Search online for ‘Body Shape’ and you will find an array of websites guiding you towards selecting the size of your hips, the width of your shoulders, how well endowed you are in the chest area and so on.
To any female, this is a good guide for how to shop. But as a lover of personal styling, identifying which category you come into is not where it ends.
So technically, I am a pear shape because my hips are wider than my bust. That means I should wear tops with fitted waists, off the shoulder or wide at the neck. I should wear flat fronted wide legged trousers and avoid tight trousers and pencil skirts. That wardrobe clear-out I was doing, I may need to start again?!
The idea of the body shape guide is to balance each part of your figure, with the aim of a flattering look. I agree with the aim, but if I wear tops tight at the waist I look short, if I wear wide neck tops, I just look wide all over, and as for the suggestion of strapless tops – an impossible style for me because of the length (and size!) of my chest area. I love wide trousers, but they need a pleat to extend my leg length, and my favourite jeans and skirts are tight! On the other hand, I know another ‘pear’ who could stick to every rule!
It’s not just your chest, hip and waist measurements that define your body shape – if you really want, you could measure your neck to chest, the length of your stomach, the length of your legs, in fact, even the length of my hair determines some styles I wear! Of course, some of the rules will work for you, but what is important to remember is to not limit yourself! We are all different.
Unfortunately, if you are not a shopper, here comes the bad news. The only way you will learn what suits you, is to try it on – all of it. But never fear, tips at the ready!
- Start by using what is already in your wardrobe to build a picture of what you feel most confident in – and the biggest tip, if you don’t feel confident in it, it probably doesn’t suit you.
*However, just a quick story to go with that point…on my final day helping out at Fashion Week, taking the heat backstage and the ‘black’ rule into account (I own very little black!), I decided to wear a pair of vintage palazzo trousers and a little blouse – you can see the image here. I felt this style worked best on me after trying a few tighter tops and loved this when I left the house, but as soon as I was walking, I felt uncomfortable. I wore the same trousers and top the following day, only with different shoes – different feeling; I loved my outfit the whole day! So don’t discard straight away, items may need a few attempts!
- Think about what you need your clothes for and try them on as you would be wearing them.
I’ve said it before, I wish I wore heels more often. But as this has never happened, there is no point in me trying on an outfit for work, or for an afternoon out shopping if I will never wear it. Be practical!
- Take a photo
If you are happy with an item, take a picture and keep a separate file stored on your phone or computer. If you area anything like me, I generally do this photo shoot at the end of a long day and therefore take the picture without a head, these are not posing shots but rather think of it like a catalogue to your wardrobe – and you don’t have to spend any more money to look this fabulous;)
- When you shop, try something new
We often develop our style and get so comfortable it is hard to divert from this but our body shape and colouring changes over time and between seasons. What may not have suited you even a year ago, may suit you now – so if you like it, have a go!
And again, if you are not sure how well a piece of clothing, or an outfit suits, feel free to tag me on Instagram, message on Facebook or Twitter or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss. Remember, its all about ‘style that works for you…’.