Melbourne stylists on the tailors they use for clothing alterations

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For when you’re in a stitch.

Despite growing fears about the state of our environment, a large percentage of the fashion industry still designs clothing to be disposable. Torn fabrics, oversized textiles and worn-out shoes are willingly thrown away, doomed to contribute to the 92 million tonnes of clothes wasted each year. 

I recently scored a fabulous vintage DKNY tunic from Depop but upon arrival, was disheartened to see a sack of potatoes staring back at me in the mirror. ‘I should take this to the tailor’, I thought. Instead, I made excuses, like ‘tailoring is a luxury this dress isn’t worth’, ‘what if they make a mistake and it becomes unwearable?’ and ‘I don’t know any tailors!’

For more fashion-related features, browse through our Fashion section. 

It’s a story we’re all familiar with – you nab an amazing piece of clothing, realise it’s ill-fitting and it sits in your closet for three years before it’s binned. Well, it’s time to change the narrative. Not only do tailors help you achieve a flattering fit, but they breathe new life into your well-worn, most-loved pieces.

As we enter a new year of fashion fads and fails (don’t even talk to me about animal print), I thought it best we speak to the specialists. To help, four Melbourne stylists have provided us with their trade secrets and trusted tailors. 

Betty Liu, stylist and creative practitioner 


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Usually, I do alterations myself but sometimes I’ll go to the Alter It store. It’s located on the lower ground floor of Melbourne Central. The location is very convenient for me and it’s open every day, so it’s reliable when I’m short on time and need last-minute alterations.

The last time I went [to Alter It], I had to hem a few pairs of heavy chinos for work. The finished hem was the perfect length – it covered my shoes, but didn’t graze the floor. They also did a really good job shade matching the thread to the pants, which were an in-between brown shade. They’re always careful with my garments and I’ve never left unhappy.


Katherine Rose, stylist and photographer 


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I go to Miss Molly Tailor in St Kilda for alterations. Molly is so lovely, always understands exactly what I need and delivers beyond my expectations. I love supporting small, women-owned businesses. This is one of the many reasons I continue to return to Molly. Also, I think we should be doing all we can to extend the life of our clothing before discarding or donating it. 

The last time I visited, I took my Versace jeans for a zipper replacement and a pair of business pants for tailoring. I often go to the tailors because I have trouble finding pants that are the baggy cut I prefer but still fitted on the waist. The fit was perfect when I picked them up – they fit my waist, and there was still room to breathe comfortably (I hate when pants are too tight on my stomach). 


Carlos Mangubat, stylist and creative director 


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For alterations, I just go to a local guy in Carlton. He’s around the corner from my place. His name is Gabriel and his shop hasn’t changed in what looks like 30 years! Having a good relationship with your tailor is important – they learn what you like and if you keep returning and supporting their business, they’re likely to give you a discount. This tailor does a great job for a competitive price. Plus he’s a local – it’s nice to support local businesses. 

I used to go to a tailor in the CBD (161 Russell St, Melbourne) because I liked to get all my trousers cropped. Igal (the tailor) learnt how I liked my clothing altered. It was easy for me just to walk in, leave the clothing with him and his team and return to the outcome I wanted – almost every single time!


Lydia Crist, fashion stylist assistant


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I go to Alteration Excellence in South Melbourne. It’s next to a Woolworths and very unassuming. I’ve been going for years, they’re no fuss and do an exceptional job at an extremely reasonable price. I’ve had a few experiences with tailors giving unfriendly advice, but I’ve never had issues with the team at Alteration Excellence.

For me, the most important quality in a tailor is proper communication. I need to know the tailor understands what I’m looking for, even if they don’t agree with my vision. I don’t like to fear I’ll come and collect my clothes, only to find there’s been a misunderstanding. A justifiable price is important, too – I’m happy to pay more for more intricate tailoring, but am not a fan of tailoring chains overcharging for simple hemming.


For more on the importance of tailoring, head here.

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