You can’t have a great style without proper fit!
In this Episode, Lessons From Linda shares the story of a Linda with multiple clothing personalities.
Chambray is our Word of the Week, and it’s my favorite summer fabric! Is this Wardrobe Workhorse hanging in your closet?
In Office Hours, Katherine has a question about the half-tuck.
Finally, in the Lecture Series, we cover the basics of Proper Fit–from Tops to Bottoms, and even underneath, you’ll learn what to look for to make sure your clothes fit the way they should.
Links and resources from the show:
See fit tips and more on my Styling Advice & Freebies Pinterest Board. While you’re there, be sure to follow all of my boards!
Get the Summer Capsule Guide before it retires July 15, and save $15 at checkout with code podcast. You’ve still got time to join the Community and participate in 2 awesome Wardrobe Challenges AND get the Style Masterclass on finding perfect jeans.
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Read the full episode transcript below! – Ep 10 Basics of Proper Fit
Hello, and welcome to another episode Everyday Style School Podcast where we believe that style should be easy, and getting dressed can be fun.
We took last week off to celebrate America’s Birthday, and speaking of America–this week I learned that in the first 6 weeks of the podcast being officially out there, The Everyday Style School has been downloaded in 42 states! And not only that, but we’ve been downloaded in 10 other countries, including Canada, Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Russia, Australia, and Kuwait.
That’s so crazy to even think about, and I just want to thank you for listening. And if you’re listening somewhere I haven’t mentioned yet, be sure to download an episode, so it shows up on my map!!
Today we’re talking about my favorite summer fabric in the word of the week, and we’ve got a question about half tucking in Office Hours. This week’s Lessons from Linda shares the story of one of my all-time favorite clients.
And in The Style Lecture, we’ll be talking about the Basics of Proper fit. Good Style hinges on proper fit. If you don’t have fit, you don’t have style.
First, let’s do a quick check of last week’s homework, which was to look at the different sleeve types in your closet–identify them, and figure out which ones look best on you.
Did you do it? I’d love to hear about it in the Everyday Style Lounge Facebook group.
I already heard from one listener that she never realized all her favorite tops and dresses had dolman sleeves–and now she knows why she gravitates toward that particular fit.
That’s the power of 2 minutes of style homework–making the connections between why you’re buying and the things you love. It makes style so much easier.
Let’s kick the episode off, as we always do, with Lessons from Linda.
This week’s Linda called me, as many do because something just wasn’t coming together. She kept shopping, but she never felt put together–I’m guessing lots of you can identify with that.
I know I’ve had my moments. She was tired of wasting money on the wrong things, so after she heard me speak at an event, she called me for help.
Now, this Linda turned out to be one of my all-time favorite Lindas–and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve worked with hundreds of women, and I’ve honestly enjoyed 99.9% of them ( I know you want to know about the ones I didn’t, but I’ll never share that–unless you get a few drinks in me!).
But there have been a few Lindas who have been truly transformational or have just touched my heart in some way. This is one of those Lindas, , but friends, it didn’t start off so rosy.
We started her closet edit, as we always do, with the pants. We pulled all the pants and skirts out of her closet and as she was trying them on, they all had one thing in common.
They were terrible. Every pair of pants she had were giant, polyester pull-on styles, that my grandmother would have called frumpy.
One of the hardest parts of my job is being honest without being hurtful. It’s never my goal to make someone feel bad, but on the other hand, If I’m hired to fix people’s wardrobe problems, and if the pants are the problem, I have to say it.
I saw Linda getting upset and worse, I saw her becoming defeated as I gave the thumbs down to every single bottom she had in her wardrobe. I will never be a part of making someone feel that way, so It was time to walk away from the pants for a bit.
I always have my clients put on their best fitting jeans or black pants to try on tops. It makes it so much easier to focus on the upper half of the bottom isn’t distracting.
So we did the best we could, and moved on.
Two minutes into the tops, Linda’s demeanor had totally changed. She was smiling, I was smiling–because every top she had looked amazing on her. This Linda actually had a ton of style.
