X is for XXL (& Other Plus Sizing Headaches)

Kristin and Sheridan are two intrepid, young women who wear plus sizes. They ordered clothing online and revealed the disappointing results on BuzzFeed, even mimicking the model’s poses. Their comments are hilarious and their experiences showcase many plus sizing headaches. I highly recommend the piece. This series of photos comparing trousers on a model to the way they really look is a perfect example of what all woman face. But women who wear plus sizes can expect additional plus sizing headaches:   These fit the model but they don’t fit Kristin or Sheridan. That’s not surprising because “plus size” models are significantly smaller than most women who wear plus sizes. … Read more…

Q is for Quality: Educational Shopping

Quality is the intersection between personal style and design, craftsmanship, materials, fit, and appropriateness. A garment may be well-made, beautifully designed, of exquisite materials but it’s not quality for the woman it doesn’t fit, if it’s inappropriate for the occasion, or doesn’t suit her style. Most of us don’t recognize quality. But we can learn. Learning to recognize quality requires effort, patience, and the willingness to step outside our comfort zones. Money is not required. Too often we waste money on badly designed, ill-fitting garments, of poor workmanship that are inappropriate for the particular use we envision. When we go for quality, we save money and dressing becomes much easier. … Read more…

N is for No Standard Sizes or Body Shapes

Each of these women weighs 154 lbs. (That’s about the same weight Marilyn Monroe was at her heaviest.) They are neither under nor over weight. They do not appear to be either super athletic or out of shape. They each have a different body shape. When shopping, each of these women will find clothing that fits and clothing that doesn’t. Several of them will need to alter some or all of their garments (or pay someone to do the job). Do note, the 5’2″ woman wears a smaller size than the 5’4″ woman. Since size depends on garment design and manufacturer, the 5’2″ woman will sometimes be able to wear … Read more…

K is for Knits – How Tight Is Too Tight?

Knits! We wear them because they’re easily washed and don’t require ironing. And, for many of women, it’s easier to find knit pieces that “fit.” Except when they don’t. Lest we begin to judge our bodies as deficient, we need to understand, our bodies are not at fault. Our bodies are fine! Women with slender, average, and heavy builds struggle with the same issues when wearing knits: Knits lie to us, especially those that contain lycra. They encourage us to believe that if we can get our body into a garment, it must fit. Knits allow us to buy our “size.” We say to ourselves, ‘Buttons, zippers, and fasteners close … Read more…

G is for Great Fit, A Working Definition

Great fit deserves many posts (and books and some draping/pattern making classes). Great fit involves personal style, comfort, body shape, quality, cut, fabric, properly fitted lingerie (a huge topic), and many other factors. It also includes things we can’t see when we try on clothes in a shop. A few years ago, a new Armani Exchange tee felt weird after I washed it and lay it flat to air dry. (I never put my clothing in the dryer.) I tugged and pulled but it still felt weird. When I removed it, I discovered the side seams were twisting, one towards the back, one towards the front. The manufacturer had cut … Read more…

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 … Read more…