I can generally pick up a garment, give it a quick once-over, and know whether it’ll make me look like a goddess or a garbage heap. How? Well, I shop frequently and try on a LOT of clothing, so some of it is trial and error. But I’ve also made a point of learning my measurements, my body type, and my personal failsafe styles.
Learning about your figure is key to efficient shopping. Shopping becomes exhausting when you have to try on 15 dresses before finding one that’s even passable, much less great. But if you can eyeball the racks and go for styles that should work in theory, you’ll have a better chance of picking items that work in practice.
How do you formulate your personal theory?
Hone your visual judgement
Pick out five perfectly-fitting tops from your own closet. Try to select from several categories of top, such as blouse, sweater, tee, cardigan, and/or jacket. Then pick out a top that is either very fitted or actually too small. Pick out a top that is either very boxy or actually too large. Set perfectly-fitting top number one on your bed, and place the too-small top next to it. Swap in perfectly-fitting top number two, three, etc. Then do the same thing with the perfectly-fitting tops and the too-large top. By the end of this drill, you should have a vague idea what a top that would fit you looks like. Repeat with skirts and pants. It ain’t foolproof, but it should help.
OK, I know this sounds like a serious drag, but hear me out. Set up a memo in your phone, or allot a page in your planner for clothing-fit notes. Whenever you try on a garment that is either beams-of-light-from-above-and-angels-singing wonderful, or crawl-in-a-hole-and-die awful, jot down a few words about why. Is it where the waistline falls? The length of the hem? The neckline? The contoured seaming? Stop, breathe, analyze, and jot. You will learn SO MUCH about what looks amazing on you, and you’ll bring that knowledge on every future shopping trip.
Measure your shoulder width, actual boobs, below boobs, narrowest part of waist, widest part of hips, and inseam. You can also measure garments that fit you perfectly – which is especially helpful if you prefer skirts and dresses that hit your leg at a specific spot. Write your stats on a cheat sheet. You can bring your handy dandy tape measure shopping with you and measure garments in the corresponding spots, if you just hate wasting time in the dressing room. Knowing your measurements is also absolutely invaluable for online shopping.
Image courtesy incurable_hippie.