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Hello, Tailor!

Alter boys: Alongside NoLIta's fashion boutiques, a satellite industry thrives: the local guys who can make those hip-huggers really hug.

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I recently took a denim skirt to my neighborhood cleaner's to have it hemmed. The estimate: $25. Outraged, I decided there must be a better way, even if it meant travel. Fashion insiders consistently recommended NoLIta and Lower East Side tailors -- surprising, since old-world prices are disappearing fast in those neighborhoods. But I'll never have anything altered in midtown again. Check out these chatty, friendly, talented tailors, and I'll bet you won't, either.

Ramon Diaz Sr. has been in the neighborhood since 1969 -- long before it was called NoLIta, and certainly before the fashion crowd knew it existed. He now works for everyone from Paulina Porizkova to customers of upmarket shops like Katayone Adeli and Joseph. But Ramon's Tailor Shop is still a value, and you can trust him with complicated jobs (he'll do anything from repairing severed shoulder straps to sizing down Louis Vuitton dresses). Hemming starts at $12; taking in dresses, at $25.

The tiny, fourteen-year-old Stanton Tailor Shop is a great bet for speedy, inexpensive men's alterations or basic women's mending (Lower East Side shops like TG-170 send people here). If the shop's not busy, they'll hem a pair of pants while you wait. Hemming from $3, taking in jackets from $15, and dress alterations from $10.

At neighborhood newcomer New York Tailors (open a year), the Dominican tailors may not habla ingles so well, but they do understand flimsy, bias-cut party dresses -- they've been doing Tracy Feith's alterations for years (they also work with Scoop, Plein Sud, and Banana). They'll take in a jacket for $20, taper a dress for $15, and hem for $5.

Similarly, don't be fooled by the apparent language barrier at the pint-size, fifteen-year-old Jose Tailor Shop. The staff is surprisingly good at figuring out what you mean as you point and gesticulate -- and they evidently communicate fine with salespeople at Find Outlet, J.Crew, and Zara, who steer customers their way. Hemming starts at $5; taking in a dress, at $15. Sleeves are from $12.

Ramon's Tailors and Cleaners, 306 Mott St. (212-226-0747); Stanton Tailor Shop, 90 Stanton St. (212-353-9753); New York Tailors, 60 Kenmare St. (212-343-8790); Jose Tailor Shop, 205 Mott St. (212-941-0348).

Picks of the Week
BlissSoho, the fashion crowd's favorite spa, is giving away free half-hour makeovers with makeup artist Michael Kier. One per customer. Mention this promotion when booking. 568 Broadway, near Prince St., second floor (212-219-8970); through 8/31.

Tocca, Theory, and Daryl K are just a few of the fabulous labels at this women's-clothes-and-accessories blowout. Most prices are under $100. Sizes 2-12. 261 W. 36th St., second floor (212-947-8748); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon., Tues, Thurs. 10-7, Wed. 8-6, Fri. 10-6; 7/24-8/3.

Inca's woven beach bags, mats, and sexy beaded bikinis (all de rigueur on the chic-est Hamptons beaches) are 70 to 80 percent off: Bikinis are $50, bags are $15-$50, and sarongs are $40. 53 W. 36th St., Suite 305 (212-967-5212); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Thurs. 10-6; 7/24-7/28.

Hoyt & Bond, whose sweet, preppy dresses and knits for women and kids are sold at stores like Barneys, is taking up to 70 percent off all stock -- everything's under $50. 611 Broadway, near Houston St., Suite 714 (212-228-9102); cash only; Tues., Wed. 10-6; 7/25-7/26.

The MOMA Design Store's sleek, gift-able home accessories and gadgets are mostly 40 to 60 percent off at the summer sale, from $6 for Christmas ornaments to $100 for a tea trolley. 44 W. 53rd St. (212-767-1050); A.E., M.C., V.; Sat.-Thurs. 10-6:30, Fri. till 8; 7/27-8/3.

Lederer de Paris's swank classic handbags are usually $150 to $500. This week, the sale preview offers dozens of styles for $80. 457 Madison Ave., at 51st St. (212-355-5515); A.E., M.C., V.; Mon.-Sat. 9:30-6; 7/24-7/29.


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