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. Curvy–5’6”, size 6-8 on the bottom, 4-6 on top, 32 C.

    I used to love Banana and Ann Taylor, but found both changed their sizing a year ago and can no longer wear bottoms in either one. I have the small waist, curvy booty/ hips gapping problem. Overall, I can wear dresses off the rack , but pants, except J. Crew (solid size 6 every time), must be tried on. Theory is strictly dresses only.

    • Try Express (Editor pants and Cotton Sateen Pencil Skirts.) Size 6 – you may even drop to a 4.

      • I agree. Limited and Express tend to be smaller in the waist. I used to wear these until my 3rd child and a little bigger waistline. Now I wear Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Eddie Bauer. I can still wear J.Crew depending on the style, but must be tried on. As I’ve learned here, it’s b/c J.Crew varies in it’s sizing.

  2. I’m 5’2″, 29″ inseam, 36F chest, defined waist, more substantial hips/butt, and very short-waisted. I’m generally a 14 (though used to be an 16 and am on my way to 12, so things that used to fit no longer do and the reverse).

    Suits: Almost all of my suits are JCrew. Their city-fit and durham fit don’t come up to my bra line like many other pants do on me. They also have 2 and 3 button jackets, which is great since I cannot wear 1 buttons. Tahari ASL petite also fits perfectly off the rack (sometimes pants need to come up just a little), but I have found the fabric so hit or miss I don’t have much of this. Anne Klein can be ok, but I really need to try it on.

    Dresses: Anything from Ann Taylor (regular or loft). The rest of their clothes never fit, but dresses are perfect. Go figure. Also have a few Adrianna Papell for dressing up, which are always flattering.

    Pants: Gap Curvy fit for jeans; they are the only jeans I have found that fit me currently. Gap’s Modern trousers and curvy trousers are also not bad, though the rise is always a little high for me.

    In general: A tailor. In basically any brand I have to hem the pants, sometimes lower the rise, and sometimes take in waist. Le sigh.

    Things that do not work: Theory (le sigh again), Ann Taylor suits, most Banana Republic suiting and casual pants. Am in the process of looking for more high end lines that I fit, but it was especially difficult in my old size.

  3. Bridget (the other one) :

    Great Topic!
    I recently lost 100 lbs, so lots of changes. Not exactly sure how to describe it other than definitely hourglass. I‘m 5’2,” and bra size is 34C. Waist is 26’’ to 27,” and hips are 31’’ or so. I’ve spent a lot of time shopping recently, so here are my current thoughts:
    -Work Pants: The Limited (Cassidy and Drew cuts) or Express (The Editor) in 6A or 8A. I generally find their fabric to be very forgiving. I also like The Gap’s Perfect Trouser and Curvy fits for petites. No need for hemming with those brands.I have been hit or miss with Ann Taylor and Talbots.
    -Casual Pants: Ann Taylor chinos in petites. Perfect length and washable.
    -Skirts: I’ve had a lot of success at White House, Black Market.
    -Jackets (I don’t really wear suits): Surprisingly, also White House, Black Market. Very flattering cuts.
    -Work dresses: I really like the styles on Shabby Apple, but the sizing and fabric quality are inconsistent.
    -Button down shirts: I haven’t worn one in 5+ years, but my husband nagged me to try Brooks Brothers. The non-iron, tailored fit shirts were a homerun, though definitely vanity sizing (Size 2). The sleeves were a little long but worth it.
    -Knit shirts: The usual suspects: ann taylor petites, talbots petites, Nordstrom rack, TJ Maxx.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Congrats on your weight loss!

    • Congrats on the weight loss!

      Someone close to me have lost a tremendous amount of weight and they are worried about the loose skin. Have you found this to be a problem? Any tips for dealing with this issue including styles of dress that you find more flattering?


      • Thanks, Guys!

        Bette, my skin looks pretty good overall. My stomach skin is definitely loose, but I think it would only be noticable in a bikini. Generally I wear Spanx underneath almost everything I wear to work, so there aren’t any specific dresses or pants that I would recommend.

