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A Little History of Ready Made Clothes

Once upon a time, you could not buy clothes at a store. You could buy the fabric and go home and sew the clothes yourself, or you could pay someone to sew them for you. There were no other options.

Then, in 1814, the Brooks Brothers opened up a shop near the financial district in New York that sold well-made, ready-made clothing for men. Their clients really enjoyed being able to stop
in at any time and buy clothes that were already made up, and at a fraction of the cost of custom clothes. The Brooks Brothers prospered.

When similar shops sprung up offering ready-made clothing for women, they soon found themselves closing their doors. For while the majority of men tended to wear just a handful of sizes, women did not, particularly when they used a corset to cinch their waists. Everything had to be altered to fit correctly, which drove the costs up and the popularity down. For the next hundred years, only a few items were produced en mass for women, including gloves, coats, capes, and aprons.

Then in the 1920's, something happened: the straight chemise style became popular. The loose, boyish silhouette could be made quickly and cheaply, and for the first time ever,
inexpensive ready-made clothing became available for women.

As more form-fitting styles became popular in the 1930's and 40's, manufacturers struggled with how to fit the wide range of sizes required to dress their customers, yet still remain profitable. They adapted a sizing system that seemed to work
well for the majority of people. But those who fell outside of the normal sizing range, including women who were shorter, taller,
lighter, or heavier than normal, had to have their clothes altered or custom-made. Specialty manufacturing for these sizes was cost prohibitive.

By the 1970's, domestic manufacturing costs were skyrocketing in most of the West. At the same time, customers were demanding lower-priced goods. This clash resulting in a lot of jobs being outsourced to Asia and South America where
production costs were much, much lower. These new manufacturers, not really understanding the sizing systems, began tinkering with them. In very little time, one manufacturers size 8 was another's size 10 was another's size 6. What little uniformity in sizing had existed among domestic manufacturers prior to this was all but gone.

Today, the sizing games continue. While manufacturers catering to the discount market tend to follow historical sizing guidelines,
mid-priced, better, and bridge lines have learned that they can play on feminine vanity by running large. So what might be a size 8 in the discount market is a size 6 in the costlier lines. Which means that if you have the cash (or credit), you can drop a dress size without exercise, dieting, or strain.

So why am I offering this little history lesson?

To get to you to stop allowing a label size to impact your self esteem in any way. Women and ready-made clothing have always had a tenuous history at best, so if you can buy off the rack with perfect fit every time, you're one of the lucky few.

If you have trouble finding clothes that fit well, here are some suggestions to help lessen your frustration:

1. Never try on just one size of anything. Take at least two, preferably three sizes of the same garment to the dressing room to find the best fit.

2. Nobody can wear every style and brand out there. Find the brands that fit your body the best and stick with them.

3. If you can't find a perfect fit but you're close, have the garment altered to fit. This is particularly true if you'll be wearing the piece when you're under scrutiny for something important like a job interview, a special presentation, a television appearance, etc.

4. If you typically spend a lot of money on alterations, consider having your clothing custom-made instead. Not only will you get to pick out the pattern and fabric, you may actually spend LESS on custom than buying and altering.

5. Never underestimate the importance of good fit, particularly in your business attire. Sloppy, ill-fitting clothes imply that you're as
sloppy in your work habits as you are in your appearance. Well-fitting clothes implies just the opposite.

Ready-made clothes are convenient and have become so mainstream that we forget there are other ways to buy clothes. If you're having trouble finding garments that fit, as women all
throughout history have, then get thee to a tailor for alterations or custom made clothing. You may spend a bit more, that's true, but probably less than you would spend chasing all over to find the perfect fit (especially with the cost of gasoline these days).

Here are some online resources to get you pointed in the right direction:

http://www.dockers.com (US)

Lands End

Well-fitting clothes make you look taller, thinner, and younger than sloppy, oversized pieces. If you're looking for a quick
pick-me-up, stop being a slave to size labels. Become a master of fit instead.


Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image
consultant and author of "Wardrobe Magic," an ebook that shows women how to transform their unruly closets into workable, wearable wardrobes. Visit her online here:

Look Stylish

No one has a perfect body, but we can still look stylish and look like we have a perfect or near perfect body by the way we dress.

