Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I have asked Kate of Fabrickated to help me out a bit. I know that dressing for my shape will help me to use my crafting time wisely (and might save me some money from buying patterns or fabric that won't work on me). Also as I have a minimalist wardrobe (and ethical garments are usually more expensive), each piece needs to attract me (or bring me joy in Kondo speak) and usually that means fit me or even better enhance my shape!
She made it simple for me (and you) and I will definitely apply some of the principles to my wardrobe and my next purchase. I hope it helps you too! Over to Kate...
You probably already know that certain shapes really don’t look good on you – say a waisted 1950s type dress, or slim leg trousers, a baggy jumper or a calf length skirt. Sometimes we criticise ourselves and blame our shape – if only my bust was bigger/smaller, if I was slimmer/taller/shorter, I could carry off this look. We sometimes feel pressure to comply with a fashion trend whatever it looks like on us. But actually we are born – men and women – with different underlying body shapes. Regardless of if we are under- or over-weight we will share a number of common features with other people who are in the same group as us. So forget the apples, pears and bananas, the X, Y and 0, the endomorph, mesomorph, and ectomorph. The differences are fairly simple and can be seen in the underlying skeletal structure. My drawings are rudimentary I know but I hope you can see what I mean.
For women there are two distinct body shapes, and an in-between one.
The shaped figure (green)
If you are shaped you will have a defined waist and hips which are full – even if you are slim. If you put on weight it will stick to your thighs, hips and bottom. With your nice waist you will look good in an A line or fuller skirt.
The straight figure (blue)
If on the other hand your figure is straight you will have slim hips, not much of a waist and relatively wide shoulders. You will tend to put weight on in the upper body and waist. You probably look best in trousers.
The semi-straight figure (pink)
is a bit more curved than the straight figure but has some of the elements of both. The waist is not very well defined but you can certainly see an indentation from the back.
The essential advice is that if you body is shaped wear clothes that emphasis the waist and have curved lines and softer shapes. The angular, straight body is best in straighter shapes that don’t emphasise the waist but show off your streamlined shape eg trousers and straight, shift type dresses. The in-between figure can borrow from both types and will probably mix it up a bit.
Simple? Well not exactly because there are other issues that come into play such as
· Your proportions (eg the length of your legs compared to your torso)
· Your overall size and scale (large, medium or small)
· Any specific figure issues (eg long neck, short arms etc) you may wish to emphasise or conceal
· Face shape
· Colouring (more on this here)
Proportion is important especially in terms of discovering how close the proportions of your body are to the “ideal”, if the ideal is a body that is evenly balanced (ie top and bottom half are the same length). If your legs are longer than average you may want to wear lower cut trousers, or a contrasting belt, and your top out. If your legs are shorter than average it may make sense to have a high waisted dress, and choose to wear say black tights and black shoes for an elongating look. Knowing how your body differs from standard types is useful for dressmakers as commercial patterns assume a specific relationship of hip/waist and bust, assume your neck will be in a specific proportion to your shoulder, that your knee will be at a specific distance from the ground etc. Knowing how you differ will mean it is a lot easier to make alterations to fit you.
Let’s take scale. Whether you are petite or six foot tall you need to dress in proportion. So small women should wear smaller patterns and stripes. A larger woman will not look great in a tiny Liberty print but may rock a Marimekko print.
In terms of overall size relative weight is important, but not half as important as many of us think. If you want to look longer and thinner a dark, head to toe look will create the optical illusion. A light coloured outfit with contrasting, horizontal lines will make you look bigger.
Dressing well for your shape, and choosing colours and fabrics that flatter you, will mean that you look like you are wearing your clothes, not the other way around. We want people to see us, the real me, rather than stare at our clothes or feel they don’t “work with” who we are. So if you wear clothes that don’t suit you, or fail to harmonise and enhance your natural beauty, it is possible that you will come across an inauthentic.
There are lots of other issues a good style advisor will look at – such as the shape of your face, the best hair styles, your colouring and making the most of your best features.
Thank you so much Kate for this overview and make it simpler for me to understand!