I've been avidly reading Stash Knit Repeat's Fit to Flatter series over the last few weeks, and it's had an enormous impact on how I think about clothing in general (and of course my knitwear in specific). In fact, I would actually recommend the first four parts to the series to any woman, even if she doesn't knit; it's definitely worth reading it to learn not only about how you might dress but also why you might dress that way. The photographs that accompany it are fantastic, and cover a wide range of body shapes.
I've always had a hard time getting clothing to fit properly.1 I have what Amy Herzog describes as a proportional figure, which is more traditionally known as an hourglass figure. This sounds wonderful, I know: it conjures up images of Marilyn Monroe and ladies in corsets. As much as it's supposed to be this ideal form of feminine beauty, I can assure you that it is not one that is easy to clothe. I have a 10" differential between my bust and my waist, and the same 10" again between my waist and my hips. It sounds awesome, and when I manage to choose clothing that fit well, it looks pretty awesome. Unfortunately, finding those clothes can be quite difficult. Shirts that are large enough to cover my bust without straining tends to be swimming at the waist. I also have a difficult time finding shirts that don't show off the goods, so to speak.2 I have to wear almost exclusively low rise pants (which is not always the best choice in professional clothing) because most pants for my waist size don't have enough room for my hips, and if I buy them to fit my hips, they sag or bunch around the waist, which ruins the lines of my shirts. I'm hoping that some day soon, when I have both time and money, I can take a few sewing classes that will show me how to alter my clothes for a better fit.
There are lots of things to love about Mad Men, but one of the things that I love most is the women's fashions on the show. Obviously, lots has been written about Christina Hendricks' Joan Holloway and her curves, and I am very thankful that some more curve-friendly clothing has started to make its way into stores.
I'm due for a major culling in my closet in the next few months, and I'm hoping that the Fit to Flatter will help me to make good choices about what I should keep and what I should give away. Shopping this fall should be a whole new experience.
1 Well, since puberty, anyway.
2 Teaching high school before returning to a university setting has made me excessively paranoid about how I present myself to my students.