12 Tips to a better fitting wardrobe--Men and Women--Wearing clothes that fit!

Usually, in most cases..., when we're under ten the clothes that Mom or even Grandma (at times) brings home are great. Some of them we like better than others, mind you even at that age there are certain things we would rather like to hide them in the back of our closets.

Then we start to develop a fashion sense... not ours...yet, but the fashion sense that the glitzy movie stars, scream-y rap bands and the popular preppies in school wear. (not even sure if the word preppies is still in use today). Heaven forbid that we would actually own a pair of jeans that still has both knees intact or doesn't have a strategically placed hole in the worn-out patch by the zipper region. Well, as a teenager and possibly even in our early twenties the burlap sack that's in fashion will do just fine...

but then comes a time when that stuff finally fails to impress, a time when our own fashion diva or guru finally awakens and we want to build our own image, when we realize that to go trendy can be fine and dandy but somehow the wallet refuses to become bottomless.

Tailors by Charles Mertens
Tailors by Charles Mertens | Source

When this change occurs it's the perfect time to start hunting for that perfect 'in tune' with your body image basic wardrobe. To make this happen remember that even the most casual clothe closet needs some professional attention and can really benefit from a good tailor/seamstress.

A super good tailor or seamstress can help you set up a great basic wardrobe onto which you can build which will last for some years. They can suggest what style does suit your body type best. What to nip and tuck even on your everyday clothes, to make you look the best you can be.

No matter how stylishly trendy the wardrobe, if the clothing doesn't fit right it's a wasted effort. Tailors and seamstresses have long been relied upon to fix formal wear. Although using them for everyday clothes is an extra step and an extra expense it is well worth it though when setting up that basic or classic wardrobe that's flattering to the body. The one that can last for years onto which you can build extra pieces every season of the year. The too-long sleeves and pant legs, the waists that are too large can drag you down and make you look sloppy and unprofessional.

You know that saying 'If you look good, you feel good'. Well when you show up in clothes that fit you well, flatter you, YOU will come across as a confident person which then in turn could open extra doors.

Here are 12 things you should know before you walk into a tailor shop with a closet-ful of your clothes to be altered:


Remember that taking things in is always easiest. So always buy the size that fits the biggest part of your body the best. Letting out can create unforeseeable problems that a lay person and even professionals can't tell ahead of time. It's not always sure and can't be told before hand if the seams might leave seam mark lines, if the holes made by the sewing machine needle stay visible, if there is enough fabric in the seams to warrant taking things apart etc. As mentioned before if the garments you're interested in don't fit quite right buy them a size larger, better said buy them to fit the largest part of your body well with other words buy the 'too-large size' instead.

For example: Jeans have zilch as far as seam allowances, and even if they had, they couldn't be let out as it would show. --- In most cases Jeans are sewn first then dyed and distressed (worn out etc.). So when you buy jeans make sure they fit the thighs and the butt well, even if they're way too big in the waist. The waist can be nipped and tucked in to fit you just right.

A suit jacket should fit across the shoulders, the bust/chest, belly, hips —

— as taking it in is easier to do than letting things out BUY to fit whichever measurement is the biggest... once it's taken down to fit your body nobody will know if it was a 12 or a 16 to start with... and further more nobody really cares...


The law of the land states that before you go near an alterations/tailor shop with your clothes you get referrals. If the well-established tailor shop is busy, busy, busy, chances are you can find a customers or two who can provide you with a good recommendations for that particular shop.


When having jeans hemmed, ask the tailor/seamstress either to "keep the original" hem or make it look as close as possible to the original look by using matching to the topstitching thread etc. This means they'll shorten the legs but keep the original hem (in most cases the distressed/worn off hem is cut off then re-sewn to the jean legs).

