Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Tag: What to Avoid

V Body Shape

V Body Shape

Previously, I have talked about 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. So far, we have tackled the AX8, and I. To determine body shape, we look at the shoulders and hips, and their relationship to each other, and at whether the waist is defined or not. When we talk about the X, 8, and I, we say that those are balanced shapes, meaning that they are even in (visual) width at the shoulders and the hips. The A is an unbalanced shape, with hips wider than the shoulders. The V is another unbalanced shape; but with the shoulders wider than the hips.

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 angles in toward your hips from wider shoulders, you may be a V. Some V’s have waists, and others have no defined waist. V’s are often thought of as having a “swimmer’s body.”  V’s are often the envy of their hippier sisters like A’s, X’s and 8’s. Celebrity V’s include Cameron Diaz., Demi Moore, and Hayden Panettiere.

V’s What to Wear

If the goal is to balance your hips and shoulders, then V’s may do this by wearing darker colors on the top and lighter colors on the bottom. Raglan sleeves, and plain tops are good choices. Skirts and pants with horizontal patterns or details also can also help balance the bottom. Whiskering on jeans works for V’s, as do cargo pockets which many other body shapes need to avoid. Gathered and pleated skirts balance the shoulders as well. Trousers or jeans with a flare or bootleg are flattering. V’s should look for tops and jackets that have v-necks or low lapels, and look great in jackets with patch or flap pockets near the hips. Feeling fancy? Halterneck dresses and gowns are made for you, Miss V! The V body shape is the opposite of the A, and they dress “oppositely” too…

V’s What to Avoid

V’s wanting to create balance should avoid drawing attention to the shoulders. Pass by the tops and jackets with epaulettes, cap sleeves, gathered or puffed shoulders. Spaghetti straps on tops just make those broad shoulders look even more broad. Shiny and blousy fabrics on the top will also create more volume where it is not needed. Wide, high lapels like those on biker jackets also create more unnecessary width. Stay away from double-breasted styles to avoid adding bulk to your upper half.

When You Love It Anyway

I am sure everyone is tired of hearing the alterations mantra, but it suits for every body type. V’s may find tailoring trousers to take out bulk from the hips and thighs a necessity. Buy jackets and tops to fit through the shoulders, and have the body tapered to fit properly. If a blousy ruffled top is a must have, wear a long vest over it to create a smoother longer line. If you must wear a top with a very high or closed neckline, draw verticals with jacket openings  or even a long necklace or two. Gotta have those skinny jeans? Pair them with riding boots for balance.

I Body Shape

I 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. So far, we have tackled the A, X, and 8. 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. All three we have looked at so far are curvy waisted shapes. Today we will talk about the I, less curvy, and without a defined waist.

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 there is little to no difference between your vertical line and your waist, you are an I. I’s are straight up and down, and are often thought of as a model’s figure. I’s tend to be very thin; many curvy women wish they were I’s, but the I often wishes she were curvier! (A classic grass is always greener situation!) Celebrity I’s include Keira Knightly, Nicole Ritchie, and Nicole Kidman.

I’s What to Wear

I’s are fortunate in that clothes generally hang well on them. If the I wants to create curves, she should look for details that draw attention to the bust and hips. The ruffles and pleats that other body shapes avoid look fabulous on I’s. I’s look great in horizontal patterns like stripes, even wide ones. No worries about looking too padded in a Breton! Double breasted jackets create width, and can create curves. Flared short sleeves are great on I’s, as are tops with gathers and breast pockets. Gathered or pleated skirts can create the illusion of hips. Belts are an I’s friend, and can create a waist, especially with a softly bloused top. I’s can use color strategically to create curves as well.

I’s What to Avoid

I’s can be bony, and this often appears most prominently in the decolletage. You can avoid drawing attention to this by wearing higher necklines, or softening the neckline with ruffles or gathers. Skip big statement necklaces that lie here as well. I’s can easily be overwhelmed by large scale patterns and oversized pieces. Too much volume can make you look lost inside your clothes. Unless you want to always tuck your jeans, carefully check knee high boots before buying to ensure that they do not gape at the calf.

When You Love It Anyway

Finding small enough clothes can be a real challenge for a petite I. Alterations and tailoring are one of the I’s best friends. Tops with too much volume can be taken in at the bust, and frequently trousers will need the same, especially through the hips and thighs. Pieces that are very tailored and shaped can be softened with feminine details. If you really want to wear that statement necklace, pair it with a turtleneck, or crew neck top for impact without overwhelming your decolletage. The same necklace can also look fabulous worn over a collared shirt. Large cuff or bangle bracelets can work with the same treatment.

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.

 

X Body Shape

X Body Shape

In a previous post, I talked a bit about the different women’s body shapes, and how body shape has to do with your skeleton, and with how 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. There are 8 basic women’s body shapes, 5 balanced and 3 unbalanced. The X is one of the balanced shapes with the shoulders and hips of the same width. This is another feminine, curvy, (and desirable) shape!

Put Away the Measuring Tape!

The best way to determine your body shape is to 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 usually has a smooth transition from the waist to the widest part of the hip. X’s are frequently long 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.)

