For many women, shopping for clothing that actually FITS can be such a struggle. In one store, you’re a size 6, then you go to a different store and suddenly you’re a 10!
Try not to get discouraged, ladies (although -- we totally feel your pain). Fashion guru Stacy London unraveled the mystery as to why one size doesn’t fit all.
“We’re all snowflakes,” says Stacy. “Sizing is just a basic, cookie cutter approximation of shape, weight and size, and every store’s is different.”
Basic sizing is based off of a chest, waist and hips ratio -- but it doesn’t take into account all of the other body parts that should also be measured like the neck, shoulders, thighs or width of the arms and calves.
That explains why a size 6 shirt from your favorite store will fit, but a size 6 dress from that same exact store doesn’t. Ugh!
READ: How to Dress, According to Science (and Stacy London)
HOW TO TELL IF YOU’RE SHORT OR LONG-WAISTED
One of the measurements that people don’t always recognize is whether or not they’re short or long-waisted, and it’s important to figure out! If you’re long-waisted, you should wear pants that are shorter, and if you’re short-waisted, you should wear tops that are a bit longer for balance.
Here’s how to find your natural waist: stand up and then bend forward at the hip. Put both of your hands, side-by-side between the fold and over your ribs. If you can’t fit both your hands above the fold, then you’re short-waisted. If you can fit more than two hand-widths then you have a long waist.
In the video above, you’ll see three of our viewers -- all of whom are the same exact height, weight and size in clothing, but the same size fits them all differently! Read on for Stacy’s advice about how each of them should dress.
HOW TO DRESS FOR YOUR BODY TYPE
As you can see with Cristina, it’s not all about height when it comes to being long or short-waisted. Someone could be 5’10” and still need a petite in tops, or be 5’4” and need long-length pants. Her challenge is that she’s 5 feet tall, small on top with a long torso, and larger on the bottom.
“I feel like I’m shopping for two different people!” says Cristina.
To trick the eye and “balance” her out, Stacy dressed Cristina in high-waisted jeans with a tucked-in shirt and pointy heels to make her legs appear longer.
“Heels are great because they force the shoulders back, the girls go out, tummy in and tush out!” says Stacy.
Stacy also rolled up the sleeves to Cristina’s jacket so they line up with the waist. By doing this, the eyes will be drawn to the new waistline that was created.
READ: Here's Why You Should Think About Throwing Out Your Scale
Melissa’s challenge is to create an hourglass figure since her natural waistline isn’t well-defined.
“Just because you don’t naturally have a smaller waistline doesn’t mean you can’t have one,” says Stacy.
To create the illusion of an hourglass figure, Stacy dressed Melissa in a pretty, flowy dress and accentuated her waistline using a wide belt. If your dress comes with a belt in a matching fabric or has loops to hold it up, Stacy says to get rid of them!
“Loops make the outfit look cheap, and by removing them, you can then place the belt right where you need it on your waist,” Stacy says. “Opt for thicker belts in a sturdy material like leather.”
Stacy emphasized Melissa’s shoulders by choosing a dress with an off-the-shoulder top to create more horizontal width. She also chose a longer dress to add some volume to the bottom. With the top and bottom wider, it makes Melissa’s middle appear much smaller.
Samantha says she has a broad back with wide shoulders and a flat booty. Stacy says women with this body shape are usually inclined to wear blousier tops, skinny jeans and shorter skirts.
“That’s basically a tomato on toothpicks!” says Stacy. “To visually even you out we need to use basic geometry -- if you’re square on top we need to widen the bottom to create a triangle so you appear more proportional, longer and leaner.”
Stacy says that knits (or anything with stretch) are a broad-shouldered girl’s best friend because the material is more forgiving. She dressed Samantha in a V-neck sweater which created a vertical line to draw the eye up and down. She also added a tulip skirt with vertical stripes for the same effect.
“Remember, the cut is more important than the print!” says Stacy.
The tulip skirt pulls away from the body and is slightly longer than what Samantha would normally go for -- the length helps balance out the top half. And last but certainly not least, the look was pulled together with pointy pumps.
READ: Stacy London on Planning Outfits for the Week: Think of It as Meal Prep