How to Look Good in Your Clothes
People who look great in their clothes, regardless of their physical shape or the heft of their wallets, know a few secrets. Memorize these, and your shopping experience will be more successful.
Fit Is Everything
Let’s blow one myth right away: There is no such thing as “ready-to-wear.” When you see those beautifully dressed celebrities looking casually elegant, understand that, like their faces, nearly every one of them has had at least something altered. And catalogs, magazines, and websites? Don’t get me started: Alison Freer, costume designer for Hollywood, wrote an entire book on the truth behind what’s in those photos. You’d be amazed to see the number of hidden safety pins, quickly tacked hems, cloth tape, etc. creating the image of perfection.
So, if you’re spending good money on a few great pieces of clothing, be prepared to spend a little more on good tailoring. Here are a few things you want your tailor to pay attention to.
• Sleeve placement. Unless the garment is designed to fit below your shoulder line, the top of the sleeve should start right at the top of the bony prominence of your shoulder. Too long a shoulder seam and too long a sleeve can make you look sloppy.
• Demarcation points. Each border, hem, and breakpoint on a garment (jacket, coat, sweater, shirt, pant, skirt, or dress) draws the eye to that point. If you don’t want to emphasize that part of your body, don’t wear something that ends at exactly that point.
• Fit of jackets. Unless it is designed to be boxy, it should be slightly fitted at your waistline.
Get a full length mirror. Its importance can’t be overemphasized. Look for what others might see that you don’t: back flab squeezing out around your bra or love handles hanging over your belt line. You likely need a larger size or a less-fitted garment. (Women, if you’re wearing a sleeveless item, check the size of the armholes. If your undergarment shows and the item isn’t simply too big for you, you need a different undergarment. And always bring the right undergarment with you when you shop.)
Comfort Is Next to Godliness
If what you are wearing makes you feel uncomfortable or awkward in any way—the fit, how the fabric feels against your skin, the style—you will never look stylish.
When you try on a jacket, top, or dress, move your arms. Button the jacket and do the same. Make sure that your arms can move freely without looking or feeling restricted and that the fabric doesn’t pull awkwardly.
Snappy dressers understand that, regardless of what they wear, good posture can improve how they look in almost anything. Clothing is designed for a body that is mostly upright. When we slump, it completely changes the fit of the garment. But what is more important is that the subtler message it sends is: “I’m defeated. I’m lazy.” Just as Mother told you, stand up straight. It changes the way you feel about yourself and about your place in the world.
In our next lesson, we’ll give you what every lazy fashionista craves: someone to do the work for you.
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