"If some people [gain weight] they go workout...Some people just let out the pants" - tailors talk COVID weight gain

Tinyportia

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Business is booming for tailors in NYC with requests from customers to have their clothes taken out to accomodate their quarantine weight gain...


Full text of article in case everyone can't access the article:

With weddings postponed and offices shut, business was bleak at Woodside Tailor Shop in Queens during the long months of pandemic lockdown. There was no need for party dress alterations, or any pressure for slacks to be hemmed.

But about three months in, things started picking back up in June, with one particular service in sudden demand: People needed a bit more breathing room in their clothing.

“Everybody got fat!” said Porfirio Arias, 66, a tailor at Woodside. “It’s not only in New York. It’s all over the world that people got fat.”
In a city where gyms are still closed, and Netflix and couch the safest evening entertainment, the phenomenon of stay-at-home weight gain — playfully called the Quarantine 15 by some — has brought an unexpected windfall for some tailors. Some say they have seen business rise by as much as 80 percent, with customers asking for buttons to be moved, waistbands lengthened and jackets made more roomy.

“If some people are uncomfortable, they go work out and do whatever,” said Michael Shimunoff at La Moda Custom Tailors in Queens. “Some people just let out the pants.”

The boost in business has been welcome for many tailors, who often operate in storefronts shared with dry cleaners, which have suffered mightily during the pandemic. Dry cleaning businesses at the peak of the pandemic lost an estimated 80 to 90 percent in sales compared to previous years, and are still down about 40 to 50 percent, according to data collected by the North East Fabricare Association.

Smaller tailors who specialize in alterations have suffered more than custom clothing makers, whose clients have postponed receiving wedding dresses and tuxedos, but generally have not canceled their orders, said Alan Rouleau, the president of the Custom Tailors and Designers Association.

“You can’t do tailoring without being in somebody’s face,” Mr. Rouleau said. “We are in a high-touch business.”

Many tailors fear that the industry may not bounce back even as more people return to work, if the traditional workplace culture shifts to the new work-from-home ethos — meaning more sweatpants and fewer bespoke suits that need to be cleaned, pressed or altered.

Of course, not all New Yorkers have been able to work from home, and the ability to sequester has largely fallen along socioeconomic lines: Putting on pandemic pounds is a small downside of what is in essence a tremendous privilege.

In Woodside, Mr. Arias’s entire extended family — his wife, two sons, daughter, brother-in-law and mother-in-law — all had their pants let out this month. Or rather, they loaded Mr. Arias with their clothes to take to his shop so he could make the required alterations.

He said New Yorkers should not feel bad about needing a few more inches of room. “They can’t go out, they don’t have a room to make exercise, so they don’t have a choice,” he said.

Mr. Arias can speak to the challenges firsthand: He said he has had to take needle and thread to his own trousers. “I got fat, too!”

At T & J Crystal Cleaners in Long Island City, Queens, David Choi said he has been trying to dissuade customers who ask him to loosen their clothes because they gained weight during the lockdown. The process sometimes distorts the original fit of the clothing so it no longer drapes well, he said, and he fears that his clients will not be happy with the result.

Instead, he urges customers to wait it out, reminding them that pandemics — and pounds — too shall pass.

“I don’t say, ‘Go try the gym,’” Mr. Choi said. “I can’t say that, but I am not happy to make my money with this kind of job.” So he said he has tried flattery, telling his customers that the extra pounds added something else besides pure weight. “Some ladies still look sexy!” he said.

Nicolas Jacquet, a custom suit specialist at Brooklyn Tailors, which crafts bespoke men's wear, said he recently adjusted a few waistlines on the custom suits of grooms whose measurements were taken before the pandemic began. He recommends fabrics with stretch and give to deal with inertia-based weight gain, like wool or blends with elastane.

“We will tailor the suits to make the customer feel good about himself,” Mr. Jacquet said, adding that with his clients’ weddings postponed or dramatically contracted, few are focused on their weight. “They have a lot more issues to think about,” he said.

