Which Are The Best Stores and Brands for Different Body Types?

best brands for body types2016 Update: See our newer post on the best work clothes for different body types!

Reader S wonders which are the best stores and brands for different body types, which is an excellent question:

Could you do a run down of what different shops work for different people? I just started as a summer associate, and a few of us were talking today about what works for us and what doesn’t. For example, I’m straight as a stick, so Ann Taylor and Express always stick out in the wrong places and look bizarre. On the other hand, they fit my curvier friends beautifully. I end up buying a lot of my work clothes at Banana Republic and Talbots. And when the commenters complain about clothes being boxy and short – well, those are the ones that fit me perfectly.

Could you do some sort of massive reader poll on suggestions for stores based on body type? It’d be nice to have an idea instead of personally scouring every mall in the tri-county area (which I’ve started doing).

Such a great question, and I can’t wait to see what the readers say. Please identify your body type in your comment.  Pictured: Mall of America, originally uploaded to Flickr by Matti Mattila.

For my $.02, as a curvy/hourglassy girl (5’4″ with long legs), the following department store brands have always been favorites of mine:
– For pants: Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Brooks Brothers, Trina Turk, Armani
– For fitted blouses: Brooks Brothers, Thomas Pink
– For suits: Ann Taylor, Tahari petites (for skirt suits), AK Anne Klein / Anne Klein
– For casual pants: Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, DKNY

Some brands never quite look right on me — Theory suits, Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren pants, etc. Others seem to require on the particular garment — Rebecca Taylor, Nanette Lepore, etc. All dresses need to be tried on for me. Most off-the-rack brands fit me fine in terms of knee length; I can occasionally wear petite skirts also (but never petite pants, for some reason).

Readers — what is your body type, and what are your favorite brands and stores?

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  1. ohmydarlin :

    I’ve learned through tons of trial and error that the best work pants for me come from Banana Rep’s petite fit, s0-and-so size, in Martin cut. I don’t have to get them altered at all and I don’t have to think about it – just find a fabric I like, and buy it.
    Unless one day they change the cut… then I’m hosed :)

    • Thanks a lot! :

      Now i have the “ohmydarlin ohmydarlin ohmydarlin clementine” song stuck in my head!!! :)

      • ditto to that one. it’s going to be a long afternoon trying to not sing that one out loud… ;)

    • I swear, the Martin fit pants by Banana are the only ones these days that fit me! Not too long, not too short, not too tight, but not so straight that they look totally baggy in the rear.
      Not sure who JCrew is marketing too with their pants these days but all of their “suiting” line has become very tight through the rear and thighs IMHO. I still swear by JCrew’s pencil skirts though – Banana did something weird with the seaming on the waist the last few seasons.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        I’ve noticed the same thing about J.Crew pants – glad to hear it’s not just me. I hope they never change their pencil skirts.

  2. I’m 5’1 and muscular so I find it impossible to locate pants. If they fit in the thighs, they gap at the waist. If they fit at the waist, well I wouldn’t know since I can’t get them over my thighs. Most of the usual places seem to think my crotch is somewhere around my knees, even their pants designed for petites. I used to buy a lot from J.Crew, particularly their Super120’s, but last time I visited one of their stores I couldn’t find anything that fit. They have some serious vanity sizing going on there; the xs/0 looks like it used to be a six. They don’t even make dresses or blouses in my size anymore.

    • Have you tried Gap’s curvy fit? They’re the first pants I’ve found that fit my soccer thighs and quads.

    • I must be like you and got really lucky with Ralph Lauren pants.

    • With a muscular, petite build you probably just need to commit to tailoring (I’m about your height and probably shaped very similarly to you and I probably get 90 percent pf my clothes tailored…and definitely at least a hem on all pants, including petite sizes).

      I think a lot of people would benefit from tailoring their clothes some (I can’t tell you how many women I interact with in very senior positions whose pants are either ridiculously long (ie dragging on the ground) or ankle-bearing short. Sure it makes clothes cost more, but I much prefer a smaller wardrobe of stuff that I feel great in than stuff I don’t feel like fits well.

    • Limited Lexie fit. Worth a try. Super curvy fit.

    • saidtheowl :

      I’m 5’2″ with athletic thighs. Small rear though, so curvy fits are too baggy in the rear. I look for pants that fit well in the thigh and rear, and get them taken in at the waist. This also holds the waist where it’s supposed to be so the crotch is in a better place, too.

