10 Signs Your Clothes Don’t Fit Properly (and What to Do About It)

Every body is entirely unique, which is why the same clothing size can look different on you from one store to the next. Instead of sticking with a number on a tag, forget about your technical size and shop for clothing based on what truly fits. Even if you have to go up a few sizes and then tailor certain areas to your specific measurements, it’s better than buying something that is ostensibly your size but isn’t actually flattering. Read on to see if some of your clothes show signs of not properly fitting, and how you should shop to avoid this in the future.

1. You can’t give someone a hug in your blazer

office workers

You should be able to hug someone — otherwise, your blazer doesn’t fit right. | iStock.com

Though your blazer may look like a perfect fit, if you find yourself unable to reach forward with total mobility, there’s a good chance it’s actually too tight along the width of your back. A great way to test this is to give someone a hug. If your arms are restrained from doing so, it’s time to opt for a bigger size. If you’re petite, try wearing a standard-sized blazer. If your shoulders are slightly broad, go one size up and then tailor the jacket’s waist and arm length to your measurements.

2. There’s a gap in your blouse buttons

Portrait of a woman unbuttoning her shirt

Make sure your shirt fits properly. | iStock/DeanDrobot

Busty women everywhere can relate to the struggle of dressing professionally, as fitted button-ups aren’t designed to accommodate chests that are a D-cup size or greater. If you notice a gaping space between your buttons, this means your bust is stretching the fabric apart, and you have to find a better fit. Although it’s a hassle, it’s best to find a button-up that’s oversized, or forego buttons altogether with a flowing, silk blouse.

3. Your shorts are riding up

Young sexy woman wearing jeans

These shorts are not a good look. | iStock.com/VitaliiSmulskyi

Though we’d all love to look flaming hot in our favorite Daisy Dukes, pulling off tiny jean shorts is actually a lot tougher than it looks. One of the easiest ways to tell your shorts are too small is to look at your upper inner thighs. If the shorts’ hem is falling straight across your legs, they fit perfectly. However, if the hem is riding up, they’re way too tight.

4. You can’t fit at least two fingers into your waistline

Woman trying to close jeans button

You should be able to fit a few fingers in your waistband. | iStock.com/wckiw

The two-finger test is an age-old trick for making sure your trousers are the right size. After all, a waistline that fits you standing up may be far too tight once you sit down. To ensure your pants have enough give, fully button and zip them, then attempt to fit two fingers between the fabric and your hips. If you have to force them in or can’t at all, you know you need to go up one size.

5. You have to constantly suck in your stomach

Lady in black dress with lace back

Make sure you’re comfortable in your dress. | iStock.com/grinvalds

Bodycon dresses do an excellent job of doubling as shapewear because they effectively smooth over any bumps and constrict your wobbly areas. However, if your dress is so form-fitting you have to suck in your gut the entire time you have it on, it’s safe to consider it too tight. If you can’t comfortably breathe out and relax your body, you’ll look far more tense than sexy. You’ll be better off in a looser-fitting dress.

6. Your shirt won’t stay tucked in

Girl wearing gray blank T-shirt

Pick a shirt that will stay tucked. | iStock.com/avemario

A shirt coming untucked when you’re running around is totally understandable. But if you notice it’s impossible to keep it tucked into your waistline when you’re just sitting or standing, this is a sign that your top doesn’t fit. An easy way to fix this common issue is to either wear longer blouses or high-waist pants that compensate for the top’s lack of length.

7. Your pockets are flaring

Business man showing his empty pockets

Make sure your pockets are tucked in tight. | iStock.com/jinga80

Finding the perfect pair of pants is a challenge for us all, no matter your body type. Whether you’re curvy, lanky, or somewhere in between, there’s one red flag everyone needs to look out for: flaring pockets. Your pockets should easily lie flat against your thighs. If they keep bunching up, flaring, or coming inside out, your jeans are way too tight. No matter how much you love the way they hug your tush, it’s better to find a bigger size so that pockets can actually fit in your pants!

8. Your bra clasp juts into your back

woman considers a brassiere

Your bra should be comfortable. | iStock.com/Denis Raev

According to an international survey of more than 10,000 participants, more than two-thirds of all women wear the wrong bra size, and 29% of these women do so knowingly. The problem is finding the right fit for your breasts requires professional measurements and updating your size as your body changes. It’s not all about what size makes your chest look the perkiest. If your bra clasp is jutting into your back (you’ll not only feel this, but also see back rolls), you need to reconsider your band size, and possibly even your cup.

9. Your ankles and wrists are exposed

woman wearing ankle boots

Your dryer is not always your friend. | iStock.com/tixti

A word of advice: Always air-dry clothes that are prone to shrinking. Whether you accidentally purchased your clothing too short or shrunk it in your dryer, any item that awkwardly exposes your ankles and wrists will look silly (save for cropped pants, of course). If your body is lanky, brands like ASOS, American Eagle, and Banana Republic offer a vast range of tall sizes that will cover your ankles and wrists.

10. Your shirt is too short when you sit down

Girl in blue jeans wearing a white t-shirt

Try on your shirts sitting as well as standing before you purchase them. | iStock.com/misuma

No matter how much you love the way a top looks on you while you’re standing up, it’s equally important to pay attention to the way it fits while you’re seated. Does it rise and accentuate your midsection? Does it show your lower back? If your shirt is the right length when you’re upright but clearly too short when you sit, it’s time to exchange it for something with a longer (i.e., tall) fit.