When I asked my blog subscribers to let me know what their pain points are when it comes to clothing sizes, I wasn't surprised to read I am not alone with my frustrations. Carole told me 'I have to get everything taken up or I look like I am dressed in an oversized tent and a lot of clothes for women over 50 are shapeless tents'. she went on to say 'I don't want clothes that are skin tight, but equally I don't want clothes that are shapeless'. Another reader told me 'I hate my body shape at the moment and it doesn't help that oversize clothing is in fashion now ... sometimes I need a 10, sometimes a 12, depending on the store, it is difficult to believe believe sizes any more'.
This blog post is sponsored by Rey House Clothing and contains affiliate links.
What do we want from our clothes?
A good fit is more than your body fitting into an item of clothing and is always my number one priority.
Great style and the perfect fit go hand in hand, you can't have one without the other!
If we feel comfortable and relaxed we are more likely to embrace confidence!
Only 8.2% of the British population can easily find clothes that fit!
That really is a shocking statistic, and one that must create hours of angst and wasted time for women of all ages! And where does that leave us with our body confidence issues!? Try to remember, it isn't you, it is the clothes manufacturers getting it wrong.
Do you buy online or in-store?
Gone are the days of a traditional Saturday pay day trip to the High Street to browse, try on and enjoy seeing what new styles have arrived! Now shops rarely carry much stock and never seem to have the size you want, and this was made even worse with the accelerated move to online shopping during the pandemic, we might browse in-store but will often still need to order for home delivery.
Does this sound familiar ... you are in your favourite shop, you spot the perfect outfit, you are excited to take try it on, and rush off to the fitting room laden with a couple of sizes and different style options. You've grappled with the long queue, counted how many items you have so you get the right tag, strip off - whilst trying not to look in the mirror because we all know that the lighting in the fitting room adds at least half a stone to our figure - only to find your perfect new outfit doesn't fit! Okay so maybe you need a different size, but that means getting dressed again to go and look, because any. hope of a store assistant being available and willing to help is pretty slim! Generally by this point I give up!
So Plan B is online shopping, I spend an hour browsing my favourite retailers, I might have been tempted to go take a look because I saw some fashion bloggers on Instagram looking amazing in a particular dress. I end up with something like £300 on my credit card and a promise of next-day delivery. I am beyond excited, the perfect outfit is on it's way and my life will be transformed. Except, the courier either can't find my house or I am not in for the delivery and I then have to try and find the damn parcel. once it is finally in my possession, I run upstairs, tear of all packaging ... oh no first of all the dress needs ironing, why does everything arrive looking like someone sat on it for the last year, anyway I finally try everything on only to find that nothing fits. The quality is appalling, I can't do the zip up properly, it is too long or any one of 100 other problems. Right sort the packaging out, try and repackage it all, spend too long trying to decipher the returns system (why is every retailer different), finally leave by the back door for yet another trip to the Post Office/Parcel Shop or Parcel Locker. Try to remember to keep the return receipt, just in case I also remember to check that the item did actually arrive back at the retailer and that I got my refund. Talk about time-wasting!
But if clothes were made to fit in the first place, maybe we wouldn't have to go through all this?
Tips on how to find stylish clothes that fit
- Know your body - if you understand your body type, proportions, and what styles generally work best for you, you will find it easier to choose clothes that flatter your figure.
- Prioritise comfort - comfort is key, especially as you age. Look for fabrics that feel good against your skin and styles that allow you to move freely. You can still be a stylish woman and be comfortable! I hate anything too tight or restrictive!
- Tailoring is key - don't hesitate to have your clothes tailored to fit your body perfectly. A little alteration can make a significant difference in how clothes look and feel on you. It is a good idea to find a great local seamstress and have the number on speed dial! I often have trouser length, skirt length and long sleeves altered.
- Embrace timeless styles - while you can certainly incorporate trends, focus on timeless pieces that won't go out of style quickly. Classic cuts and colours can be mixed and matched for various outfits. A great style tip is to work with a personal stylist to create the perfect capsule wardrobe.
- Quality over quantity - invest in higher-quality clothing that will last longer and maintain its shape and colour. Quality pieces often have better construction and drape, giving you a more polished look.
- Understand your colour palette - discover the colours that complement your skin tone, hair, and eyes. These colours can enhance your overall appearance and make you feel confident. It is worthwhile investing in a session with a Colour Stylist to help you, and don't be afraid of mixing bright colours with neutral colours!
- Functional fashion - choose pieces that align with your daily life. Consider what you do most often and what occasions you need clothing for. Versatile pieces can be dressed up or down as needed. If you know what works for your lifestyle and how to highlight your best features you will have a wardrobe that works hard for you.
