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What is Slim Fit Clothing?

By Sheri Cyprus
Updated May 21, 2024
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Slim fit clothing refers to any garment that fits the wearer close to the body. Generous fit clothing is loose, whereas slim-fit styles are quite tight. Pants, shirts, and other garments in this style don't have extra fabric hanging or draping anywhere. People with lean body types especially appreciate the closer fit because it can give them a more tailored look.

Regular fit clothing is sized between the generous and slim fits. It tends to skim most body types comfortably; regular fit pants and shirts have a little extra fabric. For thinner people, slim fit clothing tends to look like regular fitted designs made for average body types. Without the availability of slim fitting clothing, many leaner people have to buy the smallest regular fit sizes and get them tailored to fit.

For instance, men with leaner body types often find that regular fit dress shirts have extra fabric billowing in the back, and regular suit pants tend to be too baggy. Men's suits are supposed to look tailored, so lean men usually need slim fit suits to accomplish a professional-looking fit. Slim fit suits allow for a slimmer waist in jackets and narrower pant legs at the hips. In regular fit suits, small figure types can look lost in a sea of fabric.

Slim fit jeans are made for both men and women. These may be "skinny leg" pants or wider legged styles that fit snugly at the waist and hips. Skinny legged jeans fit very close to the body even down to the ankles; they tend to flatter leaner body types. Some slim fitting jeans are low-waist, which means the waist of the pants fastens at the top of the hip, far below the natural waistline. The natural waistline is between the lower ribs and the belly button at the smallest part of the waist.

In order to create a slimmer fit, garments may have some stretchy materials added. For example, spandex is a synthetic stretchy fabric that is often blended with cotton to create slim-fit blouses for women. The added spandex creates a body-hugging, rather than baggy, fit.

It's important that slim fit clothing doesn't fit so close to the body that it restricts movement. Seams and buttonholes shouldn't pull when the wearer sits down, and suits, pants, and tops should move with the body rather than restrict it. Wearing the correct size of garment is necessary for the best, most flattering look.

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Discussion Comments
By anon322618 — On Feb 28, 2013

I'm trying to find a suit for an athletic frame. Most suits seem to be slim fit, but these appear to be made for men with incredibly thin arms and legs. Do tailored fit suits have more room in the arms and legs?

By anon303329 — On Nov 13, 2012

If I wear a regular size 42 suit, is it the same size 42 I should wear in slim fit or is there a difference, because I intend buying online and need some advice before I can do so.

Is a size 42 slim fit a reflection of a size 42 regular suit?

By SteamLouis — On Apr 10, 2011

I think that as the "size zero" phenomenon has happened, slim fit clothing has become more popular. I mean that women want to be thin, lean and wear clothing in the smallest size possible. Slim pants and tights have been used so much by fashion designers and that affects the kind of clothing available to us in the stores.

I have a petite shape, so I also like to wear slim fit pants. It makes me look thinner and if I also wear high heels with them, I look taller too. I prefer to wear slim-fit pants and jeans in winter and fall mostly. In the summer, it is so hot that if I wear slim fit clothing, I feel very uncomfortable and even sticky when it's humid. I prefer cotton made loose pants and flowing dresses at summer time.

In the winter though, slim fit seems to keep me warmer. It's also nice to combine slim fit and generous fit clothing items. For example, if you combine a loose fitting long sweater with slim fitting tights and heels, it looks really nice and fashionable.

By BrickBack — On Apr 10, 2011

@Icecream17 - I like wearing slim fitting clothing when I am working out. I like the feel of spandex and the material is not only soft but because the material is breathable my clothing is not drenched in sweat.

It is also more comfortable because it holds your form better when you are working out. This is really the only slim fitting clothing that I would wear because I think that I would be too self conscious if I wore anything slim cut outside of the gym.

At the gym everyone wears clothing like this so you really don’t stand out, but outside of the gym it is a different story.

By icecream17 — On Apr 10, 2011

I have seen some men wear tight fitting shirts. I also see many women wear skinny jeans or tight fitting tee shirt clothing in the form of dresses.

If you have a small frame then it could be a flattering but if you have a few pounds to lose this type of clothing can really be uncomfortable.

For example, a great alternative to the skinny jeans with the tapered legs are the wide pant legs because they take the emphasis off the upper thigh and hips.

So if you have a few pounds to lose this cut would be the most flattering. Also avoiding pants with pleats, side, or back pockets is important if you have wider hips because they tend to make you look heavier.

By SauteePan — On Aug 02, 2010

There are some men that like to wear slimfit T-shirts. They are often made of a soft light weight material made of cotton. Many men wear a variation of either black or white slim fit T-shirts.

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