        My chest is a totally different story. My boobs are saggy with no volume. I recently went for a bra fitting at Soma, and the new bras help me look better in clothes, but I would like to have a breast lift (and maybe small implants) at some point in the future.

        I hope your friend is as happy as I am with her changes!

        • similar problem after breastfeeding 3 kids! I have taken to weight lifting, esp arms and butterfly for the chest. Miracle worker-I’ve already lifted the girls significantly. Great job on the weight loss-keep it going!!

  4. I’m 5’9″ and a plus size. Oddly enough, I HATE Lane Bryant clothing because it never fits well at all. I seem to do very well with Macy’s and Target.

    • Valleygirl :

      This. The majority of plus size clothing isn’t work appropriate (I’m looking at you bedazzled neon colored polyester tunic things…).

      For what it’s worth – I’m 5’10 and wear an 18 (and I’m 27 yo). I also have a D bust (so the super-busty look in most plus size clothes doesn’t work for me) and very broad shoulders… My go to for most things is Calvin Klein (my macys has a pretty good selection). I love, love, love the Hudson straight leg pants. I have four pairs (2 black, 2 grey – one of each of is the “bottom” to suits – I have the matching jackets and I only wear them with the jacket so they can be dry cleaned together). I also have three or four of the CK dresses which work for me because the length hits at the knee when I sit. For dresses I also like Lily – which I find at the Nordstrom’s plus size dept.

      Also – I’ve found good work slacks at Torrid… it can be very hit or miss – but I’ve gotten some nice slacks that aren’t super baggy in the butt. I also have found jeans I like at Torrid – the brand is source of wisdom and they fit well without being too tight/losing their shape after a wearing. They have regular length and talls and come in a nice dark wash.

    • I’m 5’11” and borderline plus. I carry more weight in my lower half. I need tall length pants. I can only find large size items in Tall at Talbots.

      For whatever reason this might be, I find that buying an 16 or 18 in Talbots is a much better fit than buying what should be the equivalent 14W/ 16W. I buy 20 (boy do I ever not love that number) Tall size pants and have the waist taken in, as I like my pants to have plenty of room and drapiness in the thighs and rear. Sometimes those odd larger misses sizes are the last to go on clearance. I just stocked up in April on wool pants in 20 Tall and they were less than $20/pair! Even with a $20 alteration per pair, they were still a steal!

      (Women’s sizes don’t have the tall and they cost $5 more anyway.)

      • And yes @Valleygirl – I like both Calvin Klein and Lauren Ralph Lauren plus at Macy’s. (As long as we’re not talking about pants.) For me, I can usually find coordinating outfits buying tops in Misses and bottoms in Woman at the same store.

        For me, the disparity between my top size and bottoms size (I am also not super busty) means I can’t really buy dresses unless they’re made out of a very stretchy material, which is a no-go for me.

      • a different anon :

        I think our body shapes might be somewhat similar. I am 5’10”, right now wear size 16 on top, 18 on the bottom with a 34″ inseam. I carry most of my weight in my tummy unfortunately. Plus sizes don’t work for me, as they tend to be baggy in the shoulders/chest/arms and hips/butt. Right now the pants that fit me best are the Gap modern boot (in long length, not tall) and surprisingly, NY & Company pants in tall (they look fine in basic black). Occasionally I can find pants from Eddie Bauer or Ann Taylor that work, but ususally not. Every once in a while I find pants from J.Jill in tall that will work. Talbots doesn’t work for me at all!

      • size 16-24 :

        My general conclusion about plus-size business clothes is that there is no general solution. I am 5’9, and wear anything from a size 16 calvin klein jacket (Macy’s) to a size 24 pant (Talbots). I like the suiting separates available at Macy’s or Lord and Taylor in the Calvin Klein and AK Anne Klein brands. I do not like that it is so hard to find their stuff on the internet. I used to be a huge Nordstroms fan, but I think their business-wear in plus sizes has gone downhill recently.

