Do you know how? In a Style Makeover HQ survey (January 2011) 8 out of 10 women said they don't.
Do you know the clothing styles that flatter your shape?
For a female, the 'perfect' proportions are perceived to be:
The first step in dressing to flatter your shape is to assess your shape and proportions.
To see if you can work out your own shape have a look here.
It can sometimes be difficult to work out your own proportions. If you'd like a professional assessment here are your online options.
Of course, in reality, there are not many of us who have all of the ideal proportions.
However, if those are your proportions, then your main style aims are to preseve them. For example, don't wear stiff, boxy shapes that hide your lovely curves. Or styles that make your legs look shorter, or that make your hips look wider than your shoulders.
For the rest of us our aims are to use clothing styles and colors that create the illusion of the perfect shape!
We can borrow from art and the science of perception to balance our body to the perfect proportions.
It's impossible for me to cover every possible combination of proportions here. However, I highly recommend an online style program that creates a style portfolio personalized to your proportions. It's the program I use with my clients, the My Private Stylist program. Click here for details.
Let's take a look at what I mean with a few examples...
Balancing horizontal shapes to the hourglass or inverted triangle shape
If you do not have an hourglass horizontal shape your aim is to make your proportion more like the hourglass.
If your shape is triangle or inverted triangle that means choosing clothing styles, or using layering, to add apparent width to your shoulders (for the triangle shape), or to your hips (for the inverted triangle shape).
Balancing a Triangle/Pear Shape Images courtesy Sportscraft
One way to make your shoulders look wider is to wear a top that has sleeves. To further increase the apparent width of your shoulders choose a top in a colour that is lighter, or brighter, than the bottoms. Do you see what I mean (see the 'Balancing a Triangle Shape' illustration to the left)?
A top that is lighter than your bottoms will also make you appear taller and slimmer, as a nice side-effect. However, the lighter top may not work for you if you also have a large bust (dependent on how large your bust is, and how light or bright the top). It's because of issues like this (that is, considering another aspect of your proportions) that things can start to get complicated!
Inverted Triangle Shape Images courtesy Ann Taylor
An example of how to make your hips look wider is to wear an A-line skirt. The effect will be further enhanced if the skirt is in a lighter or brighter color than the top. However, if you are short wearing lighter, or brighter, bottoms than tops will make you appear even shorter (great if you're tall!).
If your shape is rectangle or one of the 2 apple shapes, rather than try and create a better-defined waist, balance to to inverted triangle shape by adding apparent width to your shoulders. This is because the inverted triangle shape is the second-best horizontal shape. For these 3 shapes, it is better to have clothes that do not bring attention to the waist area. For example, avoid a change of color at the waist (especially a horizontal color change) and seams around the waistline.
The 3 outfits below represent styles that work for women with a rectangle body shape.
Balancing a Rectangle Shape Images courtesy Anthropolgie
I have included more guidelines for balancing the horizontal shapes here:
Balancing vertical shapes to the Balanced Body shape
Use the links below to find guidelines for:
I recommend 2 resources for doing this yourself:
The My Private Stylist program by Image Innovators (Ann Reinten, my trainer and mentor, is the founder and program creator) -- this very reasonably priced online program lets you enter your proportions (or request a professional assessment), then creates a personalized online style guide that takes all of your proportions into account. Find out more here
The 'Style Wise & Shop Smart' ebook also by Ann Reinten -- Read my review here
Or, if you can come to me in Sydney, either by yourself or with a small group, use my 'Dressing for Your Shape' session for a fun, interactive and personalized way to see what works for you (the My Private Stylist program and a body shape assessment are included in this service).
"Your style makeover may require a few tweaks or a total re-think. Using a mix of science and art I show you how to discover your style and look great every day.
Hi, I'm Jane Liddelow, the Personal Image Consultant and Stylist responsible for this site. Find out more about me here."