Many women feel left out by fashion. They struggle to fit properly into clothing and are left standing in a fitting room feeling defeated and frustrated. And when I say ‘many’ women, what I actually mean is ‘most’ women. A staggering 93% of women can’t find tailored trousers to fit off the peg. It’s the norm to spend hours shopping only to get to the point where you give up or feel frustrated because nothing seems to fit.
More and more women assume that it’s their bodies that are the problem when it comes to finding clothes that flatter and fit, rather than the clothes themselves. Jill White, founder of made to measure womenswear brand Distinctively Me is here to quash that myth.
Since she launched her made to order womenswear brand a few years ago, Jill is on a mission to help women realise that their bodies are unique and it is clothes that are the problem not them!
Impact of fast fashion on cut and fabrics
New styles are being dropped into stores on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. The margins on each piece are small so the investment in cut and fabric is simply not there. Let’s be honest, when pieces cost less than £10, quality is clearly going to be compromised. We might buy that bargain blouse or pair of trousers but we’re not ‘investing’ in them.
It’s frightening to think that clothing production has doubled in the last 15 years and we are wearing each piece of clothing for half as long. Those bargain-buys are pure fast-fashion, a quick-fix that we feel we should buy because we’re told they’re this season’s ‘must-have’. But really, how are they making us feel? Do we feel satisfied that we’ve bought yet another pair of trousers that are simply ‘okay’? Do we feel fabulous when we wear them? I’m guessing the answer is generally no.
Sizing by retailers varies, so how can you get the right size?
Sizing is such an issue. Sizes vary between brands and they even vary between articles of clothing within the same brand. Sizing is so frustrating for most women and can be a real knock to confidence levels. So why is it so hard to get it right?
The average block or base pattern for most retailers is based on a rectangular body shape. So if your bust and hips are a similar measurement and you don’t have much of a waist, you might find off the peg works for you.
That said, based on research, less than 15% of UK women have this body shape. For about half of UK women, their hips are the widest part of their bodies so it’s not surprising there are issues when it comes to fit. Each retailer will have a different block, both in terms of actual sizes and proportions, so whilst you can be a 14 in one store, you might be an 18 in another.
Get to know your body shape
One of the best things you can do is get to know your body shape. It’s amazing how many of my clients, some who are in their 40s and 50s, still don’t know how their body is proportioned. It’s an easy truth that will change everything.
If you understand your body shape and proportions then you are more likely to shop wisely. Keep clothes simple around the bigger parts of your body and add details, such as a strong pattern to the smaller parts. It’s all about creating balance.
Also, get to know your proportions. Are you long in the body with short legs, or a short body and long legs? Once you actually think about the shapes that suit you, then buy clothes in cuts that work for that body shape.
One trick is to buy clothes that fit you at the widest or longest part of your body and find a good tailor to take the clothes in. Take the blazer. Find one that fits your shoulders and bust. It might be too big on the waist and sleeves but have those areas tailored to create the perfect fit.
Invest in the staples of your wardrobe and have them made to measure
Men have had suits made to measure for decades and yet it is still an emerging sector for women.
It is definitely worth investing in the pieces you will wear time and again, and there is nothing better than having something made just for you.
A blazer is a fantastic staple to any wardrobe as it elevates any outfit, both smart or casual. At Distinctively Me, we have three styles of blazer, which are all designed with the female form in mind, and one of them will suit every body shape. To have it then made to fit you perfectly, in a fabric texture, weight and colour to fit your style and your personality mean you will wear it throughout the year, and for years to come.
Women think made to measure is a no-go as it will be too expensive and take too long. But just think of the cost per wear. If you buy your perfect blazer, chances are you will wear at least 100 times – that’s once a week for two years or once a month for eight years, and at around £550, that’s just £5.50 per wear. Research shows that, on average, women in the UK wear each piece of clothing seven times, so if you buy a blazer off the peg for £50, then that’s just over £7 per wear. You do the maths!
I know I have pieces in my wardrobe that I’ve had for 20 years and I love wearing them as much now as I did when I bought them and that’s because they suit me, fit me and are in fabrics that I love to wear. One of the first things I had made when I launched Distinctively Me was a pair of black cigarette trousers. I have worn these about once a week for the last three years – that’s well over 100 times and so the cost per wear is under £2.
So, ladies stop making do with ill-fitting clothes. It’s about buying less and buying better. And the next time you’re standing in the fitting room feeling defeated, remember it’s not you that needs to be altered. It’s your clothes.
Top image: Unsplash