How you look affects how you feel. If you look stylish, you'll feel stylish and confident.

Annette Welsford has gathered eight professional image stylists to show you how to dress your body - whatever shape it is and to help you take control of your image. She promises after reading her book, "How to Look Stylish", you can see results 'overnight' .

You will learn how to recognize your body shape, fashion tips for that body shape, how to camouflage your worst areas, what your color style is (eg. your hair and skin coloring), how to review your current wardrobe - what to keep and what to toss, how to mix and match what you have to make more outfits and current advice from professionals.

If you'd like to learn more about the ebook "How to Look Stylish"
Click Here! 


The Wardrobe Capsule

Wardrobe capsule or Capsule wardrobe both suggest a closet full of clothes that mix and match, compliment your coloring and fit your body shape and style. Never again will you need to utter the words "I don't have anything to wear!"

How many times have you looked into your closet at all the clothes hanging there and said, "I still don't have anything to wear". This is the comment of most people who buy impulsively instead of making sure each new purchase is a color that complements them and a style that flatters their figure.

This site will share information with you about choosing the correct colors and styles and creating your own personal wardrobe capsule through information, links, and books. After putting together a wardrobe capsule that is the correct colors and styles for you, there will never be a need to say "I have nothing to wear" because everything thing will go with something else in your closet and every outfit will look great on you.

"Color Me Beautiful" came out with four seasons and it was hard for some of us to fit into one of the seasons. However, in 2002, they revised their system and now have 12 seasons. Each season is divided into three and the colors overlap a little. It is now easier to fit into one of the seasons. Color Me Beautiful explains the colors that go together for each season and even suggests makeup and accessory colors. Their book is a 'must read' if you want to know which colors will flatter you most. You can get their book by clicking below.

Nancy Nix Rice in her book "Looking Good" covers the basics of a wardrobe capsule. She shows several capsules and how to blend them. There is also a section on remodeling your current garments to make them more up-to-date. Another section is on sewing your own clothes. An excellent resource. See below for more information.


"Color Me a Season" has a different approach to choosing a 'season' for you. They go by eye color. Check out their site. They have some very interesting information.

"Color Me Beautiful" came up with the four seasons and since some ladies have a hard time fitting into one of the four, they have now divided them into 12 seasons. Each season has three separate ones. 



Creating A Wardrobe Capsule

The first thing to do is choose two basic colors that blend and look good on you. They will either have a base of yellow or blue. Summer and Winter seasons have blue undertones. Spring and Autumn have yellow undertones. There are a lot of books that go into much more detail. See the books below.

You can sign up for the ebook 'The Capsule Wardrobe' and receive a download link immediately.

I have a fun page for you to try mixing and matching different wardrobe pieces. Click Here to try your hand at it.

What to Wear - for ideas watch 'What Not to Wear'

Do you have a closet full of clothes, but have a hard time deciding what to wear? If all your clothes fit you properly and are the right colors for your skin tone, it would be an easy job to dress each day.

Have you ever watched the show "What Not to Wear". I like to watch it almost daily, but sometimes don't agree with the clothing styles or colors Stacy and Clinton suggest for the participants. Sometimes even their clothes are hideous. However, you can still learn a lot from the episodes.

The best part of the show is the hair and make up section. It amazes me how some small changes can make a huge difference in the way a person looks or perceives herself.

One episode really impressed me. The young lady was bulky, baggy clothes, hair misheveled, big glasses and looked almost like a someone that had no money to take care of herself. After the week in New York with Stacy and Clinton, however, her transformation was phynomenal. When she came out in the third outfit, she didn't look at all like the girl that originally came on the show. She was sheik and sylish - I believe those were the words that Stacy used to describe her.

When shopping, look for clothing that fits you perfectly. Don't be afraid to try them on before purchasing to check the size, fit and color and style.

Maybe with the help of suggestions on the show, you just might be able to look 'shiek and stylish' - a goal we should all strive for.

Click here to see some of the transformations that have happened on the 'What Not to Wear' tv show.


Receive your FREE ebook on creating a Wardrobe Capsule and Ten Fashion Tips just for signing up.
Wardrobe Capsule ebook

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