Saturday, May 12, 2012

Own Your Style Decalogue 5: Dress for Your Body Type

I hereby declare I will stick to my boot cut trousers

Part about being stylish is, obviously, dressing for one's body type. I doesn't matter that skinny jeans are all the rage or that cigarette trousers are "a must" according to fashion broadcasters: if I don't look good in them (I do not achieve my best silhouette in them), I'm not wearing them. Full stop.

Know your body type

What is always foremost in my mind is something I read in Kendall Farr's 'The Pocket Stylist", a decade ago now, because that was the beginning of it all for me:
Your silhouette, the essential frame you are born with is the beginning of any conversation you have with clothes. Our measurements change (...) but your frame remains the one constant in the equation.
Why is this reasoning so important? I think it is the beginning of self acceptance. Most women a very unrealistic image of their own bodies and their opinion of it is completely devoid of self esteem. We are also constantly bombarded by completely false images (digitally altered) that are impossible to uphold.
As a result, many women start talking about their bodies pointing at what is wrong with them, and so do most magazine articles and books, who like to use those parts as the starting point for styling tips. You may have found yourself in front of the mirror wondering why you never look good in your clothes, or not as good as you would like to look .I don't think that helps.
Instead of defining ourselves by the part of our body that makes us feel worse in the changing room, we can see ourselves as a whole, know what looks best and worst, accept it and move on.
A good understanding of your body is not only key to feeling happy about yourself, but also to building a successful wardrobe that goes with that happy person.

Just A, B, C. The ideal and how to achieve it.

When talking about body types I prefer to follow Kendall Farr's categories of A, B, and C, because I think her idea of our not being pieces of fruit or geometric figures is actually very refreshing. There are no connotations in letters.


Body Types


  • Body Type A. Her shoulders and torso are narrower than her hips. This body shape is usually called "pear" or "triangle".
  • Body Type B. Her shoulders and torso are roughly the same width as your hips, and her waist is very clearly defined. This body shape is usually called "hourglass".
  • Body Type C. Her shoulders are wider than her hips, with little definition at the waist. This body shape is usually called "apple" or "inverted triangle".
You can read more on body types reading the page Like Your Body at the top of the blog or following the labels Body Type A, Body Type B, and Body Type C. You can also follow one of the characters in my blog with your body type and then mix and match with other characters' style and/or seasonal palette if they are not yours.
The ideal
What should clothes ALWAYS achieve for ALL body types?
  • Strike up a balance between upper body and lower body. 
  • Create a long unbroken line.
How to achieve it?
  1. Dress simply what you want to downplay or de-emphasize.
  2. Reserve embellishment, colour, pattern, and trendy items for what you want to highlight.