      For casual pants Joe’s Jeans Muse fit is perfect.

    • try levi’s curve id

    • Anonymous :

      Buy to fit the largest part of your body and have the rest tailored in.

  3. Short (5’1″), curvy hips/butt:

    What works:
    Banana petites (sometimes regular length for their short skirts), Ann Taylor (petites, occasionally regular), Brooks Brothers, some Anne Klein bottoms

    What never works:
    Theory (sigh!), Jcrew

    • Me exactly!

      • Me too! I’m 5′ 3” and curvy (with butt!). Theory NEVER works (sigh) but Ann Taylor, Banana Republic (Martin pants) are always a win. J Crew *sometimes* fits for bottoms but rarely. I also love Trina Turk dresses (regular or petite).

        This is a great topic for conversation! Thanks Cat!

  4. For my $.02, I am tall, and wear an average of a size 2 in dresses.
    But, I have no shoulders or chest, and my torso is short in comparison to my legs, so suit jackets, even in a size 0, usually are too big still. I have had luck with Ann Taylor petites for jackets, and a suit from Tahari that needed minimal tailoring, but the ones that fit me best by far are Antonio Melani at Dillards. The are cut very close to the body, which works well for smaller torsos.

    On bottom, I average a size 4 and can usually find pants in long enough lengths from a variety of stores.
    However, skirts that are long enough to actually come to my knee are elusive. The only ones that don’t leave a couple inches of thigh exposed (while standing) are skirts that are supposed to be past “average” knees, which I found one of at Talbots, and occasionally at Ann Taylor. If anyone knows of a store that regularly carries skirts that are meant to go from waist to below the knee, I would be extremely interested so I can stop wearing skirts several sizes too large pulled down to my hips so they can pass for an appropriately conservative length.

    • Anonymous :

      Pendleton carries several skirts in 25 or 26 inch length.

    • I am 138 lbs, 5’9″. I have no chest, a fairly long torso (I have to buy the “long-torso” one-piece bathing suits), and a 33″ inseam. Generally, I’m a size 6. My favorite suit is an Antonio Melani (size 4 on top, size 6 skirt). I also have a Calvin Klein skirt suit that works nicely.

      I have given up on work pants. Can’t find any that fit properly. The size 6’s are too tight in the tush, and the size 8’s are too big in the waist, but I wouldn’t consider myself “curvy.” Not to mention the pain in the rear of finding pants that are long enough or buying longs and having them hemmed. Skirts are just more forgiving.

      • Anonymous :

        I have given up on work pants. Can’t find any that fit properly. The size 6′s are too tight in the tush, and the size 8′s are too big in the waist, but I wouldn’t consider myself “curvy.”

        Second this! I don’t understand why work pants are cut so differently from non-work pants. I am a straightforward size 4 in all JCrew casual pants. For work pants, their 6s are too tight in the tush, and the 8s are still a little snug but wearable, however the waist is so large I could put on a clown wig and catch pies at the circus. What gives? I’m completely flummoxed as to why the casual pants fit well, the business casual pants fit like clubwear. And I’m a pretty straight up-and-down slim person so I don’t think it is a curvyness or bootyliciousness issue (I wish!).

      • We must be the same person! My favorite suit is Antonio Melani, size 4 jacket, size 6 skirt, and I hate pants!

        • markymark :

          5’6″, short torso, small chest, long arms, high waist, long legs. Straight body type.

          I too have given up on pants.

          I stick to dresses mostly, and skirts come in second. Calvin Klein works great for me. I think their dresses are designed for straight body types and small chests! Anne Taylor also works well for me.

          • Love, love, how Calvin Klein cuts their sheath dresses. I’m extremely straight up and down with a small bust and their dresses fit great and have the added bonus of usually being at Marshalls/Loehmanns/TJ Maxx!

          • I also love Calvin KLein! I am 5’6, proportional legs/torso, slim, but pear-shaped. About a 0-2 on top and a four on bottom. Pants are very difficult to find. I tend to need a long inseam/high rise to cover my booty, but I have a very small waist, so things generally gape there. I know, I need to get things tailored. I stick to skirts and dresses for the most part and Calvin Klein is my no. 1 favorite brand. I also have several of their skirt suits and they work perfectly.

