Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: 8

What Makes an Outfit Work (Part 2)

So how does one put What Makes an Outfit Work (Part 1) into practice? Lots of trial and error, until it becomes second nature. Here’s an example…

Style Blogger in Ubiquitous Striped Top Snap!

Personality

I have a pretty out-there personality. I am friendly, mostly direct, and not afraid to speak my mind. My style recipe is Mischievous Femi-Modern. I don’t do girly feminine. I’m into bling, but not ruffles or florals. The bracelet stack is hiding in this casual shot, but that and earrings were my bling for the day. I have a lot of Classic in my personality, so Levi’s 501’s and the (ubiquitous) striped top. The Classic in me also tends toward the darker colors in my palette, rather than the lighter shades. The Feminine comes out in the silk scarf, the narrow suede shoes, and the bow on the toe.

Personal Coloring

My coloring is Sublime in the Absolute Color System. I am Sublime! (That is such fun to say!) The Absolute Color System has 18 different and very nuanced palettes. It’s the color system I have been trained in and I think it’s the best out there. I never fit very well into the Color Me Beautiful/Four Seasons system, and appreciate how this one works so well for me and my clients. My personal coloring is light rather than dark. The outfit on the right is tending too dark for me; you can see how much more harmonious the coloring of lighter outfit on the left is.

Color Contrast and Value Contrast

My personal coloring is 2 Neutrals plus 1 Color, which is (almost) reflected here. I have a lot of neutrals going on in the stripey shot. Denim, Dark Green, and the White in my top all behave as neutrals. My color is the plum in my shoes and scarf. The bright shoes could distract from the communication center (face), but repeating the color from the shoes with the scarf draws your attention back up where it belongs. To the left, the softer neutrals are more in line with my personal coloring; there are fewer neutrals, and they more closely mimic my hair color. The teal blouse keeps color (and attention) near my face. My Value Contrast is Medium High. The casual outfit contrast is higher than the more suited look on the left. The dark trim on the suit jacket gives the pop needed to create a higher value contrast. Without it, the look would be too low contrast.

Body Shape

I am a petite 8 Shape. The dark neutral jacket and jeans create a column of color to create a longer vertical line. That same column contains the stripes preventing the dreaded widening effect. Ideally, I should wear a trouser that is long, but I prefer a crop and fun shoe, so the column helps there, too. If I was not wearing the jacket, a full length skinny jean would look better here!  On the left, the grey trousers and tweed create a column as well, but it is chopped by the black trim at the jacket hem. Ideally, the waist detail is balanced by the verticals on the jacket front, and the heeled grey shoe carries the color to a longer line, as well.

Hope this helps you see how just a few of the pieces fit together to create an outfit that is you! (Or me, as the case may be…) What outfit feels most “you” and why? Please share in the comments below!

8 Body Shape

8 Body Shape

Previously, I have talked about the different women’s body shapes, and how body shape has to do with your skeleton, and with the way your “meat” is attached to those bones. To determine body shape, we look at the shoulders and hips, and their relationship to each other. We also look at whether the waist is defined or not.  The first very common body shape we talked about is the A. Then we tackled the X, one of two body shapes often referred to as “hourglass” figures. The other hourglass figure is the 8.

Put Away the Measuring Tape!

(This first part is the same for all body shapes!) To determine your body shape, take a full length photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami. Print out the picture if you can, and lay a ruler on it. Draw a straight line from your shoulder bone (not the outside of your arm) to the widest part of your hip. For some women this will be at the hip bones. For some, the widest part may be across the leg crease. If the line you draw is perpendicular to the ground and your waist is defined, you are an X or an 8 shape. The difference between the two can be subtle, but the difference in how to dress their shapes is enormous!  Both are often referred to as an hourglass figure, so how do you tell if you are an X or an 8? An 8 has a high hip shelf, and an X has a smooth transition from the waist to the widest part of the hip. X’s are oftenlong-waisted, and 8’s are frequently shorter-waisted. 8’s are more prone to love handles, and X’s are less love handle prone. (Marilyn Monroe was an 8; Sophia Vergara is an X.)

8’s What to Wear

If the goal is to create a balanced figure, then 8’s want to highlight the waist, without creating a “poof” that will widen the hips. Where the X looks great in an A-line, the 8 looks better in a pencil skirt. Likewise, a sheath dress (especially belted) is usually a better choice than a flared one for the 8. If you are an X that becomes an A when you put on a few pounds (like yours truly), you may find a slight A-line skirt more forgiving than the pencil. Long-waisted 8’s can wear a belt, but many 8’s find belting causes clothing to poof out making tummy and hips look larger than they are. Fitted pieces may belt better than blousy ones, depending on the fabric. Finding trousers that are high enough in the back to cover the “handles” can be a challenge, especially in the current low-rise environment; many trousers hit mid-love-handle or ride below them making an 8 look heavy or sloppy. Peplum tops and jackets generally flatter an 8; they give room for that high hip! Tops should end just below that high hipbone. Finding fabrics that drape, but do not cling is key to looking smooth, and not lumpy. Belted coats are fabulous on an 8!