She had a cute funky haircut, her tops, while not my style, were a very clearly defined, cohesive style that matched her aesthetic perfectly. From the waist up, Linda was golden.
Here’s what was happening–and I see this happen a lot. Two women were living in Linda’s closet. Top half Linda, and Bottom Half Linda. Top Half Linda was going to art shows and great restaurants. Bottom Half Linda was catching the early bird special before watching reruns of Matlock.
These two Lindas were not on the same page!
I pointed this out to Linda and asked–which Linda are you? We agreed she was art gallery Linda, and to get her wardrobe cohesive, and making sense, we had to leave Matlock Linda behind.
What had happened was, Linda had gotten older, her shape had changed, and buying pants in the places she used to wasn’t working anymore, so she gave up. She DID go for the easy pull-on pants because she didn’t know there were other options out there that were flattering, and comfortable, and stylish.
Now, your version might be leaving behind tight jeans and living in yoga pants instead, but it’s the exact same thing.
We shopped and restocked her pant collection–I honestly don’t think we bought a single top. We bought pants that fit, pants that were comfortable, pants that fit the body and lifestyle she had at that moment.
Pants that made her look 20 years younger. All of a sudden, her wardrobe, and her style made sense. I will never forget the smile she left the shopping mall with. Helping a woman see herself in the mirror the way she wants to look in her mind is a feeling unlike any other.
It actually gives me goosebumps.
Here are the lessons I want you to take away from this Linda.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–when your wardrobe isn’t coming together, the problem is almost always in the pants.
When you can’t figure out why an outfit doesn’t work-ask yourself, would the same Linda be wearing these pieces? I had someone post a picture in one of the Capsule communities a couple of years ago, and the whole outfit was a little dressy–blingy necklace, dressy top–except the shorts.
The shorts were an Eddie Bauer Esque hiking situation.
The top half Linda was going to brunch with friends, and bottom half Linda, was quite literally, going hiking. Which is it? And yes, you can have clothing items that reflect different personalities, different aesthetics…but not in the same outfit. The whole outfit needs to be going to the same place.
Finally, don’t give up! We all go through phases where its tough to find the right fits or styles to work with our current situation. It can be very easy to throw in the towel and just throw on oversized tees, yoga pants, or ginormous polyester disaster pants.
But, the right things are out there to fit your body, fit your lifestyle, and make you feel fabulous.
Putting in the extra effort to love the way you look no matter what’s going on is worth it. No one has ever frumped themselves into feeling better. I should embroider that on a pillow.
Let’s move on to the Word of the Week!
Today we are talking about my favorite summer fabric, and that is Chambray. Spelled c-h-am-b-r-a-y Pronounced SHAMbray, not CAMbray, not CHOMbray not SHOMbray.
Chambray looks like lightweight denim, and the word is often used to mean any lightweight denim looking clothing item, whether it’s actually chambray or not. I would urge you not to get too caught up in technicalities, and resist the urge to correct your friends.
When we think of Chambray, we think a light blue color, but Chambray can really be any color because it combined by weaving a white thread and a colored thread together. Indigo is the most common color, which is why we think of the light blue. It doesn’t have to be.
Both Denim & Chambray are made by weaving white cotton threads, and colored cotton threads, so in that respect, they’re a lot alike.
However, the weaving process and thickness of the yarn is what creates two different fabrics.
In Chambray, a white weft (which is the yarn that goes horizontally, from right to left) is woven with a colored warp (the yarn that goes vertically) in a plain weave pattern, which produces an even, criss-cross pattern.
In denim, a thicker white weft, is woven with a thicker colored warp in a twill weave, which is the warp going over two threads in the weft. The result is a much thicker, sturdier weave that actually has a diagonal weave. If you look at your jeans–its easier to see on the inside, you can see tiny rows of diagonal stitches.
So, if you’re curious to see if an item you’re looking at is denim or chambray, look at the fabric from the inside–diagonal stitches? Denim. Crisscross, chambray
The result is that chambray is thinner and softer than denim, and while the fabric is casual, chambray always looks refined.
