Step 4. Figure Out If the Sweater Will Pill
There's no foolproof method to predict pilling, but check the label: The higher the acrylic content, the more likely a garment is to produce those tiny fuzz balls. Invest in a depiller.

— Lloyd Boston

Step 5. Beware of Buying Online (Yes, Still)
Internet shopping is safe if you take a few precautions. First, look for a privacy policy that explains how your information will be protected. Check whether there's a brick-and-mortar address with a phone number; call it if you have any doubts about the site's security or authenticity. When entering your credit card info, be sure the URL in the address bar has changed from http:// to https:// or shttp://. That stands for "secure." Be cautious when buying from someone outside your own country, and never wire a seller money directly (scammers love wire transfers because they're nearly impossible to trace). Last thing: The security code on the back of your credit card might seem like a secret, but Susan Grant at the National Consumers League says that it was invented for transactions in which buyer and seller aren't face-to-face and is safe to give to secure online retailers.

Step 6. Learn How to Shop If You're Losing Weight
Looking great is a huge motivator to sweat through spin classes now in order to look fabulous later. So instead of buying something you'll "shrink" into, invest in a few things that fit now. Go for structured items in medium-weight to heavyweight fabrics; especially flattering are button-front shirts and flat-front trousers. Anything with a little Lycra or spandex in it will hold its shape if you lose (or gain) a few pounds. And once you've lost the weight, don't invest in a whole new wardrobe until you've kept it off for at least six months.

— Stacy London, co-host of TLC's What Not to Wear

Step 7. Understand Why You're a Size 6 and a 10
Because every brand bases its sizing on its fit model—a woman who the company thinks physically represents its average customer or who has a body that appeals to the designer's vision. Designers with an older clientele sometimes use a fit model with a curvier shape. Also, many mass brands do vanity sizing—they offer very generous cuts, on the premise that if you take a smaller size in their clothes, you'll be inclined to buy more of them.

— Kendall Farr

Step 8. Give It the Wrinkle Test
Before you buy a garment, squeeze a handful of fabric for 20 seconds. If it looks like an unmade bed, that's how you'll look wearing it.

— Kendall Farr

Next: 6 rules of tailoring


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