Figure Flattering Styles to Suit Your Body Shape
Are you happy with your body shape?
Have you ever got so frustrated when you are shopping for clothes and can't seem to find anything that looks right? You try loads of stuff on and end up making do because it's just so hard to find stuff that actually looks nice and makes you feel good.
Then you get all fed up and end up feeling like crying, not liking your flat/fat bum, your chunky thighs or your thickening waist and start wishing you had a different body shape altogether.
The truth is that when you try things on that just don't look right it is probably because the design of the garment is working against your natural body shape.
It’s little wonder that something that looks great on a tall, angular model on the website looks totally different on your 5’3” curvy frame.
In an ideal world we would all be 100% accepting and happy with our body shapes.
Sadly, many of us aren't.
Understand what shapes and styles of clothing work for you
This is when understanding what shapes and styles of clothing work WITH your body shape can help you look good, feel amazing and boost your confidence. PLUS you can save time and money by making fewer mistakes when you are clothes shopping so you end up with less stuff languishing at the back of the wardrobe.
In this blog I’m giving you a few tips on how to dress for your body shape so that your clothes can bring you joy and give you the feel-good factor.
Body shapes and types
When we talk about body shapes, we can look at our somatotype – this describes our genetic physique. So you will be predisposed to being an ectomorph – you’ll have a lean, angular frame, a mesomorph with an athletic build or, like me, an endomorph with a softer curvier frame. Knowing your type in this way is good for fitness training I hear (NOT my area of expertise lol).
More commonly, you are probably used to hearing female body shapes as being described as pieces of fruit - apple, pear etc. Essentially it is shorthand, the fruit metaphors are describing where our 'padding' sits.
If you remember watching Trinny and Susannah back in the day, or even bought their ‘Body Shape Bible’ book, you might recall they described shapes as musical instruments and household objects - vase, lollipop, cello or even the very uncomplimentary brick 😒.
The point of having these categorisations in the style industry is to help our clients to create the appearance of balance and symmetry which is considered more aesthetically pleasing to our subconscious.
It can also be about attracting attention to the areas of your body you like or detracting away from or disguising the bits you don’t like. My job can be compared to a magician using distraction and optical illusions.
Want to appear taller? Wear this length of jacket. Want to minimise your bust? Wear this shape top etc.
'Figure faults and flaws'
I get REALLY cross when I hear about other people in my industry who say things like you ‘should’ wear this if you are ‘this shape’ or that if you are ‘that shape’ though! There was one article I saw recently were someone had written about helping ladies ‘correct their figure faults’!! I might have sworn a bit when I saw that.
For me it’s not about faults or flaws but more to do with accepting that us women have got hang ups and baggage about our bodies. (There’re years of shit from the media to blame for that but that’s another article in its own right.)
Feel empowered and confident
It’s about giving my clients tips and tricks that will help them feel better about their flat/fat bum, chunky thighs or thickening waist (insert perceived flaw) so they look and FEEL good in their clothes and more neutral about said body part. I want them to feel empowered and confident in their clothes not just appear to have a smaller waist.
I call this element of my 4 step Drab to FAB! system F.F.S. - which stands for Figure Flattering Styling.
I like a good acronym. Along with FFS, I have a couple more favourites...
BS = body shape WTF = wardrobe that's failing
So you’ll see that for FFS we look at your BS and how you can choose clothes to work for you rather than against you. Therefore addressing your WTF!
How to tell your body shape
In my FFS system I use letters to categorise the main body shapes H, I, O V, A, X Letters seem more neutral than fruit or household objects. There seems less stigma attached to somehow.
These descriptions are based on looking at you silhouette, not by measuring with a tape measure as that can skew the results. Wear tight fittings clothes like a vest and leggings and take a full-length photo to find your shape. Then imagine drawing a vertical line from your shoulders straight down.
Here’s a quick guide to the main body shapes and how to tell which you are and the types of styles that work with your body shape:
H/I = Straight up and down - Look for shift dresses, cowl necks use scarves and necklaces to draw attention upwards
O = Rounded mid section, slim hips - Look for tunics and dresses that flow through the waistline, slim straight trousers
V = Narrow waist and hips, wider shoulders - Look for tops with dolman or raglan sleeves, peplum hems, bootcut or flared trousers
A = Narrow shoulders, wider hips - Look for fitted tops, try shoulder pads, bootcut or flared trousers
X = Defined waist - Look for things fitted at the waist, use belts, rounded toes shoes
I suppose my main message to you is really, that in my world, we don't have "figure faults" or "body flaws" that "need addressing". We just each have our unique BODY SHAPE (BS).
There are often hang ups and baggage that affect how we feel about our BS and this is when the FFS guidelines come in handy. I can show you how to detract from the bits you don't like and draw attention to your favourite bits, so you feel EMPOWERED and HAPPIER in your clothes. But there are definitely no "you SHOULD" rules with me.
I simply provide explanations as to why things don't FEEL right based on the theory of FFS which will give you insights and enable you to make informed decisions about what you wear.
Rules are made to be broken
My ethos is always the same - if you LOVE it who cares about "rules". I’m very happy to walk my walk and talk my talk in this respect. For example, I have fairly short legs with quite full calves, the ‘rules’ say I should avoid ankle straps on my shoes as they will create a horizontal line across my legs and that, in turn, makes my legs appear shorter…guess how many pair of shoes I have with ankle straps? FIVE!!! I bloody love them.
It was the same when it came to my 50th birthday, my sister’s wedding and my own wedding. As an O shape, the last type of dress style I ‘should’ have been wearing is anything with a nipped in waist because I don’t actually have one anymore. The thing is, I absolutely ADORE 50’s style dresses with defined waist and sticky out skirts with the net petticoats!! Did I care about ‘rules’? Nah…it was worth investing in corset style waist cinching underwear to look the part and feel like a million dollars on all of those occasions…sometimes rules are made to be broken
Look good and feel fab!
And this, dear reader, is what my work is all about. EMPOWERING you to dress with CONFIDENCE; exploring your identity and having FUN with clothes so that you LOOK GOOD and FEEL FAB! If you want to find out more about how you can access my 4 step Drab to FAB! System there’s some info here.
And here’s my last acronym for you – if you work with me you will be a flamingo amongst the flock of pigeons because...
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