Get the Perfect Fit
The Right Fit for a Button-Down Shirt and Trousers
The first thing to scrutinize on a button-down shirt? The vertical seams, which should sit just where your shoulders meet your arms. "You don't want them to droop," says Liz Lange, a designer for Target.
- Shoulders: "The seams should rest on the tops of the shoulders and along their edges," according to Constance White, a style director for eBay.
- Chest: "The placket should lie flat, with no pulls or puckers," says James Aguiar, cohost of Ultra HD's Full Frontal Fashion.
- Sleeves: Cuffs should fall just past the wrists and be tight enough that a bracelet won't fit underneath.
- Waistband: "With the pants' button closed, there should be room to slip your hand in flat against your body," says Clinton Kelly, cohost of the Learning Channel's What Not to Wear.
- Hips: The crotch should hang no more "than half an inch below your anatomical crotch," says Kelly.
- Hems: Generally, the hems should graze the tops of your shoes, about a half inch from the floor.
The Right Fit for a Sheath Dress
Ideally, the cut of this classic style is "narrow enough to be elegantly slimming, but not so tight that it is formfitting," says designer Sigrid Olsen, who is based in Hamilton, Massachusetts.
- Neckline: Lying at or just below the collarbone, it should never gape, even when you lean forward
- Chest: The dress should not pull or sag at the bustline.
- Armholes: "Look for a cut that's generous enough to allow a full range of motion but doesn't reveal your bra," recommends Olsen.
- Hips: The fabric should fit close to the body, especially when the hips are wider. If the fabric hangs too loosely, "it can cause draping, and you'll look like you have a bag on," says Dawn Del Russo, a stylist based in Verona, New Jersey.
- Hem: "A sheath dress looks chicest when it hits just at or slightly above the knee," says Aguiar. A dress that's any longer will make the legs appear more stout than sleek.
The Right Fit for a Jacket and Jeans
You'll look casual but still pulled-together if your jeans are comfortably snug and your jacket is fitted and tailored. "A perfectly cut jacket can give the illusion of shape, no matter what your size," says Olsen.
- Shoulders: If the jacket's shoulders extend beyond your own, the jacket doesn't fit, says White.
- Sleeves: They should be roomy enough to allow for only a shirt and long enough to show just a sliver of cuff.
- Waistband: "Not so tight that it creates a 'muffin top' or so large that it gaps in the back or puffs in the front," says Del Russo. A six- to eight-inch rise (the measure from the crotch to the waist) isn't too revealing or too dowdy.
- Legs: "The thighs should fit closely, but not enough to show body definition," says Del Russo. Fabric in the seat should never sag.
- Hems: Bootcut jeans slim and elongate the legs when the hems are about a half inch from the floor.