Posts Tagged ‘Fit’

What I suck in


Ahem. I'm not actually sticking it out. I'm just not sucking it in.

Aki posted her honest profile shot here, so I will too.  I’m doing this for a few reasons: First, to demonstrate the power of a good bra, Second, to think critically about t-shirts, which are NOT all made equal.  Third, I’m having a glamorous evening out Thursday night, at which I plan to look amazingly put-together and hope to post some fabulous pics.  So consider this my Don’t Hate Me  Because I’m Beautiful ™ Before picture.


Same, t-shirt, better bra, still not great

Same, t-shirt, better bra, still not great

Same bra, better t-shirt.  This is a long-sleeved scoopneck lightweight jersey from the Gap.

Same bra, better t-shirt. This is a long-sleeved scoopneck lightweight jersey from the Gap.


BCBG T-shsirt with nice seam under the bust. Pretty flattering.

BCBG T-shsirt with nice seam under the bust. Pretty flattering.


Anthropologie: Nice scoopneck, ruffle helps shape the shoulders, tummy is disguised.

Anthropologie: Nice scoopneck, ruffle helps shape the shoulders, tummy is disguised.


Bedtime: Men's 1998 Padres NLCS Championship tee (with cartoon faces of the entire team!) This is the good bra, but because of the oversized fit I look much bigger than I am

Only for sleeping: Men's 1998 Padres NLCS Championship tee (with cartoon faces of the entire team!) This is the good bra, but because of the oversized fit it adds a lot of bulk.


Can I use them as an excuse for my waistline? They are distractingly cute. Like Aki's boobs.

Can I use them as an excuse for my waistline? They are distractingly cute. Like Aki's boobs.


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We’re All Fruity

Last week, as I was trying on a body-hugging dress my friend L said to me, “You are tiny! Your waist is so small!” the way Stacy London would yell at her What Not to Wear victims because they had been hiding under baggy shirts and too big pants. This wasn’t actually a surprise to me because I’d been able to squeeze back into my size 27 and sometimes even 26 pants.  I can even pull my size 28 pants up and down without unzipping. You wouldn’t know it though, because I have linebacker shoulders and DD breasts.

Yes. My name is deathmama and I am an apple. I’ve suffered from baby T envy most of my adult life.  What is an apple to do? What are all you fruits out there doing to work with your body? I had to give up on frilly girly cap sleeve shirts or anything involving shoulder seams or shoulder details. The less attention called to my shoulders, the better. When I buy short sleeve Ts, I try to look for styles with longish sleeves that hug the arms. And when I can, choose raglan sleeves. I also try to add volume below by wearing flared pants to balance out the flared shoulders. I’m still struggling for a look that works. I’m looking for a silhouette I can use as my new uniform. Can I still show off my smallish bottom half without looking like a gorilla? What are your issues, your solutions?

fruit salad at the mall

fruit salad at the mall

The woman on the right is a pear for sure. The woman in the middle and in the background, apples. Is the woman on the left an orange? Or is she an apple or pear that successfully balanced out her body using her clothes?

Updated 7/15/09:

I found an example of what I fear I would look like if I’m not careful. An ice cream cone with arms.

small/no butt + wide horizontal stripes on an inverted pear = disaster

small/no butt + wide horizontal stripes on an inverted pear = disaster

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Knee Length


I’m posting this as a point of reference more than a Do-and-Don’t list.  All the references I can find on “Skirt Length” describe lengths like “formal” and “tea” but treat “knee length” as if it’s a single hemline. The knee is not a line, it’s a whole area that moves when you walk. 

This used to really piss me off but instead I decided to just start paying attention and trying a little harder.  Examples:

1. Just below knee; 2. Top of knee; 3. Above the knee; 4. Mini.

1. Just below knee; 2. Top of knee; 3. Above the knee; 4. Mini.

1. Just Below Knee.  Fully covers knee, but any longer and you are in the difficult “mid/long skirt” area.  I would wear this to federal court or a funeral.

2.  “At or above” knee.  Covers the top of the knee, you can see knee poke out when you walk or sit down. As a rule, I’d say this is the go-to skirt length for all women on all occassions.  I would wear this length skirt to work or a wedding.

3. Above the knee. This is starting to get a little sassy but doesn’t raise any questions of decency.  It might be a little shorter than you think, if you sit down or drop something and need to pick it up.  So I wouldn’t just walk around in this length skirt without a plan, but if I was 45 and trying to revitalize my self-image, this is where I’d go.  I would wear this to a party or if I worked at The Limited.

4. Mini skirt.  Closer to fingertips than to knee.  Shows thighs. Nowhere near obscene, but when you see someone’s thighs don’t you ever think “hey, why are you showing me your thighs? Is it 90 degrees out? Are you flirting? Did you just grow 3 inches last night?” I would not wear this out of the bathroom.

I think there are probably workable lengths between 3 and 4, and it depends on style and fullness of skirt, shoes, legs, etc.  Ideas?


These bathroom cabinets are really working as a length reference 


Above, from left: Purple print, good length, better with tights; Gray knit, wore this a lot with tights and boots; Difficult 1998 mid-calf length; Little black dress, not too short but I can see now definitely not for funerals or job interviews.

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Finding Clothes that Fit

Clothes must fit.

All of them. If your clothes don’t fit your body well, it doesn’t matter if the color looks great on you — or what an amazing bargain you got.  No one looks cute if their clothes don’t fit. There is no good reason to compromise on this.

Clothes that are baggy make you look larger.  Clothes that are tight make you look larger.  Also, they embarrass other people by subjecting them to your pantyline. Also, what if you are driving with your pants unzipped because they are too tight, and you get out thinking you can zip your fly real quick in the parking lot because you parked behind a van, and then you realize that the van is full of teenage boys? This happened to someone I know recently.* Do not leave the house in anything that doesn’t fit you.  If you’re not looking in the mirror because you don’t care, it might look worse from the back than you think. 