        I have most recently been successful with Talbots’ suiting, but it takes lots of work to find something good for me. For example, my last suit ended up being a size 24 pant with a size 20 petite jacket, which still required tailoring. I have a relatively small bust (c-cup) for a plus sized woman, which means that all dresses and jackets really require tailoring. I’ve found that the only thing to do is just to try everything remotely in my size range, regardless of how it’s labelled. (I recently ordered eight gray jackets from Talbots and returned seven!) The great thing about Talbots is that they have all of these options, in size, fit, everything. They changed their fits recently, and whatever they’ve done differently really works for me. They also carry things like plus-sized belts in great colors, which can be hard to find. (But see earlier poster, who had the opposite experience!)

        I do think that for smaller-busted women, the larger misses sizes are a godsend. And for someone built like me (relatively high-waisted, with big hips) petite jackets are really helpful as long as the sleeves are long enough. Dresses almost never work off the rack, but with tailoring, I’ve found some that I really love (some are Calvin Klein, others are Talbots).

      • I’m very similar to you – 5’11”, but plus sizes don’t work on me. They are way too boxy and busty (bigger on the bottom, small chest, long arms). The Talbots 16/18s have been my go-to, but I’m much more selective now because the fits have changed and the quality is much lower than it used to be. I do like that they have a long option in some of their jackets, otherwise the jacket falls too short and makes my hips look even wider.

        My casual clothes (and a few work tops) almost all come from Eddie Bauer (because they have tall sizes in tops and bottoms) or J Jill. For J Jill watch out because some of the XLs are huge on me – love the length but too wide, so I usually have to order two sizes and return one. J Jill has their wearever collection which is great for travel – they look nice (even after an 18 hour flight to Singapore), breathe well, and are comfortable.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I agree with you about Lane Bryant. I carry most of my weight in my chest and stomach and have a very flat backside. I buy my jeans from Torrid (the actual Torrid brand), tops from Old Navy, skirts from Macy’s (Kors by Michael Kors) and Target, and I’ve recently had good luck with the Heritage fit at Talbots for pants.

    • I would love to hear from any of you fellow tall/plus size women about any style blogs or websites you check into regularly. I feel pretty left out of most of them, needless to say!

      • a different anon :

        Ditto! Right now I follow wardobe oxygen, but the blogger has a totally different body shape than I do (she’s petite) and I find myself wishing there was something similar for people shaped like me!

      • I like Fashion for the Economically Challenged. I don’t think the woman is plus size per se though. She has a great sense of style and manages to look cute for cheap.

  5. I am a bit of a mutant. I am 5’10” with a 35″ inseam, smaller chest (used to be 34B, now 36B), really long arms, and a really short waist, big booty but no hips. I used to be a small for tops, now I’m a medium, and most brands seem to work (depending on the particular style of top) except for Talbots and Brooks Brothers. Long sleeves are never long enough in regular sizes, so I usually just wear short or 3/4 length sleeves (tall sizes are too long in the torso).

    My problem is with pants. Pre-pregnancy, Tall 8 pants at BR and JCrew fit perfectly. Now I’m 10 lbs heavier, at 145 lbs (even though I eat the same and go to the gym a lot more, so I think it’s just a metablism change). Yet 10s don’t fit me very well – they’re weird and baggy on the lower butt and thighs, while 8s are obscenely tight on the booty and uncomfortably tight on the stomach. I’ve been wearing a lot more skirts and dresses, but I prefer pants, and can’t seem to find any that fit well. I have one pair of BCBG pants in an 8 that fit on skinnier days (their pants are pretty long). Other days, I’m stuck wearing puchy pants or skirts. Any suggestions for pants that are long, and slim in the thighs but not too tight in the waist/booty?

    • I’m your mutant twin! I was the same both pre and post-pregnancy. My problem post pregnancy was the little extra tummy pooch – the tall 8 pants at BR and JCrew are now snug on the waist. So I’ve actually switched to Express as they have tall sizes but their pants are lower slung, so they don’t cut in at the tummy. Their pants aren’t lined though.

      I do have tons of skirts and dresses now – it’s just so much easier to shop for them because they usually fit so much better.

      • ATC – interesting! I’ve stayed away from Express because their quality isn’t great (and I won’t wear wool pants unless they’re lined), but I may give them a try for summer pants. Any other suggestions?

