The subject of body architecture is a very interesting one.
If you feel confused about what kinds of designer clothes suit you, and sometimes wonder why other people always seem to look good, then this article is for you.
I have spent many years styling women, and prior to that, styling myself. People often ask me how I know what clothes and designs to suggest to other women, so that they maximise their own ability to look good. It is simply that I now have a full understanding of how to do this effectively on all women, and my theory has not failed to date…Now that I operate an online fashion website, I feel it is really valuable to offer this information in an online environment, whereas once I was able to advise people in person.
I don’t consider myself to have an easy body to dress and so my first interest, many years ago now, was to master that. How could I possibly advise other women about personal styling and presentation, without mastering the subject myself?
I am quite tall, but very finely built. I have long slender limbs and a long body. I have slender hips and athletic legs. I have always been interested in exercise and have never struggled with my weight, apart from perhaps not being heavy enough. People have commented on my slender frame my whole life to the point where I became quite self conscious. Whatever others have thought about my body shape, what I do know is that I am healthy, I eat well, and my body shape is just the one that God gave me.
You may be thinking, lucky you…….however, trying to dress this kind of body shape is challenging. If I am not careful I tend to look like a snake in clothes. Part of the problem I had was of course that I could never find anything to fit me. I did find however, that French and Italian designer dresses were very suitable because they typically design for smaller framed women.
Tops were always too large, pants were always too big, shoes were always too wide etc. Interestingly also, shirts and blouses were always too long in the sleeves. Trousers and Jeans were always a perfect length for me, but the fit of the hip and bottom region were never right and could never be corrected, even by a dressmaker. You can imagine my frustration.
My life of dressing became a little easier when the available fashion in Australia started to be influenced by the Asian market. I was then able to find smaller made clothes, things that did actually fit me, although they were often too short because I am tall, and Asian ladies are generally not. The discovery of trying on and consequently buying these clothes actually helped me to understand what I now call body architecture and proportional dressing, and I am delighted to be able to share this with you.
I really consider this valuable information for all women who have an interest in looking good.
If you are busty, go for V-neck tops or at least open necked tops which visually open up the top half of the body and takes the eye down the centre of the body. Designer Clothes, due to the way they are cut, often fall nicely and flatter your figure with beautiful fabrics in ways that generic labels do not. Avoid cheap designs that lack good design structure. If you do have a fuller figure, check out the New Zealand labels. They are interesting, well cut, and fantastic for women sized 12-18. Also German and English labels can be a little more generous in their sizing.
If you are not busty, v-neck tops and dresses are still appropriate. If you are finely built and on the thin side like myself, look at wearing camisoles and slips that can be layered, to give the impression of some volume and weight and to divert the eye and break up the image. Remember all fashion is simply a visual “play” of what looks good so remember to create a proportionally and harmonising visual effect.
If you are broad shouldered v-necks are most appropriate also because they take the eye down to the centre of the body and away from across the body.
Equally if you are very slim across the shoulders and are looking to increase volume and size, consider getting a dressmaker to insert some very small shoulder pads into your designer clothes. A subtle addition such as this can be really effective, and create a line and definition that can transform the shape and therefore the outfit.
Remember to show your décolletage, no matter what your shape.
This is a very flattering area of your body, showing off your face and hair. Try also to show your forearms as much as possible. This takes away the tendency of covering your whole body with fabric, which is not flattering.
Even as we get older and want to cover up more, be careful with what you cover. Appropriate coverage is what is important – not to become invisible. Any woman of any age can dress appropriately and beautifully.
If you carry a little weight through your midriff, be careful to choose carefully when wearing belts, for this can detract from an elongated line. Also if you are short waisted (do not have a great distance between your bust and waist), then be careful with belts, and particularly the width of them. A slimmer belt may be more suitable.
If you are shorter in height, wear appropriately proportioned tops, nothing too long which often shortens the length visually through the body.
Remember to always team appropriate shoes with appropriate outfits. Play around with shoe height. Often an outfit can be spoiled by the wrong choice of shoe. A heel of some kind is mostly more flattering that flat shoes with skirts and dresses. The shoe height does not have to be super high, just enough to lift the leg and provide a little more shape. If you struggle with wearing stiletto heels, try wearing shoes that have a wedge. These shoes offer the foot a lot more support because they have a wedge, and are extremely comfortable. Anything with a small platform under the ball of the foot also provides more stability for the foot.
If you are shorter and need to have pants taken up because you find they are too long, explore the option of having your pants shortened by a tailor who can finish them nicely, and keep them looking like the original pair that you purchased. Home made tailoring can often spoil the hemline of pants, and particularly designer jeans.
If you are a shorter woman, think about wearing dresses more than pants and tops. Pants and tops tend to shorten the body, and are often not as flattering. Of course there will be times when you want and need to wear tops and pants. All you need to remember is to remember proportion. Make sure your pants are tailored and fit correctly. Make sure that your designer clothes, tops, shirts, pants and jackets are not too long for your body shape and please go to the trouble of find labels that are appropriately sized for you. All department stores create fashion lines for petite sizing so take advantage of that. Other labels that might be suitable are Alannah Hill, Seduce, Wayne Cooper and Thurley. Remember, to check not only the length of the garments but the proportion of the garments and the length through the garment itself.
If you are tall, go for labels like Scanlan & Theodore, Ginger and Smart, Kit Willow, Lee Mathews and Zimmermann. All of these labels offer a nice long leg in a pant, and longish designer dresses. Also all of these labels do gorgeous, colourful, and original tops. Remember that garments are simply pieces of material, and you can be creative in any way that you want to wear them. As I am tall, I often wear mini dresses as tops and wear them loose or belt them for a more interesting shape. Remember when you are tall, that you need the appearance of volume and this can be created through fabric print, texture, size and length. Remember to always consider proportion as this creates harmony throughout the entire outfit. Your ultimate goal is to create a harmonious visual look, through which you express your authentic personal self.
Above all, please remember to always wear clothes that fit you. Really, fit you.
If you are unsure how to know what fits you the following information may help you.
Jade is a stylist who has a love of clothes, fabric, texture, trying on, the “wearing out”, and enjoys the excitement of the new purchase. She runs Recollections Designer Labels. If you are interested in more information regarding styling, visit her website and click the tab – “Wardrobe Fix”. She offers personal styling sessions, wardrobe de-cluttering and re-organising, and personal shopping. If you are located in Sydney, Australia, she will be running styling workshops in the near future. If you would like more information regarding her website and designer clothes online, please email her through her website.