E is for Ease

When I was a child, I was rarely taken shopping for clothes and learned almost nothing from the family I lived with about choosing clothing that fit. I did learn to sew. But for years, I’d choose a pattern, buy beautiful fabric, expertly sew and press only to try on a finished garment that was too tight and squeezed in odd puckers (mostly) around my hips. It made no sense. I always chose patterns based on my measurements and then measured the pattern pieces at the bust, waist and hips. They ought to have fit. Finally, I learned to draft patterns and discovered EASE.

EASE is extra space the designer adds to the the measurements of the body so that that a garment will fit comfortably. Too little EASE and a garment is like an overstuffed sausage casing. Too much EASE leaves the wearer swimming in her clothes. Both too much and too little make a woman (or man) look unkempt and much heavier or thinner (not slimmer but like someone who has been starved) than they really are. Sounds attractive, right?

We’ve been taught to flaunt what we’ve been given and not be ashamed of our bodies. We’ve been taught to think of tight as “sexy” and “hot.” But even when we get all the zippers and buttons closed or wear a size or more smaller because the fabric stretches, this is what too tight really looks like:

E is for ease perfect tight shirt  e is for ease tight jeans E is for Ease too small pants E is for Ease too tight dress Young woman wearing badly fitting shirt, mid section, close-up

Even though oversizedis in many magazines and available in shops, sometimes big is too big. A friend always looked very thin. One Sunday, she came to church looking svelte and lovely. “I finally realized I’ve been wearing a size 8 when I’m a size 6,” she told me when I complemented her. She was trying to be modest. Instead, she looked like this:

E is for ease jeans too big E is for ease coat too big  e is for ease baggy-shirt E is for ease baggy dress E is for ease big baggy skirt

Too small, too big, neither is flattering. Clothes must be big enough so we can move (and sit and bend) comfortably but not so big that we’re tripping, swimming, or looking as if we’ve been playing in mother’s closet.

Stay tuned for F is for Fit, coming next.

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