For those of you who are worried this blog is about to get philosophical don’t worry I have no axe to grind today or issue to expose to the harsh light of day. Not to imply that I never think deeply of course, a love of fashion does not indicate a lack of intelligence, but I simply want to talk about the impact that clothing shapes, styles and cuts have on how we look.
I’ll use me as an example. I have a long torso and relatively short legs despite being a little above average height. I have small boobs for my weight and a largish waist. I have nice ankles though and slimmer legs than other people my size, I am also lucky that I am pretty much in proportion so my top and bottom halves look like they match. I am aware of the areas that I need to cover and those that I should emphasize.
The idea behind today’s post is to talk about some ideas for overcoming the things you don’t like about your body shape. It’s about creating the most flattering illusion.
- Wear the right underwear
- Only wear things that fit
- The outfit is about more than just clothes so accessorize and think about shoe and bag choices
- Avoid too much draping, overly baggy clothes or lots of bulky layers
Some tips that are a bit more specific and I like to think work for me:
Short, chunky legs – wear dresses or skirts that end on or just below your knee, this is a good place to “cut” your leg without sacrificing too much height. If you have great legs you can get away with a shorter hemline of course but be careful you still look balanced or otherwise the outfit is going to make you look bulky on top. Tunics worn over leggings are another good idea, they can make your legs look longer and tend to draw the eye away from your waist and hips. Nude shoes help elongate the leg as well so invest in a pair with a bit of a heel to help even you out.
A large waist – wear things that draw attention to an area above or below your waist. I usually prefer wrap or empire line dresses for this reason, they help draw the eye to the area just above my waist and continue in a print or solid colour to my knees, skimming over my tummy and hips. If I am wearing a shirt or jacket I try to make sure it either ends below my waist or is a little structured and makes the most of my cleavage. I prefer a v shaped neck for this purpose.The other trick here is to make sure the shirt doesn’t end up too baggy because poorly fitted clothes are not going to help you look your best.
Long torso – ok this one is a pain, I hate shopping for shirts because almost without fail they have these really pretty tops that are supposed to end below my boobs and they never ever will. It doesn’t matter how much I yank my boobs up there is just too much length between my neck and my underboob area (#technicalterm) and I will spend half my day adjusting them. I prefer to stick to wrap tops to try to counter this because you can usually adjust these a little to allow for your body shape. Alternatively some button down tops with a little shaping at the back can work. Tunics and dresses don’t seem to be as plagued with this issue for some reason so again I usually choose them.
Boobs – unless you are in Steve Jobs (RIP) tribute band I recommend you avoid turtlenecks. For girls with big boobs these create the dreaded mono-boob effect and for girls with small boobs they can sometimes highlight a lack of size. Make the most of what you do have, preferably without having everything on display (because that ends up looking trashy). Again v necks are great for this but looser round, love heart and square necklines can work as well, try on a bunch of tops and see what works best for you.
Other items that can help draw focus to good areas or away from problem areas are:
- belts – can be used to create a more defined waistline or nip you in just below the boobs
- scarves – can add interest to your top half to draw the eye
- bling – like a good scarf they can add interest to your top half to draw the eye
- light layers – can be used to break up or tone down a pattern, or create a slimmer look
I’d be interested in hearing about some fashion tips for overcoming your own problem areas.
Don’t forget that we are always keen to offer suggestions if you have a problem you don’t think you can find a fashion solution to.