Your Style ABCs...
There are so many different ways to identify body types and shape. When I work with clients, I steer away from giving specific names such as: apple, pear, strawberry, rectangle etc. We are so much more basic shapes and fruit! But, that being said, I truly believe there is a Science to style. And, because of that Science, there are particular cuts, silhouettes, shapes that are going to flatter us better than others. Once we know these, getting dressed is really all about creating optical illusions. Working with our personal ABCs. Here's how it works:
A: Accentuate or Attention
What features do you love about yourself? Where do you want to draw attention or accentuate when getting dressed?
When I work with clients, coming up with the A in their ABCs is usually what they find most difficult. We can be so hard on ourselves. So, when trying to come up with your “A”, you may need to enlist the help of a good friend, partner, maybe your mum? You know, those people who love you best.
Through a little strategic outfit planning, we can direct the eye to those areas that we feel good about and show off our best features. For example: have sparkling eyes and a dazzling smile? Statement earrings or necklace are going to direct the attention that way (but don’t wear them together!). Love your legs? Maybe a printed pencil or mini skirt, or a coloured slim leg trouser to direct attention there. Have a defined waist? Draw attention by wearing dresses or tops with that cinch or belt at the waist.
Using print, colour, shine or accessories strategically can draw attention to the areas you feel good about (and therefore move it away from the areas you don’t love as much).
We’re all familiar with the hourglass figure and how it epitomizes the image of femininity. This is often the shape that many try to emulate when getting dressed. And, traditionally, clothing was designed to accommodate this shape. In reality, around only 8% of women have this body shape. The majority of people tend to be more straight (rectangle if you are using shape terminology) or wider in the hip area (pear or triangle). And, there are so many other variations in addition to those!
Whether or not you are aiming to give the illusion of an hourglass figure, there is something to be said (and pleasing) about finding balance or symmetry when looking at proportions.
So, when trying to find your B, look carefully at your body and think about areas you need to seek balance. For example: if you are broad in the shoulders, you can find balance when getting dressed by wearing either an A line skirt or dress, or having a straight or wider leg trouser. If your body is very straight, you can add some balance by wearing something that has some flow or movement. If you are wider on the bottom half (hips etc.) you can add balance through wearing necklines such as boat or v-neck, or adding a slight shoulder pad to jacket.
C: Conceal or Camouflage
While A is the most difficult for people to come up with, C is usually the easiest. We can play down the areas we want to conceal or detract from by wearing darker, plain fabrics.
Not happy with your thighs? Wear a dark denim with no embellishment, distressing etc. Feel like your arms aren't toned? Choose shapes that fit loosely around your shoulders and arms. While darker fabrics are great for downplaying, if you are trying to conceal a tummy, it is great to have tops that float away from the body as opposed to cling, and finding the right print can be your best friend as it keeps the eye moving. Do not be fooled into thinking that wearing oversized clothing is the way to conceal - that is just going to make you look bigger all over and quite frumpy.
Once you have identified the areas for your personal ABCs you can start to come up with an arsenal of tips and tricks for getting dressed.
Another helpful activity is to look at the pieces in your wardrobe and try and identify those that make you feel really confident. You may see a trend in the shape of them and start to realize why they make you feel so amazing. Also, look for any garments that have earned some compliments. What is it about that piece that works so well on you? On the flip side, have a hard look at garments that you own, that when you wear you never feel at ease. Maybe you fidget with them, maybe you don't feel top of your game when donning them. The are probably not be aligning with your style ABCs.
Let me know if you have any questions or require any help - I love helping people discover what is going to work to look and feel their best!
In an upcoming post, I will outline some steps for uncovering your personal style (which I refer to as the Art of Style!).