The Feminine Mystique
Go find a cardboard box. It can be square or rectangular. Then, grab a piece of paper (newspaper, wrapping paper, tissue paper, doesn’t matter). Wrap the box. Even those who, during the holiday wrapping bonanza, invariably find themselves covered in little scraps and pieces of tape—not to mention the proud giver of a misshapen, lumpy gift—will agree this is (conceptually) a fairly easy task.
Now, try and wrap a vase.
It’s hard, right? With all the tucking and folding involved, the act requires something more akin to superior origami skills than mere wrapping prowess.
This is the test designers for women’s wearables face every day, noted Eric Rubin, president of Blue Generation by M. Rubin & Sons, Long Island City, N.Y. “We know there’s a very wide range of women’s fits out there. … That’s always a challenge in this industry because a person does not get to try on a shirt,” he said.
If the Pieces Fit
But finding fits that flatter a wide variety of “vases” isn’t impossible. Getting the scoop on the various components of a women’s apparel item is the first place to start. Here are a few areas where distributors can get ahead of the curves:
1) Fabric. “I usually like to go for the softer fabrics when I’m doing the women’s-only styles,” noted Gina Gaudet, director of design at Medford, Massachusetts-based Charles River Apparel. This design inclination, she added, will manifest itself in a soon-to-be introduced polyester fabrication that feels like chenille. Also, Gaudet said, “Fleeces work well, a lot of the fabrics are more forgiving,” which is a positive when trying to meet a host of sizing needs.
Though these particular innovations are meant to be comfortable and cozy, there are other ways to appeal to a woman’s material needs. Rubin explained that fabrics with a mild amount of elasticity can go a long way to achieving an optimal fit. Of the company’s stretch poplin offering, he said, “The addition of the spandex enables the fabric to stretch in just the right places to conform to the wearer’s body.”