8’s What to Avoid

Tunics, which have been everywhere these past few seasons, are not 8 friendly, unless you find one with waist definition. 8’s should avoid boxy tops, and straight tops and jackets. Wide trousers and flares should be left in the shop, as they widen the figure of an 8 rather than creating balance. Steer clear of tops that hide your waist, or are too tight across your hips. Pleated skirts are also to be avoided as they can bubble out over the hip, but sewn down pleats that release around the leg crease can be flattering. Staying away from clingy fabrics, and bias cuts that Saran Wrap themselves to your curves will create a smoother, more flattering line.

When You Love It Anyway

If you can’t live without that tunic, belt it! Want to wear that wide legged jean? Then tuck in the front of your top to draw the eye to highlight your waist. Even a 1/2 tuck will do! This particular 8 finds the 1/2-tuck a blessing! It gives definition to my waist, while creating a drape in back that covers my “handles.” If belting a top or jacket creates too much “poof”, try sliding the belt up a little higher, and loosen it a notch to highlight your waist and ease the fabric. And always make sure to shift most of the gathers created to the front and back, away from your hipbones! Tee too blousy, or too long? Create a waist by gathering fabric on the reverse side and securing it with a rubber band  (known as a Kimtuck), or pull the excess together at the hem, slip the tail through a belt loop, and into your waistband.

 

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

What’s Shape Got to Do with It? (Apologies to Tina Turner…)

Before I start work with my clients, I ask them to fill out a questionnaire, to help me better understand them and find out with what they want help. One of the most frequent responses about a client’s goals is to learn to dress his or her Body Shape.

A Little History

The “ideal” body shape has changed dramatically over time., and differs from culture to culture. In western culture, for much of history, extra weight was a status symbol signifying that you were well off. You had more than enough to eat! Think of all those amazing paintings by Rubens. Botticelli’s Venus, as trim as she is, still sports a little tummy pooch. No ripped abs or muscled legs for her! Her attendant is a well-built woman, with thighs that could certainly be called strong and generous. The nipped and corseted women of the past may have been striving for the ideal of a tiny waist, but were still expected to be full elsewhere. So when did society’s obsession with thin begin? We most commonly associate the 1920’s with the beginning of the thin craze, but the boyish figure obsession of that era passed and in the 1930’s and 40’s curves ruled again. In the 60’s, Twiggy and the Youthquake brought the “skinny kid” figure  back into style, and we still struggle with an obsession with thinness today. If you have ever felt trapped in the wrong time for your body style-wise, you are not alone!

What is Body Shape?

Put simply, your Body Shape is your skeleton, and your silhouette. Your body shape is determined by your skeleton, most notably your hips and shoulders, and how they are related. This is (for the most part) determined by your genes and your environment when you were growing up. There is really not much you can do to change the skeleton you have. (Although, you CAN control the kind of skeleton you WILL have when you are 80, so please eat well, don’t smoke, and do weight bearing exercise!)

If you Google “body shape” you will find oodles of images, and geometric and object shape names! Brick, bell, rectangle, triangle, apple, pear, hourglass, inverted triangle, oval, straw, column, straight, spoon, diamond, and the list goes on. I am not impressed by being called a fruit shape, and even less so a brick. My training was with the amazing Imogen Lamport from AOPI, and I love her letter and number based system that leaves those negative word connotations behind.

The Basic Body Shapes

The basic female body shapes are I, H, O, X, A, V, and 8. Five of the shapes are balanced, meaning that the shoulders and hips are equal in width. This is NOT the same as being the same measurement around! This is a visual measurement across the shoulders and hips. The balanced shapes are I, H, O, X, and 8. Now you can be a plump balanced shape or a slim balanced shape, your weight is not relevant, here. The unbalanced shapes are the A, and the V. You can imagine an A having wider hips than shoulders, and a V having wider shoulders than hips. (Often referred to as a “swimmer’s body…) Again, you can be a curvier A or V, or a more slender A, or V. Every body shape has its benefits and challenges, and almost everyone I have met wishes they had a different one! Every body shape is beautiful, and every body shape can look amazing when properly dressed!

Next week we will talk more about figuring out your body shape, but if you can’t wait that long, contact me and I would love to get you started with a consultation!