- Proper fit - avoid clothes that are too tight or too loose. Aim for a fit that skims your body without clinging too tightly. It is too easy to fall into the trap of wanting to hide in oversized clothing but get the fit right and you will learn to flatter your figure rather than hide it.
- Layering - layering adds depth to your outfits and can be practical as well. Use items like cardigans, scarves, and jackets to create stylish looks. Don't be limited by the misconception that the older woman can't wear certain styles! A leather jacket or leather biker for example looks good at any age!
- Accessories - accessories can elevate even the simplest outfits. Statement jewellery, scarves, hats, and belts can add personality and style to your look.
- Experiment with trends - while sticking to timeless styles is important, don't be afraid to incorporate a few current trends if they resonate with your personal style, a classic style mixed with the latest fashion trends can transform your overall look and give you a new lease of life!
- Balance you proportions - as your body changes, certain areas might become more pronounced. Balance your proportions by choosing clothes that highlight your strengths and downplay any areas you're less comfortable with. For example try wide-leg pants worn with a fitted top to hide a larger bottom but highlight a shapely top half.
- Versatile footwear - invest in comfortable and stylish footwear that can work with a variety of outfits. I think we are all now embracing flat shoes, the days of high heels are long gone! Stylish boots, white sneakers, or espadrille wedges are now the hallmark of stylish women everywhere.
- Shop thoughtfully - take your time when shopping. Look for pieces that resonate with your own style and make you feel confident.
- Online shopping and reviews - online shopping can be convenient, but reading reviews and checking sizing charts is essential to ensure you're getting the right fit and quality. I love online reviews (especially good are Boden and Marks & Spencer).
- Inspiration from others - look for fashion inspiration from bloggers, influencers, or celebrities who are around your age and have a style you admire. Save Instagramposts to refer back to or make a Pinterest board to look at when you go shopping! And remember even if the woman you admire is a different size to you, you can still get some great outfit ideas!
- Confidence is key - regardless of what you wear, confidence is the most stylish accessory you can have. Wear what makes you feel good and confident.
Remember, the goal is to feel comfortable, confident, and true to yourself while embracing your personal style as you age.
The best capsule wardrobe over 50
I have shared a blog post that goes into much more detail about the perfect capsule wardrobe, follow the link below!
What are Rey House doing to help?
And they are scanning people's body shapes! Rey House are embarking on a massive project to influence the future of clothing sizes, they want to devise a new grading system to create clothes that fit real people. It is more than a little exciting!
The first scanning event took place at their Head Office in Essex on 17th August 2023 and the next one is due to happen in Central London in October this year, if you are interested in taking part then please email Rey House and let them know. It will all be completely anonymous but you will be helping change the way we shop, making choosing clothes a less stressful experience.
My friend and fellow-website owner Tracey from Fighting Fifty went along to the first Rey House scanning event - you can read her article about it here.
Style details - what I am wearing from Rey House
I was delighted that their Satin Wide Leg Trouser in Black, they fitted perfectly, the length is just right for my 5'2" height, the waistband is flattering and comfortable, the belt can be added or removed (no belt loops), they have pockets, the fabric is good quality and skims my shape and they created a great look paired with the Silk Short Sleeve Top in Blue, this is such a versatile top that can be dressed up or down and comes in three bright colours.
I also tried their White Shirt in Stretch Satin, it is collarless, long and drapes beautifully, I preferred to wear tied or tucked in but is also ideal to wear loose and open.
Finally their Wide Leg Jersey Trouser could be my new favourite 'easy day' style! This is one of their best sellers, they are so comfortable, the jersey drapes neatly on the hips and flatters on the leg, they are lightweight, stretchy and made to last. Worn with their Vest Top in Black, no need to worry about bra straps, wear tucked in or out, and add a shirt on top for cooler days.
For links to everything I am wearing in this blog post, please scroll to bottom of post.
Rey House are developing their own sizing system that they believe represents real women rather than dressmakers dummies!
What do you think? I'd love to hear from you, please email me email@example.com leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: this blog post was sponsored by Rey House Clothing and the items I am wearing from Rey House have been gifted to me.
Satin Wide Leg Trouser in Black
Silk Short Sleeve Top in Blue
Animal print clutch bag (old) - similar here
Block Heel Sandals - similar here
Satin Wide Leg Trouser in Black
White Shirt in Stretch Satin
Vest Top in Black
Orange Tote Bag - similar here
Block Heel Sandals - similar here
Cara Fedora in Wheat from Creative DeZigns - get 10% off using FIFTYFAB
Wide Leg Jersey Trouser
Vest Top in Black
Gold trainers from AND/OR at John Lewis - similar here
Cream cross-body bag and coordinating strap from Amelia Rose Accessories