5 Clothes You Should Buy a Little Big (And 4 You Should Buy a Little Small)

So you’re between sizes. So what? An insider tip for the next time you go shopping: Sometimes it’s actually smarter to size up (or down). Why? Because…laundry. Here, a handy guide for choosing the right size from the get-go.

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clothing you should be buying a little big
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What You Should Buy A Little Bit Big

1. T-shirts. With the quality kinds being largely comprised of cotton, you’re at risk of dryer shrinkage of up to 20 percent. Sizing up means you don’t have to sweat it if the shirt accidentally tumbles dry.

2. Collared shirts. This guy will shrink less--but at an average of 3 percent over time. The challenge is that you never know where the shrinkage will appear (the sleeves, the collar, the shoulders).

3. Wool sweaters. Fibers contract in the wash (and at the dry cleaner), so you’ll want to invest in a slightly roomier option. It’s cozier like that anyway, right?

4. Socks. Again, they’re mainly cotton, which means they tend to draw up in the wash. Since you don’t want to cut off your circulation, go big.

5. Sundresses. There’s nothing sadder than a swingy little dress that once fit perfectly--then lost inches off the hem. Size up or be at the mercy of hand washing for the rest of your days.

clothing you should be buying a little small
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What You Should Buy A Little Bit Small

1. Denim. You may be gasping for air in the fitting room, but this is good. The fiber weaving will loosen throughout the day, so buying a fitted pair is best.

2. Yoga pants. If there’s even 5 percent Spandex in the fabric blend, these guys will act like jeans and stretch out the longer you have them on.

3. Polyester-blend sweaters. Love those thin, drapey joints? Opt on the snug side so that it resists elongating into a sloppy mess throughout the day.

4. Tights. After a wash or two, nylons will start pooling at the knees and ankles--and no one wants that.  

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...