Don't exchange it, alter it!

How to alter clothes that aren't a good fit. (Fotolia)

How to alter clothes that aren't a good fit. (Fotolia)

Marilyn Wetston, Special to QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 5:16 PM ET

The holidays are about giving gifts - and receiving them, of course! However sweet the gesture, sometimes it’s a necessity to exchange a gift, especially with clothing items. But what if you could make small alterations and not have to wait in line to return clothes? Here are my tips for solving that problem:

Knits that fit too tightly can be blocked bigger with a damp cloth and steam iron.

Loose clothing can be cinched in with a belt of any type. Exercise your personal style to get the desired effect.

Any clothing straps that are too long can be adjusted with a couple of stitches or a quick fix knot. A hole punch or a shoemaker can correct ankle and purse straps or belts. When there is a loop holding your ankle strap to your shoe, simply substitute a ribbon or cord for the buckled strap and tie for your comfort.

When buttons pull, undo them. For tops, slip on an underpinning that suits you; for bottoms resort to a safety pin or hook and then either wear your top out and over or cover with a belt.

When the waist of a jacket or cardigan does not fasten, either open it from the waist down and belt for a cut away look or wear the jacket fully open for a more comfortable and relaxed look.

When the back and shoulders of a top fit but it is too narrow across the front, slip a scarf around your neck or under your collar and let it hang easily down your front. The gap will be diminished by the scarf and the shortfall camouflaged.

Too short a sleeve or pant leg can be remedied by dropping the hem, pressing and re-hemming. Otherwise you can roll sleeves and push them to three quarters. Fill in the gap of short pants with textured hose and funky shoes or cover the problem with a higher boot. All are stylish alternatives.

A too short skirt can be lengthened with a drop of the hem and or by adding leggings and stylish boots.

Quick fix for hugging tops and dresses with shaping darts - open the darts with a seam ripper, press out the fabric and get breathing space.

Too plunging a neckline? Add a camisole or tank.

Wrong color for you? Frame your face with a hue that is flattering and keep the "bad" color away from your face with any scarf.

Love the item but allergic to the fabric? A long sleeved top will look as if it belongs under an itchy cardigan and a pant liner or tights will invisibly protect your skin.

When you are the recipient of a personal gift that has a little issue just assess the problem and take the necessary action to make it yours. Then enjoy it and be grateful that someone cared enough to select a special something just for you. Happy Holidays!

Marilyn's on Facebook: www.facebook.com/MarilynsToronto


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