        • Yeah, Express has some bad fabrics sometimes, but I’ve gotten a couple winners. Sadly, no other recommendations as I’m in a warm weather place, so I never need warmer pants. Although I did recently get a size 10 Banana pant (lined) altered smaller in the right places (part of a suit set), and now they’re perfect. We are a really tough size for pants!

    • I have the same problem but I’m shorter and vary between a 4-6 pants. I actually wear 4 in the hips/thigh, but 6 fits in upper butt and waist. Then the 6 bags in crotch area and lower butt and I can sometimes pinch over a 2 inch excess. This is very frustrating. I have resorted to making sure all my pants have some stretch in them. I usually go with the smaller size, stretch them out like crazy, then don’t wash as often, and I never use the dryer. I also move the button over, and sometimes cut the waist on the sides and add an inch of elastic to both sides. As you can guess, I’m so tired of it, that I’m now using the prevention flat belly diet cookbook and have lost some stomach bulge. I just wish pants came with a little adjustable side like some of the men’s pants. BTW, I have had good luck with some eddie bauer clothes with lots of stretch, and they have talls. Also, Ann Taylor Loft seems to be bigger in the waist and they have talls.

  6. I have luck with Anne Klein suits in 14p but that was 4 years and two babies ago. I’m 5’6″ and was 175lbs then. This is a great topic!

  7. Question: Is 34F the same thing as 34DDD?

    • Anonymous Poser :

      I think that’s generally accepted. Are you comparing European cup size to US cup size, or US to US?

      The thing is, cup sizes are *more* standard, a lot more toward standardized than are women’s clothing sizes, but you’ll note that I still phrased this answer in relative terms. FWIW, I’ve been a 30G in UK sizing, but lost weight recently, and am now a 30F, so I’ve looked into this question some, myself.

    • F cup in UK sizes is a G cup in US sizes.

      That doesn’t really answer your question, I know. In some brands, after a D comes DD, then E, then F. In others, it goes D, E, F. In still other’s it’s D, DD, DDD, DDDD. So, your 34F in one brand could be a 34DDD in a brand that uses the third sizing system I listed, but it could be an E in the first sizing system I listed.

  8. I am 5’8″ and typically wear a size 10 (but am a size 12 in Theory). I love Calvin Klein skirt suits – especially because you can find them at TJ Maxx/Marshalls and overstock.com for good prices. Theory pants suits fit me pretty well but are snug in the butt if I gain any weight. I am all about skirt suits and dresses because it’s hard for me to find good-fitting pants as well. BR size 10 pants used to fit me (although a little too short) but now the size 10 is snug but the size 12 is huge. I find that Ann Taylor pants make me look wide and flat in the a** – not a good look.

  9. MaggieLizer :

    I’m 5’2″, size 8 on the bottom and the top… depends. I have broad shoulders and I’m a 36D. My shoulders and bust are definitely the hardest areas to fit, but I also have a lot of trouble finding pants because of my high waist. If I really like something and it doesn’t fit the bust/shoulders, I have to size up and get it tailored (taken in at the waist, arms, shortened through the torso – basically he has to make me an entirely new garment).

    Pants: Calvin Klein from Macy’s, Lafayette 148, BCBG. Pants usually either cut me strangely through the crotch or they nip in too much at the “waist” that is in the wrong spot for me. If I take a bigger size, it droops in the rear and top of the thighs. I can’t wear Halogen (Taylor fit perfectly except for some cheek separation… not cute… and I was swimming in the next size up), WHBM, or Banana Republic. I haven’t tried J. Crew or Ann Taylor for a while so maybe I’ll give them a try again.

    Skirts: I have pretty good luck with skirts, as long as they don’t come in too much at the waist in an unnatural place for me. WHBM, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Halogen, and Kate Spade are staples; I can’t wear BCBG skirts.

