Garments in the Essential Elements Collection of knit apparel are individually cut and constructed.
Garments in the collection are ordered by Fit Number (1-7) rather than by size, and the basic dress in the collection is the core garment used to determine which Fit Number a customer wears. You can find your fit with a Fitting Associate or at an Essential Elements Fitique (if one is available in your area), or on your own using the guidelines below. Once you determine your best fit in our dresses, you can comfortably order other garments in the collection.
Unless it is a one-size-fit-all garment, the coats, jackets and popovers are designed to fit comfortably over the dresses, and the tops and skirts carry the same fit as the dresses. Additionally, because they are made-to-order, you have choices with several of the style features in many of the garments. You get to select necklines, sleeve designs and lengths, and get to choose whether or not you want pockets.
Below you will find directions on how to find your fit, as well as your style and color options. You can also download the guide (PDF) so you can keep it handy while you are going through the process of placing an order.
Only you know how you want your garments to fit. The first step is recognizing if you prefer your knit garments hug the body, skim your body or fit loosely over your body. However, once you know that, you can use your body measurements to determine your Fit Number and the best Silhouette for your body type.
Take your body measurements at the bust, waist and hip. We also recommend taking them at the tummy because that measurement may actually be larger than the hip. Once you have your actual measurements in hand, use the Garment Measurement Chart below to determine the FIT number and silhouette to order.
We offer two silhouettes in our basic dress, a contoured silhouette that will allow a closer fit in the waist for those whose waistlines are proportionally smaller than their bust and hips; and a straight cut silhouette for those whose waistline measurements are more in line with their bust and hip. The straight silhouette is also better suited for those who simply prefer more room in the waistline.
The actual garment measurements are in Blue (if your body measurements closely correspond to the garment measurements in blue, then you know the garment will basically flow over your body without hugging. If your body measurements closely align with the measurements in yellow, that same fit number will give you a comfortable fit, but it will hug the body more. If your body measurements more closely align with the measurements in red, you can still wear that fit number because the fabric will stretch to that measurement, but it will be tight. If you prefer a loose fit, order the Fit Number with measurements larger than your actual body measurements.
We know that in most instances customer body measurements will not directly correspond to each of the garment measurements given, so we recommend that they aim for the best fit in the bust and then allow for the waist and hip to be tighter or looser if necessary. If the dress is too tight at the bust it will cause the bust area to look compressed, which won’t be flattering. If they order the Fit Number based on the bust and it turns out that their waist measurements will give them a fit that is too tight, they should order the straight silhouette.
We also know there are customers whose bodies are considered top heavy or bottom heavy – your typical V or Pear shape.
For the V Shape – where the bust is proportionately larger, we offer a dropped armhole in the styling option which will give more room in the bust and upper arm. We also offer the option of using two different Fit Numbers for the top and bottom. These pattern adjustments are considered custom and customers are charged a small adjustment fee.
For help in determining your Fit Number and Silhouette, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information, your measurements, and front and side full body shots of yourself (nothing professional - just have someone take it with a phone). It will help us to help you determine your best fit.
Because garments in the Essential Elements Collection are made-to-order, you have choices with several of the style features in many of the garments. You get to select necklines, sleeve designs and lengths, and get to choose whether or not you want pockets in the coats and jackets.
Colors available are on the chart above. When you go to place your order, you must write in the name of the color you've selected. We introduce new colors periodically and this is the page where you will find them.
Our mission with the Essential Elements collection is to use it to provide flexible earning opportunities to single mothers trying to return to school. This is the name we have given to this entire initiative to make people aware of the collection, our mission to use it to impact the lives of women and their children, and the power of the purse.
Our ultimate goal is to have 50,000 customers committed to purchasing one dress per year from us so that we can assist 100 single mothers at a time by providing them with employment and support through graduation, at which time, we can bring aboard and help more.
Click HERE to learn more about the project.