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Tailoring vintage jackets & pants in upstate NY

vtgdance

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I'm a vintage swing dancer based in Ithaca, NY, and have been shopping around for vintage jackets for performance & social dance costumes.

Due to my body shape (17.5" shoulder-to-shoulder across top, 36" chest girth, 29" waist, 5'8" 140 lb; I can't find shirts or pants that fit properly at most mall stores), I have somewhat special needs :)

38Rs fit me best across the shoulders, but that leaves a fair amount of material under the arms even in something slim/tapered like the H&M cut.

1. I would like to know if I can just shop for shoulder fit, color, and texture, and then get an awesome tailor to fix up the rest. What are the reduction limits to sliming & waist reduction, in terms of balance?

I measure a 6" chest to waist drop on my H&M. Most tapered vintage jackets have a drop of 3". I believe tent have an even smaller drop.

2. Approximately how much should this kind of alteration cost?

3. Are there good tailors in upstate New York who you would trust to make this kind of alteration on a vintage jacket? I've heard mixed reviews about the local tailors from friends who are less anal than me about clothes.

4. My proportions also limit me to buying separates. Are there shops, again in upstate NY, where I can easily find a pair of trousers that's a close visual match for a jacket? I'm pickier about bottoms than jackets, so color, fit & quality are all important. I am willing to start with just fabric ( would Mens Wearhouse work for this? j/k )

I'm curious as to how jacket styling has evolved in the past 50 years -- I don't know anything about the subtleties. I have a decent sense for the age and consequent un-hipness of street clothes, and quickly steer clear of those at thrift stores and on EBay. For some reason, pictures of nice fitting, tapered/euro-cut jackets from the 50s and 60s always look good to my eyes.
 

gomestar

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I went to college in Ithaca, I know how tough it is to find good stuff.


"1. I would like to know if I can just shop for shoulder fit, color, and texture, and then get an awesome tailor to fix up the rest. What are the reduction limits to sliming & waist reduction, in terms of balance?"

Yes, shoulders should absolutely fit - the rest can be adjusted. There are some limits as to what can be adjusted, but you shouldn't have a problem with your build unless you buy a suit that's shaped like a boat sail or something.



"2. Approximately how much should this kind of alteration cost?"

The woman I used to go to upstate would charge me about $70 when I had the sleeve length adjusted, body taken in, pants slimmed up, and pant length adjusted. She retired though.



"3. Are there good tailors in upstate New York who you would trust to make this kind of alteration on a vintage jacket? I've heard mixed reviews about the local tailors from friends who are less anal than me about clothes."

Call the Macy's in Syracuse (at carousel) and ask for a guy in the men's department named Sal (as long as he still works there). Ask him where he goes.



"4. My proportions also limit me to buying separates. Are there shops, again in upstate NY, where I can easily find a pair of trousers that's a close visual match for a jacket? I'm pickier about bottoms than jackets, so color, fit & quality are all important. I am willing to start with just fabric ( would Mens Wearhouse work for this? j/k )"

The selection is quite limited with Learbury closing. The best I know is Macy's and Lord&Tailor.

Pay $65 for a trip to NYC on the shortline and take an afternoon to shop around if you want a real selection for somebody your size (I'm 5'8" and 131 lbs with super skinny shoulders, so I know it can be tough). Or drive up to Rochester and pay a visit to Hickey Freeman - some of the best suits you can buy.
 

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