    Tops: I gave up on button down shirts a long time ago. I prefer things with a bit of give to them so they accomodate the girls without being too tight. CE are the only structured blouses that fit correctly. I just picked up this blouse on sale: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/classiques-entier-ruffled-silk-blouse/3147393?origin=category&resultback=1663 (the ruffles camouflage rather than emphasize my bust). I can’t wear most Halogen tops but I love their cardigans (worn open through the bust over a dress or top), and I will never be able to wear Kate Spade tops without drastic tailoring.

    Dresses: Trina Turk, WHBM, and BCBG work great for me. They accommodate my curves in all the right spots. Sometimes BCBG cuts in too much at the waist, and I have to size up in Max & Cloe (I think that’s what it’s called). Trina Turk can also be cut small through the bust. Kate Spade is very hit or miss – I’ve tried on a 12 that was too small through the bust and an 8 that was too big all over – but when it’s a hit it’s really fabulous. I can’t wear Halogen dresses – in a 10 they squish my chest, I have a handful of fabric on each side of my hips, and extra room in the waist. I’ve only tried on one CE dress (New Seta) and had the same problem.

    Jackets/blazers: WHBM, Halogen, and some BCBG, though I have to try them on.

    Suits: Calvin Klein at Macy’s, Lafayette 148, Halogen, Banana Republic (I haven’t tried BR’s suits for years and years, but the one I have from them is wonderful). I just ordered a suit from CE so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it fits properly.

  10. I am 5’4″ and thin, but I have a booty. Banana Republic’s more curvy fit pants are not curvy enough for me. Ann Taylor’s “Curvy” fit is more for pear-shaped women, as the store associate informed me, and thus is too roomy in the thighs/makes me look like I’m wearing “mom pants.” Does anyone have any recommendations? I’m desperate!

    • same issue :

      I agree. Most curvy fits assume hips more than booty. I have the same problem but I’m 5’10. Suprisingly I found Talbots (I can’t remember the cut name) works best for me–doesn’t hug the butt, but still fits my waist.

    • I have the same problem. I have a big booty but small hips. A lot of curvy fits don’t work. I can’t wear most pants at Banana Republic or any pants from Gap. I like Ann Taylor Loft. I can wear many of their styles – Julie is a good one.

    • Try Ann Taylor Loft in regular, not curvy. The Julie is a little higher-waisted than the Marisa.

  11. 5’7″ here, hourglass (almost totally even, though if I had to pick a fruit, I lean slightly apple), long legs (33″ inseam), short waisted, and a size 10/12 in most brands.

    Suits: Tahari ASL, AK Anne Klein, occasionally Calvin Klein or Banana will work (must try on for chest area)

    Dresses: Calvin Klein sheaths almost always work (mid price line), Tahari

    Pants: I confess, I’m a total skirt girl ;) (plus, my inseam often falls between a regular and a tall, and I am lazy)

    Button Ups: Tahari, Brooks Brothers

    Don’t work: Express, JCrew, Kenneth Cole (all too small in chest area for me)

  12. So much body diversity! It’s pretty neat.

    I’m 5’6″ with a straight/tubular figure, small chest (36A). However, my shoulders, arms, and thighs are very broad. To fit my shoulders or thighs, I often have to deal with gaping in the chest or waist areas.

    What works:
    JCrew jackets (size 6), skirts, and dresses (size 8). Some dresses are a little big in the chest, so I have to try on in person.
    Classiques Entier pants and skirts, some jackets (size 8).
    The Limited Cassidy-fit pants (size 8). Some waist-gapping.
    Banana Republic jackets, shirts, and cardigans (M or 8).
    Brooks Brothers No-Iron button ups (size 4!). They run a little short in the arms and torso, but fit my chest.

    What does not work:
    JCrew pants are often too tight in the thighs or gap at the waist.
    The Limited jackets- I buy these anyway but there’s a lot of room in the bust.
    Banana Republic suit pants- they hug the butt in all the wrong places.
    Gap Real Straight jeans- they are really tight in the thigh, so the color runs there first.
    Gap Curvy jeans- fit my thighs, but there is so much gapping at the waist that they slide down and create this weird crotch thing.