      • I have the same problem with the tush fitting into pants, and mine is not amazingly luscious either. I just have never bought anything other that wider-leg pants to accommodate the butt (I tried on some Gap “true straight” work pants, because the “true straight” jeans fit me in a 2, but the 6 in work pants were tight around the tush and big in the waist, and I almost never have waist issues).
        I have the same problem with some dresses, it will be loose everywhere except the tush/hips (and it doesn’t matter if the fabric is stretchy or structured, one super-tight area is never attractive. Again, I just look for fuller bottomed dresses or wrap dresses.
        Also for the no-chest girls, Brooks Brothers petite button-up no iron shirts finally came to the location I shop at, and they are amazing for me (but, I have a short torso). They are the first fitted button up I could wear off the rack and not feel like a little girl playing dress up in her mom’s closet. I know women complain about button-ups not being large enough for their chests, but trust me when I say it is just as unflattering to have extra space.

        • Your just like me. I have a slightly large tush, but otherwise very svelte. I have found that Express has great jeans that fit me and my body shape. I bought 3 pairs that fit and now I just hope that I don’t gain any weigt.

      • I am same Height and Built and Express have made my life so wonderful. All my work pants (and their new work skirt that fits like it was tailored to me,) all are from express. Just saying, might be worth a try.

    • The best skirt is available only online Jcrew telegraphers pencil skirt. It’s long for long legs and still sits at the waist.

  5. Legally Brunette :

    For my pear shape (size 2/4 on top, size 6 on bottom):

    Pants: Classiques Entier, some Halogen, some Ann Taylor
    Casual pants/jeans: Kut from the Kloth
    Fitted tops: Pretty much anything, but I especially like Classiques Entier, Express, and Banana Republic
    Dresses: Calvin Klein, Tahari ASL

    What does NOT work for me: Theory, Jcrew, Talbots dresses

    • Funny – sounds like we’re about the same size, but Jcrew (dresses, at least) definitely work for me. I share your approval of the Calvin Klein dresses!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I’m similar – 2 on top, 4 on bottom. Classic pear. 5’6″, with relatively thick thighs for my height/weight.

      Pants: I have largely given up out of sheer frustration. My suiting pants from J.Crew (favorite fit) are ok, but I don’t love them. I wish they came in patterns like they used to. My Elie Tahari suiting pants fit ok, but they are unlined, which annoys me to no end. Classiques Entier pants can fit well sometimes, but they aren’t my preferred lined wool.

      Last time I tried on Ann Taylor, the only pants that fit my legs and didn’t have a huge gaping waist also had a total ‘mom’ vibe I wasn’t happy with. J.Crew’s pants are often too slim in the leg, like the city fit. And I have to go up four sizes before I can get Theory on my legs, and then the waist is huge –> pass.

      Casual pants/jeans: Joe’s jeans, or Seven’s A-pocket. I don’t love these either (see above: given up on pants).

      Skirts: J.Crew, Classiques Entier. Brooks Brothers. Hugo Boss. “Vintage” Banana, back when skirts sold there were of an appropriate length. I wear skirts pretty much every day because I don’t like my pants.

      Fitted tops: Classiques Entier and Atlier, Elie Tahari, “vintage” Banana, J.Crew, Brooks Brothers. Theory, though I refuse to buy because I’m so annoyed that their pants don’t fit me. Tops are easy, assuming I can find ones long enough for my long torso. Skirts sit higher anyway, so length is less of an issue now that I’ve given up on pants.

      Suits: Theory jackets are made for me. Too bad I can’t fit into their bottoms. I have J.Crew’s wool gab and stretch wool, and Elie Tahari, but I’ve yet to find anything I love.

      Dresses: Elie Tahari, Classiques Entier. Badgley Mischka for dress up. J.Crew dresses have slightly too little room in the hips for my top half size, plus their constant issues with too low/too short. I just got a Tory Burch faux-wrap dress I’m in love with as well.

      • SFBA– we can share Theory suits; you wear the jackets and I’ll take the pants. Love their stuff, and the pants flatter me, but I can’t move my arms in those sleeves!

  6. Anonymous :

    I’m curvy and on the upper end of normal sizes and really like J. Crew suits. Hardly anything else in the store fits me but their jackets are a perfect fit.

