Today I’m talking about style rules. Do you follow the so-called ‘rules’ for your body type? Do you read magazines and take their suggestions on what to wear if you’re tall, boyish or curvy? Do you ever watch What Not To Wear?
As for me, I love reading about style! I read as much as I can, taking it all in and filing in my mind for future reference. Fashion magazines, books, articles – anything with tips and tricks always gets my attention. I read how to elongate my legs, draw attention to my face, minimize hips and thighs… but when I look at the clothes I have in my closet, they don’t all follow the rules. (My theoretical wardrobe – the clothes I wish I’d sewn for myself already – now that’s a different story!)
I was at the library, taking out Shirtmaking for the third time when I noticed the style and beauty section, right under the sewing section. Funny how they’re right next to each other, no? Although sewing is often an exercise in style and flattery. We judge the success of our sewing project not only by fit and construction, but also whether we feel beautiful in our clothing!
In the style section, there were several books by Trinny and Susannah, the British duo behind What Not to Wear. I’ve read their books before and couldn’t resist picking up The Body Shape Bible for a read-through. And since I’m still taking a break from sewing while my burn heals, I read through the book and thought I’d share some of the parts I liked!
Here’s what they suggest for us pear-shaped gals:
- A fantastic knee-length belted coat
- Full-skirted dresses, strapless
- Trousers without pockets, with wide legs.
- Blouses with shoulder interest
- Long A-line skirts
- Striped boatneck tee shirts
- Platform heels
- Statement necklaces to draw the eye up
I created a Mini-Wardrobe on Polyvore, to give you an idea what it would look like:
Want. It. All. I’ve never played around with Polyvore before, but it’s so much fun! Like window shopping, but better.
Here are the items we’re NOT to wear:
- Skinny jeans
- Ankle straps
Whenever I read things like this, I feel like overhauling my closet, removing all of the offending garments and writing a to-sew list full of flattering items. Or at the very least, holding a try-on session in front of the mirror, camera in hand and evaluating the contents of my wardrobe.
Wardrobe purging tip: looking at photos (instead of the mirror) helps you to stand back and properly assess yourself for figure flattery. If you can’t stop looking at your goofy face, crop the photo above the neck. I’ve done that when all I think is ‘you need a haircut!’
I naturally follow these rules by my own trial and error. I love a full-skirted look! I fear strapless because I’m small-busted, but the strapless Vogue dress I made this year was flattering. I rarely wear pants, mostly because it’s hard to get a good fit. The one pair of trousers I have are wide-legged with subtle pockets – which I’ve kept for over ten years so I’d agree, they are a wardrobe staple! You all know I love a good platform pump – no problems with that suggestion. I’m all about the fantastic knee-length coat, I love the silhouette and instant-style-factor of a long coat. I usually wear the same necklace all the time but love the drama and interest of a statement piece to bring the eye upwards. I can work on that one! The Pendrell blouse has shoulder interest to minimize the hips, like they suggest. I haven’t worn a long A-line skirt in a long time but I’m intrigued by the idea, if I could make it look cool and not frumpy. Dramatic and elegant, not conservative and dowdy. Can it be done?
Overall, I like the look of the rules. The book shows all of these items on one page, in a pretty colour palette, kind of like my Polyvore collection. It’s a wardrobe I can totally see myself wearing!
On the Not-To-Wear list, I tend to avoid these styles by default. Finding a good pair of jeans is a massive challenge, never mind skinny jeans! I keep trying but they just aren’t cute or flattering on me. You can see every thigh crease! Johdpurs aren’t even a consideration for me. And I know ankle straps shorten my legs, so I opt for T-straps which are a little more kind to the leg line. So I naturally avoid the so-called unflattering styles because I don’t sew them, and rarely shop.
On a side note, my sister has the same measurements as me and looks awesome in skinny jeans! She rocks them with total confidence though, perhaps that’s the difference…
There are a few things I wear that are totally unflattering, but so comfortable! I have a pair of flat, chunky motorcyle boots that I love, even though they stumpify my legs. They’re super comfy and I could walk for hours in them! (Which is more than I can say for my collection of platform pumps.)
What do you think? Do you follow body-shape rules, either purposefully or subconsciously? Do you follow what’s in fashion regardless of your body type? Or do you wear whatever you please, regardless of figure-flattery and fashion trends? Tell me, I’m curious!