3 Expert Tips on Getting a Good Fit

Couturier Geraldina Shabani on what to look for in ready-to-wear clothing.

In her small Hartsdale Avenue shop, couturier Geraldina Shabani creates high-end custom designs, including coveted runway-worthy wedding gowns. We asked Shabani, a master seamstress and tailor, for some tips on how to recognize a well-made garment — and how to determine a proper fit.  

Is there a rule of thumb for determining proper fit in a ready-to-wear outfit?

The proportions of a shirt and skirt, the length of the sleeves, the width of the shoulders. There is no “standard fit.” For slacks with wider bottoms — not slim-fit — 1/2” to 3/4” from the floor is a good guideline.

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How can you tell if a garment is well made?

Fabric is the easiest way to determine quality, and good fabric is not cheap; you get what you pay for. Stitches and finishing techniques are another giveaway. 

What should a customer look for in terms of stitching, seams, and hems?

French stitches or seams are much better than machine-made seams, which can make lighter fabric, especially, look “gathered.” It will also not press nicely. Baby seams, as opposed to regular rolled seams, are beautiful for lighter-weight garments; you can see the workmanship.