My parents and older brother have a rule of thumb for determining if my clothes are appropriate: if I’m trying to leave the house in it, it’s probably too tight (or too short, too revealing, too low cut, too “loud,” too not-a-nun’s-habit). When it comes to fashion I’m a little more liberal than the rest of my family; I frequently fly in the face of convention, even going so far as occasionally wearing white after Labor Day. I’m a rebel. A trendsetter. A fashion icon. I know that if your dress is tight enough, it may just save your life.
There is a line, however. Even I wouldn’t be so disrespectful as to wear white on Labor Day. There are certain signs you can follow to determine if you look stylish and chic or like you got lost on your way to your closet and ended up in the children's section.
Pants are a hard one. Typically I go by the mantra “If it zips, it fits” but it’s actually a little more nuanced than that. After all, with a shoe horn and enough Crisco, you can squeeze your body into basically anything. It is a warning sign if you need a second person to help you into your jeans, but we all need a friend sometimes and that’s not necessarily a deal breaker.
The real determinant is what happens to the rest of your body when you slip on your denim second skin. Is it fully encased in the fabric like a sausage in pig intestine? Then you’re fine. Walking might be difficult and you should avoid bending over and especially sitting at all costs, but walking and standing only should leave you looking amazing and slender. If, instead, your body is pushed upwards, above the line of your waistband, so that you look like you’re on a power bulk cycle for your torso and chest... you should probably save those pants for your skinny days. Remove them slowly so you don’t faint as the blood returns to your lower extremities.
I’m tempted to say that if you’re skinnier than me and a girl, you should avoid wearing tight tops altogether and instead pad out your midsection with bulky cable knit sweaters and peplum tops to round out your figure. That’s just me being catty, though.
The true identifier of whether or not your shirt is too tight is what you are revealing. If you can see the outline of your bra, your belly button, and exactly what you ate for lunch, your shirt is too tight. Are you only revealing your slender, feminine figure? Fine, you can wear that top, but please don’t show up at any of the same bars as me.
If you’re a man, ask yourself: how many times do I go to the gym a week? If your answer is three or less, your shirt may be too tight. If your answer is more than three, your shirt is definitely too tight, take it off, and don’t put anything else back on.
Remember, it is okay to wear your skinny jeans, even after Labor Day. That being said, it's probably still a good idea to take evasive measures to avoid walking in front of any older brother you might have.