One of the many reasons people use my personal wardrobe consulting services is they cannot find clothes that fit them properly. If you are a full-figured woman with curves, this can be extremely vexing. It can be discouraging to shop retail stores for hours or even days looking for a pair of dress slacks that have a long enough rise to sit at the waist, providing comfort and control. Clients tell me their frustrations at finding tops that fit in the bust, only to have the shoulder seams fall well past their shoulders and a loose, sloppy neckline.

With my sewing background, I have learned that the measurement between the base of the neck and the shoulder bone does not change with weight. A person’s shoulder may become fuller, but the bone structure doesn’t change. The best fit for a woman’s jacket, blouse or top is one with the shoulder seam meeting the shoulder bone, laying smooth against the body and snugly ending at the base of the neck. Once that fit is correct, the ease in the fabric needed for a full bust and arms can be addressed with proper design. But where does a shopper find this combination without resorting to a designer? Don’t get me wrong, I love my designers, but with a little knowledge about sizes, dressmaker details and proper fabrics, many people can find ready-made clothing that fit and flatter.

A Tutorial on Sizes:

Many manufacturers will carry either misses’ or women’s sizes, but some carry both and even overlap, which can add to the confusion. Generally, women’s sizes are the equivalent of the next size up of a misses’ size.

Misses’ sizes usually run between 00-14. Some retailers start their “plus” sizes at 14 or 16 and 18. These “plus” sizes are usually more youthful in style.

Women’s sizes have the size number with the letter “W” following it. These generally signify a more relaxed fit through the bust and hip. If you have a broad back and are having a hard time finding a jacket that fits across your shoulders without excessive sleeve length, try a women’s size smaller than your traditional size. For example, if you wear size 16, try a 14W for a more comfortable fit. X sizing means 1, 2, 3 et cetera followed by an X. 2X can also be interpreted as XXL, 3X is an XXXL and so on. You will find this sizing method on more relaxed and casual clothing.

When shopping online, always check the manufacturer’s sizing chart to get the best fit.

Since I am constantly looking for clothing lines to fit my clients’ needs, I was thrilled to discover a Sandy Springs-based clothing line for sizes 12-24. LaLure Clothing features related, affordable pieces with dressmaker details. Maria Sutej, founder and CEO of LaLure Clothing, said, “We create a lot of optical illusions in the garments.” For example, “Darts start high from under the arm toward the apex of the bustline. In a full-figured body, the downward direction of the dart creates definition and waistline.”

Many LaLure pieces are made of quality stretchable fabrics that hide lumps and bumps. The styles are work appropriate and travel worthy. The fabric has 8 percent spandex with stretch and recovery. This means that knees and bottoms don’t stretch out.

I personally love the quality construction, overall styles designed just for full-figured women, and the affordability. Find the spring 2016 line at

The way you look as a woman has a lot to do with your attitude. Maria and I share the same mantra: “Dress the body you have today!” When you look better, you feel better and are inclined to take better care of yourself.

Final Tips:

■ Monochrome doesn’t mean black. All-over color is slimming.

■ Color blocking is your friend. Take advantage of dark-colored side panels in jackets and dresses to create a more hourglass figure.

■ Seams down the front of the pant elongate the leg.

■ Foundation wear is important for looking smooth underneath clothing.

When creating a capsule wardrobe, start with solids and add patterns with coordinating colors. Not a fan of wearing patterns? Add a multicolored scarf for the season. ■

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