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What Is Fit?

What constitutes a good fit? Is a good fit skin tight or with just enough wearing ease? For a skirt or a pant, is a good fit achievable at natural waist, high hip, and low hip? Can a dolman or a drop shoulder top ever be a good fit (drag lines will always be had on these styles)? I ask this question because I was at a mini gathering over the weekend when another attendee asked about a maxi dress, like this one, I was wearing. The conversation went a little like this (I shortened our dialogue for your sake)…

“The print on that dress is amazing,” she said in a Cher Horowitz accent
“Thanks, I bought it at Anthro (Anthropolgie). It’s still in stores. It may even be on sale now (I’m always a cheerleader for my brands),” I said
“Oh, I want one except I want one that fits,” she said
It does fit, I thought… silently…

Maybe it’s the pattern maker in me but I believe a good fit has wearing ease. What is wearing ease? It’s enough “room” that is “built” into a garment so arms can be raised comfortably and pants don’t ride up into the hoo-hah region. I define a good fit as garments that lie on the body and do not suffocate the wearer. A good fitting garment also conceals body flaws and creates a the best body shape/silhouette the wearer can have. Lastly, a good fit leaves a little mystery… because mystery is always sexy (backless tops/dresses, cold-shoulder tops, etc.). How do you define a good fit?

Taking it one step further, can fit be a reflection of your personality? As we grow older, our styles become simpler and refined. Our clothes become looser – but not baggy – and I wonder if part of this is because as we get older, we settle into ourselves, more relaxed, and more complacent with where life has brought us, wherever that is. Hmmm.. I wonder. What do you think?


  1. Reply

    Evie Jones

    Ouch!  I’m hoping that she meant “fits more snugly” or something similar, because everything I’ve seen on you on your blog looks amazing!  I also think that today, because fashion is so disposable, many people don’t fully understand what constitutes great fit in the traditional sense and use the word ‘fit’ to describe ‘tight’ .  

    • Reply


      Absolutely! You hit it right on the spot – because of fast fashion, we have lost a sense of a good fit. Because we can buy garbage for less than $20, we (myself included) don’t take the time to alter (ourselves or at a tailor shop) it so the fit is spot on and we can wear it for ages. 

  2. Reply


    I also agree, Evie. I also think that everyone spends too much time looking at pictures that are captioned with enthusiasm when the clothing just don’t work on the subject matter (anything the Kardashians are wearing … ugh). They assume that because the reporter loves it, this must be the way to go. So they buy it. They look in mirrors but they don’t see themselves anymore. Did you see Dior’s couture collection earlier this week? Everyone was so shocked at how much they liked it because it was so clean and classic, but it illustrates your point, Maddie, that well fitted and draped is gorgeous and sexy. As well as just showing some freaking divine clothing. 

  3. Reply


    I can’t believe that person was so socially inept! While I agree with your idea of fit, I also think that personal style may play a role in it. At the end of the day, people express themselves through their clothes and my idea of what “fits” may be different from someone else’s. But to think that one can impose personal preferences on someone else? The person who made that comment to you was doing exactly that – totally uncalled for!

  4. Reply

    Kaitlin Lineaweaver

    For many I don’t think they think about fit as much as they think about size. I have seen people try two sizes on and buy the smaller size because it was smaller one even though it obviously did not fit properly. I guess you can tell a lot about a person’s  personality, morality, and opinion of oneself  who’s clothing does not fit. 
    And for most people, especially the attendee with the snide comment, they do not understand fashion and construction. The dress is clearly meant to fall away from the body and be tucked at the waist. It’s not designed to be body hugging. Good grief. 

    • Reply


      good grief is right lady! I had words for her but I kept my mouth shut!

  5. Reply

    Heather Lou

    Whatta  b*tch.  I’m sure you were more of a lady than I would be in that situation…. I totally feel your ease philosophy, but I did just make a dress that fits like a second skin in the bust area, and I gotta tell you, I kinda love it. I may have to undo it to eat dinner, but its worth it.

  6. Reply


    I call people like that “jellyfish” – you’re having a conversation, everything seems fine, floating along all blob-like, then ZING!! they sting ya! Never saw it coming…Others might call them complete a**holes. 
    I do think that people have a fear of wearing ease. To me it all depends on the style. A cinched 50’s waist dress can look sloppy if its got too much ease in the waist and bust – but a tailored jacket shouldn’t pull across your shoulders…etc etc… I think its all about understanding (and *god forbid* ACCEPTING) our own bodies and assessing proportion.

    • Reply


      I love your use of the word accepting. Once we get to that point, our dress usually becomes way better.

  7. Reply

    Christine Haynes

    Except for the rudeness of this person’s comments, I love this post! When you make clothing for yourself, you figure out what your comfort level is with ease and fit. But when I started teaching, I soon realized that fit and ease is different for everyone. I’ve had people tell me that dresses I’m wearing didn’t fit properly because they weren’t tight. But I hate that tight feeling, especially since most garments feel tighter when sitting, so as you wear things, the ease shifts based on the situation and I never want my clothing to feel tight. So sometimes that means that in non-sitting situations, my garments might look loose, but it’s so that I can move, sit, eat, take deep breaths, throw my arms up, dance, etc. Which to me all seem like critical things! 

  8. Reply


    Ack!  What a jerk!  I agree with everyone here– your fit always looks spot-on! 

    It’s funny– I’ve only recently started to wear clothes that fit correctly.  Through high school and much of college, I wore baggy clothes (black concert tees, etc.), and I think it had something to do with my lack of confidence and my desire to be different. I feel a little more self-confident these days, so I’m a little more comfortable in clothes with a closer fit. 