    • Thanks for this! I’m a double digit size and have avoided J. Crew because “nothing fits me” when their larger sizes are even in stock to try on (the store near me never seems to have anything larger than a 6). I will give them another try when I need a new suit, however.

  7. I’m a 5’9″ top-heavy hourglass with a very high natural waist- the narrowest part of my waist is several inches above my naval.

    -For pants: Ann Taylor is now my go-to, although will occasionally raid the J Crew or Banana Republic clearance racks.
    -For dresses: Calvin Klein (the mid-priced version that you can find lots of at Filene’s Basement or Century 21), Ann Taylor Loft, Club Monaco
    -For suits: Historically was J Crew, although the jacket always needs to get tailored and the last couple I ordered didn’t fit right at all.
    -For fitted blouses: I’ve resorted to getting them custom-made, although the most recent set of blouses did not turn out well at all. Anyone know of a good place in NYC to get blouses made?
    -Casual pants: Lands End Canvas

    • How high do you wear your pants? I have a similarly high natural waist and I find that it’s impossible to find pants that hit me anywhere close to it. Unfortunately, hitting below it gives me muffin top. I have a long waist, so pants that are mid-rise on other people are often low-rise on me.

      • I have a really long waist and have the same issue you mention. I try to wear my pants just a little below the belly button and do well with Antonio Melani Antonio fit (which are consider a high rise but just mid-rise on me) and Ann Taylor classic fit. Talbots tends to have some that are even higher rises, but I have a more ample butt and they tend to be too tight through that area. BR’s Jackson Fit is also really good on me, but it is a bit of a lower rise. It is the curvy cut so it tends to give less of a muffin top than other straighter styles.

        • I’ve never tried any of those brands except Talbots, which sag on my hips. I will have to go shopping this weekend and try on pants!

      • I have a similar issue. The only solution I have found is maximum control spanx under pants. It takes away any hint of a muffin top. At first I thought it was uncomfortable, but now I don’t even notice. I’m cuurious to hear about other people’s solutions.

    • Latecomer to the conversation :

      Try CarissaRose fitted shirts, I bet you love them. I have similar proportions….

  8. I’m curvy, and have found that the Gap Perfect Trousers are literally the perfect pants. I have them in multiple colors and don’t really wear anything else. My go-to pants before I discovered these were from Express or The Limited, since Banana Republic’s pants don’t fit well through my butt, and Ann Taylor’s are too tight in the thighs.

    For dresses, hands down Kenneth Cole. I find that their dresses are super flattering for curves, especially their sheath dresses. I’ve also had luck at BR in the past, though not recently in dresses.

    For suits, I’m a big fan of Elie Tahari. Definitely no Theory for me. I keep trying Classiques Entier, but have yet to find an entire suit that fits (i.e., sometimes the pants fit, sometimes the jackets fit, but never both at once).

  9. Johanna_D :

    I have an hour glass shape (5′-7″), but I have a big chest and wide hips so most of the regular size pants don’t even go above the thighs for me. I no longer buy bottoned shirts because they tend to never stay completely closed and for pants I never buy wide-leg styles because they make me look much wider than I am. Good stores are JCrew, Ann Taylor, NY and Co, Banana Republic, Tahari, Calvin Klein. I don’t really remember the bad ones.

    • Anonymous :

      Regarding button down shirts, I buy big and then have the sides taken in. I also have the tailor sew the front closed, becasue the 38E chest cannot be contained by mere buttons.

      • Latecomer to the conversation :

        How do you get in them with the front close? Try CarissaRose, I have a shirt from there that zips (hidden behind extra piece of fabric) and I LOVE it.

  10. I’m 5 ft 4 in; size 2 top and bottom.

    Theory, Tahari, Ann Taylor Petites, Banana Republic Petites usually work best for me. Tahari ASL and Calvin Klein never fit me right.

  11. aquarienne :

    Long-time reader/lurker, first-time commenter –

    I’m 5’5″ with relatively long legs for my height (32″ inseam fits me fine), and I describe my shape as that of a spoon – straight on top (can fit most tops without trying them on), dramatic change at the bottom. So my pants are my priority. I know I can go to Ann Taylor and pick up a pair of pants and they’ll fit beautifully without any tailoring. Ann Taylor Loft is the same way as far as cut goes, but I don’t usually like the quality of their fabrics for work.

