You’re in that dreaded dressing room again. Your shoes are off, and your socked feet have barely managed to avoid getting stabbed by stray pins. Trying to get this over as quickly as possible, you look up into the mirror hoping to see a miraculous transformation….
It’s still you, just this time you’re wearing newer threads. The clothes looked so great on the rack, but now that you’re wearing them, something is just off. As the dressing room depression kicks in, you’re starting to regret even attempting to update your style…
Does this sound all too familiar? Why do most men hate visiting a dressing room? Why doesn’t anything ever look as good on you as it did on the hanger?
For those of you who just want the quick answer:
What is the one thing that you need to overcome dressing room depression and look your absolute best every day?
Answer: Make sure you’re clothes fit!
I know you’ll immediately have one of two reactions to hearing this:
- Thanks, Sherlock! I mean, how else would my clothes stay on? I know I’m a 36 waist, and a large and I always get that!
- Wait…what do you mean by “fit?”
To those of you in the first category – Oh if it were only that simple! And to those of you in the second – keep reading – I’m about to tell you.
For reference, here is a quick definition of fit (yes, we are going to start at the ground floor):
fit (n.) – the particular way in which something, esp. a garment or component, fits around or into something
Let’s dig into this a little bit. Fit is the particular way – the very specific and appropriate way – that a garment lays on your body. The key here is that fit is specific to you.
Did you know? Generic sizing, such as a 36 waist, is neither generic nor consistent!
Many stores that you go into will have S, M, L, XL sizing for most things – I’ve even seen pants sold this way! What’s the problem with that? No one – no one – is a perfect fit for that broad of a sizing category. This may be fine for casual situations where hoodies and sweat pants are appropriate, but it’s just not granular enough for that great pair of jeans, a button down dress shirt, or anything else that you’ll wear to look sharp and put together.
Even the numbers (30, 36, 42, etc.) are subject to “vanity sizing”. Different brands and styles can (and probably will) have dramatically different measurements – up to 2-3” in some cases. To make matters worse – even our bodies are not consistent – varying several pounds and an inch or two throughout the day.
So what’s a guy to do?
Well, you have two options. Both of these I use on a regular basis depending on exactly what I’m looking for.
- Try on a lot of different brands and styles to find one that works for you.
- Tailor it
The first option, I typically use for jeans, and other casual items. Try a bunch of things, and see what works for you. Once you find something that looks and feels great, you can use it as a template when you need to purchase other similar items. This is the strategy that used to find my favorite dress pants.
More expensive or formal items, especially suits and jackets, I like to have tailored so that they fit me perfectly.
You wear a suit when you want to look your absolute best, so complement that charming personality with perfect fit.
Costs for alterations at a tailor vary depending on exactly what needs to be done. Hemming pants can be as little as $12, but alterations to the shoulders of a jacket can cost much more. I would budget about $75 for a new suit, to make it fit like it was made for you (even if it wasn’t). You’ll still want to do a bit of trying on. If you only need to make minor changes, then tailoring will be much less costly.
In The Fit Guide, I’ll walk you through what good fit looks like for each of the basic clothing items, and give you a couple of my secrets to check the fit yourself when you’re out trying on different brands.
This is how clothes should fit.