Learn your style ABCs
Whether or not the "back to school" applies to you at this point in your life, September is the perfect time to reconnect with the basics in so many areas - including your style! Plus, as a bonus for taking the time to figure out your own "style ABCs", I am encouraging you to treat yourself to something new! Fall and Back to School promos are the perfect time to inject something fresh into your closet - but mindfully with pieces that align with this new knowledge.
There are so many different ways to identify body types and shape. When I work with clients, I steer away from focusing on specific labels such as: apple, pear, strawberry, rectangle etc. We are so much more basic shapes and fruit. But, I truly believe there is a Science to style. And, because of that Science, there are particular cuts, silhouettes, shapes that we might feel better in than others. Once we know these, they become our personal ABCs.
Here's how it works:
A: Accentuate or Attention
What features do you love about yourself? There are the zones you will want to draw attention or accentuate when getting dressed.
Coming up with the A in the ABCs is usually what people 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, or wider in the hip area. 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 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. Or, a longer-line necklace to draw the eye inward and down. 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.
Another area of balance that I love to incorporate into style is through the use of opposites. Pairing something dressy with a more casual piece, mixing more expensive pieces with cheep and cheerful, or playing with style personality types such as feminine and edgy. Finding balances that feel like you can get step you closer to really understanding your personal style.
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.
Your thighs not your favourite zone? Wear a dark denim with no embellishment, distressing etc. Feel like your arms aren't toned at the moment? 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 has the tendency to make one look bigger.
** It's important to note that your body is absolutely perfect the way it is! My work with many clients over the years, however, has illustrated that quite often people (myself included) have some zones they feel better about than others. And, if applying a few simple tricks when getting dressed can help one feel more confident - I think it's worth sharing. It's not about size, weight or shape. It is about how you feel in what you wear and how you present yourself to the world.
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'll probably notice a trend and start to realize why they make you feel so amazing. Also, look for any garments that have garnered compliments. What is it about that piece that works so well on you? On the flip side, have a hard look at garments you never wear, or that never feel at ease. Maybe you fidget with them and they don't make you feel top of your game. Chances are, they are not aligning with your style ABCs.
Let me know if you have any questions while figuring out yours - and don't forget to treat yourself a little after doing the work!