To be totally honest having been a tailor for most of my life I do not agree with this a 100% but it's been a fashion statement for the last so many years that jeans can't look new even if they're new and this includes the raggedy hems... In most cases hemming jeans with the original hem costs twice as much as a regular jean hem. In Toronto and other large cities, I'm told, it costs almost three times as much. Well, with a little patience and about 3-4 washings the hem with the regular hemming can look all worn in and almost as bad as the original hem was... (I know, I know my age is showing with this comment but it's just my opinion and as far as I'm concerned a new pair of jeans should look new for a few washings at least)


Most of us have some irregularities with our bodies. The tailor/seamstress needs to know if you have a hip higher than the other or have a difference in leg length, a curve in the spine or ...etc. This will help the tailor/seamstress to adjust the alterations accordingly.


Tell your tailor/seamstress precisely what your likes and dislikes are. If you like to wear your pants long, tell them so, after all it is your likes and dislikes that are what's important. They will accommodate your personal style if they know it. Remember to be tell them so at the fittings, ahead of cutting time...


Think it over what you take to your tailor/seamstress. To be realistic your father-in-laws suit who was a foot shorter than you can not be stretched out to be long enough for you. Can a tailor/seamstress downsize a suit that is six sizes too big? Yes, sure it can be done... it most likely will need to be taken apart and re-cut... but is that practical and cost-efficient? Most likely not, unless the suit has special meaning or significance and/or is made of a really great expensive fabric, is a fantastic name brand. In most cases it will take more time to remake that suit then to start from a piece of cloth. I always found that one of the most intricate and time-consuming and expensive alterations was to downsize the shoulders of a suit jacket, especially men's suit jackets.


A good tailor/seamstress can do more than just sew. He or she know and understand fit and they might just have a great idea that will benefit your body style better and also be able to suggest design changes that will make your clothes look better on you.


This is a tough one in today's economy, but you should buy the most expensive clothes you can afford. Remember to choose classic styles, especially for suits. More-expensive clothing is usually made of fabric that is of higher quality and also usually have more fabric in the seam allowances which will make them much easier to tailor. This also means that more expensive garments can be tailored and/or restyled more than once.


Under normal circumstances taking thrift-store purchases to a tailor can be a smart idea. However do remember that no matter what work needs to be done on that suit/dress takes the same amount of time and effort, even if it came cheap from a used clothing store. It is only worth the expense if it's a well-made classic, garment. A vintage dress can easily be revamped, updated for a better fit and more modern style. Even if it comes all the way from the 20's and 30's. The alterations might set you back a couple of hundred dollars but if you start out with an expensive Dolce & Gabbana dress you will still have a treasure that came at a bargain price.

Think twice about wanting to get alterations done on garments that are made of poor fabrics.


Remember proportions... this has happened on many an occasion and I'm positive that every tailor/seamstress can vouch for this... a mom brings in her granddads favorite shirt (that has only been worn at two weddings and a funeral) to down size for her son who is still a scrawny 8 year old. Yes the sleeves that are way too long can be made shorter, no problem. But unfortunately the rest of the shirt will hang down to the boys knees, the chest pocket will cover his belly button and the collar will fit around his and his other two siblings necks at the same time... this shirt would require major re-cutting and re-working but it still wouldn't make a great fitting shirt and it could cost a fortune... The Mom is way better off by setting that shirt away for a few years and then trying to resew it when the boy has grown.


In a Classic 'should-have' wardrobe, it helps to know what to look for in the basics ... 'The basic fit guidelines' that is. We're talking about a classic suit which should last for years and not get dated after just one or two seasons. It obviously should be in a darker muted colour, it's good to know that all tones of navy, the khakis and browns etc will stay in fashion...

Men: The rule of thumb for a good fitting suit is ==>

  • The jacket lapels should be neither too wide or too narrow as this puts a date onto the suit, go for the one that has two or three front buttons only, no more.
  • You should be able to just grasp the bottom of your suit jacket with your fingertips which would make your jacket just cover your 'bee-hind' or seat. [However, if you have a longer torso, you can slightly counteract it by wearing your jacket 1" shorter than the above mentioned 'fingertips-rule-of-thumb'. This will elongate your body and give the illusions of being taller and have longer legs] If you have a 'tummy' ask the tailor to leave the front of your jacket hem 1/4"-3/8" longer than the back. (this will only work on non-plaid)
  • Your Jacket sleeves should hang about an inch below your wrist. Your Dress-Shirt sleeves can show out from under your jacket sleeves, but do not have to. Too long jacket sleeves look sloppy, sleeves that are too short will draw the eyes and make you look shorter.
  • Your pants should have a break in front at the crease and sit on top of your shoes but not have layers and layers of puddling, again this looks sloppy and will make you look shorter.
  • Try to wear your pants around your waist and not under it (I'm told that under the waist is more comfy but this causes you to have a saggy butt ... which takes away from the smooth looking guy you're trying to portrait)

