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Fit tips for women's business wear

Elaina is a Phoenix-based freelance writer, blogger and co-founder of the Kidlee baby book app. Check out her blog, Fun Finds For Mom, for product reviews, recipes and fun activities for moms and kids.

If the suit fits...

Building your work wardrobe can be a big investment, so you want to make sure you go for pieces that fit your personal style and body shape. These tips will help you get the perfect fit, whether you’re wearing your new clothes right off the hanger or heading to the tailor for a nip and tuck.

how to pick the perfect business suit

Blazers

A new blazer is a great way to revitalize your look. Pick a style that gives you the flexibility to dress it up or down, and make sure it fits you in all the right places by making a note of these blazer fit tips:

• Shoulders

When you slip on a blazer, it should fit comfortably in the shoulders without pulling. It also should not be too roomy in that area. Make sure the seams are centered on your shoulders and the edges don't extend past your shoulders. Rotate your arms and make sure you have full range of motion.

• Sides

Purchase a blazer that fits comfortably at your widest point (stomach, chest, or shoulders). If necessary, have it altered by taking in the waist.

• Length

Choose the length of your blazer based on your own personal style preference. Keep in mind that cropped blazers are more flattering on petite women, while longer styles look great on taller women.

• Sleeves

The end of your blazer sleeves should reach your wrist bones. But if you will be wearing a shirt with sleeves extending beyond the edge of the jacket, the blazer sleeves should reach slightly above your wrist bones. Make sure your sleeves do not cover your hands, and avoid exposing too much arm.

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Expert Tip: "Get out of a rut. You have to keep updating your look. If you're still wearing big, boxy blazers, you're aging yourself. Try a shrunken, cropped version." -- Project Runway's Tim Gunn for MORE Magazine

Dress Pants

No work wardrobe is complete without fashionable and flattering dress pants. These simple tips will help you choose dress pants that both flatter and fit.

• Waist

Make sure you sit down when trying on your dress pants. The waist should fit comfortably. If you fall in between sizes, buy the bigger size and have the pants altered.

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• Legs

Just say no to camel toe. Truly, a too-short crotch is the worst dress pants offense. Make sure there is no wrinkling or pulling across the front of your pants. On the flip side, if pants are too loose in the leg, have a tailor take in the width.

• Length

Decide on the height of the shoes you will be wearing with your pants, and have the pants altered accordingly. The hem should just graze the floor, but not drag on the ground.

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Expert Tip: "Get the hem right. A modern look for pants is longer than it used to be. Your hem should create a 'break' on your shoe, not skim the top of it." -- Project Runway's Tim Gunn for MORE Magazine

Skirts

Pencil skirts are a business wear staple, and can be worn with a matching suit jacket or other separate top. Follow these guidelines to make sure your skirt fits and flatters.

• Waist

Your skirt should sit right at or slightly below your natural waist. Use your belly button as a guide. If you have to suck in your belly to zip up, the skirt is too tight. Your zipper should pull up easily for the proper fit.

• Thigh

Take full advantage of the three-way mirrors in the dressing room and make sure there are no tight areas where your skirt puckers from strain. Conversely, you should not be swimming in extra fabric. Choose a skirt that fits your body nicely and gives you enough room to move.

• Length

The hem of your skirt should fall at or slightly above the knee.

Sheath Dress

A sheath dress is a classic silhouette that is perfect for the office. Use these tips to ensure a perfect fit.

• Neckline

The neck of your sheath should lie at or just above your collar bone. Look for a sheath dress with interesting details such as beading or a V cut to add interest. Lean forward while trying on the dress to make sure you aren't exposing any cleavage.

• Bust

Make sure the bust fits snugly with no gapping.

• Armholes

Rotate your arms to make sure you have full range of motion. Check to make sure your bra is covered completely.

• Hips/Waist

The waist should taper in to flatter your figure, with the hemline falling just above your knee. The natural silhouette of a sheath dress is narrow. However, you shouldn't feel any tightness through the hips or waist. Just like the fit of a business skirt, there should be no unflattering excess fabric in the hip area.

More on the workplace:

How to interpret the workplace dress code
Dress to impress: How fashion can affect your career
Ways to win over your boss without saying a word

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