Over the last 26 years I’ve dressed friends, family members, clients, fit models and ramp models across a wide range of shapes and sizes. One thing I learned from this is that almost everyone experiences fit challenges. Whether it’s the circumference of your head and calves, the shape of your feet, the curvature of your bust, the slope of yours shoulders, the width of your ankles, or the length of your legs and arms — most people have some challenge or another.

Some are definitely more challenging than others. The closer your proportions are to what the retail industry has chosen as their size specifications, the easier it is to create good fit with retail merchandise. The further you stray from those so called “standardized” proportions, the harder it is to find items that fit perfectly off the rack.

I would never have believed that ramp models are hard to fit. But this was my experience when I had to create and fit clothes for them back when I was a designer and retail buyer. Ramp models are tall, narrow-hipped, and broad-shouldered. Regular retail clothing is generally cut too narrow in the shoulder, and too short in the lengths of the waist, height and sleeves. Fashion show clothing is custom-made for ramp models’ bodies in order to create perfect fit. Celebrities often have their clothing custom-made by fashion houses, or at least have items altered to create perfect fit.

I would love things to be different, but the retail industry falls short of delivering perfect fit for every body type. It assumes that people have average proportions and are around average height. And while the availability of a larger assortment of sizes, widths and lengths is better than it used to be — it’s still insufficient.

The good news is that clothing and footwear fits are not uniform across designers and brands. Each chooses a different fit model, so the same numerical size can be a completely different fit from different brands. These days you can also often choose shorter or longer lengths in the same size. You can reduce fit challenges by finding brands that suit your body shape. And you can alter clothing to fit better, or even sew your own clothes from scratch.

The most important thing is to NOT blame your body for fit challenges. Find the brands and items that suit your proportions, both in silhouette and size specification. That’s when a community like YLF is extremely helpful. You’ll find a kinship with those who have similar fit challenges to you on our forum, and suggestions on which brands and styles to target to create good fit.

I’m also available to help out with suggestions on how to tackle fit challenges. I feel honoured to have dressed women from sizes US00 to US34 across all heights and body types. Creating good fit can be hard, but not impossible. Onward to good fit for 2018.