    It seems to be much easier to find well-fitting skirts than pants, but I love pants and get a thrill out of finding a great pair.

  12. I’m a short (5’3″), long-torsoed, high-waisted, short-legged apple shape (41[34G]-33-40). I’m normally a size 12 in the hips and a size 14-16 up top due to the apple belly and my G cup chest. I find that my body has changed as I get older (30) and my hips have widened up a little so that they’re actually slightly wider than my shoulders, which is nice because I used to find my figure rather unfeminine. Finding pants that fit my waist without sagging on my butt is a b–h so I’d love to see suggestions on that. Right now my only trousers are from Gap and they are wide-legged so they are “supposed” to sag, size 12A. I have a couple of pairs of loose-fitting capris from Loft and Talbot’s as well.

    I almost always wear dresses or skirts and most (like 75%) of my clothing comes from Gap, Loft, and Lands’ End. Those are the only 3 stores where things consistently fit me off the rack, although Loft’s sizing is inconsistent and I have items from a size 12p to a 16. I have a couple Tahari ASL suits in a 16p, the jackets are perfect but the skirts are a bit too big. I have a much easier time fitting into dresses because it doesn’t matter if they’re too lose on the bottom – I have great dresses from Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Ellen Tracy, and Loft.

    Great idea for a post – I can’t wait to see other comments.

    • I think we have the exact same body, and baggy-ass pants are the bane of my existance! I have had some luck with Target pants and capris lately.

  13. Love this post idea! I am just over 5’10”, 140lbs, with a straight/athletic figure.

    -Pants: Gap Premium Pants in Bootcut (cheap fabric yes, but machine-washable!), some Banana in Sloan or Logan fits, Theory (excellent for straight figures, but do always need to get lengthened), J.Crew – common theme is that all offer a 36″ inseam and a lower rise.
    -Dresses: Banana and Ann Taylor (in tall)
    -Suites: Only ever purchased from J.Crew since they appear more modern and age-appropriate (I’m on the verge of 30).
    -Fitted Blouses: Banana and J.Crew in tall only (sleeve length is a never-ending problem…)
    -Jeans: Rock and Republic – like Theory pants, they tend to fit great on a straight figure and are usually super long.

    • I just posted below, it’s interesting to hear from you (a fellow tall woman) all the brands that work on a straighter tall figure. I had a straighter figure in high school and kept trying on Gap jeans/pants, Sloan/Logan Banana pants, etc., but they don’t work on these hips anymore! Even though I weigh only 5 lbs more than your stats. Funny how shape makes all the difference.

      • Agreed! Banana and Gap are still hit or miss for me though – with a lack of curves, a fit in the hips sometimes means the unpleasant muffin top, which leads to pant-shopping frustration! I’m intrigued by your comment about Banana suit jackets having extra-long sleeves – I need to check those out!

        • Definitely give the BR suit jackets a try. I also buy BR’s tall button up shirts and have to get those sleeves shortened as well.

          I have short arms for my height (wingspan 5’6″, height 5’10”!), so I think the sleeves are appropriately proportioned for a tall woman with proportional arms!

      • somewherecold :

        I tried on a couple of different pants at Gap outlet last weekend, and the Favorite Trousers and the curvy worked well (the business casual pants, not jeans), and I have a pair of the bootcut, but I tried on one other style that was way too tight–you just have to try on one of each sometimes.

    • naijamodel :

      I am tall – 6’1 with a 37 inch inseam, and a size 2. I have an athletic figure with slim hips and a booty. My waist is high.

      Gap: XtraLong pants, always in the tall section of the website. I buy their jeans as well.
      Jcrew: Suit LOVE. Tall section too. I get the waist tailored and the back of the jackets and they fit beautifully. Dresses here as well. And blazers.
      Express and the Limited: Work blouses. I stick to sleeveless and short sleeved and the patterns and styles are endless.
      Banana Republic: used to be dresses mostly but now they go too short. United Colors of Benetton: dresses
      NOT Ann Taylor: they seem to think a woman can’t be slim and have a butt at the same time. I stick to cardigans and sweaters here.

