A wee little while ago I asked all my lovely readers to comment on what they would like to see more of on my blog. There were heaps of responses on all kinds of topics but the voices that screamed the loudest were the ones who needed advice on how to dress well for their shape. Unfortunately there is no way to answer this question for everyone. I have read so many body bibles and have walked away feeling even more confused than I was before. I have decided that all this ruler, pear and apple shaped crap is stupid. What annoys me is that every book and magazine that I read says that women who are ‘pear-shaped’ should wear halter tops and low cut t-shirts to show off their ‘best feature’ which by default should be their breasts. Not all pear shaped women have good breasts or shoulders. They may have killer abs or an Audrey slender neck. There are far too many variables within our makeup to be able to label people as a particular shape. It just doesn’t make any sense. Why do you think separates are so popular? Because a lot of people aren’t the same size all over! So let’s break it down shall we?
The best piece of advice I have ever read is from ‘Dress Like A Star’ by Annebelle van Tongeren. Annebelle recommends taking a photo of yourself dressed in fitted clothes, printing it out and then blacking out the photo and getting a clean look at your silhouette. Come on ladies we have all stood in the mirror and sucked our stomachs in and flattened our hips and thighs. The silhouette never lies.
Here is mine.
This is the issue I have with all this ruler/apple/pear crap. Not once has anyone covered the classic Big Foot shape. The Big Foot has massive shoulders and arms, no waist and tiny ankles for chasing after humans and swimming around in the lake hunting for fish. An abnormally large head is also part of the package and because the Yeti-woman apparently has a lot of testosterone her breasts are tiny and are stuck on the rib cage of a football player. Her legs are pretty tops though and she is exceedingly proud of the gap between her thighs. Slim hips are also a blessing but when they are sandwiched between the shortest legs known to man and a comically long torso they kind of lose their appeal.
After you have blackened your silhouette Annebelle suggests drawing a line across your widest point. Once you have found that line DO NOT EVER PUT A HORIZONTAL LINE ACROSS IT. By that I mean if your breasts are your widest point drop that strapless dress immediately. If your hips are your widest point steer clear of hip hugging jeans and belts. I really like this concept because it’s formulaic and not opinion based. This method doesn’t give you the option of lying to yourself. The proof is in the pudding baby face.
Now the best thing to do with this information is to create vertical lines across your widest horizontal. For example pleats, gathering, scarves, layers, draping and bias cut can all create vertical lines to kill that widening horizontal that everyone has. My widest point is clearly my shoulders.
Here are some verticals that I have used in past outfit shots to kill my horizontal…
Scarves create vertical lines across my widest point, drawing your attention towards the centre of my shoulders thus creating the illusion that I don’t play gridiron.
Beading detail sloping downwards into a point draws attention away from my big arms towards my teeny tiny bosoms.
Vests are fabulous for broad shouldered gals. They create two long verticals that travel down the body adding extra slimming power cutting through my Amazonian build.
But ladies, being the style addict that I am I have flat out ignored my figure on more than one occasion.
Cap sleeves and a high neck. My only saving graces are the downward pointing triangle, the contrasting belt and the fact that this dress is adorable.
High neck and a horizontal lace pattern right across my widest point. Look at me… ‘Hey, maybe if I put this big bow in my hair no one will notice my man shoulders!’.
Don’t even start with me and this dress. Not only am I putting an incredibly strong horizontal right across my beefy chest but I am adding volume with ruffles.
Can everyone see the difference when I actually acknowledge my flaws and make the effort to hide them? This is not to say that I can’t wear horizontal lines across my widest area for the rest of my life. It just means that I have to accept the fact that I will look like a swimmer on steroids if I do.
Now ladies (and gents…) I challenge you to do the same! Take your photo, blacken your silhouette and tell me what your widest areas are. I will do some research and compile a list of flattering verticals for any horizontal you may have. Oh and do read Annebelle’s book. She is an Australian stylist and has stupid amounts of experience in television and she has a lot of very cool technical tips!
Love Lady Smaggle