Savvy shopper: You may know all the great boutiques. You may have seen the shoe salespeople at Saks more times this week than you've see your husband. You may even have a standing appointment with the city's famed miracle-working dermatologist. But if you don't have an outstanding tailor with whom you work, you aren't using the single best tool to look great. A wonderful tailor can make you look 10 pounds lighter, make your legs look longer and your waist look smaller. Clothes off the rack rarely fit perfectly, and ill-fitting garments add pounds and distract from your look. If you don't have one, ask a stylish friend who she uses. Or ask the Saks salespeople who they refer their clients to, outside of the in-house people. Check out www.yelp.com for references.
My miracle-worker is Ayda, at Nouvelle Bridal (460 N. California Ave, Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94306. 1-650-326-6230). She and her partner have been my wardrobe-perfecting secret since 2000. I bought a couture wedding gown off of the sample rack ($400 - my best bargain ever!) and she tailored it to fit me perfectly. Since then, they have reworked countless pieces for me: lined swimsuits and sewn in chicken cutlets to bikini tops; added cuffs to too-short sleeves; lengthened the crotch on dozens of slacks, shorts, and jeans; resized the clearance Indigo Hand jeans that were three sizes too bag; taken my boot-cut jeans to stovepipe style; and removed the train from a breathtaking Carmen Marc Valvo evening gown. She is an absolute treasure.
The cost of altering items isn't insignificant, but it makes my clothes look twice as expensive as they really are. That, to me, is the real secret.