    • Lina, what size do you take for suits in J. Crew? I have a similar build and I want to order a J. Crew suit online, but am not in the U.S. and dread the possibility of having to pay to return it.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Em, livechat with Jcrew online – they have the exact measurements for each item, as opposed to their generic size chart. This is especially important given that JCrew sizing is inconsistent – one suiting line is cut differently than another, even if the sizes are the same, and varies between one year and the next. Give the JCrew chat associate the item numbers you are interested in, and then get all the measurements they have for those items in your size based on the size chart, plus one up and one down. Then you can figure out exactly what you need.

        I wear anywhere between a 2 and an 8 in J.Crew, though typically a 4 or 6. But whether it’s a 4 or 6 really depends on the exact item.

  14. I’m a tall (5’10) hourglass and am all about Tahari ASL and Banana Republic’s tall line.

    For suits, Banana Republic makes nicely cut talls, although I unfortunately need to have the tall jacket sleeves shortened. It’s worth it for a jacket that nips in at the proper place and hit my hips, though. I wish BR carried the lightweight wool in more than just black and gray (the tan/khaki color has a weird jacket). I also like that BR carries matching suit pants in a variety of cuts – for me, Martin is a good every day pant, the Jackson cut is a little baggy but perfect for long-plane-ride suit wearing. The sizing for BR’s tall skirts seems to run on the small side, but they are long enough and it’s a joy to wear a pencil skirt that I don’t have to hike back down all day.

    Sometimes works: Ann Taylor Loft tops work for under-suit tops, but their bottoms and dresses are never quite right for a tall woman. I can’t speak to the Ann Taylor tall line… yet. Hope to start shopping there in the next year or so.

    Never works: Calvin Klein has never worked for my hips, in dresses, skirts, or suits. JCrew is hit or miss, more often a miss, and I usually don’t bother looking for workwear there.

  15. I’m about Kat’s size (minus the long legs) and her list looks a lot like mine, except almost all off-the-rack dresses fit me nicely (except for wrap dresses, because of my shorter waist and sloping, non-square shoulders). Any clothes that are anti-booty don’t work for me. Period. Accordingly, I abhor Theory pants and Calvin Klein designer label pants (the expensive ones made in Italy — aaargh). Roberto Rodriguez and BCBG pantes often require Spanx and a longer jacket ;-)

  16. I have almost no waist–and what I do have is very high. I cannot wear banana or most brands for pants so end up in skirts everyday, so that I can wear it high without risking camel toe, which is a problem in pants. Ideas?

    • No waist – see my post below re: Theory. I have had some luck with lower-waist styles at Banana (even the “city” cut at J.Crew is too high for me) but I often just end up with skirts as well.

      There was a brand a while back called Raven that had great low-rise dress pants but I think they only do jeans now.

    • I asked basically the same question a few comments up and people suggested different brands in replies.

      • M–I need high-waisted things, not low-rise!

        • Trina Turk! I love, love, love her stuff, and she totally does some styles that are higher waisted. Her pants are fairly expensive (usually in the 250 range), but well worth it. More importantly, you can often find them on sale a nordstrom for 99 to about 150. just keep a look out.

    • Same as... :

      My mom’s body, and like I told her (and hopefully this won’t come across as snarky, it isn’t meant that way!), maybe the problem is that pants won’t look as good if they have that high of a waist? Why not deliberately get something that sits on your hips and a nice fitted jacket to accentuate your curvy waist?

      • Yep! That’s what I do. I’ve got a 20 inch waist (size 0-00) but wear a six in pants. It’s awful, because I have short legs and a long torso, so I should be wearing high-waisted pants. But I have yet to find a tailor who can take out a waistband, cut out the gores, restitch and then re-attach the waist band well. It always looks awful. Even people who’ve done a good job with complex work like moving sleeves!

        So extra long shirts (with layering!) and low-rise pants.

    • check out eddie bauer talls. I order a lot from them b/c they offer petite, tall, and sometimes short. All the comments regarding talls seem to be good! Eddie bauer IMO is a little big in the hips compared to the waist. I order a size down, maybe move the button over, or look for a material with some stretch. Some pants are more straight than curvy also. I don’t think the stores carry talls.

    • I have no waist and no butt. So far the only dress pants I’ve found that fit me are Nanette Lepore

  17. I am built exactly like a chicken — bred for breast meat, no waist, scraggly little chicken legs. Therefore, I stay far away from anything sold as a suit and anything that has to be tucked in.

