Monday, April 9, 2012

Here’s What Happens When I Can’t Be Bothered To Fix The Camera

…or in other words, I don’t have any photos of what I’ve been working on.

Point A)  I believe that the introduction and wide-spread adoption of ready-made, standardized-fit clothing has altered our attitudes towards clothing.  We now feel the need to change our bodies to fit our clothes rather than change our clothes to fit our bodies. Obviously, this isn’t a revolutionary thought.  For example there’s that touted anecdotal statistic that’s been flying around for years about how many women say they want to have plastic surgery so their clothes will fit better.  It’s possibly not true but still… I think there’s a point to that anecdote.

Point B) I notice how well or poorly people's clothes fit.  I notice it at the grocery store.  I notice it at work.  I notice it when I'm watching TV.  Good fit.  Poor fit… mostly poor fit.  You do that too, right? I'm guessing many of you do.  I think those of us who spend a significant part of our sewing time trying to achieve good fit start to notice when others' clothes don’t fit.  Even if it's on TV or in the movies or whatnot.

I’ve been mulling over point A and point B for a long time.  Many of you have been too.  Here's what I've noticed: when my clothes are custom fit and fit well (as opposed to the many many examples of custom fit clothing that I own which do not fit well), someone invariably comments on how "good" I look.   Trust me.  I don't look good.  But I do look like my clothes fit.  And I always assumed  that I look “good” because my well-fitting clothes are flattering in some way.

But here's the thing: are we in fact just unconsciously assuming that a person in well-fitting clothes must look good because they fit their clothes?

What I mean is, ready-to-wear clothes are not designed to fit my body.   They're just not.  They are designed to fit someone who has the "ideal" body.  So if we see a person in clothes that fit them properly, are we subconsciously assuming for a moment that they must have an ideal body to be able to fit into those clothes in the first place?  Obviously that assumption won’t last past an actual assessment of the person’s figure, but as a first impression…?




Thesis: Are we conditioned through the almost exclusive purchase of ready-to-wear clothing to assume that if a person’s clothes fit, they must have the “ideal” figure to fit into them? 

Maybe we do.  Maybe we don't.  I don't know.



  1. I think you're on to something here. Whenever I wear my made by me fashions someone alwayssays how nice I look. Hmmmm...

  2. You're giving me a headache.

    My clothes don't fit. Not even the ones I make, most of the time.

  3. Of course you talked me into having my custom fitted clothes fitted differently than the way I think they look good and I wasted $800 on two jackets I've never worn and ended up giving to a friend! You need to wear clothes that fit in a manner that is comfortable for yourself too, even if YOU think they are poorly fitted...MOM

  4. Probably one of the things I say most often: "That just isn't a good look for her." It commonly refers to poorly-fitted clothing worn by people who frequent WalMart. Of which I am one - except my clothing sometimes fits. So there you go.

  5. Of course. It's so rare to see good fit these days (even on people who could theoretically afford it) that good fit makes people assume that your body's the ideal. Even when it's blatantly obvious that it's not. And you know the best thing? It's not just other people who think so, you do too. I'm sure that a lifetime of custom fitted clothes is what's preserved my completely overrated body image, in the face of all evidence to the contrary :-).

  6. Hmm, interesting. I almost never notice what people are wearing, unless they look really good or really bad. Now I have to start paying attention to what it is that makes them look good or bad. Great post, thank you.

  7. Interesting. I definitely agree that people look better in clothes that fit them---I'm not sure I agree that we subconsciously think "oh, they must have an ideal body then."

    Poorly fitting clothes create wrinkles, areas of pulling, etc. that look sloppy and subtly not quite right. Clothes that fit perfectly (which I *sometimes* achieve)look more together, more professional, more "right". More the way they're supposed to look. Kind of like the difference between someone whose hair looks like they just rolled out of bed, vs. someone who took the time to get that perfect set.

    I would allow that well-fitting clothes don't bring attention to our "problem areas" the way poorly fitting clothes sometimes do...

  8. I know that well-fitting clothes make me look ten pounds slimmer. One of the reasons I started sewing my own was because ready-to-wear fit so badly. Fitting well into my clothes makes me feel better about myself, causing me to stand up straighter and presto - skinny mini!

    Unfortunately, this doesn't work with bathing suits.

  9. Very interesting thesis. I think you are on to something there.

  10. Very interesting. Clothes that fit well make a person look "put together" instead of sloppy. I think we feel we know a lot about a person just by seeing what they wear, how they carry themselves, etc.


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