Despite flailing and failing at attempts to define bad fit previously (links at close), I’ve long argued there are some fitting aspects of apparel that are bad because they either fit no one or fit so few people as to hit any sizable segment of the market. Point is, I’m flogging the topic again because I have a (partial) definition!
Keeping in mind that our focus is RTW and not custom clothing, we have to look at fit more broadly. One cannot say the fit of a garment is defective because it does not meet the expectations of a given individual; you can only say it does not fit that person because it could fit someone else. You can’t say the fit is off because variables are too broad. Fit is subjective and open to preferences of an individual and likewise, any pronouncements are subject to the interpretive skills of the one judging. There’s also the matter of styling to be considered (oversized streetwear etc).
My point is, I think we can say an item fits badly (across the board) if it can be said that the fit is incongruous. I was reminded of this last Saturday when I went to a party and wore this jacket. The fit was incongruous in both length and width. By incongruous, I mean the different fit attributes of the product are disjointed. Using this jacket as an example, you can compare lengths as proportionate measures. For example, if the sleeves are inordinately long but the waist is too short, it can be said that the attributes of the garment are not complimentary to each other.
Length: In this case, the sleeves were about 1.5″ too long. Since I have long arms for my height, sleeves are usually too short so I wouldn’t complain when I’m lucky to find sleeves that are a bit too long.
Now, if sleeves of a garment are inordinately long, the body landmarks for length of the garment should also be a bit long. In this jacket however, the waist was too short (by at least an inch). Sure you could say the jacket waist was too short for me but I’m short-waisted already so this jacket was definitely too short if it didn’t hit my waist. If the jacket body was cut proportionate to the sleeves, the waist of the jacket should have been about 2″ below my natural waist.
Summary thus far: longer than typical sleeves implies a taller body. If the body is taller, the trunk should be longer too but it was actually too short. In other words, sleeve length was incongruous with body length.
Width: Now let’s discuss girth of the jacket. The sleeve girth was fine, not too tight (in spite of the sleeves having been set backwards). The shoulder line was a good fit. The bust was fine for me but it should not have been (I’m busty) -and lastly, the waist was too big (if something fits my bust the waist is usually too large). If a jacket fits in the sleeve girth, shoulder length etc, it is usually too small in the bust (because it should be, that being a natural proportion).
Here’s an illustration of what I mean:
In summary, one could justifiably say the fit was off in this garment because it would only fit a figure that was short, thick and stocky but with extremely long skinny arms. The sleeve length matches a woman who is 5’8″ and weighs 120lbs and the body fits a woman who is 5’3″ and weighs 145. This is what I mean when I say the fit is incongruous.
I have a bathrobe that is worse (an offshore job). The sleeves match a woman who is 6’4″ and the matching belt is ideal for a woman with a 20″ waist and the body is perfect for me -I’m 5’5″.
So, do these parameters help in deciding what is good fit? Do tell…
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