    • Reply


      I was the opposite – when I was in high school and college – my jeans were tight as ever and my tops made it hard to breath in. Oh… what foolish young ins we were 🙂

  9. Reply


    I agree with you completely Maddie!  When I was young and skinny (high school age), I thought clothes had to be skin tight–that was good fit.  Of course I didn’t know anything about fashion or good fit back then.  After gaining some weight (specifically a gut!), I no longer felt good in skin tight clothes (knits) because I look pregnant–not flattering at all!  I’m still learning, but I agree with your description of a good fit–the right amount of ease, and figure flattering shapes.  
    I can’t even tell you how many things I’ve bought in the past that I only wore once or twice because I discovered I bought the garments too small, and after a few hours the clothes were terribly uncomfortable.  I learned the hard way.  🙁
    But now I don’t buy clothes or shoes unless they fit perfectly.  It’s a waste of money otherwise!!

    • Reply


      That’s another lesson I have learned – I don’t buy clothes unless the fit is spot on (or it’s an easy alteration) and that I LOVE it. I’m so over buying massive amounts of Forever 21 clothes (not that their clothes are bad). I would rather buy clothes that fit perfectly and will last ages and many seasons.

  10. Reply


    Nice article.  I totally agree of your description of a good fit.  And I hope to get better at achieving it! 

  11. Reply


    Ouch! Don’t you think that ease depends on the style? If a maxi doesn’t have at least 4″ inches ease there won’t be enough fabric to make it swish around, nor can you walk without a deep walking slit. Tight jeans can be nice, and some dresses need a tight fit around the midriff, but fabric can’t flow and move if  its skin tight. In high school I wore pants so tight I had to lie down to zip them up–they made me feel secure. Maybe it was a sort of security feeling I was after.

    • Reply


      I totally agree… along with personality, ease also depends on the style/silhouette of the garment

  12. Reply

    Wonder Forest

    hmmm i’ve never thought about this before. i’d love to have seen what this woman was wearing and how it fit her too! I think fit is a personal choice really… and can also differ so much considering all of the “oversized” style tops and things that are in right now. interesting to think about..
    loving your blog by the way!
    xo dana

    • Reply


      Thanks for the compliment on my blog. I’m loving the new look too. I hope you continue to come back 🙂

  13. Reply


    Oh deary, I’m sorry that happened. I love that Anthro dress (and tried it on!)–isn’t it supposed to have volume?  For me, fit really depends on the look. Maybe for some “fit” has become synonymous with “fitted”. I think it’s also about scale and proportion. I’m wearing much more fitted clothing than I did in high school and college, but it’s because I’ve figured out how to do it proportionally. Sometimes I want something with lots of volume everywhere… whether it “fits” depends on mostly lengths!

    You have a wonderful style btw. I love your eye for color and textures–so elegant!

  14. Reply


    I think finding good fit in RTW can be hard for many people. There’s wearing ease and design ease which are two different things but the main point for me for good fit is that the fabric skims over the body without squeezing or clinging. You can sometimes get away with wearing baggy, oversized clothes as a fashion statement but drag lines across the bust and bulging out of clothes never looks good or fashionable.

    On an unrelated note, I wish you could come and style my house!

  15. Reply

    Amanda Russell

    I think good fit is definable to some degree – we look for things like drag lines, gaping, and such… but beyond that, good fit is definitely a personal thing, and likely has at least something to do with body type.

    I love the look of wearing ease on a body type like yours, who is slender and wears it well, but on someone like myself, too much ease looks frumpy, and with a large bust, it hangs off and makes me look like I’m pregnant with twins. I just don’t find that comfortable or flattering.

    On the other hand, I don’t want my clothes so tight I’m afraid to eat a cracker for fear of them flying off into smithereens! LOL. Discomfort is a sure sign of a poor fit.

    • Reply


      ooohhh… nicely said – discomfort is a sure sign of a poor fit.

  16. Reply


    I think a “good fit” is different for each person. A good fit for one might be super-tight. For another, super loose. I guess it just depends on a person’s opinion. 
    I prefer one that’s comfy, defined, not loose, and looks good on me.Lovely post and beautifully written :)xoxoNatmodernbuttercup.blogspot.com

  17. Reply


    a good fit, i think, definitely comes down to each person. lovely post, girl! and you always have such beautiful photographs!
    xo TJ

  18. Reply


    Maybe she didn’t finish her sentence, and she meant to say, “Only I want one that fits *me*.”  Sometimes I say something that is truly a compliment and it comes out slightly not how I intended!  I am paying much more attention to fit as I grow older — and I am sewing more clothes with waist definition, because as comfy as sacks are, I look like I’m 12.  Or, like I’m a grown woman trying to look 12.  Not good.  🙂

    • Reply


      That could have been what she meant to say, regardless, it brought up a good question (and a good blog post too!)

    • Reply


      That may have been what she intended to say. Regardless, her reponse brought up a great question (and a great blog post).

  19. Reply

    Carmen @ Forgotten Fancies

    What an interesting post. I think everyone has their own concept of what constitute a good fit. I have noticed lately I’ve been drawn more towards clothing with more of a relaxed fit, however very often I end up picking something more structured because that is just what I’m used to…

  20. Reply


    Language is important! “One that fits” is totally different from “one that is fitted”, and thus a different dress entirely. Oy vey. My idea of proper fit has changed over the years, and now that I’m sewing much more frequently, I’m glad you brought up looser garments that will always have drag lines. As I toy with some of these styles (always shied away as I am not lanky, and do think they look best on narrower frames), I’ve learned that it’s futile to obsess over every line or wrinkle. We need to be able to shine in our clothing. I agree that people think too much about size, rather than fit.

  21. Reply


    Can’t really comment on this without having seen the garment or knowing the context (i.e. is this person usually fairly matter of fact in their opinions). So I’ll say let it go and get on with life XD

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