  13. average height (5’5″) slim hourglass with very slight curves

    What fits well: Express, H&M, LOFT, Theory, BCBG

  14. 5’4” and very thin. Usually an xxs or OO. I have pretty much given up on finding anything off the rack that fits and if it comes close I take it and have it tailored. Ann Taylor works if I tuck their blouses in, Theory is usually pretty good because they make a OO and their stuff fits pretty close to the body. JCrew is great for cardigans in xxs. Asos dresses are also pretty good (website only I think)

    • Same here! I can’t seem to find suit jackets that fit well enough, even with alterations, though. I have long arms, and the sleeves end up being at least an inch too short, even when I size up.

    • Try Colors of Benetton – I’m usually a 0 and there are usually a few sizes below what i wear there.

  15. Accountress :

    I’m 5’9″, size 22, hourglass figure. I’ve had amazing success with Calvin Klein dresses- most have come from Nordstrom Rack (90% off? I accept!), but some Macy’s locations have decent selections.

    Talbot’s is my go-to skirt store- they have the best-made *lined* skirts that I’ve found (and can I just kvetch about the skirts at Lane Bryant? No, that rayon-blend is not appropriate for the office, and skirts need linings!)

    I haven’t found a button-down blouse that I like, but I do keep my eyes open for ones that aren’t made of a hideous fabric. I like Kenneth Cole New York for interesting necklines and nice lengths. I loathe Michael Kors for plus sizes, and also anything that also comes in straight sizes (I’m lookin’ at you, Macy’s INC line!)

    I’ve had success with pantsuits from Anne Klein (a gorgeous tan/caramel shade that I wore to the interview for my current job) and, miraculously, from Jones New York. I dislike Jones New York for the same reason I dislike Ralph Lauren- it is too matronly (and in personal opinion, ugly) for a 24-year-old.

    I have trouble finding good jeans in my size, mostly because I’m too particular- I don’t want skinny jeans, I will not wear jeggings (yeah, Torrid, I’m onto you and your leggings=pants strategy), I don’t want flared legs, I don’t want “slimming” features, and I don’t want anything with a high-waist. That leaves… Dilliard’s Wall-O-Levi’s. I found a pair that’s still a little high, but it’s better than anything else I’d found in a three month search.

    On the list of designers I love and eventually want a wardrobe full of: Tahari (I have a fab cardigan and long-sleeve shirt from Tahari, thanks to the Nordstrom half-yearly sale!), Anna Scholz (sooo pretty, and sooo expensive), and Tadashi Shoji.

  16. fun post and great site! new reader and poster here … i’m 5’4, pretty thin with a 34C chest and broader shoulders. my office is pretty creative/casual, so I can get away with more, sartorially speaking, than the lawyers in the community.

    Some favorite lines: Theory, Vince (for pants), Elie Tahari, BCBG (although some of their fabrics can look really cheap), Classiques Entier, Marc New York (they have some great day-to-night dresses). Banana Republic is hit or miss .. a lot of their clothes seem to look fine in the morning and then look like crap a few hours later (wrinkled, sagging, losing their shape). Ann Taylor never looks good on me, and I find their fits a little too mom-ish, but it’s possible that I’m just not wearing the right sizes. J Crew does not fit well. Brooks Brothers has pretty boxy cuts, so I have heard .. that might help with the OP here.

    I know this has been mentioned before, but I wanted to add my love for the Nordstrom personal stylist service. Recently tried it for the first time, cannot recommend it enough. Totally free, no minimum purchases, and I have never had so much fun shopping (and I shop a lot). The stylists will really help you with your body type and what fits/doesn’t fit, run and fetch sizes, accessories, different pieces .. I really think it’s worth a try, even just once, as you learn a lot about what works for your body/personal style and then can take that knowledge with you on your own shopping excursions. And of course .. find a good tailor, no matter what your size.

  17. If someone is feeling geeky, it would be great to put this together into a SurveyMonkey or something and aggregate all the data to make a definitive guide to brands by body type.

    • I was about to suggest that, too! Actually, I was going to be even more geeky and suggest some sort of regression of store/brand preference vs. height, size, torso length, leg length, etc. There are so many different possible combinations, and it’s hard to keep track. My job involves statistical analysis for retail…so this is partly personal and partly professional curiosity!

