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8 Steps to Great Fitting Clothes

In this column, we discuss ideas. Hopefully, they are ideas which can lead to more confidence and strength for the women who read them.  Even I can admit, at times, the world of fashion and beauty can be overwhelming.  So many products and reinventions and trends and new collections and on and on.

Fashion basics: Buying Clothes that Fit Well

For today, let’s keep this really simple. If you are overwhelmed by it all, and just want one great place to start, then begin with how your garments fit.  Somewhere in between the oversized and the skin tight, is your sweet spot.

A garment with great fit, which flatters your figure, can be a huge confidence builder.  One simple dress, which looks like it was made just to enhance your personal body does not need much embellishment.  Alone, it will help you look in the mirror and leave the house with a big, confident smile on your face.


Great fit really has no price tag; however, I do recognize that many of the top designers have studied this and know how to dress a woman’s body.  But, it is also top designers who often bring us oversized “trends” which just do not flatter.

Shopping for Fit

Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind as you shop:

  1.  I repeat this often….TRY GARMENTS ON before purchase and use the three-way mirror as a friend and not an enemy.   Looking at my backside which convinced me that the “high-low” trend in blouses actually made me look bigger.  Some retailers marketed that trend as a way to look slim, but it’s not true for my figure.  Also, fit and sizing is NOT universal.  There is great difference between women’s and misses sizes from retailer to retailer.  Get out your measuring tape and know your measurements before shopping online (Don’t guess at it).  All brands have a size chart and you will be amazed at how it varies.  It is not an insult to you if you wear a Small in one manufacturer and a Medium in another or even a Large in another.  With the proper fit, no one cares what the tag says.
  2. Understand that oversized garments simply do make you look BIGGER…no matter how small you are.  They are not to be used to hide under.   At 50 years of age (11 years ago), I was at my largest size. One the day I put on a jacket which hugged my curves. That’s when I saw for myself that a fitted garment made me look smaller–it was an earth shaking event.  Nevertheless, it still took me quite a while to stop the hiding underneath clothes.
  3. Avoid boxy cuts and look for garments with great seaming.  The design of a jacket or dress can determine the fit.  Look at the seams. Are they curved or straight? Is the pocket placed in a flattering location?  A curved seam is magic!
  4. The length of a jacket, cardigan, kimono, or any top can affect the way it flatters your figure.  I love a longer boyfriend jacket, but so often I find I look better in one which hits the bottom of my hip and top of my thigh.
  5. Look at all the places where extra material might bunch up–under arms, around the chest, around the hip.  Too much material can add weight to your look.
  6. Your best fit will most often be in a garment which fits at your shoulders. If the shoulder seam is falling off your shoulder, then it is too big.  Most often in the dressing room our eyes go to the waist first and we neglect the shoulder area. It is important to look there as well.
  7.  Additional tools to help achieve a perfect fit are good tailors, who can make just the right alterations for you, and body shapers, which can pull in and smooth those places which need a little help.
  8. Have courage!  Some of my friends who are very modest struggle with wearing a garment which fits the figure perfectly.  But I am not advocating a skin tight fit, which so often reveals more than many of us wish to show. As a larger lady, it took me awhile to get the courage to walk out of the house in garments which hugged those curves, but with each step away from oversized, my confidence grew.  Fabulous fit just helps us to feel…well, fabulous!

A wardrobe with great fit can look like an expensive wardrobe and can build your confidence like crazy.  Then, you make the call to either embellish with accessories or keep it simple.

I do hope this will help. Remember, always begin with fit.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by THE JOY BOUTIQUE!
midlife boulevard, columnist, midlife women, middle-age, midlife crisis

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Friday 19th of September 2014

This is why I bought a sewing machine. Nothing fits off the rack. Not even petites. So I look for easy-to alter clothing and pinch and pin and baste and redo till I get it looking smart. And I borrow my daughter's tops.


Friday 12th of September 2014

I'm one of those petite ladies (5' 3" - 102 pounds), that has hard time finding clothes that fit and flatter. I don't want to shop in the junior section, but find most misses and some petite sizes too big. I can't really afford to have things tailored, I struggle the most with jeans that are forever falling down!


Thursday 4th of September 2014

I am so glad Pam you mentioned having items altered professionally. A side seam taken in on a jacket or a back seam on trousers can make the fit look great. Re-fashioning is all the rage and if you are handy with a sewing machine and enjoy the thrift store hunt, you can re-fashion some great clothes!

Debbie Wochos

Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

I bought a pair of dress pants. They fit perfectly in the waist and the butt, but then are too big in the thigh area. I am thinking of taking them in a bit, or should I start all over? Deb


Wednesday 3rd of September 2014

Pants are so tricky and because of that, I think I would have them tailored. So often if we love everything put one area it is better to do the tailoring than waist time and money to continue the search!


Tuesday 2nd of September 2014

Great tips! It's so important to try things on! People assume there is "universal sizing" which couldn't be further from the truth. Having the proper fit is so much more important than the number on the label.

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