Does it Fit? Your Guide to Proper Fit

Proper Fit, It’s What You Want.

When shopping for clothing most of us are drawn to a garment based first on its color (or pattern), next its style and the last determining factor to if we will purchase said garment is based on how it fits. Over time the fit of a garment is in direct relation to our satisfaction with our investment. You might be one of a very few lucky individuals that can purchase straight off the rack and have a great fit; as if you were the fit model it was based on. Or you might be fooling yourself in thinking you have a good fit. Most of us need some adjustments to get a proper fit.

Why is a proper fit important? When our clothes fit us properly we are comfortable. We tend to receive compliments more often on how good we look, thus making us feel better and more confident. You will look slimmer in a properly fitted garment. The garment will last longer. Seeing people wear pants too long for them, and wearing a hole in the back pant leg at the point where their heel “walks” on the fabric makes me cringe on the inside, much like the sound of fingernails scrapping down a chalkboard irritates the eardrum. When we look well put together and have an aura of confidence, we exude a more professional and polished look.

When shopping for clothes here are some points to assess for your purchase:

  • Expect you will invest in altering some part, whether it is the hem length, or taking the sides of the body in. Some stores even offer tailoring services, so be sure to ask. Or get to know an alterations specialist (they will become your next best friend to your hairdresser, making you look spectacular!)
  • Always wear the undergarments you would normally wear under the clothing you are shopping for to get a realistic fit of the garment, and try on the clothing with the heel you intend to wear with that garment, whether it is pants, skirts, or dresses.
  • Not all manufactures use the same sizing standards so try on several sizes of a garment you like, and go with the size that fits your largest girth; be it your chest/bust, waist, or hips. Other areas of the garment can be taken in to fit, but not all garments have enough fabric in the seams to be let out.
  • Ease is the amount of extra fabric or space between your body and the garment fabric. You need at least some ease to accommodate moving around in the garment, and then there is design ease which is the extra amount determined by the designer in the style of the garment (for example a full skirt, or a peasant style blouse have lots of extra space between the body and the fabric.)
  • Men can typically get away with having pants hemmed at the same inseam length because their shoe heel height rarely varies. Ladies, on the other hand, need to determine what heel height of shoe they will most likely wear when wearing a pant and have the pant hemmed at that length. It might mean that one would have several, say, black pants in their wardrobe, one to wear with flats, one for a medium height heel, and one pair to wear with high heels. A pant length hemmed to wear with flats will visually cut the leg shorter and look out of proportion when worn with high heels. The flip side of that is if you are looking to appear taller plan to wear a slight heel and have your pants hemmed for the heel, the pant leg will be longer therefore elongating your figure.
  • When trying on garments before buying check that the center front, center back, and side seams hang perpendicular to the floor. The collar rests comfortable on the neck. The upper back between the shoulders fit smoothly with no bubbles, buckles, wrinkles or bulges, and has enough room for movement. Armholes should not bind, gap, or cut into the arm, and the seam should lie smooth around the arm and over the shoulder. The shoulder seam should rest on top of the shoulder. Sleeves should lie smooth around the arm and have enough ease to move and bend the arm. The waistband should fit comfortably when standing, yet have 1-1 ½ inch ease for sitting (two fingers should slip easily inside the waistband). Remember to buy the size that fits the fullest girth, all other parts can be taken in.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you the next time you are out shopping to select the garment closest to the best fit, and after you visit your alterations specialist you are looking fabulous and are super happy with your choice for a long, long time.

Don’t forget Clary Sage College offers alteration services by our students! Call ahead to make an appointment to get fitted: 918-298-8200.