The Art of Dressing for Your Body Shape
There's no need to have the perfect body shape to look perfect. God did not make us to look exactly the same, nor did he give us all legs like Elle McPherson. However, God did give us the brains to invent clothes and then the sense to design them! Don't under-estimate the power of a good fashion sense. Look at movies like My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman, a new frock (and the right one!) could go a long way in making you look like a supermodel.
Don't waste your money on a wardrobe full of clothes that look beautiful in advertisements and on other people. You need to know what clothes suit you and use those to show off the real assets of your body. Things to check when you are choosing a garment should include: the colour, the cut, the size, the fabric and the cost. Think also of your wardrobe at home, avoid buying something similar to what you already have, avoid buying something in an outrageous colour which matches nothing in your wardrobe, and don't buy something which you will only wear once. Finally, look at your feet and don't forget your shoe collection, what shoes do you have that may match this outfit?
Choosing clothes is not easy, especially when you are starting with a negative body image of yourself. So when you go shopping, always wear something comfortable which is not too tight (stop yourself from feeling fat), this include your shoes because the last thing you need with shopping luggage are blisters. Know your body shape before you start. Don't let the shop assistants tell you that you don't have a fat bum or small chest. You need to be aware of it so that you know which garment on the hanger would be worth trying on and which would be best left alone. Always pick up sizes that are likely to be too big, rather than too small when you venture into the change-rooms. Stand at least 2 big steps back from the mirror when you are viewing the outfit. Finally, take a patient friend along who'll is not only sensible but also honest in her/his advice.
We are ready to shop.
Problem #1; I have small breasts
There are several ways to camouflage a "flat-chest" problem. God made booster bras especially for you. Always wear padded bras, tops, bathers, bikinis and shoe-string tops. Other fashion strategies are:
1. Avoid wearing dark colours on top: dark colours are known to be slimming, and can decrease the size of your breast at least by another 50%.
2. Wear something patterned or light coloured if you are going to wear a tight top: these usually have a magnifying effect.
3. Tutlenecks and sleeveless tops can accentuate the contour of your bust.
4. Attract attention away from your bust with jewellery for your neck and ears, bright scarf, hat, or even interesting belt.
5. Loose shirts can give the illusion of a large bust, but the shirt must have a good fit over the shoulders.
6. Beware of V-neck cuts, they will flatten your chest unless it is gathered just below your breasts, in which case they will definitely enhance your chest size
l Ever leave the house without a push-up bra.
l Wear tight black tops.
l Wear low-cut tops: there's no point trying to show off a non-existent cleavage.
l Slouch when you walk.
Problem #2: I am top-heavy.
Conversely, for those who are unfortunate on the other end of the scale, big breasted people are also faced with clothes that attract attention to what others may envy. A very important principle is to always wear a supportive bra which will decrease the amount of drooping and also associated neck or back problems. As for dressing appropriately, 'top heavy' people need to tone down the top half of their body, with darker coloured shirts or divert attention away from their chest with accessories such as hats, belts, or knee-high boots. Even though it is tempting to hide-away with loose shirt, these actually end up making you look more 'top-heavy' with its shapelessness. Well-cut and fitted shirts are better, with generous bust-line but enough curve for a waist fitting. High neck or turtle-neck tops are only effective if a good supportive bra is used, otherwise, the illusion of increased length between neck and breast will make your chest look very droopy in these tops. An off-shoulder loose blouse or shirt can also be an effective camouflage tool, especially if paired with more tight-fitting pants. A useful tip to note is the use of layering, that is, wearing a few different pieces together on top of each other. Often, a jacket or jumper over a more closely-fitted garment will adequately minimalise a large chest without making your upper body look shapeless.
l Wear large, long necklace which attracts attention to your chest and cleavage area.
l Wear low-cut tops, again attracts attention.
l Tight shirts, especially ones that look two sizes too small for you.
l Use push-up bras.
l Wear V-neck cut shirts or dresses, they tend to let it all 'hang out'.
Problem #3: I have a big bum.
J. Lo has the most famous big bum in the world, and she's proud of it. The main thing with a big bum is not the fact it's big, but rather, its shape especially if it's not toned. So to make it into an asset, go to the local gym and talk to a trainer about how to shape it into something worth a wolf whistle.
As for dressing for big hips, strategies are:
1. Wear dark colour bottoms in plain block colours: black, navy and chocolate browns are colours with slimming effect.
2. Wear something brightly colour on top to distract the attention away from your hips.
3. If wearing tight pants or skirt, use a funky belt or scarf around your hips (not your waist!) to camouflage its width.