      • Yeah, I think it would be great to collect as much data like this as possible. I don’t have the slightest inclination toward math or data collection, or I’d set up a survey myself. Do you know the website myshape.com? It recommends clothing based on your measurements. They must be sitting on a gold mine of data.

        • I work with statistics, but the problem is that even within clothing companies, different cuts of pants, made of different fabrics, from different years, etc., vary widely. Also women’s bodies have so many different proportions (height, shape, bust size, proportion of top to bottom) which are also constantly changing with slight weight fluctuations. Add to that budget constraints, and this is a nightmare to model.
          I think several stores/brands have come up again and again in a variety of posts, and these are usually the stores that have petites, plus sizes, tall, and a variety of different cuts/styles for each article of clothing. I’ve also had luck in department stores, sales associates usually have a good idea of which brands the store has now and if they tend to be cut loose or long or whatever your criteria is. I guess my point is that even with data, style and (to a certain extent) fit are subjective and most of us will still spend a lot of time in fitting rooms and at the tailors.

  18. Diana Barry :

    I am 5.8, straightish figure, longer legs, 8 on top, 6-8 on bottom, 33″ inseam, 34D bust. I wear a lot of J crew (8 jacket, 6 pants/skirt, 8 dress, but only the longer dresses) and BR (8, tall in dresses). Have several jackets and dresses from Boden (their jackets tend boxy) and Tulle (L, their sizing is junior). I used to wear BCBG suits but now find them too trendy/young (I am 32).

    I don’t like ann taylor or talbots – too short/boxy cut for me.

  19. I have been buying most of my work pants at Banana Republic these days.

    On the flip side, if you are curvy, I find that the Loft does NOT work for shirts. Every single one pulls at the bust. That is, unless I buy the largest possible size; then it hangs on me like a sack. Not good! Their “curvy bootcut” jeans do, however, work well for me.

  20. 5″4 & curvy hourglass…

    – shirts & pants: Brooks Bros + BR (martin fit?)
    – dresses: David Meister, Lafayette 148
    – tees: Lafayette
    – tanks: three dots

  21. helenshkie :

    Are there any other Australians reading this? Surely I can’t be the only one. Does anyone know of a resource like Corporette that covers the Australian shops?

    FWIW, I’m 5’5″ and a definite pear shape. When I lived in the UK I used to shop in the US a bit, and Ann Taylor and Express worked well, particularly Express’s Editor pants.

    Here in Australia I find that Cue is great – they tend to do lots of structured tops which detract attention from the lower half of the body really well. Their occasional A-line skirts and wide leg pants are great for me, but all of the figure-hugging dresses are right out. All of my suits are from Cue. Apart from that I like Sportscraft for blouses.

    During my pregnancy I lived in Target’s maternity pants with the wide/foldover waistband, along with a couple of Sportscraft silk blouses, up a size, with elastic threaded through the bottom hem to keep things from billowing out everywhere.

    • L from Oz :

      Hi Helenshkie! I’m Australian, but I don’t live there right now – I’m based in Europe. Not aware of any resources for Oz, alas.

      I have a fair bit of Sportscraft stuff, but I find Cue is too small in the bust for tops (I’m more apple than pear). I also love Jigsaw – I swear half my wardrobe is from there, including suits (either the Oz or UK shops). I have a gorgeous winter coat from Veronika Maine, but most of their other stuff is too edgy for my daily life. And I think nearly all my trousers are David Lawrence.

  22. Thighs for Days :

    Great post, I’m just starting my post-education career, so this is really helpful for when I need to find appropriate work clothes.

    I’m 5’0″, 29″ inseam, 34DD, measurements of 38-29-41, with very thick thighs. My waist is always too small for my hips/thighs, usually the thighs. Banana Republic, forget about it. My waist is size 10, hips are somewhere between 14 and 16. I was desperate before an interview, so I bought their button-down “fitted” work shirt, but it only fit in the bust, size 12P I think. The waist and arms are huge, even buying the Petite version.