Here’s why chambray is one of my favorite summer fabrics–first, because of the weaving pattern, it’s super cool and breathable.
Second, and I’m talking about the indigo-colored chambray, it’s the perfect summer neutral. Just like you can pair jeans with any color or pattern top, you can do the same thing with Chambray.
A chambray top is a great compliment to loud brights or patterned shorts, and chambray pants look really chic with a plain white tee.
Which brings me to the last thing I love about this fabric–it always looks upscale and elegant, even in simple silhouettes. From chambray shorts with a simple tee to a chambray blazer with a pencil skirt, this fabric is truly the workhorse of summer.
I have gotten so many comments about the Chambray pants in the summer capsule guide–women who had never owned chambray before and have found a brand new favorite. I encourage you to try this super versatile fabric this summer!
As always If you’re having trouble picturing chambray, there’s a link in the show notes above for examples under 100.
Let’s head to Office Hours, where Katherine has a question–what’s your question Katherine?
Great question, Katherine! I’m assuming that when you’re asking whether you can half tuck with the drawstring, you’re asking if it’s ok that the drawstring shows. I sure hope that your question, because that’s the one I’m answering.
The short answer is yes, that’s absolutely fine–there’s no rule that says the drawstring must be hidden, or that your shirt must be fully tucked in. Do what works best for you.
The bigger question though is–when you half-tuck your tops into drawstring pants, do you like the way that looks? Its really the only answer that matters because if you do like the way it looks, whatever I say shouldn’t matter. If you like it, it’s right.
Now, if you don’t like the way it looks, whatever I say won’t matter. If you feel like it looks weird, or breaks some rule, it won’t matter that I give you the thumbs up. You’ll be self-conscious, and nothing wrecks an outfit faster than a woman who doesn’t feel confident wearing it.
Lastly, let me share a fashion insider secret with you that I use to verify my ideas. Pinterest. Yep, even I do that. When I’m creating capsules, sometimes I get an idea in my head and think, would those look good together? Is that even a thing?
So I head to Pinterest and search for my idea. If the search results bring up looks that fit the vibe I’m going for, in the capsule it goes. If no results come up, or only crazy street fashion my Lindas would never wear, it’s a no-go for me.
I did a quick search for drawstring pants half-tuck and got lots of cute results.
So from me, and Pinterest, it’s a big thumbs up!
Katherine, great question, and as a thank you for using your question on the show you’ll be receiving a copy of my Everyday style challenge. 31 simple tasks to help you cut the clutter, discover your style and use more of what you already own.
If you’re listening and you’ve got a style question, send it to us at email@example.com
Ok, we’ll be back in just a second to talk about The Basics of Proper Fit
Today’s episode is sponsored by the Capsule Guide Community. One of the biggest benefits of being a Capsule Subscriber is access to the private Facebook Community.
For one thing, it’s the nicest corner of the internet–there are hundreds of women giving kind and helpful outfit feedback cheering each other on daily.
But that’s not all. Members of the Community get a weekly Q&A session with me, for all style questions, Capsule Related, and beyond. You’ll get access to my 20 years of experience dressing women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and stages.
Plus, there are monthly wardrobe challenges–with prizes–designed to push you out of your comfort zone, and help make the most of your Capsule investment.
Finally, each season, my subscribers get a Style Masterclass, covering a topic more in-depth than I can do here. This season, I’m sharing how to finally find the perfect jeans that fit, flatter, and don’t fall down.
The Masterclass alone is worth the cost of the Capsule, but you all the Community benefits and the Capsule Wardrobe guide.
At $47, it would be a steal, but you can use code podcast to take $15 off of your first Capsule purchase. Hurry though, the Summer Capsule goes into retirement on July 15…after that, you’ll have to wait until fall!
Class is back in session, friends, and today we are talking about fit. It is astounding to me how many clients wear clothes that don’t fit. I would say 75% of my clients are wearing the wrong size pants, and almost all are wearing the wrong size bra.
