By Sica Schmitz
Founder of Bead & Reel, frequent speaker, writer, and sustainable stylist.
Bodies come in a variety of beautiful sizes, shapes, and heights, so not all styles will fit all people right off the rack. In fact, most shouldn’t! There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all, and yet, in today’s culture we’ve come to expect that everything we buy should immediately be exactly the right length or mold exactly to our unique figure – and fortunately, it can!
With simple alterations, not only are things reshaped for the ideal fit, but they become uniquely ours. There’s something special about a piece that is perfectly fitted just for you. It’s an idea that aligns with the philosophy of slow fashion and plus, it’s also very Hollywood. On film and TV sets, everything is altered to exactly fit the actor or actress, and there’s a full-time cutter/fitter on hand to always make sure every piece looks effortlessly tailored on screen. Trust me, nobody just wakes up like that, and that includes their wardrobe.
So, next time you’re buying something new or wondering what to do with that thing in your closet you never wear because it’s too ____ (long/short/big/small), here are four simple tricks that I always recommend to my clients to get that perfect, made-for-you fit.
NO NEED TO HEM AND HAW
The average height of an American woman is 5’4,” but you wouldn’t know it from most clothing. From pants to skirts to dresses, it’s very common to need to have hemlines taken up to fit petite woman, or taken down to fit leggier women. This is a very simple and affordable adjustment, so don’t be scared by excess fabric. You can easily DIY (check our Pinterest for tutorials!), or it’s a great way to support your local seamstress or tailor.
By the way, I have to hem almost all of my own pants!
WEIGHT… ER… LENGTH OFF YOUR SHOULDERS
As a petite person, one of my most common alterations is taking up straps or shoulders on sleeveless tops, jumpsuits, or dresses. This little adjustment brings up the neckline, armhole, and waistline so everything hits in the right place. You’ll be amazed what a huge difference this small trick makes.
WAIST NOT, WANT NOT
A lot of fit issues happen around the waist. Boxy tops, pants that slide down your hips, or dresses that don’t show off your figure just right: just take them in! This can usually be accomplished with darts or by reshaping the side seam to bring in the waist. You can even take something down an entire size (which is great if you’ve lost weight, or your size is sold out), though I don’t recommend taking most pants in more than 2 inches – things tend to get a bit wonky after that.
You can also always throw on a belt or belt bag to create a quick hourglass shape.
MIND THE GAP
A fairly common issue with wrap front tops or button front shirts is the gap that can occur between buttons or snaps across the chest. For women who often have this issue, you have two simple options: either go up a size and have the waist taken in (see above), or have snaps, hook and eye, or velcro put in place to keep that shirt shut. Voilà!
Want to alter your Bead & Reel purchase? We just introduced our new reimbursement program! So, take it in, take it up, and make it yours, and we’ll help cover the costs. Head here for more details, and happy hemming!