Posts Tagged ‘shoulders’

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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