By Ally Champagne
Celebrities greet the public usually dressed to the nines – with the reason being, they have a team of stylists to help them look their best. For the less fortunate, we have to rely on our own knowledge of fashion as well as what type of body shape we have in order to dress and impress.
Dressing for your body shape is not a new science. Back in the day, seamstresses were kept busy making clothing for women who did not have an off-the-rack figure. Clothing was tailored and adjusted for the woman’s figure. Today, designers provide us with ample selections to suit and fit the majority of women, taking into consideration colouring, size, height, and body shape.
Having a sense of what body type you have allows you to pick and choose clothing which will create the illusion of having a proportioned figure. Knowing your body shape is not about focusing on a particular area such as legs, but rather on the body as a whole.
According to Givenchy, “The dress must follow the body of a woman, not the body following the shape of the dress.” His unique understanding of women and fashion was the basis of his designing empire.
Although designer fashions and trends make billions of dollars yearly, opting for what makes you feel good is all about choosing what accentuates your best features, hides your flaws, as well as makes you feel comfortable and confident. Seeing a woman constantly tug at her dress hem says she managed to get into it, but is having difficulty keeping it on. Definitely not the statement you want to make.
There are seven main body shapes identified in the designing world:
1. The inverted triangle
2. The lean column
3. The rectangle
4. The apple
5. The pear (opposite of the inverted triangle)
6. The neat hourglass
7. The full hourglass
The neat hourglass is considered to be the most perfect and balanced body shape. This means the shoulders and hips line up, the bust is defined, the waistline is pronounced, and it can include a little tummy as well as a curvaceous bottom. Basically we are talking about being proportionate and curvy, the opposite of the modelesque figure.
This feminine and curvy body needs to find tops which accentuate the bust line without appearing heavy. Flattering tops include scoop or V-necklines, shirts that sit at the waist, and jackets and coats with clean lines that are tailored to fit. The hourglass should avoid high necklines, shapeless cuts, empire types, and embellishments like tassels, beading or bling around the bust or hips.
Dressing the lower half is rather easy, as most bottoms compliment this figure type. Stylish pieces include pencil or A-line skirts, and jeans which fit well around the hips and behind. The no-no list includes shapeless or overly baggy items as well as skirts that drop to the thickest part of your leg.
Women with this type of shape may have a tendency to look heavy and short due to their hips. To remedy this, defining the waist and lengthening the legs balances the look. This can include a top that sits at the waist with a pair of trousers with good length to allow for heels.
Accessorizing with the right footwear is essential. You can’t go wrong with a classic pair of stilettos, especially if they are a colour that brings your entire outfit together. Also try peep toes or rounded toes. Leave the pointed shoes and chunky heels for others.
Those gifted with this hourglass shape (eight per cent or less of us) have little to worry about. Think Marilyn Monroe. She was a natural balance of well-placed curves which she enhanced with form-fitting dresses, skirts and tops. Kim Kardashian, Eva Longoria, and Scarlett Johansson are definitely the hourglass women of our times.