At Alteration Concept, a basement tailor shop in the West Village in Manhattan, a debate was taking place between Chung Moon, the owner, and a woman who wanted to have the waistline of her jeans expanded.

Mr. Moon gently suggested that the woman might not like the darts that he would have to add to her jeans.

“Sourdough is making me feel good right now,” she said. “I’m not going to stop eating bread — I need to feel good right now.” The customer, as usual, was right: Mr. Moon ended up expanding three pairs.

Elsewhere in his shop, five pairs of Theory slacks and a blazer were awaiting enlargement. Mr. Moon, 49, said he was dubious that lockdown weight gain is solely to blame.

“The pants were tight before, but we were so busy, even if pants were a little tight or a little snug, we didn’t really feel that,” he said. “Right now, you have a lot of time, and a lot of thinking going on.”

What kind of world are we living in where if a person gains weight, instead of thinking "Oh i'll try and lose the weight", their first thought is to get their clothes taken out to accomodate the weight gain?
 
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abominable_princess

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Honestly from the perspective of not throwing out your clothes when they don't fit anymore but instead getting them altered to reduce the amount of clothes ending up in landfills, I'm kind of okay with it.

I just would have liked it to be because the clothes become too big, not too small, but we all know what kind of world we're living in, sadly.

This quote made me super uncomfortable:
At Alteration Concept, a basement tailor shop in the West Village in Manhattan, a debate was taking place between Chung Moon, the owner, and a woman who wanted to have the waistline of her jeans expanded.

Mr. Moon gently suggested that the woman might not like the darts that he would have to add to her jeans.
“Sourdough is making me feel good right now,” she said. “I’m not going to stop eating bread — I need to feel good right now.” The customer, as usual, was right: Mr. Moon ended up expanding three pairs.
Replace sourdough with something like drugs... :nervous:
 
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Tinyportia

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Honestly from the perspective of not throwing out your clothes when they don't fit anymore but instead getting them altered to reduce the amount of clothes ending up in landfills, I'm kind of okay with it.
By that logic, I guess it's a good thing that no food is going to waste either? No doubt the fatties are consuming all the food they buy as opposed to throwing out what they don't finish? :whistling: And at least the fatties are keeping the tailors in business too I suppose?
 
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abominable_princess

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By that logic, I guess it's a good thing that no food is going to waste either? No doubt the fatties are consuming all the food they buy as opposed to throwing out what they don't finish? :whistling: And at least the fatties are keeping the tailors in business too I suppose?
I don't really understand your point, sorry, maybe I'm reading it wrong. Eating more food than your body needs and throwing out the leftovers is not reducing waste, freezing your leftovers and saving them for later would be a more similar way to reduce waste in landfills. I'd totally be on board with people getting more creative with leftover foods. I'd also be on board with people going for example package-less, if they're going to buy metric shit tons of food. I'm just saying the tailoring your clothes part isn't what bothers me about this article.
 
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anne

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This quote made me super uncomfortable:
At Alteration Concept, a basement tailor shop in the West Village in Manhattan, a debate was taking place between Chung Moon, the owner, and a woman who wanted to have the waistline of her jeans expanded.

Mr. Moon gently suggested that the woman might not like the darts that he would have to add to her jeans.
“Sourdough is making me feel good right now,” she said. “I’m not going to stop eating bread — I need to feel good right now.” The customer, as usual, was right: Mr. Moon ended up expanding three pairs.


Replace sourdough with something like drugs... :nervous:
What made me uncomfortable about this quote is the customer's self-awareness of her own self-destructive behavior. You know you want to feel good right now... so why not leverage that awareness to choose a healthy outlet instead of fucking bread?

For me, for the most part, the complaints (i.e. excuses) about closed gyms etc. fall on deaf ears. I've run 10k (with a mask) and done an ab workout at home almost every day since the guidelines began in March.

