Some shopping tips for custom-made apparel

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Tips for having apparel custom-made or restyled

■ Do your research: Browse magazines for examples of silhouettes, colors and necklines you like. Take these photos to your first meeting to help the designer visualize your ideas.

■ Know what's not negotiable: On a budget? Hate to show your knees? Never wear fuchsia? Tell the designer what you're not willing to budge on before the process gets started.

■ Take shoes and shapewear to fittings: A pump's height and shaper undergarments, such as SPANX, can change the way apparel looks and fits. Wear to fittings the pieces you plan to pair with the finished outfit to ensure it will properly fit your proportions and be the right length.

■ Ask yourself: Is the garment worth restyling? If apparel is poor quality, having it updated could be pricey -- or not even possible. It might be better to buy something new and have it tailored for the best fit.

■ Find a designer you trust: Having apparel customized can be a costly, timely process. Pick a designer whose design aesthetic and personality relates well with yours.

■ Keep an open mind: Just because a haircut looks good on a celebrity doesn't mean it will look good on you. The same goes for fashion. While it's important to share ideas with the designer, stay flexible and open to recommendations.

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