How to Shop for Clothes While Losing Weight

how to shop for clothes while losing weightIt can feel like a hard-fought victory to lose weight — but buying a new wardrobe for every size on the way can be an expensive habit! So how can you look stylish and put together while your weight is fluctuating? Reader K wonders how to shop for clothes while losing weight…

I’m in a male-dominated business casual office. I am getting ready to start positioning myself for a promotion and want to up my dressing game this summer. I’ve lost 40 pounds (yay me!!) and want to lose another 30. I’d appreciate any advice on managing a transitional wardrobe as I lose weight. I’d like to watch my spending before I hit my goal, but also look pulled-together and not be frumpy. Bonus for ideas that work well in a pretty hot part of the country!

Great question, Reader K, and CONGRATS on your huge accomplishment! We haven’t talked about how to step up your wardrobe for a promotion OR about favorite weight fluctuation clothes in a while, and I can’t wait to hear what readers say. For now, here are some thoughts for you:

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Tailoring Alterations for Women: What to Ask For to Look More Polished

Tailoring Alterations for Women | CorporetteWhat are the most helpful alterations a tailor can make for professional women? What tailoring alterations really make an impact in looking polished? Reader L wrote in with this question, and I thought it might make an interesting open thread:

I’m 99% sure you did something on this years ago but could be worth reviving a post on what tailors / shoemakers can to do help fit or fix your clothes (i.e. Adding extra belt or shoe strap holes, protective soles, sewing in those bra strap holders, etc).

Great point! We have talked about the most common suiting alterations, as well as the most common tailoring alterations, but not in a while. I know some people get every single thing tailored; personally I’m probably on the lower end of the spectrum, where it has to be a pretty special item for me to take it to the tailor. I’ve had pants and jeans shortened, a waist or two taken in, the bustline of an empire dress moved down so it laid better, and added extra strap holes to belts or shoes (although if memory serves a friend just had one of those hole-punchers). (But I’ll fully admit that a lot of my pants were hemmed by my mother, especially in my younger years!) Reader L’s note about bra strap holders is a brilliant idea — and I probably should get the sleeves on most of my blazers (and possibly a good winter coat or two) shortened — although in more recent years I’ve been buying petite blazers, for just that reason.  Ah yes, and I’ve also tried to replace the lining of a winter coat, many moons ago, although that was more of a DIY effort and turned into a huge PITA. Another DIY alteration I’ve done a few times is to sew pockets closed. (If I buy them sewn closed I often keep them closed!)

As we’ve noted in the past, a big tip for any tailoring is to make sure that you’ve washed the item BEFORE you’ve had it tailored, as certain types of cotton and other washable fabrics can shrink.

What about you, ladies — what are the things you ask your tailor to do most often? Do you have any a-ha moments to share regarding tailoring alterations — things that once you heard about you thought were brilliant ideas (like Reader L’s idea for bra strap holders), or “not worth the time and energy” lessons, like me with the coat lining? If anyone has any favorite tailors in your city, please feel free to shout them out in the comments also.

(Ooh, and here’s another question — what tailoring alterations for women (or men) have you learned to do yourselves? Anyone have any favorite tutorials to share?)

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A Guide to Suiting Alterations

2017 Update: We still stand by the advice below on suiting alterations for women, but you can also check out our most recent post on tailoring alterations for women!

We’ve talked a bit about tailoring, but what are the top alterations you should be thinking about with a suit?  Today’s guest poster, Jean from ExtraPetite, was nice enough to write up her guide to suiting alterations at the tailor, including fit tips, estimated cost, difficulty level, and more.  Enjoy! – Kat

suiting-alterationsFor many professional women, suit shopping can be a daunting task. Our bodies are unique and varied, so it’s tough to find a perfect fit right off the racks of mainstream retailers. A good tailor can take that store-bought suit to the next level – from a decent suit, to a power suit that will help you exude confidence and class.

Whether it’s a tiny tweak or a major overhaul – I’ve done it all. I’m here to share my alterations guide with fellow women who are walking around in a less-than perfectly fitting suit. [Read more…]

Reader Mail: On pant lengths and shoes…

Today’s reader mail comes from J, who is trying to keep her pants from dragging on the ground…

As a New Yorker, I walk at least a couple blocks to get to commute to work. As many women do, I usually leave my heels at my desk at work and wear more comfortable shoes to and from work. The problem is that for my pants to look good with heels, they are too long to wear with the comfy flats/cute sneakers I wear for the commute and drag on the dirty streets. How do women who have to walk for part of their commute deal with this conundrum and not ruin their pants???

This is a dilemma a lot of women face, and there are a variety of ways to deal with it. (Pictured:  Pants too long, originally uploaded to Flickr by puck90.)  First, we would suggest assessing what heel height, in general, you’re comfortable in for work shoes — and having your pants hemmed to that level. As a reminder: your pant should brush the top of your foot, and no more than an inch or so of heel should be showing in the back. For us, that comes to around 2″, 2.5″ — which, honestly, can usually be worn with commuting shoes that have a decent (thick) sole. (We just tend to wear our higher heels exclusively with skirts instead — it works out particularly well in the summertime if we opt to commute in flip-flops.) But let’s say your comfort level is close to 4″. In that case, you have a few options.

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Reader mail: Suits for an Amazonian

2016 Update: Check out our latest discussion on suits for tall women.

Today’s question comes from, well, an Amazonian…

My question has to do with where to find professional clothing that will actually fit me. I am 6′ tall and usually need a 36″ inseam in pants and “longs” or “talls” in jackets, so the sleeves are long enough. It’s interesting that almost all women’s clothing comes in petites or plus sizes, but tall sizes are hard to find. I’ve ordered suits from J. Crew in talls, and they fit me perfectly. I also order most of my work pants from Victoria’s Secret, as their tall pants seem to fit me very well too. I was just wondering if you had any other ideas of where to find tall sizes in work clothes.

This strikes us as a question that must be a common problem for tall women. While we’re not the best suited to answer the question ourselves (barely 5’4″) we’re hoping our readers will be able to chime in. We do, however, note that UK website seems to have a lovely selection of office-appropriate wear, and that has a separate shop for suits and separates for “plus size & tall”. Readers, what say you?

Pictured above: Sandy Allen, the Guinness-certified world’s tallest woman, standing just over 7’7″. Unfortunately, she recently passed away — we’re not sure who holds the title now.

Weekend Open Thread

Stuck at the office over the weekend? Got something on your mind? Discuss it here. Pictured: Butterfly Tea Cup and Saucer, $215 at Vivre.