Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Whether Men and Women Can Be Friends

DEAR HARRIETTE: How can I appropriately shop in a hurry? I know my general style, but I hate going into fitting rooms to try things on. I'd rather be able to look at an outfit and know by the material and size if it will be a good fit. As someone in the fashion world, do you have any quick tips to help me pick clothes in a non-time- consuming way? -- Hate Shopping

DEAR HATE SHOPPING: Ready-to-wear clothing is meant to fit many bodies who have the measurements of a particular standard size. If you know your measurements, theoretically you should be able to look at a garment, check the size and be able to fit it.

In reality, it’s not that easy. People carry their body weight differently. Height, weight and proportions figure prominently into whether a garment will fit you. If you have a sense of what shapes look best on your body, go for those silhouettes. This will, at least, get you closer to a good fit right away. Look for fabrics that stretch, as they are more forgiving in their fit.

Finally, shop at places that will allow you to return everything within a manageable period of time. In this way, you can purchase what you are interested in and try the items on in your own home rather than in the confines of a dressing room.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)