4. Wear hipster skirts and pants, because waist-high garments only accentuate the outward curves of your hips.
5. Wear heels, this will not only lengthen your appearance to compensate for the hip width, but heels often have the ability to divert peoples' attention towards it.
6. Hip length tops are good camouflage tools but must be loosely fitting around your hips.
l Wear white or other light coloured skirt, pants, or shorts: these colours have the ability to magnify everything at least twice their original size.
l Wear patterned pants, they have the same effect.
l Wear high-waisted pants or skirts, this will only emphasize the width of your hips.
l Wear belts or tie shirts around your waist.
l Wear tight shirts which have problems fitting over your hips.
l Wear pants which have gathered fronts
l Wear pants that are too tight for you hips: bulging fats over the edge of pants is NOT sexy.
Problem #4: I have thunder thighs
This is an extremely common problem, often accentuated by tight pants which have unfortunately been in fashion for the last 10 years!. Tricks to hide those tree trunks are based on the principles of distraction and camouflage. Take attention away from your thighs by wearing bright tops, low-cut necklines or off shoulder shirts. As for camouflage, wear loose, flowing shirts that hang down to upper or lower thighs or dresses that flare at the hips. Use the slimming effect of dark block colours and wear loose pants that hug your hips but flows loosely downwards in a straight leg cut, similarly for long skirts. Heels are also good for lengthening your legs and create the illusion of thinner thighs. And yes, you can wear short skirts, as long as they are no higher than your knees and are not straight and tight around your thighs. Knee length or lower A-line or bias cut skirts are especially effective to attract attention to your hips and yet hide those thighs at the same time. Another good trick, especially for those who like tight pants or jeans, is to wear a short dress or mini-skirt with pants, camouflaging large thigh behind an individual and funky look. Specifically effective for those with chunky thighs is the skirt with slits on the side, these are hide the width the thigh, elongate the leg and reveals the calves.
l Wear tight mini skirts or mid/lower-thigh A-line skirts.
l Wear tight shorts or bike shorts.
l Tight flare jeans, these are all cut so that they bring out your thighs and hide your calves, which is really the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.
l Wear white or light coloured pants. Skirts you may be able to get away with as they don't hug your thighs, but white pants can magnify anyone's thighs.
Problem #5: I have broad shoulders and chunky arms.
Broad shoulders is a masculine trait which many try to minimize with bigger shirts, however, shirts which have shoulder lines beyond your actual shoulders will only magnify this problem. Tops that are able to minimize this feature are those which are well-fitted around the shoulders, that it, buy the right sized shirts based on your shoulder width; waist fitting and bust fitting can be altered. Shirts which can compensate for broad shoulders or for hiding chunky arms are those with either loose, wider sleeves or those with wide-cut neckline. Off-shoulder tops are actually quite effective, as long as there are sleeves and they are not tight-fitting. High-neck or turtleneck tops are also surprisingly flattering, which can often be further helped by being dark in colour. Although shoe-string tops or camisoles are best avoided, but those with light-coloured broader shoulder straps can be more flattering.
l Wear sleeveless singlets, these will only emphasis the masculinity of your body shape.
l Wear strapless tops or dresses.
l Wear shirts too big for you, or too wide for your shoulders.
l Wear shirts too tight around your shoulder, bust or armpits.
l Wear choker necklaces as these can narrow your neck, thus the shoulders often appear wider than they are.
l Wear halter-neck tops or dresses, the triangular neck line can emphasize the square-ness of the shoulders.
l Wear backless dresses, again, too much confluent skin can only make the shoulders look bigger.
Problem #6: I have a beer gut
Although thought mainly to be a male problem, thick waist often can make garments look unflattering. Many females have an 'apparent' abdomen due to poor posture. This does not mean that you need to constantly be 'sucking in your stomach', rather, abdomens can often be 'tucked back in' by not slouching, tilting your hips forwards and tightening the gluteals and abductors so that your tummy falls back. Of course, the principle advice for those with a real beer gut or excessive abdominal fat is to GET RID OF IT!! Abdominal fat has been associated with the greatest risk of heart disease, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases in females. However, whilst you are working hard at losing those love-handles, here are a few ways to hid it in the mean time!
1. Don't try to cinch your tummy in with tight belts, pants or skirts, these will only make the bulges more obvious.
2. Keep to looser fitting shirts which extend down to upper thighs or hips, if paired with tight-fitting pants, an illusion of slim, streamlined profile can be created.
