suggestor is presented with a veritable cavalcade of very good reasons (read: excuses) for why they couldn’t possibly take this otherwise perfect item to the next level by having it cut to fit them.
"I don’t have the money."
"I don’t know tailors."
And the best "good reason" not to have the clothes you love, made to fit,
"I’ve never gone to a tailor before." I can only hope that you have less anxiety deciding on your first house.

Men specifically have a unique benefit in fitted clothing. Other than, wealth, fame, professional lighting and make-up designers what do many celebs have to make them attractive? Tailors (perhaps that’s not all, but let’s not get too caught up on the negatives). Not every famous celebrity spends hour after hour with a personal trainer; so hide your dodgy bits the same way the stars do, and I don’t mean behind bags of cash.

With just about one-third of our lives spent at work, the office standard shirt and tie see more daylight than any other top our guys might choose. The proper gent’ would always wish to be both comfortable, and still maintain that "cut above" look. For many men, however, putting a dress shirt is akin to either wearing a cylinder with arm holes. With a size determined only by the measurement of your neck, men of every shape are trying to live their days in someone else’s shirts. Falling awkwardly off the shoulders or bunching at the sleeves, these ill fitting shirts leave the bodies trapped inside uncomfortable and insecure.

Barbara and Alan Pease, authors of Why Men Don’t Have a Clue and Women Always Need More Shoes, dedicate a chapter to the physical turn-ons for women about men. Topping list at number one was an athletic body type specifically incorporating the "V" shape. Number two, very closely related was "Broad shoulders, chest, and muscular arms. While I doubt that your tailor will take you to the gym regularly, he or she can do the next best thing. In her book, Superflirt, Tracy Cox, noted expert on sexuality notes that people use clothes to cover up their imperfect parts when you should, instead, "dress to show off the ones you [like]." The tailor of your choosing can easily take what "V" shaping you already have and show it off to the world, or even add the effect to those devoid of it altogether. A tightened shoulder line and slightly vented back help tuck away an extra pound or two.

How much you are willing to pay to make "sexy" a staple of your wardrobe is between you and your wallet. But a twenty dollar tapering of your shirt can go a long way to distinguishing you among your colleagues, just a thought. Many small alterations can go from conceptual to realized in less than a week. Kwab Asamoah of Kustom Looks Clothier in Silver Spring forecasted a 48-hour turnaround on a simple tapering. And, offering a full range of apparel options, once you get the taste for truly fitted clothing, all of your needs can be met.

But for now, just walk over to the closet and pull out that shirt that you wished showed you off just a little bit better and take to the streets. Stop at the first alteration shop you see and lay it on the line, you’ll love the result.

See you next week