    Theory pants are the only dress pants that fit my straight waist and are not huge in the legs (as long as I stay FAR away from wide-leg styles.) I cheat in winter with J.Crew’s pixie pants (tons o’ stretch) and an over-sized blazer.

  18. 5’3″ pretty evenly proportioned lengthwise, no hips/butt, apple belly and wide shoulders with a 36C/D chest.

    Pants: (usually an 8 or a 10, but have to get taken up ALWAYS!) Ann Taylor Modern Fit, Theory, Tahari, sometimes BR in their Sloan Fit.

    Jeans: Hudson or 7 boot cut, but have to get shortened.

    Shirts: All comers, but have to try on due to the specific cut of shirt. I’m usually a 12 or 14 in tops, definitely 14 if there is any sort of structure to the shirt. I usually like Classiques, Tahari and some Halogen.

    Suits: Lafayette 148, some Tahari

    Dresses: Don’t ever wear dresses due to the size differential in my top vs. my bottom.

  19. Tallish (5’8″) with long legs (33-34″ inseam), and plus size, so I don’t care so much about what fits best as what I can get to fit period. I used to love Talbots suiting–perfect fit, every time, just occasionally had to lengthen the pant leg. But now the quality sucks and the fit is all wrong. I have to go up a size, which is fine, but they are baggy in the rise and tight in the thighs and just wrong. I’ve had great luck with Brooks Brothers new plus size suiting and shirts–beautiful quality and really almost perfect off the rack fit. The Caroline fit pants seem best–as opposed to the slimmer fit Catherine. I also have good luck with Jones New York, although I have to really watch length and generally wear them with flats. For knits, I love LOFT–can’t fit the pants or jackets, but the short sleeve and sleeveless sweaters are stretchy and fine (my arms are disproportionately big, which is why the jackets don’t work). All my suits (around 20) right now are from Talbots, Brooks Brothers, or JNY, with one from Anne Klein and one from the INC brand at Macy’s.

  20. Dorcas Swindle :

    I’m size 8 at the shoulders and 12 on the bottom, and 5’6″. I love nanette lepore – she seems to understand fitting for a woman with curves, though the shoulders can be too broad for me. (call the tailor.) As for suits I seem to buy lafayette 148 (Neiman’s), but never the same jacket and skirt size. (Love separates!) I always must hem the skirts to be at knee length. As for dress pants and button front shirts – Brooks Brothers. Pullover tops – Ann Taylor.

  21. I am 5’1″ with pretty straight hips (even after three kids, sigh…I would love more shape!) and a kind of big butt. The only pants that I have ever been able to wear without tailoring are older ones from Express in short length. I have a pinstripe pair that I love from them. I have also had good luck at the limited, in short length also. Anywhere else, even petite and they just don’t fit right. The waist is often incredibly high and they are usually still too long. So my favorite suit for court is a skirt suit by Anne Klein, I think….though I had to get the sleeves taken up.

    • I’m built the same but 5’2″ with a smaller butt compared to a little bigger waist after 3 kids. Otherwise, a very straight fit with hardly any hips. I would also love a smaller waist, bigger hips (for that hourglass shape) and wider shoulders. I would try eddie bauer in short size. They can be found in the stores, but not online. If you order online you may be able to wear their petites. I can wear petites in skirts, capris, lounge atire and shirts, sometimes pants like for sports conditions. The petite dress pants are too short for me (28″) and I like at least 29″. They are a little bigger in the butt, so that may work. I order a size down and then must deal with a little tighter waist. I’ve learned some tricks, move the button, add a little elastic at the sides, stretch! All eddie bauer clothes stretch out! Good luck.

  22. 5’2″, very pear-shaped, butt.

    When I had a big-firm job, I used to wear almost exclusively Tahari Petite suits: coordinating dresses, skirts, and occasionally pants. I haven’t bought any suits from them in years, and when I Googled “Tahari Petites suits” the outfits that came up were a lot cheaper than what I used to pay ($139 for a jacket and skirt, when I recall paying over $200 just for a jacket and $80-$90 for a skirt), so the quality may have changed. I noticed polyester mixed in with rayon in the current fabric description. In the past, I believe the fabric was 100% rayon. I would have preferred wool.

    I also used to like Anne Klein II Petites.

    I bought some Banana Republic Petites about five years ago. The fit was OK, the fabric did not hold up.

