Tailor-Made

imageWhile my closet may suggest otherwise, finding the right-sized clothes to fit my frame is no small task. Despite the myriad of clothing boutiques at my disposal in the Big Apple, I’m rarely able to wear frocks right off the racks. Since most American labels are cut so large (can you say “Super Size Me”?), I can either fly to Europe for more petite (but pricey) clothes or try a more fitting alternative, like paying for alterations at Stanton Tailor Shop.

A Lower East Side landmark since 1993, Stanton Tailor meticulously mends everything from frayed pant hems to, believe it or not, parachutes. Having tried dozens of tailors in my time, absolutely nothing compares to level of craftsmanship offered at this one-man show. Run by my new best friend, Pablo Vargas, a self-confessed control freak who simultaneously supervises multiple fittings, repairs, customer calls and even the cash register (no computer terminals here), Stanton Tailor is one of the most unconventional businesses I’ve ever seen. The size of a walk-in-closet, this old-school shop still manages to serve more than 75 customers a day. With lines that snake out the door, Stanton Tailor is so busy they might as well have one of those ticket dispensers you find at the deli to manage the crowd. Come on a Saturday and you’d better bring a copy of War and Peace to help make the time pass. Perhaps more entertaining is watching poor Pablo balance himself on a ladder in order to pull down your alterations (which hang suspended from the ceiling).

What I love most about Stanton Tailor is that they’ve willingly reconstructed several complicated pieces from my closet such as a delicate silk blouse with a ruffled Victorian collar – items other tailors wouldn’t dare touch. They’re also one of the cheapest tailors in town. Original pant hems average only $10, practically half the price of what you’ll find uptown. Just don’t bother asking Pablo to specify a pick-up date. When your stuff’s ready, it’s ready! So long as you’re willing to put up with the chaos, Stanton Tailor will magically mend your wardrobe and just maybe, your life.

  • Stanton Tailor Shop
  • 90-96 Stanton Street (@ Orchard Street)
  • 212-353-9753
  • Monday – Saturday from 10am-7pm (fittings only from 10am-6pm)
  • $10-$200 (for major coat alterations)
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