It’s a number that can be a source of frustration for most women – but it doesn’t have to be.
Studio 5 Beauty & Style Contributor Holly Stone helps you size up your size, and shop smart.
When shopping for clothes, the most important piece of information on the inner label is…the washing instructions. Yes, but what about size you may ask? While size is a guideline to point you in the general direction, there is so much inconsistency brand to brand and store to store that you can no longer rely on that number or letter for accuracy. Navigating the vast realm of clothing stores and boutiques can be intimidating and sometimes downright exhausting—except when you understand this:
1. There are no two figures alike and each figure can have up to 125 figure variations. From a full chest to a flat bottom, from fuller thighs to an upper hip curve, each one of our bodies are unique. If you are mindful of some of your most dominant variations when shopping, your guide can then be your understanding of your body and NOT the label inside your pants.
2. Identify 2-3 brands you feel were made to fit your body and always turn to those brands first. If they were made to fit you, they should always be your go-to.
3. When you take time to try, you’ll be happier with your buy
Because your body is so special and unique, you may have a difficult time finding “ready to wear” – or right off the rack – clothing. By applying the principles below, you have a better chance of avoiding the frustration of finding items that fit your body.
What’s in a Size?
Size is just a number or a letter. They don’t define you. They don’t even say one thing about you because these numbers and letters often lie. They are determined by the manufacturer or the store. And they are more wrong than right.
Your body does not lie. My point? Believe your body and choose the clothes that make it look its ultimate best. If the pair of pants has a size that makes you gasp but a cut that makes you giddy, ignore the size and enjoy the way you feel in a pair of pants that make you look fantastic.
Just like every body is different – so is every store. Keep this in mind, when you’re shopping around:
· National chain stores that have mass brands are your easiest and quickest way to find a size range that fits what you believe you are. The more global the brand, the more accuracy you will get within 1 size up or down of what you are.
· Boutiques are all over the board. Even XL may actually fit a true Medium and that is ok. These size ranges are designed to look flattering on the mannequins, to appear flattering on the hanger and to lend an aspirational flair. Just wear them for what they are, niched styles, designer fashion and Know that they didn’t have YOU in mind when they created the design so simply select the size that fits best on you and enjoy an item that is just ahead of the mainstream flow.
The Skinny on Sizing
Here is some basic sizing information, to help you shop and read the labels.
· Even sizes are generally women’s sizes
· Odd sizes are generally juniors sizes
· Full figured sizes go up from size 16
Those In-Between Moments
It is more common for us to be in-between sizes than to fit an off the rack size. When in questions, there are items of clothing you should size up to and others you can feel comfortable sizing down.
· Size up when buying…
o T-Shirts: it’s better to have some ease over any curves than to hug your curves too tightly
o Dresses: length and waist can always be altered with belts, scarves or by a tailor
o Zip, button, or clasp skirt: can be slightly loose and sit lower on your waist or hips comfortable and still look great making sure the hemline hits you in a flattering place on your legs
o Wool, wool blend or lined pants: can be altered by a tailor
o Button down blouses: it’s better to have some ease over any curves than to hug your curves too tightly
o Cotton pants: they can shrink after the first wash
· Size down when buying…
o Jeans: They ALWAYS stretch. Enjoy a form-fitting look in between washes. You may have to do the hip shuffle dance to get into them when freshly washed but they will give ease to your curves after a quick walk around the house
o Elastic waist skirts or pants: They will have the range of give in them at the waistline to accommodate your size correctly.
o Most things cotton: Cotton stretches and gives in the areas required. Let it breathe and expand to fit you accurately. The one exception to this rule is pants (see above).
o Flouncy blouses: these come with extra flounce so do not be afraid to go down a size. There will still be enough flounce to keep you comfortable and your figure flattering.
The size in a label is simply a guideline. Your body is the decision maker. Select items of clothing that make you feel your best at all times, and never look at the label again (unless you need the washing instructions!).