    I bought a wonderful suit from Emanuel Ungaro Petites in a chenille-like fabric some years ago.

    DKNY, while a little big, often works, even in Regular sizes.

    God, I hate shopping. I’m trying to learn how to sew, but it’s quite a complex process.

  23. I wish there was more consistency from women’s clothing manufacturers, although I understand that they feel the need to feed a complex market that often wants something new. For that reason, if I have the money and I find something great I buy as many as I can afford at the time. I don’t wait for sales; if you wear Size 2 Petite (probably would take Size 4 or even 6 in bottoms *sigh*) you can’t wait; everything good goes fast.

    About five, eight years ago, Banana Republic came out with a cashmere sweater that was just the right length for me, neither cropped nor a coat length. The cashmere was of excellent quality; even now it has never pilled, as compared with a $300 J. Crew cashmere sweater that started pilling after two weeks. (I took it back.) At $170, I thought the Banana Republic sweaters were pricey, but I bought three. I wish I’d bought six. Except for some moth holes, which I’m thinking of trying to cover up with an embellishment technique, they’re still wearable and I can’t find anything comparable in fitting or quality or price.

    I once bought three Tahari wool bouclé Chanel-style suits at a sample sale. They were something like $200 a piece. I bought three different colors and wore the hell out of them. I could still wear at least one, but I’ve gained weight and perhaps become a bit more muscular because of strength training.

    So if you can, buy in multiples. Another sad fact is that even if you buy something of quality, you need to rotate it, otherwise you’ll wear it out right away.

    • I agree. I really get mad paying for sub-quality items. I almost never pay full price, as you can always find a discount, promo code, etc. I love Banana Republic and have had good luck with the quality. They always have sales also. I also love Eddie Bauer quality (though not as good as it used to be). I have some Eddie Bauer shirts from 10 years ago and they look the same. BTW, they also have a 10 year return policy, so keep those receipts for a full return!!!! I returned a jacket that had lost it’s water-proof quality after almost 8 years. Full price return, with no hassle or questions asked!!! What company does that?

  24. For my 5’7″ curvy pear shape I rely on:

    – Ann Taylor Loft “Julie” trousers
    – Skirt suits and suiting sheaths from the Banana Republic Factory Store (I find the outlet’s styles fit considerably differently than the main store. Friend them on FB – they’re always having a sale.)
    – Tahari Arthur S. Levine suiting dresses (Never need the waist taken in – a miracle! In the South, check Stein Mart for these at great prices. Stein Mart also has a “Kroger card” that gets you coupons.)
    – Skirts from Ann Taylor (Budget tip: make a bee-line for their clearance rack. I have a closet full of suiting skirts from there I’ve paid $30 each for. I find the in-store clearance rack to be marked down considerably more than the website.)

    I cannot wear:
    – any cut of Banana Republic trousers
    – any cut of J.Crew trousers
    – Antonio Melani at Dillard’s (The jackets always pull across my 36D bust, no matter what style. My B cup friend looks fabulous in this stylish line all the time.)

  25. This is such a great idea for a post! I’m just getting started putting together a work wardrobe for my first big law job and I’ve found everyone’s comments to be super helpful.

    I’m 5’7, short-waisted, long-legged, about 130lbs with a large chest (34DD). I’m usually a size 4 in tops and a size 4-6 in pants. I’ve been told I’m banana shaped–whatever that means!

    My best (and only so far) suit is from Theory and it fits like a glove–I didn’t need to get the pants hemmed (although they are about 1/2 inch off the ground in heels) and the jacket fits beautifully (I can get all my stuff in there because it’s a one-button jacket). As tempted as I am to try some other styles of suits, I think I may just get the same Theory suit in as many colours and pieces (skirt, sheath, etc.) as I can, just to make my life easier.

    I also like BB pants and jackets (although their sizing is a little tricky)–if I get bored of my Theory uniform a full suit from BB will probably be my next experiment.

    For dress shirts my go to has been the BB no-iron dress shirts. The material has enough stretch to accommodate my chest without gaping, and the no-iron part is definitely a HUGE plus.

    • Banana Republic has great shirts and pants. So does Ann Taylor, and Ann Taylor loft. They have a very classic with a twist look. I haven’t tried Theory, but everyone has good reviews of the line.

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