Think back to a time you went shopping for new clothes and you asked yourself or a friend, “does this fit?” This question is at the heart of personal confidence in one’s image.
The clothes we wear affect how we think, feel, and act – in turn they affect how others react and respond to us. Perhaps you’ve seen a woman adjusting a skirt that was too tight or too short, or a man hitching up pants that were too loose or too long.
The “wrong fit” can make us feel uncomfortable, self-conscious, and insecure – as if everyone were staring. Because of the self-conscious behaviors caused by poorly fitting clothes we are likely to gain negative attention that undermines our professional image.
How to buy clothes that fit
n Her suit: Jacket should hang straight or flare down below her stomach. Her office appropriate dress and skirt length is 2- to 2-½ inches below the center of her knees. Her dress pant and slack hem should brush the top of her shoes.
n His suit: Jacket should hang straight down below his stomach and cover his buttocks. A vest should be long enough to cover his waistband (for suspenders) or belt. His trouser and slack hem should brush the top of his shoes. A tie should be long enough to reach the top or middle of the belt buckle or top of the waistband (for suspenders).
n Try 3 sizes: One that is your size, a size above, and a size below. The winner is free of any visible underwear outlines or edges.
n Get physical: You’re not a mannequin – before you buy, view the garment in a three-way mirror as you bend, sit, stretch, and walk for a real-life perspective.
n Lines: Horizontal wrinkles? Too tight. Vertical wrinkles? Too loose. Gapping or bulging? Too small.
n Smooth operator: Seams, closures, pleats and vents should lie smoothly.
n Rest-easy: Necklines, collars, lapels, and pockets should lay flat – no gapping or visible undershirts or cleavage.
n Edge to edge: Shoulders of a suit jacket should extend just a half-inch beyond your actual shoulder.
n Arms length: Long-sleeve shirts should end at the wrist with elbows bent. Dress shirt sleeves should extend ¼ to ½ inch beyond jacket sleeves.
n In a pinch: Simply “pinch-an-inch” of extra fabric at each side of the chest, hip, and thigh areas to ensure you select a size that offers a smooth fit with room for natural movement.
Now you know how to choose clothes that fit, before you bring them home. This is also the quickest way to enhance your appearance, boost your professional image and bolster self-confidence.
Additional source: Fabulous Fit by Judith Rasband and Elizabeth Liechty.
Sola Adelowo is the founder of ImageCube, a personal brand consultancy that’s dedicated to teaching people how to harness their image. To contact Adelowo or to learn more about ImageCube, e-mail her at: Sola@ImageCubeLLC.com or visit the company Web site at www.ImageCubeLLC.com.