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Shakespeare was wrong.

No conversation about renewal and graceful adaptation would be complete without discussing the most important element of any successful wardrobe. Clothes that have been altered to fit your body like a glove. If you don’t have a good seamstress you’re missing out on the difference between looking good and looking great. For someone like me who is short, round, and physically limited a tailor is indispensable.

Need proof? I often need to have long sleeves shortened on coats and jackets, even if they are Petite. My grey Petite Jessica Simpson coat in Where’s That Groundhog? has had the sleeves shortened by a considerable 5″. Here it is before the alteration.

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So has the green jacket in Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I have trouble doing up buttoned cuffs so I had them removed to make it easier for me to wear.

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And this trench coat in Fashion Friday: #23 had to have 8″ of sleeve shortened and the cuff reconstructed. I challenge you to see any flaw in the alteration.

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Then there are the pants that need hemming, the button-down and V-necked tops that need sewing up so I don’t “burst” out of them. If I posted a picture of every garment my seamstress has made a perfect fit we’d be here all day. Instead, I’ll post this one and tell you about this very special lady.

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Meet Ann Rich, proud owner of Rich’s Alterations on the outskirts of Ashland City. She’s been instrumental in insuring my clothes suit my particularly hard-to-fit shape for a number of years now. She knows exactly what to do to make any garment fit me like a glove.

I have yet to walk into her shop and find her relaxing with nothing to do. Although there are always lots of garments stacked up behind her counter waiting to be altered Ann always makes time to talk to me. This little wisp of a lady is smart, witty, and no-nonsense – just what I like in other people.  Every time I come in she tells me a story from her past or shares some of her views about the world that confirm my assessment.

The 81 year old has seen her share of hardships. She lost her husband years ago to pancreatic cancer and is a cancer survivor herself. But there have been lots of high points in Ann’s life as well. Fourteen years ago her grandson helped her secure the space that is her shop. Those are his shirts to my right waiting to be tailored. “John’s picky about how he wears his shirts,” she confessed. “He brought me one that fits him just right and he wants the rest fixed up just like that one.”

Have you figured out who her grandson is yet? That poster over her right shoulder with the gold record is a clue. Ann’s grandson is one half of the country music duo Big & Rich. The rest of her shop walls are covered in Big & Rich swag and autographed pictures of other country music stars. What’s really endearing is he helped her get into business before he made it big.  That’s how much he loves his Grandmother. That’s really saying something.

I owe him a debt of gratitude for it. Now I know if I find a piece I really love that doesn’t quite fit chances are Ann Rich can make it look like it was made for me. She enjoys her life and her work, and she likes me because I’m “so colorful”.

Rich’s Design & Alterations is located at 1100 N Main St  in Ashland City, Tn. Her number is 615 792-1234.

Do you have a tailor you go to regularly to have your clothes altered? If not, why not?