I think there’s a big cultural myth that women walk around in too-tight clothing, trying to be sexy, but if that’s true, it’s not happening with my Lindas! My Lindas are wearing clothes that are too big–and in some cases, way too big…and guess what?
Its almost always the pants. I had one Linda go from a 14 to an 8-10, and another one goes from a 10 to a 6. Both of them told me they thought their pants fit because they stayed on their body. Ladies, we can do better.
So here’s this week’s disclaimer: This is fit basics. There are so many details and nuances to finding clothes that fit your body perfectly or finding the exact right spot for your sleeves hems to end. This talk is not meant to be that. This is meant to be quick and dirty, does it fit in the fitting room kind of advice.
Also, fits can be tweaked. There are times you can get away with sizing up to create a more flowy look, but in my experience, that is usually an unsuccessful strategy unless your body has the right frame for it, which is usually model like–tall, pretty skinny, and a strong, square shoulder line.
Am I saying you can’t play with fit? Not at all…but you need to know the basics first–remember the Pablo Picasso quote from Episode 2–You must learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
We’re going to start at the top, with my all-time favorite subject to talk about: Bras. I promise, there is a bra episode coming, but for right now, here are 2 fit issues you need to pay attention to: are your girls contained by the cups? When you put your bra on with a fitted t-shirt, do you see “pillows” over your bra line? You should only have 2 boobies.
If you have more than 2 boobs, it’s time for a fitting! A professional one. Is your bra band riding up? If you move around, does your whole bra move? Quick–do the YMCA dance moves and see if your bra stayed put—if it doesn’t, you need a fitting…a professional one.
Moving on to tops–you already know from the sleeve vocab series that a typical vertical set-in sleeve should sit right along the outside edge of your shoulder. If it is up on the flat part of your shoulder, your shirt is too small. If it is falling onto the arm, your shirt is too big.
Tops, dresses, and blazers need to fit in the shoulder. It determines the fit of the entire garment and can be really difficult, and costly to tailor, so buy with shoulder fit in mind.
Moving down under the arm, your tops should not have big folds of fabric, what I call wings, under the arm. This is a sign your top is too big. A horizontal fold of fabric at the armpit and going over the bust can mean you’re wearing a bad bra. I always say to my clients “that’s where the boobies should go.
Necklines should stay flat against the body and not gape or fold.
Here’s the one I see the most often–and I call it the fabric toss. When you put your shirt on, you pinch each shoulder and toss all the extra fabric to the back…and then you give the torso a couple of little picks and pulls to straighten yourself out.
When you do this, there is a 99% chance your shirt is too big, and it was hanging sadly.
Unfortunately, moving all the extra fabric to the back isn’t successful, if you look at the rearview, the neckline is probably hanging awkwardly low, and now the back of the top has sad draping and folds.
When you have a button-down blouse, the buttons should stay closed without any popping or gapping. If this happens, you need a bigger size, or a different style. I will say though, some women are so close to a top being perfect, but the buttons are gapping a tiny bit.
In that case, I do recommend a little tailoring or DIY. I had one client who had all her shirts sewn shut so they became pop over tops. I’ve had others who used a little fashion tape to close tiny gaps. If you use tape and it comes apart when you do some big arm circles, you need a more heavy-duty option, like sewing in snaps.
Let’s talk blazers–You already know that you should buy with shoulder fit in mind. But for the rest of the body–you should be able to give someone a hug, or drive your car comfortably.
Ideally, your jacket should close comfortably, however, there are times–especially for women with big busts or larger ribcages that the jacket fits everywhere else perfectly, but doesn’t close comfortably. In that case, it’s ok to leave the jacket open–this is actually a more flattering look anyway.
The jacket should look like it could close though. Fill the open space with a long necklace or a scarf worn long. Otherwise, find a different style jacket.
One thing I see over and over in my professional clients is sleeves worn too long. When you wear your sleeves long, you look like you’re playing dress-up in your mother’s clothing. Not a professional look at all.