X’s What to Wear

If the goal is to create a balanced figure, you X’s are blessed because you already have one! In general, drawing attention to the waist, with a waistband or belt is a great look for the X. (If you are busty, you may choose to skip this advice, as drawing attention to your small waist can make your bust look larger.) Wrap dresses are amazing on X’s (Thank you, Diane von Furstenburg!), as are wrap tops. Fit and flare dresses are custom made for the X as well. A-line skirts are fabulous for your figure, as are straight or trouser leg jeans, especially if they zip up the side. If you are self-conscious about your curves and don’t want to show off your waist, at least make sure that your tops and jackets are shaped, or princess seamed. Properly placed darts can make you look 10 pounds thinner in an instant!

X’s What to Avoid

Losing the waist can make an X look heavy. Avoid blousy or oversized tops that hide your waist, and boxy tops and dresses. Long straight jackets are less than flattering on an X, and double breasted pieces often just make the X shape look bulky. Stiff fabrics often create extra visual weight that the X may not want. Avoid ending your tops at the widest part of your hips. Make sure jackets are belted, or nipped in at the waist. Even a drawstring on an anorak makes a difference! On trousers, avoid tapers, cuffs, and embroidery on the rear or thighs.

When You Love It Anyway

It may need altering. X’s often struggle to buy trousers and jeans that fit. There are more curvy-girl jeans than ever out there, which has made the hunt easier, but if you are still having a hard time, buy your bottoms to fit your hips, and have a tailor take in the waistband. You don’t need the bulk (or discomfort) created from belting a too large waistband to keep your pants up!

Another option for X’s is to belt it! This fall belts are making a comeback, so you X’s are in for a treat! Coats and jackets are showing up with self-belts, and leather belts over coats and blazers are everywhere, so you can make even shapeless garments work better for you!

A note about alterations… Unless you are employed as a fit model, assume that everything you buy will likely need alterations, and include them in your budget. Many women (and men) can’t be bothered to have their clothes altered to fit properly. Or maybe I should say they won’t pay to have everyday clothes altered to fit properly. Dresses for special occasions get special treatment, but why only them? Those special occasion pieces will be worn once or twice. Life is a special occasion! Shouldn’t the clothes you wear everyday fit you beautifully, and make you look good everyday? You deserve clothing that fits well and makes you feel great.

A Body Shape

A Body Shape

In a previous post, I talked a bit about the different women’s body shapes, and how body shape has to do with your skeleton, and with how 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. There are 8 basic women’s body shapes, but one very common female body shape is the A. If you imagine the head at the point of the A, you can get a feeling for the relationship of the shoulders to the hips. For an A shaped woman, the shoulders are narrower than the hips, or if you prefer, the hips are wider than the shoulders. This is a feminine, curvy, (and desirable) shape!

Put Away the Measuring Tape!

We have all heard the 36-24-36 ideal of curvaceous womanhood, but the numbers aren’t the important part! You could be a 36-24-36 A, X, or 8, and all these shapes have different ways to best maximize their assets. Take a photo of yourself in leggings and a form-fitting cami. (Delete it as soon as you are done if you don’t want it showing up on a family member’s phone if you share a cloud!) Printing out the picture is even better, because you can 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 the hip bones. For some, the widest part may be across the leg crease; for others it will be the widest part of their thighs. If the line flares outward like the side of an A, and your waist is defined, you are an A body shape.  Body scale and proportions play into your choices as well, but in general…

A’s What to Wear

If the goal is to create a balanced figure, then A’s want to highlight the waist, broaden the shoulders, and minimize the hips. Often A’s are long-waisted, so there may be room for  belt. To visually broaden the shoulders, think boatneck tops, epaulets, or gathers on the sleeve. Wrap tops are fabulous for an A. To highlight the waist, belt tops, or tuck in to see the waistband. Even a half-tuck works here if a full tuck feels too “done”! To minimize the hips, an A-line skirt flaring out over the hips works wonders. If skirts or dresses are not your style, a plain simple straight legged jean or trouser in a darker color than the top works beautifully. Straight legged means many different things to different people; here, I mean a trouser that is the same width from the thigh all the way down the leg. If you are a long-legged A, boot-cuts can work well too, as long as the thighs aren’t too tight!

A’s What to Avoid

In general, A’s often want to avoid drawing attention to their hips and thighs, although there are exceptions. Look at Kim Kardashian; she’s perfectly happy to draw attention to her hips and thighs. If you love your more ample lower half, that’s fabulous, but not everyone has that body confidence. If you prefer to downplay your hips and thighs, avoid snug or tapered pants (Yes, skinnies, I’m talking about you.) and added detail around your widest parts. Pocket bling, cargo pockets, and whiskering are common attention grabbers. Recently, the stores are stocking jeans with worn/bleached areas on the thighs. These spotlight your thighs saying, “Hey, lookie here!”

When You Love It Anyway

Here’s the shape and style caveat: Maybe you LOVE those pants, and they are perfect for your personality, and you don’t give a rip (see what I did there?). Wear the pants if they make you happy! Just know that there are more flattering options out there for the times when you want to look your very best (class reunion, meeting your ex and his new wife, etc.), and keep some of those more flattering choices on hand. If your answer to why you choose pieces that don’t suit you well is “It’s just everyday wear,” my question to you is “Why don’t you want to look your best everyday?” You are precious. Please remember that, and treat yourself like you are.

What do you have in your closet that you love and wear even if it doesn’t make the best of your assets? Please share in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you!