-Hi, do you know if there is any place in New York that can distress my jeans or make them more distressed?
-These winters in NYC have taken a beating on my down jacket. It's starting to fray at the seams and feathers are flying loose. Is there such thing as a "down jacket repair kit" - or are these places I can go to get my jacket fixed?
Since these questions about fixing, tailoring, and distressing clothes seemed somewhat similar to Ask Gothamist, we thought we'd answer them all at once.
We have a number of slim and shorter male friends who complain about shirts being too big. Many of them have found that shirts from European designers have a better fit for them, as European men tend to be slimmer than Americans and like their clothes to be more fitted. For inexpensive shirts, look for stores with a European origin, like H&M, Mexx, or Zara. One man we know who is on the slim side got a dress shirt at j.crew recently and loved the fit (we know many Ask Gothamist readers hate to shop at retail chains, so by all means feel free to post non-inflammatory comments on where to get reasonably priced, tailored men's shirts at other places in the city). Another option would be to try your own hand at taking in your shirts - you can get a brand-new sewing machine for about $99 (or the cost of a few visits to the tailor). You can invest in some sewing lessons or books on how to tailor. Of course this will take more time and effort, but in the long run, you'll save money and have shirts that fit you perfectly.
Ask Gothamist is sure you could pay some fancypants place to distress your designer jeans, but this one is easy to do yourself. Wash the jeans a few times to get them nice and soft. Use something abrasive on spots where you want the jeans to look worn - sandpaper, a pumice stone, or a cheese grater should all do the trick, depending on the degree of distress you're after. Try using some bleach to lighten your jeans in places where they would naturally fade. Look at old jeans to see where they naturally distress. You might want to experiment on some older jeans first.
As for fixing your down jacket, we're sure just about any tailor in the city will fix it for you. But we don't think you need any sort of special kit to fix it yourself, other than a plain old sewing kit that you can find for a few dollars in just about any drugstore.
Got a question? Need advice? E-mail ask(at)gothamist(dot)com.