When does shopping for OTR (off the rack) clothes become personal?
If you answered “when your favorite tailor customizes them”, you are absolutely right. In the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia are (what we call the DMV), there are several great tailors. I had an opportunity to interview one of them Mr. David Jones, President of Custom Tailoring and the best kept secret in northwest DC.
Don’t let the humble surroundings of his shop discourage you. What it lacks in ambiance, he and the staff have in talent. Mr. Jones is the real deal. A native of Jamaica, he has been a tailor for over 47 years and apprenticed under Theodore Unic, a prominent Jamaican tailor whose clients included the then Prime Minister of Jamaica. Mr. Jones went on to train in England under the Hall Brothers and eventually opened his own business. He is soft-spoken and calm but his work is on fire.
He and his dream team of tailors are busiest from February through June and they specialize in haute yourture – the art of customizing OTR clothes . They can alter, reconstruct or make garments from start to finish. Ready to give you honest advice, they will work with a garment until they achieve your red carpet look. Unconvinced? See for yourself…The shop is a fantasy closet of garments designed, altered or sewn by Mr. Jones and his team.
Below right is one of his top tailors, Ethan Staton. He saved me during DC Fashion Week by reconstructing my jumpsuit and designing the accessories for my vintage dress. Hoards of people stampede Mr. Jones’ shop requesting alterations during inaugural and prom seasons. Eighty five percent of all Mr. Jones’ business is by referral.
Here are some valuable tips Mr. Jones shared:
- When you are looking for a good tailor get recommendations from people who are well dressed and stylish. Visit the tailor and ask to see his or her work. Crooked stitching, puckers in the fabric, partially opened buttonholes, and thread hanging from the garment are red flags that signal a lack of attention to detail. Great tailors take pride in their work and their finished product looks neat and crisp.
- If you are in the midst of losing weight, get your clothes altered when you are within 10 pounds of your desired weight.
- Always wear the proper attire for the clothes you want altered. For example wear the shoes that you are going to wear with the particular dress or pants. This will help the tailor to customize the garment correctly.
- Fashion is cyclical so update your jackets, pants, dresses by way of alterations.
- Be flexible in your style vision. You may love a certain look but if your tailor suggests a different style that would better compliment your body, follow his or her lead. They know their craft.
Remember, alterations are all about you- take it personally! #hauteyourture