It isn’t just the number on the label that makes a difference.
We have all had one or more items of clothing that we have always felt confident wearing. This can be due to the colour or the wonderful memory attached to the time and event when we were wearing the outfit. What was also a factor and you probably overlooked as many of us do, is the way the garment was tailored. Here I hope to give you an understanding of how tailoring and the cut of clothes can make all the difference.
History of Tailoring and clothes
Thinking of the words ‘tailor’ and ‘tailoress’ conjures up a smartly dressed man or woman in a 2 or 3 piece suit with a tape measure in hand. Historically, the word ‘tailor’ actually comes from the french word ‘tailler’ meaning to cut, and by the 12th century a tailor was considered a professional occupation. King Henry 1st gave royal privileges to the taylors of Oxford in 1100; and the London Guild of Taylor’s and Linen Armorers were granted royal arms in 1299, with early apprentices learning how to tailor by watching more experienced apprentices sewing sitting cross-legged on the floor, which to this day is still called “assis en tailleur” in French, literally ‘sitting as a tailor.’ The modern use of the word comes from the 18th century where it refers to someone who makes alter or repairs clothes.
So why is tailoring so important to us when considering what clothes to buy in the shops today?
Until the early 1900’s there were no ready-to-wear clothes available, and all garments were either made by hand at home, or by a tailor or seamstress if you could afford it. It was only with the introduction of modern style sewing machines that enabled “off the peg” or “ready to wear” clothing, due to their ability to provide standardised garments, coupled with a high turnover. This enabled designers, some of whom were trained as tailors, to be creative with fabrics, colours and textures, and to sell their collections to the more wealthy. Alexander McQueen is one such designer, renowned for his impeccable garment construction, he actually began his career as a tailor’s apprentice on Saville Row.
The clothes that you see on the catwalk started as conceptual pieces, designed to be unique, controversial, desirable and inspirational. When it comes to translating this to something that can be worn in ‘real-life’, many designers rely on the skills of a tailor to change their initial drawings into a real piece of clothing, even if that item of clothing still seems impractical to us. It doesn’t take long for simplified versions of these uniques garments to find their way onto the high street, and they then often develop a following as the latest trend and ‘must have’ item.
Today, having our clothes made-to-measure is a luxury that most people can’t afford. We take for granted the fact that we have a high street and internet full of shops to choose from, with ready to wear clothes, and it is now generally only the rich who would employ a tailor. However, we do need to be mindful of the fact that we all have a different size, shape, height, and colouring, and that not all of the latest trendy items are made to suit us. Every person is individual, and with the decline in tailoring, we have lost the ability to dress to flatter our individual figure, colouring and shape. Shopping for clothes can be a minefield unless you know which styles will flatter and empower you, and make you look fantastic, and feel both comfortable and confident.
I am an expert in colour and style and my job is to enable you to shop with confidence, develop your own style and build your confidence. I am also an independent personal shopper who offers an alteration service. Who better to help you with that special outfit or just enjoying wearing clothes that fit and empower you every day.
Call me for an informal chat about Colour and Style classes, so that you can shop each Season with confidence, and wear the right clothes for you, having had a stress free shopping experience. Tel 0191 474 0368, check out my fb page @HOCTynevalley for recent 5 ***** reviews.
House of Colour Tyne Valley
Goggle dictionary “Tailor”
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