“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
I hope all is well with you. The inspiration for today’s post came about as I was thrift shopping recently. I like shopping at Goodwill simply because their store organization allows you to peruse their store by size, garment type and color. This makes thrifting so much easier. As I was going through their jeans section I found myself reflecting on how I used to feel when I went jeans shopping.
I usually left the store feeling frustrated, depressed, determined to go on a diet but right after I licked my emotional wounds with an ice cream something at the local Culvers. (lol!) Can anyone relate…?
I wish I could say that learning how to sew was the super power that saved me from the frustration of clothes shopping. Even when I started really focusing on honing my craft I had these feelings for a few reasons. 1) I still liked to buy certain things from the store like my jeans. and 2) I really hadn’t dealt with my self-esteem issues (which is a subject for another post).
It wasn’t until I went to design school and learned more about the fashion industry and sizing that I really started to find some peace with the ready to wear fitting room dillemna. I wanted to share with you all a little insight and share some suggestions on how to have a happier time in the fitting room.
Why Its Hard to Find Clothes that Fit
1. There is no such thing as one size fits all.
The truth is that we are all unique. Not a one of us is exactly the same. This is especially true with our body shapes. Getting a great fit is something that the ready to wear industry is constantly seeking to find solutions to. How do we create garments that will fit “our” average consumer?
1. Some clothing brands are still relying on outdated measurement data from the 1940s and 1950s.
If we look at pictures of our American ancestors we can see quite a difference in our body make-ups. Many Americans are bigger now. So while some manufacturers and designers thankfully are changing their size charts to meet consumer demands for more realistic sizing; there are still some out there relying on old information.
2. You are not in your favorite brands demographic market.
Many brands create size charts based on their target market. A size 14 in a pair of Jeans from NY and Company is different than a size 14 at the GAP. Gap jeans tend to be more slim fit while certain brands such as NY and Company cut their jeans for curvier women. This is all based on who is buying their brand. Thankfully this to is changing. As many brands are finally becoming more size inclusive by changing their fit and/or introducing different collections geared toward certain body types such as curvy or plus size.
So instead of hating on yourself the next time you go to the store, I want to share with you a few recommendations:
5 Tips to finding clothes that fit
- First of all, work on loving yourself. Your identity is not tied up in your jeans. And you shouldn’t give clothing brands that much power over how you feel about yourself. While finding clothes that fit is important. You shouldn’t tie up how you feel about yourself based on a brand creating a dress that fits you or not. God created each and everyone of us in His image and each and everyone of us has purpose and value. Spend more time working on your insides and if weight is an issue for you then spend sometime evaluating if a weightloss plan is something that can help you improve your self-esteem.
- Take your personal measurements. Understanding your bodytype and knowing what your individual measurements are is very eye opening. This takes the pressure off of being stuck on an artificial number assigned to someone else’s measurements. This is also essential when purchasing garments online. Many brands will list their size/measurement charts on their website to help you make more informed purchasing decisions.
- Spend sometime window shopping. Don’t go shopping for a new pair of jeans or that perfect date night dress the day of. Spend sometime trying on clothes from various stores that feature styles that you like or want to try. This is important for a couple of reasons. 1) You are going shopping as more of a consumer research project and less of an expectation that you have to find something. Its more like your interviewing the store to see if its a good fit for your bodytype. 2) You begin to see how the stores clothes fit on you. I did this a few years back with jeans shopping. I was tired of not finding jeans that fit me properly. So I made a list of stores in my area that sold jeans and everytime I was out and about and had some free time I would go and try on jeans. I eventually found that my curvy pear shape had a handful of options to choose from: I found that Walmart’s Time and Tru Hight Waist Skinny Jeans, Target’s Universal Thread Curvy fit, Lane Bryant’s mid-rise skinny Jeans, and Ny and Company’s mid-rise skinny and bootcut jeans fit me best. But my number 1 go to are the Target Universal Thread Jeans. It took a little work at the beginning, but I now have 4 go to options when I am in the market for new jeans. Most of which are very affordable.
- Sizing is nothing more than a number. So don’t take it personal. Sometimes you have to buy jeans a size bigger in order for them to fit you properly. I’ll use the example of jeans again. I normally take a size 14 in a pair of jeans that have about 2% of stretch in the denim. But when I go to stores like Walmart I sometimes have to size up to a 16. I often have to do this when i’m thrift shopping my jeans as well. Companies change their sizing all of the time. A size 14 from a pair of Levi’s from 2000 won’t fit the same as they do today. Also, ready to wear garments are mass produced. There are 100s of 1000s of the same garment being produced for distribution during one season. Expect size and fit variations.
- Take it to the Tailor. Don’t be afraid to buy something that may fit you well in one area of your body but needs some tailoring to get a nicer fit in another part of your body. For example. I may need to size up in a pair of pants because they fit well in the hips but need to take it in at the waist to get a better fit. Its a small extra investment but chances are you will get more wear out of that garment if it fits you well.