If your clothes fit in three critical ways, everything else starts falling into place:

Shoulder Fit.  Since women’s clothing is sized by bust/waist/hips, it’s important to try things on to find the right shoulder fit.  Shoulder seams should line up with your actual shoulders: The sleeve should connect where it’s still pointing to the sky, not out to the side. This is the problem with wearing “boyfriend sweaters” that belong to your actual boyfriend: with any luck, he’s got broader shoulders than you. Clothes that are too wide in the shoulder do not make you look petite. They make you look like you are slouching.  Proper shoulder fit ensures good sleeve placement and the correct alignment of the side seams — critical if you don’t want to look wider than you are in the torso.  If you are broad-shouldered you know that it’s hard to find a fit, but it’s worth it.  It’s worth shopping around (Lands End has started carrying three “cuts” of women’s tops, each of different width). For more permanent pieces, buy to fit the shoulders and alter the sleeves and side seams.

Boyfriend sweater with properly fitting seams (left)

Left: Boyfriend sweater with properly fitting seams; Right: Person who would look cuter if their sweater fit

Bra fit.  You are not the same bra size as you were 15 years ago.**  Especially if you have had a change in weight and/or children recently, you need to go get measured for a bra. Give yourself time to do it right. Do not bring anyone under the age of 16 in the dressing room with you. Wear a “difficult” shirt and try it on over each bra you think of buying .  Some bras look okay by themselves, but under a t-shirt they cut the bosom in half (“bifocal boob”) or cling to the back straps and give them impression of fat rolls when really it’s just pinched skin.  Buy bras to fit you on the loosest hook setting; that gives you room to tighten them over time as the band stretches out.  If your straps tend to fall off your shoulders, try a smaller band size.  If the middle of your bra does not lay flat over your breastbone, try a larger cup size.  Check the quality by looking at the stitching along the wires: the more stitching between and along the seams, the longer it will last.  I love to find bargains on department store sale racks -(Macy’s has additional discounts for their Saturday morning One-Day Sales — sometimes up to 70% off just for being an old color).  Without the right bra fit, none of your clothes can look their best.

Bottoms fit.  You need to pants that fit in the “seat” (as my Grandma used to say, while I stood mortified in the dressing room as she pointed at the crack of my jeans).  “Petite” trousers usually have a shorter rise and less hip room; if you shop in the petite department simply to save yourself the effort of hemming, they might be too small and ride up the crack of your seat.     

If you are apple-shaped (wear a bigger size around the waist), lower-rise pants might fit better in the hips without giving you a “Tweedle-Dee” shape.  If you are pear-shaped (bigger around the hips), a longer rise might emphasize that smaller waist of yours (do I sound jealous? I hate my waist).  Sit down in pants before you buy them. If the waistband gaps in the back when you sit in the floor, you need to either not have children (so you never sit on the floor) or get the waist taken in.  This is simple and usually costs under $20 (if there’s not a tailor in-store, you can find one at most drycleaners). Hem pants so that they barely touch the ground in the back when you have your shoes on; they should break (fold in at the ankle) over your instep. If you can see your socks when you are standing up, your pants are TOO SHORT.  If your pants drag on the ground when you walk, they are TOO LONG.

When your clothes fit well, it becomes hard to look truly bad.  This is true no matter how dressy you want to be, or whether you care what you look like.   If your current favorite clothes “break” the fit rules, be happy! You are about to lose 15 pounds (visually) as soon as they fit. 

Any other fit tips?


**I risk generalization because, if only one person gets fitted just to prove me wrong, that is one more bra fitting in furtherance of the greater good.

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My Rules

The advantage of age, I hope, is experience and wisdom.  If you make enough of the same mistakes over and over you should start figuring out what works for you, and what doesn’t.  At least that’s been the case with me.  And by starting to cut out certain things from my wardrobe, shopping has actually become much easier.  There are still pieces I’m working through and trying to figure out but these are the things that I absolutely know:

No turtlenecks or collared shirts

I think this is because I was strangled or hung to death in a past life.  I can’t stand having anything around my neck, even jewelry.  Also, by narrowing in on my neck these styles emphasize by comparison my large breasts, which I am now trying to deflect attention from.  I know that tailored fitted shirts that are the right size won’t gape at the breast area but this is just something I’ve decided for myself not to deal with.  Also, it just isn’t ME.

No whites or pastels

I know myself.  I have a true story from college involving myself, three identical cute white Banana Republic shirts, fruit punch, multiple wardrobe changes, and much hilarity.

No special treatment

No dry clean, no line dry, no hand wash (This tends to eliminate a lot of sweaters, which is ok because I tend to run hot).   I don’t have the time.  I have 3 cats and a toddler so I need things that can get barfed/peed/pooped/drooled on that I can throw in the wash and dryer without worrying.  This wasn’t always the case but for the time being I’ve decided shirts can be my disposable item.  They can still look good if the cut and style is right.  Then I balance it out with higher quality denim and shoes.

Long enough shirts

Even though I’m only 4’11” I am long-waisted.  I am proud of my butt but I don’t like exposing my butt crack to the world. I also know a little something about muffin tops.  Therefore I never buy tops that will expose any part of my mid-section.

There are more but that’s all I have time for tonight. After a while you’ll see a sort of a “uniform” start to emerge (More on that later). It is nice to have rules, but rules that are tailor made specifically for you.  There are people who look fantastic in white, or turtlenecks. But you won’t see me in them because I feel uncomfortable and therefore will not look good.

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