The Importance of Fit


The more I read, and the more I speak to people, the more it seems that there is a lot of misunderstanding around the word ‘fit’ in relation to clothes. I asked a friend of mine what she thought was meant by the term ‘fit’ and after thinking for a while, she said ‘I guess as long as it does up, it fits’.

She has a point, but she’s not quite right. There are different types of ‘fit’ of clothing (tailored, bodycon and relaxed are just some examples) but the general definition is that the clothing should be right for your shape, and that you should be able to move around in it without feeling restricted or uncomfortable.

Here are three things about fit that I think everyone needs to understand.

If you can fasten it, that doesn’t mean it fits.

Just because the button fastens easily doesn’t mean that it fits you. The whole garment has to be taken into consideration, not just if it does up around your waist or your chest. Can you sit down in it? If it cuts into you when you sit down, it doesn’t fit. Can you move your arms in it without it getting tight across the back? If the answer is no, it doesn’t fit you.

Things that cut into you or tighten, even if you go up a size, aren’t worth buying because they will never fit right. Things that are too baggy (unless they’re intentionally oversized) can be tailored to fit your shape, and it’s worth finding a good alterations place in your home town so that things you do buy that don’t fit quite right can be altered. For those of you in the UK, I would recommend The ZipYard, or check out your local dry cleaners.

‘Fit’ doesn’t mean ‘skin tight’.

This is the thing that a lot of people get wrong – ‘fit’ doesn’t mean that it has to cling to you. That’s ‘bodycon’ and is something completely different. ‘Fit’ just means that it’s fitted to your shape. The word ‘tailored’ again springs up here – a tailored dress is very different to a bodycon dress. A bodycon dress is meant to cling to your body, but a tailored dress will skim your shape and flatter it. Both will fit you, if you get the correct size and cut, but they will work with your shape in different ways.

The cut of an item will dictate if it fits you or not.

This is important – the size of an item is irrelevant, and it’s the cut that makes it fit. I can swing between an 8 and a 14 in shops in our town, and it’s just the way they cut their clothes. There’s only one shop where I can buy jeans, because every other shop doesn’t fit me, or suit me. And ditto jackets – there are about two shops I can get a jacket in, again because of the cut. Ignore the size on the label when you are shopping (this goes for men as well as women) and try on the sizes either side of the one that you normally wear – the cut may just be different enough that one of these will fit you. If not, then try a different shop. Eventually you will come to know what shops suit your body shape best, and that will change as you age.


It is important to get clothes that ‘fit’ you properly – the correct size, the correct cut and the correct shape. Never buy something just because you can do it up!

And don’t get disheartened if you have to buy the next size up – as long as it fits you, and makes you look and feel great, that’s what matters.


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