Stylists and designers can't stop talking about it, seamstresses make a living from it. Making sure that a garment is neither too tight or too loose, too long or too short, is a key factor in its being flattering. But - to paraphrase Carrie Bradshaw - at times I wonder. If all other factors come together, is it possible for fit to sometimes be given a little room for error?
In what makes one feel good in their clothes, fit is just one element. Of course an important one, as we naturally want to be flattered by what we wear, so good fit immediately lends confidence. But we also want other things from our clothes. This is why, however well an item fits, we do not always fall in love with it. We may know it makes our figures look better, but this is not enough. We also want a feeling: confidence, style, femininity, or, on the contrary, masculinity, approachability, class, elegance, effortlessness, visibility or invisibility... and so on and so forth. And, most of the time, we want to feel like ourselves.
Now, imagine you find the dress of your dreams. It is the right colour, the right neckline, the right fabric, but makes you look somewhat wider than you actually are. You can see this, and you know that there are dresses you look better in - and you don't mind. Because what the dress also does is make you feel unusual, unique, cheeky and yet - despite the fit - sophisticated: it makes your heart sing. And because it does that, you feel confident in it, and because you feel confident in it, you wear it with such conviction that chances are others will not notice that it is not as flattering on your body as it could be. Because it is not only our bodies that clothes need to flatter -- they need to flatter our personalities and souls too. And when they do that, when they really bring out our personalities, they make us shine.
Has this ever happened to you? It has to me. Of course, you must be sure that it is not the spur of the moment that makes you feel that way [the music in the shop, the compliment someone just gave you, the fact you managed to squeeze into a size 6, etc.] but the piece itself. So you may want to leave it for a while and then try it on again to see if the effect is still the same.
If so, congratulations - you found yourself the fabric equivalent of a soulmate. It may not be perfect*, but it makes you feel like you are.
[*little footnote: do make sure it is not too imperfect either...]