If you must wear a long sleeve, it should hit right at the spot where the fleshy part of your palm starts and your wrist ends.
That being said, I prefer bracelet length sleeves, right above the wristbone. It allows you to show off a bracelet or a watch and actually makes your upper body look slimmer. Plus, it feels more modern, and less stuffy to me.
In general, your pants should not be smiling or frowning. Smiling is when you have upturned wrinkles that start at the crotch–this means your pants are too small. Frowning is when you have downturned folds of fabric across the crotch and hips. This means your pants are too big.
Of course, you should be buying the right pants shape for your body type–check out episodes 2-6 to find out more, but fit plays a big part in it
Let’s discuss the muffin top. Muffin top is either a size issue–your pants are too small, a rise issue–you need pants that come up over, instead of cutting into the fleshy part, or a shape issue–curvy girls need curvy cuts, straight girls need straight cuts.
If you notice you struggle with a muffin top, I’d make sure you’re wearing the right shape first, then the right rise, then the right size.
Don’t start with the size–it won’t fix the muffin top best.
Another thing to check out is how your pants fit when you sit down. If you sit down and they pull uncomfortably across the hip, they are too small. If you sit down and the fabric billows out, they are too big.
Pockets poking out is usually a shape issue, and you can listen to episode 6 for more tips on fixing that issue.
Finally, hems. This one is really tricky because there is a ton of variation, like where ankle pants are supposed to hit–what’s the difference between capri and crop. Some of that is a style choice, but when talking about ankle pants, they should end just above, or just below the ankle bone.
I really want to talk about fuller leg pants and boot cuts, though, as they are coming back into fashion. The hems of boot cuts and trouser leg pants should end ¼ to ½ inch off the floor–while wearing shoes. I was working for a high-end boutique when bootcut jeans were having a serious moment, and our clients used to buy 2 or 3 pairs of the same jean.
One for flats, one for boots, and one for high heels.
A total pain in the butt, but you shouldn’t be wearing the same boot cuts with flat sneakers as you do with 2-3 inch heeled booties–one of them is going to look wrong.
Actually, you shouldn’t be wearing boot cuts or trouser-leg pants with flats at all–they really need a little height to look their best. I think this is why skinnies were so popular for so long–they’re much more versatile with different heel heights and shoe styles.
Straight legs look best when they hit the bottom of the ankle, right at the top of the foot, and don’t break too much over the shoe, but they have a little more versatility in length than bootcuts, flares, and wide-legs do.
As for dresses and skirts, if you listened to body type episodes, you should know that the waist of a dress should hit the waist of your body. One thing I see a lot is women getting a big fold of fabric over the waistband of the dress in the back.
This is a sign that you need a higher waistband or a petite fit. Another fit issue I see in dresses is ruching or draping that looks sad and frumpy.
This is a sign that your dress is too big, –the draping needs your body for structure, but the fabric is hanging away from your body, and the weight is pulling the whole garment down. If you feel frumpy in a draped or ruched item, chances are it’s too big.
The last one is skirts. Friends–skirts are not low rise items. You are not Britney Spears, this is not 2004, your skirt should be sitting and staying right about at your belly button.
When it doesn’t stay there, and instead falls low, because it is too big, the whole shape of the skirt is off..where the volume of the hip should be is now on your thigh, creating awkward wings and the hem doesn’t hang straight. If I had a dollar. You should be able to fit 2 fingers in the waistband of your skirt, but first and foremost, it should not be falling on to your hips.
I hope this episode helped you understand proper fit better, and that you’ll be focusing on getting the right fit when you shop or create outfits. Your homework this week is to look at the fit of your clothes each day when you get dressed. Are you doing the fabric toss? Are your skirts sitting at the right spot?
Are your boot cuts staying off the ground? It’s been my experience that women don’t know what proper fit is, but once you see it, you can’t unsee it. I’m going to put some fit-tip graphics on my Pinterest Board called Styling Advice & Freebies. You can do a search on Pinterest for Everyday Style with Jen, or you can look above for the show notes.
That’s it, friends, see you next week!