The problem with shopping for ready-to-wear (RTW) clothes, is that they are made from a pattern that only fits a perfectly proportioned model. Each different size is made larger or smaller than that model. But real women and men aren’t like that; we are bigger in some areas and smaller in other areas. That is why clothes off the rack usually will be too tight in some places and too loose in others, which can explain why some women find shopping so frustrating. 

I went shopping with a very gracious volunteer to demonstrate how one garment will fit on different bodies. We both happen to be the same size (mostly), but she is petite. This post is the second in a series where I will point out some of the flaws in fit and style of off-the-rack clothes. I apologize for the poor-quality of photos, but we had to be stealth and there’s only so much you can do with florescent lighting.

The second garment is a geographic print dress, designer unknown. See the first dress here.

front and back view of geographic dress

You can’t hide much in this skin-tight dress. The first thing I would recommend to improve it is to wear  Spanx or other shapewear underneath. And for me, that might be enough. But I want to point out the amazing optical illusion the design of the dress has – see how my figure looks from the back? That’s an impressive hourglass with curvy hips and a tiny waist. But the view from the front doesn’t give that same impression. Instead, the pink panel down my leg actually minimizes my hips and thighs.

On a petite frame…

front and back on a petite frame

As in the blue dress, the waist is too long, resulting in bubbling around the waist. The length looks perfect. Shapewear would also help here, but she could also benefit from going up a size. Notice the gap at her armpit and fabric pulling underneath her chest – that means the dress is too tight. I have a feeling she might also want to hide her arms. That can easily be done with a sweater or jacket over the dress, or a long-sleeved shirt underneath.

What do you think, would you buy this dress?

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