The Feminine Mystique
At Charles River Apparel, where Gaudet has been known to go around the office and try each piece on different body types, “What we do is we fit every size, because what looks good on a medium, when you get up to 2X or 3X, the proportions get a little different,” she explained. The areas that are the most trouble to fit are armholes and the bust. “If it’s poorly fitting around there, it doesn’t matter how good it looks, you probably won’t buy it,” Gaudet said.
What to look for: If you know who your end-user is, noted Rubin, it’s easier to work backwards to pick a shirt. For an older, more corporate customer, a classic style is best so it’s not too form-fitting. Younger prospects will enjoy a trimmer, more contoured look. Also, get samples.
4) Style. Years ago, promotional women’s wear was merely promotional men’s wear in disguise. “We used to take a men’s style, shrink the fit, maybe remove the pocket and make a ladies’ version out of it,” Rubin said. Today, however, little design additions make all the difference when it comes to adding a bit of feminine flair. He reported that such details as three-quarter sleeves, cuffs, spread collars and pearlized buttons really help achieve a higher-fashion sensibility for women. Although Rubin was quick to mention, “If it’s too fashion-forward, there’s always the possibility the style will be short-lived,” Gaudet said she circumvents this problem by updating her styles via color, as opposed to jumping onto the trend bandwagon. She explained that a plum fleece recently did well, as well as teal, white and pink as additions to the standard black and navy offerings (which are also essential).
What to look for: Necklines and sleeves are probably the two best places to search for pretty, feminine extras. Note the buttons, the cuffs as well as sleeve length, in particular. Fresh color choices, like jewel tones, flatter a variety of skin tones.