Please leave your questions for Dear Cougar in the comment section below, or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
DEAR COUGAR: Here is my fashion conundrum, I regularly fall in love with clothes I see online, especially things from Modcloth and Topshop. Now, at the Gap my size in jeans can range from a 6 to an 10 in the store, but if you look online and go by the measurements, I’d always be a 8.
I never feel comfortable ordering anything online, especially in Euro sizing, because I always feel I need to try everything on. On top of that, I’m only 5’2″, so inseams matter…a lot! What do you recommend? I don’t always want to be stuck with the clothes available within driving distance! – ONLINE CLOTHING DAY DREAMER
I wish I could say I feel your pain, but for us guys shopping is so much easier! Our sizes are pretty straight-forward and we always make it fit…or we just don’t care.
This is such an interesting topic though, and I think I can help! Now there is very little standard in women’s clothing, especially on the global level. As you know, a size 8 at the Gap is not a size 8 at Forever 21 or Chanel. You have a great eye for what’s hip, which I can tell by your wanting of the hot newer retailers like Topshop and Modcloth. For those who lust for an body accurate online clothes shopping experience there are actually a number of companies that have popped up in the last year or two that are trying to alleviate your sizing nightmares.
Start-ups like Fitiquette and Bodymetrics try to give shoppers a “virtual fitting room” experience that is more true to your body measurements. Another interesting start-up, Styku, uses Microsoft Kinect to do a body scan and gives users the power to have custom garments made to their exact fit. The problem is that these start-ups and their technology aren’t universal…they are works in progress, and interesting ones to follow.
For right now the best advice I have is tailoring. I know it is a pain in the butt to order stuff and have it tailored down every time, but its a simple reality until the technology catches up (and becomes universally adopted) to give you as close to the real fitting room experience as possible from the comfort of your own home.
Two things I do:
1. Get your exact measurements taken twice a year. Once in the summer around June or July, and once in the winter around November. Obviously our bodies change throughout the year, some more than others, so its always good to know your seasonal sizes. Having this info on hand will make ordering online a little easier.
2. Tailoring pieces worth the investment. I know you want jeans that fit and other cute wardrobe pieces, so look at them like mini-investments. I always get my jeans hemmed when I get a new pair because I’m in-between sizes. Same with my jackets, and yes even shirts from time to time. You can’t do this with everything, but spend a few extra dollars on pieces you love…pieces that you want to keep around, and get them fit to you.
I hope this little bit of advice helps! Let me know if you have any further questions.