Women: The rule of thumb for a good fitting suit is ==>

  • The length of your suit jacket should be governed by your tallness or in most cases shortness. A too long jacket will make you look shorter, especially if you're 'stocky' with bigger thighs. [It's a misconception to try to hide the works (large bust, tummy and bee-hind) by wearing a jacket that's too wide in the shoulders and hangs loose and low to just above the knees] If you're short have a stocky built your Jacket should be slightly fitted into the waist (NOT body tight) still have an inch - inch and a half of ease in width, in length it should be no more than 3-4 inches below your half mark. The thick shoulder pads are not in style anymore (thank goodness) but to counteract wider hips a jacket with slightly wider shoulders works well in camouflaging. The upper sleeves should be loose fitting but not sloppy wide. If your busty rather than wearing a box style jacket, one without lapels usually works well... like the Chanel style with vertical banding or a fine muted vertical stripe this gives an illusion of tall and slenderises.
  • Your sleeves should cover the wrist by not much more than an inch.
  • Your skirt hem line should be just above, right at or just slightly below the knee. (either length is acceptable in the business world now)
  • Shirts/blouses should fit nicely through the chest and waist, not too tight.
  • Your pant hem should hang over your heels (if you're wearing high heels) or have a slight break in the front crease if you're into flats.


By sticking to the classic styles in muted tones you can add the fashion colours and flavors of the season by selecting upbeat blouses/shirts etc. This will add the trendy to your look. Also remember when you buy other pieces to go into your classic wardrobe to let it be a complimentary pieces so that you can mix and match and thus have a whole new set of clothes.

A few years back a friend worked out that if she had 3- 3 piece suits with three shirts/tops that all interchanged she could create enough outfit for a month with out wearing the same combination twice.

Unfortunately mostly it's still a world where how we look is how we're judged. By being well dressed we show off a good image and a pleasant first impression is always easier to live up to than try to erase a bad and sloppy look.  So the moral of this story is that you need to buy good clothes that fit well or let a tailor/seamstress make them fit YOU well.

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Comments 44 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 3 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Princessa so glad you stopped by. How is good old Europe? How are you and the family? Thank you for reading and commenting.

In my opinion great fitting clothes and self-confidence go hand in hand.

greetings from far off Canada

regards Zsuzsy

Princessa profile image

Princessa 3 years ago from France

Great advice. Buying the size that fits the biggest part of your body is such an obvious thing but very often forgotten -I have done the mistake of buying bad fitting clothes too often! It took me a long time to understand and accept that there is no shame in wearing a bigger size. Wearing clothes that fit it is much more flattering than wearing far too tight or too short clothes.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 3 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Nurseleah, first of all thank you for reading and commenting. Next... ask yourself this question... if you've made this investment of a nice pricey suit can you afford not to get it fixed so that you will feel like that million bucks? The tailor in me will tell you to get it done right (usually it's worth every dime spent on making something fit well). It is my opinion that when you wear well fitting clothes your whole body language yells out confidence. Further more when you're going for an interview you're nervous anyway so you do not need to add in the worry about possibly looking frumpy. Again a good piece of great fitting clothing in your wardrobe is something you will have for years.

good luck with the interview

kindest regards Zsuzsy

nurseleah profile image

nurseleah 3 years ago from West Virginia

Very informative hub. I've always been concerned about the cost of having clothing tailored and have never made a habit of it. My body doesn't seem to have any issues with clothes that are made well. However, right now I have a beautiful suit that I want to wear to an interview soon. The jacket fits through the shoulders and arms, but is quite large around my upper abdominal area and under my arms. It looks frumpy. Can this be fixed? If so, will it be terribly expensive? The suit already was a little pricey, so I don't want to spend a great deal more on it. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

kenneth avery, thanks for reading and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

Great hub. Very informative. Thanks for sharing your talent with us.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 5 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Tall mans clothing, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy

Tall Mans Clothes 5 years ago


I am glad to see this blog. i am give thanks to this site for give such great information about Big and tall clothes shopping. I am providing this type of service. This type of information is awesome for me.