    I don’t know if other people have found this to be true, but even the “curvy fit” pants in most mall stores are too small in the thigh for me. It’s been so hard to find pants that smooth over my butt and thighs without looking like two giant tree trunks (wide leg, terrible on my short self), or that I’ve stuffed my legs into something far too small and inappropriate (most other pants).

    The one thing that I love love loved when I was a little bit thinner (pre-wedding, 38-29-38) was Calvin Klein sheath dresses. I bought one in size 8 that fit my still-substantial curves like a glove. It was sexy and professional at the same time. Too bad my thighs have struck again and I’m now about 10 pounds away from being able to wear it.

  23. This is completely off-topic but still relevant to fit! I’ve been reading Corporette for a few months, and loving it, of course. On the advice of many women here, today I finally lost it with my ill-fitting Victoria’s Secret bras (no matter the adjustments, the cups never, never, never fit my boobs) and went to Nordstrom to get measured. I’ve been wearing a 34A my entire life, and I about laughed the associate out of the store when she told me I was a 32C. I am NOT a C-cup, ladies. I thought I could barely fill out an A-cup. But she brought me about fifteen 32 Cs and they FIT! THEY FIT THEY FIT THEY FIT! And none of them were the molded, padded push-up cups I’d been wearing from VS – but ALL of them made my boobs look the same size as they did with all that padding. I’m still in shock and I had to share. If you’re like me and sick of your bra gaping off your chest, get thee to a fitting!

    32C! Suck on that, every boy who ever made fun of me in middle and high school!

    • absolutely second the bra fitting ideas! anyone who might be in NYC … the Town Shop (i think it was featured on S&TC, but whatever) and La Petite Coquette are great, fun places to get fitted.

      • Molestered by bra fitter at Nordstrom - but worth it :

        I felt so violated while being fitted for a bra at Nordstrom! Be prepared! You will be exposed, and shaken, and shimmied, and asked to “pull your breast tissue into the cup!” *GASP!* But once I got over my initial embarassment, I realized that it was the best thing for me. I am not very pleased with the fact that I walked around for 35 years of my life thinking I was a 38DD when I was actually a whooping 36 GG (or H, depending on the bra) but I am glad to be buying bras that actually fit (less jiggling up on top when I walk, better lift and less back pain) despite the steep price tag! If you don’t mind being felt up by a stranger, it’s worth it! LOL!

        • Went to Linda’s in NYC 2 weeks ago. Was molested but also agree it was worth it and a must for anybody with a narrow back and/or large cup. I thought I was a 36D/DD my whole life but turned out to be a 32F. I got a strapless, yes strapless, bathing suit that supports better than a speedo. The bra I got was expensive but if you just buy two or three expensive bras that fit it is more valuable than 7 that don’t.

  24. Cup of Ambition :

    Trousers: Classique Entier in the Individualist department at Nordstrom.
    Suits: ditto above, occasionally Tahari – but only in the rarely found size 14.
    Dresses: do not wear. My proportions are way off for dresses to work well.
    Shirts: Carissa Rose. I had sworn away button-down shirts until they were mentioned here. Now I love them and they are the majority of my work wardrobe.

  25. I am 6′ tall and wear a size 4. I also have a 36 inch inseam, so need to be able to alter slacks to fit, especially when I am wearing heels. I am small chested and wide shouldered.

    Jeans – Lucky Brand XL are the only ones that consistently fit me.
    Slacks – D&G have been the best. In general, higher end slacks are the only ones that truly fit me properly. The rest are too short for heels or have a short rise.
    Blouses – I haven’t had much luck with blouses, at least long sleeved ones. I’ve found a few at the Limited and BR or Gap tall sizes
    Knits – I just look for knits with longer lengths and can find those fairly easily.
    Skirts – I am a pencil skirt girl. Again, I look for skirts with longer hems and as long as I can find one long enough, I am good.
    Dresses – I need to try dresses on. I end up altering the hip area on many of them because my waist is long and the hip areas sits too high.
    Suits – D&G, Express (skirt suits) BR

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