Step 4: Shop Smarter
Does it fit and flatter?
In the dressing room, be merciless.
1. Look at yourself from all angles.
Pay attention to often overlooked areas.
Shoulders: The seams need to align with the tips of your shoulder bones.
Bust: The garment should lie flat against the body without pulling, puckering buttons, or bubbles of excess fabric.
Waistband: If it bunches up when you add a belt, it’s too big. Muffin top? It’s way too small. Find a happy medium.
Rise: This is a tough alteration, so if the crotch is snug or droops low, the item goes directly into the no pile.
Thighs: The fabric should hug curves smoothly, not pinch the backs of the legs.
2. Stand up straight and assess the length. In general, shirts should fall between your waist and hips; long sleeves, at the wrist bones. Pants should brush the tops of the shoes you plan to pair them with (or be alterable). Skirt lengths vary, but a hemline just at the kneecap flatters most body types.
3. Evaluate the give factor of stretchy clothing, particularly jeans. Wear them for 10 minutes or so while you’re trying on tops. If they get saggy, go down a size.
4. Imitate real life. Bend over and sit down in skirts and pants. Do they ride up/pull down/dig in? With jackets and tops, Watson suggests a test she used with fit models for Banana Republic. “Give yourself a hug,” she says, then lean over to “pick up the groceries” and reach up to “ride the subway.” The garment shouldn’t feel constricting or expose your midriff.
Wait! Don’t clip those tags just yet.
At home, try on your purchase with items from your closet and in natural light to be sure it’s truly a good match. Because in the end, the payoff of finding the right fit is worth more than any bargain.