And that's just because I like looking/feeling good for myself. I can't imagine letting myself get fat during this time if I had a WEDDING planned, dear lord.
 
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Tinyportia

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I don't really understand your point, sorry, maybe I'm reading it wrong. Eating more food than your body needs and throwing out the leftovers is not reducing waste, freezing your leftovers and saving them for later would be a more similar way to reduce waste in landfills. I'd totally be on board with people getting more creative with leftover foods. I'd also be on board with people going for example package-less, if they're going to buy metric shit tons of food. I'm just saying the tailoring your clothes part isn't what bothers me about this article.
I was trying to imply that if one has gained that much weight during quarantine, there probably aren't any leftovers to throw out. Hence, no food is being wasted. Maybe I worded it badly. I was just surprised that you found a silver lining in this article lol - you're clearly a much nicer person than me. I was just revolted at the fact that it didn't occur to these people to try and lose the weight (or even stop gaining more weight) as opposed to getting the clothes altered.

For me, for the most part, the complaints (i.e. excuses) about closed gyms etc. fall on deaf ears. I've run 10k (with a mask) and done an ab workout at home almost every day since the guidelines began in March.
This. Me too. Fuck, I've been in isolation for close to two weeks now (meaning I can't leave my apartment) and have been managing to clock-up on average 15,000 steps each day. One day I even did just over 27k steps. There is also a plethora of fitness videos and workout suggestions available online so it's easy to find ideas for keeping fit and healthy. If the fatties can find a recipe for sourdough bread online, they can find a workout routine online too.
 
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abominable_princess

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I was just surprised that you found a silver lining in this article lol - you're clearly a much nicer person than me.
I have been in an extremely good mood recently, having gone on holiday so maybe the sunshine is getting to my head. :lol:

If the fatties can find a recipe for sourdough bread online, they can find a workout routine online too.
Alternatively: if they can find the effort and time to go to a tailor they can find the effort and time to go to a personal trainer :lol:
 
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jacquemuse

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I love how candid and gossipy this article is. So rare at a time when people are so careful about being body-positive and non-judgmental.

Some say they have seen business rise by as much as 80 percent, with customers asking for buttons to be moved, waistbands lengthened and jackets made more roomy.
80 percent…I wish I could believe it's just people going to the tailor for long-overdue mending (button ripped off, etc.) but somehow I doubt it…
 

little-bird

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What made me uncomfortable about this quote is the customer's self-awareness of her own self-destructive behavior. You know you want to feel good right now... so why not leverage that awareness to choose a healthy outlet instead of fucking bread?

For me, for the most part, the complaints (i.e. excuses) about closed gyms etc. fall on deaf ears. I've run 10k (with a mask) and done an ab workout at home almost every day since the guidelines began in March.

And that's just because I like looking/feeling good for myself. I can't imagine letting myself get fat during this time if I had a WEDDING planned, dear lord.
The general sentiment I've noticed (among my peer group, at least) is that people feel they should be exempt from any expectations about doing the "right" thing, in regards to both productivity and healthy living, because Covid-19 has been so stressful. Lots of Facebook posts circulating with the whole "be gentle with yourself, don't force yourself to be productive/workout/eat healthy" as some sort of bizarre self-care trend.
 
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smallthing

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The general sentiment I've noticed (among my peer group, at least) is that people feel they should be exempt from any expectations about doing the "right" thing, in regards to both productivity and healthy living, because Covid-19 has been so stressful. Lots of Facebook posts circulating with the whole "be gentle with yourself, don't force yourself to be productive/workout/eat healthy" as some sort of bizarre self-care trend.
I've noticed the same, and it seems so bizarre to me. Of course taking a mental health day here and there is useful, but if I personally go days or weeks at a time without doing anything that brings some sort of positivity to the people around me or the world at large, I feel useless and begin to internalize that feeling. Getting shit done (whether that's working out for yourself or taking on a project to help the community or simply continuing with your job as normal) is the best way to boost self-esteem and more people need to be told this.
 
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