Students of the Gokhale Method sometimes find that their new upright, relaxed posture makes clothes fit better. Tailored clothes, however, sometimes fit worse, restricting motion and bunching up in awkward places. Here are some items to watch out for, and how to test their fit:
Jeans - Cut to Tuck?
Tucking the pelvis is so widespread in modern societies that most jeans and pants are designed around this posture. Fashion models tuck, teenagers tuck (sometimes highlighting this stance with sagging pants!), and even fitness instructors tuck and teach their students to tuck.
Jeans cut to fit a tucked pelvis are more symmetric front to back. They lack room for well-developed glutes (buttock muscles). The belt line tends to be horizontal. The fabric over the groin/hip area lacks a crease, and tends to fall in a vertical plane between the abdomen and the front of the thigh.
If you have worked on restoring your natural posture you may find that many pants don’t fit well – the fabric over the groin area is excessive and unflattering, and the beltline gapes above the buttocks. With truly well-cut pants, though, you will find that your Gokhale Method techniques provide you a flattering look. When you learn to antevert your pelvis, your belt line angles slightly down towards the front, and, with your behind behind you, you take up more fabric from the seat of the pant. As you glidewalk your way to a firmer, perkier behind (8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, Ch. 8), you will further flesh out the seat of your pants in an attractive and youthful way. An additional bonus from having a muscular derriere is that you will raise your basal metabolism rate (read: easier weight loss) and you will be a better athlete.
Take the hip-hinge test!
If you are not sure about the fit of your pants, do the hip-hinge test! (8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, Ch. 7). If your pants don’t allow you to comfortably nestle your body between your hips as you bend, then they are actually encouraging you to tuck! Tucking keeps your hamstrings short and restricts the proper range of movement of the pelvis around the tops of your thigh bones. This compromises the health of your hip joint (“use it or lose it”) and your back, which is forced to round if your hips won’t bend. Additionally, be sure that the cut of your pants is not discouraging hip-hinging because there isn’t enough fabric in the back to cover as much of your derriere as your sense of modesty requires!
Jackets – Cut to Curve?
How does practicing the Gokhale Method affect your upper body? With your arms and shoulders positioned further back, your upper body straightens and lengthens, and your breathing naturally expands your chest. As your traps and rotator cuff muscles learn to relax, your shoulders slope down more and your arms hang wider from your body, giving you a more powerful presence.
You may find that fitted or tailored jackets and blouses round your arms, shoulders and chest forward. It is important to make sure there is sufficient room to button a blouse or zip up a jacket without having to round your shoulders forward (and preferably without being excessively baggy in the back!). Be prepared to get your clothing adjusted or even move to a different size. A truly well-cut piece of clothing can work like a posture guide, gently nudging you into a posture that is a step up from where you habitually find yourself.
An ideal jacket or coat will be cut to leave extra room for your behind, instead of falling straight down over your bottom with the assumption that it is tucked; with an anteverted pelvis, poorly designed jackets pull in the front and bunch awkwardly over the lumbar spine.
Coat hanger tip:
Most hangers are shaped for slightly forward-drifted shoulders. Turning them around when you hang up your clothes makes for a better shape and a great reminder to roll your shoulders back.
Try the shoulder roll test:
Next time you try on a jacket, give it the shoulder roll test. Be discerning! If it restricts you from performing a comfortable shoulder roll and encourages forward shoulders, find another garment that, instead of encouraging harmful habits, will support you in your posture journey.
Do you have any stories of clothes that no longer fit right after learning the Gokhale Method, or qualities you now look for in new clothes when you shop? We'd love to hear about your experiences in the comments!