Finding The Right Fit

It’s been made pretty clear over the years that properly fitting clothes are the most important part of looking good. This is a rule that crosses all boundaries of taste and occasion. But still it appears that people aren’t quite getting it. I have a few ideas why.
I have a good friend who insists she is a large. Let me tell you, she is a small, medium at best, and yet she continues to think this, and partially due to sizing difficulty she often wears men’s clothes. So what’s the problem? Despite having a pretty tiny waist, she has some pretty ample assets. So in order to get into anything she’s finding she has to buy a large, and then it doesn’t fit right everywhere else. I’m thinking this is a pretty common issue.
The thing is, women come in all shapes and sizes, but clothes generally don’t. Well, not as much. Typically there’s a standard ratio they go by, for example for every individual item the bust and hips will be a certain number of inches more than the waist. Seeing as how we are not made to this formula it’s easy to see how some people can run into a little trouble when trying to find clothes that fit. But there are a few ways around this.
The very best way to make sure your clothes fit perfectly is taking them to a tailor. It doesn’t cost a lot and I’ve noticed a lot of people seem to be forgetting that tailors even exist. And what a shame, seeing as how incredibly beneficial they are. (By the way, shoe repair places can tailor the calves of your boots too.) If you’re of a not-so-standard size, you should buy items to fit the largest part of your body, and have them taken in where you’re smaller. This is something you could also learn to do yourself, and I feel extremely lucky to be learning it. Trust me; it’s much easier than it looks. I can’t sew so much as a pillow but I’ve done some very handy work on my own clothes which has already saved me 150$ on just two items. I’ll talk more about this in another article.

A note for the guys: I’m not sure how many of you know this, and Mike certainly didn’t, but suits are made with the intention that you’re going to have them tailored. If you’ve ever wondered why the pants and cuffs are always too long, (and sometimes the waist is too big) while the shoulder width is perfect, that’s your answer. Guys come in a lot of different heights, obviously, so manufacturers like to cover all their bases by making them long and large enough to all but the largest of men, and then expect you to hem them and take them in after. Formalwear shops almost always have an in-house tailoring service, and they want you to make use of it. Having gone through high school reading a lot of men’s magazines (women’s magazines are just so much fluff), I found it pretty funny when we were shopping for Mike’s first suit for our wedding and this was completely new information to him. By the way, hem your jeans too if you have to. It may feel silly, but at least it doesn’t look as silly as having loads of tattered denim hanging around your heels just waiting for you to trip on.
Your second option is to buy tops and dresses with stretch, and buy them to fit the smallest part of you. Keep in mind though, there’s a limit here. If your boobs are stretching your top enough that it’s wrinkling in the middle, or worse, it looks like they’re about to break through and make an appearance, you’re taking advantage of this tip a little too much. Make sure it doesn’t look like you just borrowed the item from your kid sister.
The quickest fix: belts. That will nip in your waist when your clothing is too loose, or even when it isn’t. And it is very flattering to have a waist in your outfit, no matter what your size. Trust me on this.
A more interesting way of pulling in the waist on your clothes without actually tailoring them is to sew two rows of small D-rings down the back seams at waist level, let’s say 3 or 4 in each row, and then lace ribbon through them corset-style to cinch and tie. You can even keep changing the ribbon to match the rest of your outfit! It’s awesome for a splash of color and pretty detail.

When in doubt, there are certain styles of clothing that make finding the right fit virtually fool-proof. I always recommend swing dresses to girls who aren’t sure what to go for because they’re universally flattering, and the hip measurement is a complete non-issue. Yes, you can wear these if you have large hips, and they look great! Empire waist dresses and tops that flow loosely from just under the bust aren’t flattering on everyone, but they do you one better than swing dresses when it comes to fit because even the waist measurement doesn’t matter here, only the bust. Both of these are great options if you’re a different size on top than on the bottom.
Do you have any more ideas on getting your clothes to fit? Let me know in the comments!

2 comments on “Finding The Right Fit

  1. aimee says:

    i’m five foot tall and pretty petite all around. but goddamnit i do have hips (so kids clothes really don’t work). so i pretty much have to alter 90% of my clothes.
    the easiest way to tailor anything is to simply turn it inside out and have some one help you pin to fit. the more complicated the garment, the more complicated this process, but that’s the general idea for fixing anything to fit you better. obviously this only works for altering to a smaller size.

    • Thanks for mentioning that, that’s a really great tip! This is the way I do it most often myself, it’s extremely useful 🙂
      That actually reminds me of something. For making something bigger, you can separate a garment by the side seams and insert a wide contrasting ribbon. I saw this in a magazine in the 90s about fixing jeans that were too tight. You can also do a different version of the corset lacing method and make holes or loops down either side of the cut and use them to hold the sides together with ribbon laced through. I hope I’m making sense, maybe someone can find a picture?

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