Fact: Clothes off the rack may not fit you.
Retailers aim right for the middle, and they don’t give a flying rat’s ankle about outliers. If you are larger but not plus sized or shorter but not petite, you probably loathe shopping as much as I loathe trips to the dentist. If you are a pronounced pear or and extreme apple you may think that clothes do not exist that will fit you properly … not everywhere on your bod all at once. If your hips are waaaaaaay bigger than your waist, or your legs are waaaaaaaay shorter than your torso, or your shoulders are waaaaaaaay broader than your ribcage, you might not be able to buy pants at the Gap or dresses from Anthropologie.
AT LEAST not without tailoring them.
People generally think of tailoring when it comes to suits, wedding dresses, and clothing that needs to be altered after a large weight loss or gain. But if you struggle to find everyday clothes that work for your bod – and have searched for years, fruitlessly and frustratedly – consider having your more durable garments and wardrobe staples altered. You might even consider it as you shop for those durable garments and wardrobe staples, because it will open up a whole new world of possibilities to you.
Yes, tailoring is an investment. It is also a risk, especially if you haven’t found a skilled local tailor that you trust with your garments. But the bald fact is that clothes often fit us 75% perfectly and 25% crappily. And while searching hither and yon, in person and online, night and day for jeans/blazers/dresses/coats that fit and flatter our exact measurements is a REALLY, REALLY RELAXING AND FUN USE OF OUR FREE TIME, sometimes we are better served to just buy that 75% garment and pay a tailor to handle the remaining 25%.
And that’s the ratio I’d use as a guideline. You can certainly take any garment that fits you loosely everywhere on your figure and have it shaped … but then you might as well have it made from scratch. So settle for garments that fit 75% awesome. Jeans that work with your height, thighs, and lower hips, but are too loose in the waist. Blazers that fit through the shoulders, bust, and waist but are too long in the arms. Make sure you’re starting from a place of near-fitting and building from it. And, of course, focus on well-made garments crafted from quality fabrics.
Think about the staple garments that stymie women the most: Jeans, dresses, and button-front shirts. Jeans can be taken in at the waist, slimmed through the thigh, shortened in the hem, let out in the hips. Dresses can be taken in at the shoulders, shortened in the sleeves, nipped in at the waist, loosened up in the bodice. Button-front shirts! Oh, how we hate them! But they can be shaped to your very own fabulous curves. Simply buy a version that fits your bust (or your largest torso part), and let the tailor do the rest. (Or if you need extensive tailoring on all of them try a company like Tom James.)
But this tacks on additional money every time you shop, I hear you wailing! Yeah, but if it’s down to shelling out to create custom-fitted gorgeous clothes that flatter your every contour OR hating all clothes because they simply never work for you, which would you rather?
Is it expensive? Possibly. Worth it? Yes. Especially if off-the-rack items just never fit and you’re on the brink of joining a nudist colony out of sheer frustration.