3. Wear shirts or dresses which has a high-cut which is fitting just below breasts. This is also known as the empire-line, or empire-cut.
4. Loose fitting shirts again may hide everything, but can make you look bigger than you actually are.
5. Wear slimming colours around the waist,
6. Again, camouflaging with layering can often be effective. A waist coat, jacket or cardidgan can often hide a stomach.
l Wear tight shirts which need to be pulled over and stretched over your tummy.
l Wear belts, scarves or shirts and dresses with tie-backs at the waist.
l Wear your shirts tucked in!
l Wear large, eye-catching hipster belts, or accessories around the hips
l Waist high pants with the pants pulled above the bulge, secured too high, almost below the breast - THIS IS DEFINITELY NOT A GOOD LOOK.
Problem #7: I have short chunky legs
God made high-heels just for you! Every shoe in your cupboard should have heels, including your sneakers. Platform shoes, if you can master the art of walking in them are also excellent as a remedy. The aim of your clothes is to create a short body and longer legs. Try to keep to two-piece garments (rather than a one-piece dress or suit) which have pants or skirts with a higher waist line, and shirts which are hip length or higher. Alternatively, tuck long shirts in. Use a belt to define the waist. Try to keep to full-length pants, because cropped pants or 3/4 pants can cut the longitudinal profile of your legs short. As for tackling the chunky legs, wear skirts or pants which are less tightly-fitted, and skirts which are either at the knee or lower. Dark coloured stockings in winter are often very flattering for chunky calves.
l Leave home with out your heeled-shoes.
l Wear hipsters, they cut short the longitudinal line of your legs.
l Wear mini skirts and tight shorts.
l Wear turtleneck or high-neck cut shirts which only elongate the body.
l Tight pants or jeans.
Problem #8: I am round overall
The biggest mistake made by people who are overall round is wearing loose fitting clothes. You must decide which part of your body is your best asset and emphasis that part, whilst use different camouflage techniques to minimize the rest. Often in dressing, you need to balance between tight-fitting and loose-fitting; one way of achieving this would be to wear a tighter-fitting top with a flowing skirt, or a loose blouse with closer-fitting jeans. Another strategy is to buy clothes in the right size, not a size smaller or bigger. Smaller clothes often outlines 'bulges' while larger clothes magnify anything under it. Emphasise your assets with brighter and patterned garments and minimize the less attractive areas with darker colours.
Problem #9: I have no hips.
According to recent surveys, the most arousing anatomical feature of a woman is her hips. Dressing to emphasis this feature usually can make an individual more feminine. This include hipster-cut jeans, pants and skirts, which can be further enhanced with a shirt which is waist length, thus exposing waist skin and the belly button. The hips can also be emphasized with defining the waist line with belts or ties when wearing waist-high pants or skirts. Wearing white or light-coloured garments can also magnify small hips; a tight fit around the buttocks often further enhance this effect. Shiny fabrics such as silk or satin are helpful in creating an illusion of larger hips even loosely fitted. Cuts which can emphasize this area include the flared jeans, skirts which fit snugly around the hips (both width-wise and follows the buttock curves behind) before flaring at mid-thigh, and garments with a wide waist band. Sometimes, pants with gathered front can enlarge this area as well, especially if worn with a belt and tucked in blouse. Shorts, especially denim or white, are also effective in bringing the attention to the hips.
l Wear loose-fitting, shapeless pants
l Wear long shirts that cover the hips
l Wear dark block colour pants which will further narrow the hips
l Wear high-waisted or empire-line one-piece dresses or suits, as these will make the waist and hips merge into a straight, shapeless silhouette.
Problem #10: I have stick-like chicken legs
Don't we all wish we had this problem! However, having skinny legs can give the impression of awakardness or clumsiness. Long skinny legs are best hidden under loose flowing pants or longs skirts. Cropped or 3/4 pants are also quite suitable, as it can often break the length of the legs, thus making them look proportionally thicker. However, heeled shoes should be avoided, as these often make the calf look slimmer. Layering can also bulk up the lower half of your body. Wearing a short skirt or dress over jeans or pants is often adequate.
l Wear tight straight leg jeans.
l Wear mini skirts or shorts.
We have only discussed the pertinence of body shape to fashion. Buying the perfect garment, one that you'll wear again and again, is not easy. However, as you can see, how you look in an outfit is not just determined by the cut, colour, fabric and label of the garment, your body shape contributes to a large proportion to how it will hang on your frame. Thus, don't be fooled by advertisements, they may look beautiful on Elle McPherson, but without trying it on, no one can tell you how the garment will sit on you.