How to Find Your Perfect Fit

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How to find your perfect fit before you waste money buying clothes that just aren't right for you and will be expensive to alter

The fit of your clothes is an issue I’ve discussed more than once. And so when Jill Chivers of Shop Your Wardrobe and I got together we thought we’d make a video discussing some of the common fit issues, what to look for and what to avoid.

We were asked by a fabulous Inside Out Style reader for some specific pointers on finding the perfect fit.

There are some fit issues that you just can’t fix and should be avoided. Others are simple alterations.

Read up more about fit and alterations

Alterations are not a sign of failure

How to pick your size when internet shopping

Why it’s so hard to find pants that fit

The magic of alterations

P is for pants

Easy alterations guide

10 costly shopping mistakes to avoid

Fast and easy way to shorten knit tops

Fit issues – bunching at the back

Why sleeve length matters

Common issues with fit

Why armholes matter

7 steps to colour and style

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10 Comments

  • Yes! I have a curvy body with a tiny waist (X shape) and consider it good value to get my pants tailored. It’s really important for classic clothes that are made out of the stiffer fabrics.

  • Have always wondered — are there any ways your colors change as you age? Had my colors done in my thirties and I am now 65.

  • As a curvy short person I’ve become resigned to having all long pants taken up. I also frequently have to take dresses up at the shoulders (this is not too complicated for a good tailor, especially if it is a sleeveless dress) which drastically changes the fit of a dress.

    For my good corporate workwear (suits) it is now mostly tailor made.

  • I’m short, and pants are quite frequently too long in the rise, coming up under my armpits or hanging down to my knees (well not really, but you get the idea!) You actually can shorten the rise on pants (I’ve done it on my own) but it’s not necessarily quick and easy, and doesn’t work on all styles. If there are pleats, yoke, or applied pockets it won’t work. If you have side pockets, you may lose them. I sew them shut. You have to take the waistband off, pull the pants up to where the crotch is in the proper place, then reapply the waistband at the new waistline. You will usually need to take in side seams or darts to fit the waist properly. Obviously you need to have enough length in the legs to allow you to pull the pants up an inch or so.

    • Not an easy alteration (and if you can’t do it yourself quite expensive) but yes, anything is possible (almost) if you want to remake the garment!

  • Great video, I have this issue a lot as I am shortish with a bigger bust and small waist, hourglass shape. I have difficulty with lengths on most pants and I shy away from button up tops. One buy I do have sitting in my wardrobe that needs alterations is a long maxi wrap skirt, the fit was perfect everywhere but it was too long, I thought I would alter it but with the wrap effect maybe it’s too hard to tackle. I might pull it out and have a go, taking the length from the top rather then the bottom. Thankyou for the great tips.

  • The reason I started sewing and making my own clothes is because I had a hard time buying clothes that fit a 5″2 small boned, inverted triangle with a longer torso than legs. It’s normal for me to get all hems shortened or something taken in a little so I always budget for the cost of this alteration and will only get it professionally done on suits and coats I buy. Otherwise if it’s something I know I can alter myself then I buy it also but would rather make it from scratch in good fabric and a nicer finish than I could afford in rtw.

  • I recently had an alterations fail that has made me swear off alterations altogether, aside from the inevitable hemming or letting out of pants hems. Being of very limited budget, I bought a skirt from ebay which turned out to be too big. Instead of paying the shipping to return it, I decided to have the waist taken in as well as the sides to create a more modified A- line. Although I tried it on for the seamstress, I wound up with a slightly tight waistband, which I abhor, and a resulting higher rise, which I also avoid. The sides were taken in enough to make the hips just tight enough to show panty lines and make a long stride impossible, and I have to hike the silly thing above my knees to get in the car.
    So a $6.00 skirt wound up costing me 30.00, and it won’t see much wear.

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