The Right Fit for Women

“Proper fit is the single most important factor in wearing your clothes well,” says consultant Mary Lou Andre, founder and president of Dressing Well Inc. Here, Andre gives insights on how to get your garments to fit just right.

  • Shoulders should line up with your hips.
  • Shoulders can be slimmed as long as the sleeves are long enough to support this.
  • Heads-up: Most single-breasted jackets can be shortened. It is difficult to get a double-breasted jacket to hang properly once it is shortened.
  • Length of a jacket should not extend more than an inch past where the bottom of your fingers meet the palm of your hand, unless an extended length jacket is part of a fashion look.
  • A-line skirts can often be taken in at the waist to perfect the way they sit through the hip.
  • Whether pencil or A-line, ensure the hem ends at the most flattering point of your leg.
  • It’s acceptable to go a bit shorter on sleeve length if you want to accentuate watches and bracelets.
  • Consider having high armholes, which allow for the best drape, but they shouldn’t bind.
  • Be mindful to avoid crotch fits that are too tight or too short.
  • Slim-cut skirts can be tapered, following the natural line of the leg, for a slimmer and more flattering look.
  • Sleeves should hit just below the wrist bone. 
  • To test fit, bend your knees and squat.
  • Fuller-cut pants should have a longer hem.
  • Hem should clear shoe heel at the back.
  • Hem should rest on front part of the shoe, creating a slight break.

> Back to The Ultimate Guide to the Stylish Salesperson’s Wardrobe

Bonus Tip
Know your correct retail size in brands you wear most often. “Designers and manufacturers cut and size clothing differently, so experiment by trying on more than one size within brands to achieve perfect-fitting clothes,” says Andre.

Many women combine attributes of different body types. Use the tips here as a guide and experiment with what works for you. If it looks good, wear it!


Dress Right For Your Body Type – Women

Pear-Shaped Women
Women who are bigger on the bottom than the top – curvier hips, thicker thighs and defined waists, often with narrow shoulders and smaller bust.

Choose a wide-legged pant instead of a skinny pant.

Wear tops in bright colors and prints.

Wear heels to smooth out your leg line.

Apple-Shaped Women
Women with little or no defined waists who tend to be bigger on top and carry weight in the middle.

Opt for pants with a high rise.

The waistline on your dresses should be just below the bust.

Say yes to long cardigans.

Rectangular-Shaped Women
Women with little or no defined waist who have hips that are about the same width as the shoulders, small to average bust, and flat bottoms.

You’ll look great in A-line skirts, as well as knee-length pencil skirts with a side taper.

High and medium necklines will flatter your upper half.

Hourglass-Shaped Women
Women with well-defined waists who have busts and hips that are about the same size.

Go with fitted, well-shaped, single-breasted suit jackets that stop a smidge above  your waist.

V-necks, scoop necks and sweethearts are flattering  on you.

You can pull off full circle and tulip cut skirts, while A-line  and pencil skirts are great for allowing you to tastefully  flaunt curves.