Get me suited up!
October 1, 2010 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I need to wear a suit for interviews, but my shape is rapidly changing. Keep altering the same one, or keep buying new ones?

Background : I had a baby (yay!) earlier in the year. But I'm also interviewing for jobs, in a field where looking professional is important and the whole process spans several months. I've already dropped enough weight that the suit I bought about two months ago is nearly a size too big, and definitely hangs loose.

Question : My current suit was inexpensive (<$100) and is sufficiently nice for my purposes. While my size is still fluctuating, is it more reasonable to just pick up another one or two from the same line in smaller sizes? Or is it more useful/economical to get it taken in by a tailor? (How much should tailoring cost? And I have 8 days left before I need it again - and then will need it every other week for a month - how long would a tailor take?) Please help!
posted by synapse to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total)
It really depends on how the suit is made and the cost of alterations where you live. I'd get to a tailor asap taking the suit and explaining your problem. Anything where they have to take in the shoulders may be pricey. It may be more cost effective and look better to get a couple extra suits.
posted by oneear at 4:22 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Taking in a suit a little bit everywhere would basically mean ripping out and resewing most of the major seams, which takes time. The tailor would really only be economical if you just needed a few small alterations or if the suit was very expensive and worth getting more wear out of. I'd say if you can get something you like in the correct size for less than $100, go for it, especially since you're on a time crunch.

(I've never had anything so extensive done, but I do go to the tailor to have things hemmed every one in a while, and that runs anywhere from $10-20. Maybe call a few local places for estimates before writing off the idea completely, though.)
posted by ella wren at 4:27 PM on October 1, 2010

For the price, I'd get another suit in a different size. Tailoring is pricey and takes time, as ella wren points out.
posted by bearwife at 4:32 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: It will not be remotely economical to retailor. Taking in a jacket costs well over a hundred dollars. it's a big tailoring job. Making major modifications to a suit to fit someone a different size than the suit is supposed to fit could easily run around $300.

Skirt/pants is not that big of a deal. Its the taking apart of the jacket and redoing it where you get dinged, but still, the other stuff adds up. If you have pants, there's also only so much fullness the tailor can take out of the pants.

If you can buy suits for <$100, that is definitely way more economical.
posted by jeb at 4:37 PM on October 1, 2010

Response by poster: Ah. Thanks so much. Follow up question - assuming I could buy separates, how about buying smaller jackets, and slimming just the pants down?
posted by synapse at 4:43 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: If you're a fairly common size, you can find awesome suits at places like Marshall's and TJMaxx for cheap. I would definitely buy a new suit. You can give your old ones away when they no longer fit. It would be a blessing to someone else who needed an interview suit and couldn't afford one.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:46 PM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

Perfectbutton! (warning - annoying infomercial with sound) Low budget way to take in an inch at the waist, and the suit jacket covers any fabric bunchiness.
posted by selfmedicating at 4:48 PM on October 1, 2010

Came in to second selfmedicating. You can get some really super deals on nice separates at those stores. In my experience TJMaxx has a higher quality of inventory than Marshalls' or Ross. (Think Calvin Klein vs. Rampage).
posted by contessa at 4:59 PM on October 1, 2010

When I was going out on job interviews I got three or four great suits at thrift shops. I think the most I paid was $15, and they were high quality. Check consignment stores too, and recycle your outgrown stuff there while you're at it.
posted by mareli at 6:03 PM on October 1, 2010

Definitely get another suit (or two) -- as everyone's pointed out, the tailoring costs will eat you alive. And I say this as someone who used to co-own a business where my business partners did stuff like this all the time.

However, here's a fashion-y idea that might be doable: with the next jacket you buy, make sure it can be belted with a wide belt (probably bought separately) over top and look good. You might be able to get away with cinching it in a semi-retro 40s style with a nice skirt. Get the suit jacket in a bright color + a black belt and a plain black skirt and you can probably get away with this technique for another size down or two. (Well, assuming bright color = ok in your field, otherwise go with a grey or black, plain white shirt underneath and nice black shoes/opaque nylons).

Here are some similar ideas on Polyvore... the key is in the proportions (there are some "umm, no" ones here).
posted by at 6:12 PM on October 1, 2010

For a recent job interview in my recently larger body, I found a perfectly acceptable suit jacket for eight bucks at the Salvation Army store - the sally ann is the fluctuating woman's economical friend.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:01 PM on October 1, 2010

I just found quite a few suit options at Macy's, on sale, for about $100 (it helps if you get their credit card, which often kicks in 10% off). These were sale suits, not suits priced this way to begin. (I was also replacing some too-big suits, which is a terrible and awesome problem to have.)
posted by bluedaisy at 8:04 PM on October 1, 2010

Another option to look into is to buy something a bit more upscale that has resale value. Wear it and then sell it when it doesn't fit.
posted by gjc at 5:59 AM on October 2, 2010

Your weight is on the way down and not likely to go back up given these circumstances. Before completely dismissing the tailoring option it probably pays to visit one and inquire. I had some suits done and I remember it being about 60 bucks for both the jacket and trousers, maybe even less. I only had to adjust things about an inch or two though.
posted by caddis at 6:07 AM on October 2, 2010

I'm going to quote someone here so it's not me being the snob, but when my husband had his first real job interview, she insisted over the phone that he skip Salvation Army and thrift stores and just go get a nice suit and she would pay him back. He maxed out a credit card and got the job.

I vote for getting new suits. You can go to TJ Maxx or Syms. Personally I usually get my suits at Ann Taylor Loft. They're nice and I know what fits me and if they're not on sale when I go there, I wait a week or two and get one.
posted by kat518 at 3:49 PM on October 2, 2010

Response by poster: You guys, this was awesome. Thanks so much for all the help - I had to step away from the computer for a bit, and by the time I came back there were too many to mark best answer!

I do have a Macy's card. TJ Maxx's are a bit thin in my vicinity, but worth taking a shot. Thanks again!
posted by synapse at 10:10 PM on October 2, 2010

« Older Dressing down when dressing up.   |   Apple Touch features Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.