I’m just going to come right out and say it.
When it comes to foundational style principles, I feel like the importance of clothing fit has become more than a little under-rated.
Discussions around trends and designers seem to dominate the style landscape. (And to my mind, these factors fall more into the category of fashion rather than style.)
If the conversation does happen to get to some of the more fundamental style building blocks it seems to stop at quality, body shape, colour analysis and style personalities.
Please don’t get me wrong. As a Style CoachTM I absolutely believe that these style elements are vital components to creating a look – and a wardrobe – you love.
But I also believe that clothing fit is at least equally important – and potentially more important – than any of the other style elements.
You can have a high quality garment that theoretically flatters your unique shape. One that perfectly complements your colouring and feels like an excellent match to your style personality.
But if it doesn’t fit, it won’t matter how many other boxes that item ticks. It simply won’t look good. And sadly, you won’t feel good in it either.
Take just a moment to think of how much poor clothing fit can impact your day. No one likes it when their clothes feel too tight. Nor do many of us like tugging or pulling at our clothes every time we move. And dealing with gaping – even just the thought of it – can impact our confidence.
And yet we seem to let ourselves down when it comes to clothing fit. We will, for a variety of reasons (that often include weight changes and the money we’ve spent) continue to wear something that no longer fits or perhaps never fit. And in doing so, we make ourselves feel less than great.
So When It Comes To Clothing Fit, What Are We Looking For?
When it comes to clothing, fit is one of those things that is better described by what it isn’t rather than what it actually is.
It is easy to tell when something doesn’t fit properly. There will be puckering. Or constriction. Perhaps there will be gaping. Maybe a sense of shapelessness. And there will definitely be a feeling of all around discomfort.
When you nail fit, you will feel comfortable and your clothes will be aligned to your body. You won’t be bothered by stretching or excess fabric. Your clothes will skim over your body. And you won’t even think about the clothes you are wearing.
My Top Tips For Nailing Clothing Fit
One: Try Things On – And Once You Are In The Fitting Room, Take Your Time
It seems that dressing rooms are one of the places we least want to visit. As a result, many of us avoid them entirely, or rush in and out of fitting rooms like there is no tomorrow. Consider the time you spend in the fitting room as an investment in your confidence as well as your wardrobe. Learning to try on purchases and to take your time – despite the dreadful lighting and fun-park mirrors – will help you really consider the fit. The more space you give yourself to ‘wear’ the clothes, the more likely you are to buy something that fits you perfectly.
Two: Trust Your Intuition
Whether you are considering a new purchase or you’ve had an item for a while, take the time to really think about how the garment feels on your body. If an item doesn’t feel excellent, it probably doesn’t look excellent.
And when buying new clothes, remember that sales assistants and well meaning shopping companions all have their own motivations when they tell you something looks good! You will tend to avoid wearing anything that isn’t completely comfortable – so trust your intuition and don’t bring it home in the first place.
Three: Don’t Be Fooled Into Buying A Piece That Almost Fits
Sometimes clients will say something to me along the lines of ’Well, it fits perfectly…except it is a little tight in the upper arms’. If it is a little tight in the arms or the waist, or too short, I promise you won’t end up wearing the garment nearly as much as you would if it did actually fit you perfectly. Save your money and wait for the ideal piece to come along.
Four: Think About Your Underwear
Choosing the right lingerie can make a massive difference to the fit of your clothes. Smooth, seamless styles can help your clothes to sit correctly on your body. If you’ve not been professionally fitted for a little while, consider taking the time to ensure you are still wearing the right sized underwear for you.
Five: Find A Great Tailor
This tip particularly applies if your weight has changed or if you’ve made some less than ideal purchases. A tweak or two here and there from a tailor who knows what they are doing can breathe new life into a garment.
Finally, Don’t Underestimate The Link Between Clothing Fit And Confidence
One of my beautiful coaching clients recently discovered for herself the difference wearing clothes that fit her properly could make to her confidence.
A weight change had seen her not wearing her favourite jeans to work for a while (her company has a ‘business casual’ dress code). Her jeans were just a bit too tight, and they didn’t feel good. And, as can happen for many women, she’d been reluctant to invest in new jeans. After all, apart from the fact that they didn’t fit, there was nothing wrong with her old ones.
So instead she was wearing pants that fit ok, but didn’t make her feel special. In fact, they were making her feel anything but stylish. And that began to impact on her confidence. There was always that little thought of ‘I don’t look as good as I could’ in the back of her mind.
This particular client is a go-getter who doesn’t appear to tolerate feeling anything less than fabulous for very long. She bit the bullet, and invested in herself and her wardrobe and purchased three new pairs of perfectly fitting jeans.
She began wearing her new jeans to work and immediately felt more confident. She’s described feeling better equipped to deal with her stressful role, because she is no longer devoting energy to thinking about how she could look better. It might seem like a small thing, but if big days and difficult conversations can be made even slightly easier because she feels more confident with her style then I’d argue that the investment in those jeans was more than worth it.
Is clothing fit an important consideration for you? Have you ever considered the link between fit and confidence? I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
And until next time – au revoir.