Thanks again for give a good knowledge.

Tall mans clothing

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Support Med., thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Great tailoring tips. Voted and rated.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Jo Deslaurier, thanks for dropping in and for commenting.

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Jo Deslaurier profile image

Jo Deslaurier 6 years ago

Great tips; vote up!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Steph, always glad when you drop in for a visit. Coffee, Tea??? I firmly believe that being well dressed doesn't mean having to have an expensive designer wardrobe, as long as the clothes are good fitting.

greetings from a windy damp Ontario

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

I liked it so much, I commented twice! ;-)

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Proper fitting clothes can make you look and feel so much better! What a great hub Zsuzsy - will be thinking of your tips as we enter the holiday season. Best, Steph

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Sherry, always glad when you pop in for a visit. You understood my hub perfectly and how well you put it. At times it was hard to convince some of my customers that toooooo tight does not look slim-ing...

Hope you and you gang are well and life is treating you the way it should

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

heart4theword, thank you for taking a look and for commenting. I spent 30 some years fitting clothes onto people. Most (...) followed my advice and felt good for it.

regards Zsuzsy

Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 6 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Zsuzsy, this is such a wealth of information about having a better fitting wardrobe. At first, I thought that you'd be writing from the perspective of doing the fitting yourself, as your own seamstress or tailor, and I had a lot of thoughts running through my head about that. But, who does these things for themselves this way these days?

This is super advice for those who need the skills of a professional to fit their clothes correctly. It's all about communication. Sometimes the relationship with a tailor is like the relationship with a doctor. You've got to let these professionals assess your body, in this case, for the purpose of making you look and feed good. And you've got to be open about your feelings...the good ones and the bad ones.

Not too long ago, I bought a suit that needed substantial alterations. The tailor at this high-end store made the garment fit perfectly; she was professional, yet it was an intimate experience.

All of your 12 tips are about having a successful experience with someone who is skilled in making the clothes fit you. And that doesn't happen unless you can be open with this professional, which for some is hard to do.

Hats off to you!

heart4theword profile image

heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

It is so nice to read your hubs...there is always something to learn from you:) Great advice you gave, nice to hear things from a seamstress' point of view!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Rob how are you? Miss you and BT. Leather jackets always get better with age all soft and creased in where they're comfy, Leather is always "IN" no matter what.

hope life is treating you and the family well

kindest regards Zsuzsy

rmr profile image

rmr 6 years ago from Livonia, MI

Hi Zuzsy! Great advice! I don't think I've ever had what you would call a nice wardrobe. Unfortunately, my biggest fashion decision is whether I should wear the black t-shirt with my 5 year old jeans, or the gray one; and whether it's cold enough outside to put on the tattered leather jacket. I guess you could call that my personal style, but it's probably just good old fashioned laziness.

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

original010, thank you for taking a look and for commenting. It's easy to build onto a few good pieces.

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Hello, hello, how are you? Thanks for dropping in and for commenting.

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

cascata, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

regards Zsuzsy

original010 profile image

original010 6 years ago from Egypt

very good advice, I agree about trying to buy quality clothes even if more expensive. We do not really need to have many things in our wardrobe, some good quality pieces are better.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Very well written hub with good advice right through. Thank you

cascata 6 years ago

There are many Fashion Trends these days, depending on the region your from. It would be interesting to see them all, don't you think?

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

kimh039, thank you for taking a look and for commenting.

Glad the slacks fit again

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

hi Gals how are you? Always glad when you pop in for a visit.

I honestly can not tell you how many vintage dresses and suits that I was able to rework over the years. Every time a vintage piece came in I could have jumped for joy because those pieces are put together so well that it is really fun to work on them.

kindest regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Alison nice to see you here. It really makes a big difference in a person's image if they're put together with well fitting clothes.

thanks for taking a look and for commenting

regards Zsuzsy

kimh039 profile image

kimh039 6 years ago

Good stuff here Zsuzsy. I was going to take some dress slacks to a taylor to take in, but it's a good thing I didn't! They fit again:(

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

It doesn't matter how much you paid for an outfit if it fits like a bag or is too tight. Excellent advice and tips. I totally agree with tip #8. People often buy cheaper so they can have more pieces of clothing rather than buying the best they can afford. More isn't always better.

Alison Graham profile image

Alison Graham 6 years ago from UK

Great advice, thanks - I can confirm what stephicks said about ditching the tight stuff and you will look slimmer!

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

I have never seen a tailor in Walmart either.. My sense of humor! Of course the "TheManWithNoPants" would not need a tailor!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

dallas93444, as far as I know Walmart never had a tailor on staff, here in Canada anyway...

thanks for commenting

regards Zsuzsy

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

TheManWithNoPants, always glad when you drop by for a visit.

Now as far as your MIA pants are concerned:

The tailor loved them so much that he wanted to keep them for himself OR he wants to sell them on EBay for mega bucks because they belonged to the one and only super famous writer named--- you guessed it TheManWithNoPants

It might be just my opinion but with winter fast approaching shouldn't you go back to the tailor and ask for them back???


hope you're well,

regards Zsuzsy

dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Does WalMart have a tailor? I ask them if the "Tailor" was in... and they checked with personnel and replied, "She does not work here anymore..."

TheManWithNoPants profile image

TheManWithNoPants 6 years ago from Tucson, Az.


Great hub as always. However, I took my slacks to the tailor and never got em back! (laughing)


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Steph how are you? That's a good point about not wearing clothes that are tight... It's hard to convince some that if they wear things too tight it shows the extra rolls and that will made them look bigger... if they wear their clothes tooooo large they looked sloppy which also makes them look bigger... there should always be that little bit of 'wearing ease' in clothes to make them look just right.

thanks for your great comment.

Hope life is on an even keel for you and your gang

kindest regards Zsuzsy

stephhicks68 profile image

stephhicks68 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

Clothes that fit make all the difference. In fact, when you get rid of your tight clothing, you can appear to have lost weight! Great hub as always Zsuzsy!

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Wie gehts AlexK2009 ? Ich hoffe gut.

Good quality is not as easy to find as it used to be, that's for sure. I believe that that is a development our generation is guilty off. The motto was if it doesn't work any more buy new, if it doesn't fit throw it away and buy new, if it displeases us in any way get rid of it and buy new...

We have to change that mentality by pointing out that good quality and workmanship might cost more at the beginning but it will pay for itself by lasting longer, through fixings and alterations...

As you can tell this is my pet peeve, sorry sermon is over

always glad when you drop by for a visit.

kindest regards


Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 6 years ago from Ontario/Canada Author

Hiya Petra, how are you?

How right you are about the sizing... clothes sizes are starting out smaller, but what the world seems to be forgetting is that supposedly clothes are made to fit bodies and not bodies to fit the clothes.

~and how true a statement “fashion fades, elegance endures”

hope you're well

regards Zsuzsy

AlexK2009 profile image

AlexK2009 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

I resonate to buy the best you can afford. I got a nice looking pair if boots at a good price and they fell apart 6 months later.

Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

This is great advice and people should bookmark this hub before they go shopping and before they take anything to the tailor.

More often than not, people are buying by size rather than by fit and that is a disastrous decision, since the industry is “reducing” sizes to the point where a size zero “makes sense” – did the person disappeared? – or it is just more flattering to be a zero?

I found that by just changing buttons in an old outfit I can get an updated look at a very reasonable price. I totally agree that quality fabric and workmanship will endure time and ensure elegance, whether there is a celebrity name on the label or not. Coco Chanel was right: “fashion fades, elegance endures”

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