I like to think of personal style as more of an art than a science, which is why there are very few absolute rules on YLF. I love to encourage ensemble creativity and out-of-the-box thinking because no one likes to be boxed into a rigid way of doing something forever.
Guidelines that take into account your body type are important though. I believe that you need to master some principles of good style and dressing to flatter your body type before you begin to manipulate these guidelines. As Maya put it in the forum:
“you can’t break the rules until you understand them”
Artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Chagall developed their abstract style over time. They were well trained in the classics first, studying the basic principles of line, colour, depth and composition for years before they defied the odds and came up with the non-traditional abstract master pieces that defines their artistic style today. They mastered painting what they saw, and then they began to paint what they felt. The same can apply to you and your personal style.
Once you know what works best for your body by following the guidelines, you can either keep things simple and leave it at that. Or, you can challenge yourself by bending the so called “rules”. The point is not to regress by deliberating wearing unflattering outfits in an effort to be creative and individualistic. That’s counterproductive. At the end of the day, our goal is still to look and feel good in what we wear. The challenge is to make a typically unflattering look, look flattering. And it can be done.
I like to challenge my body type guidelines because I enjoy trying something new. This keeps things interesting and after all, it’s my bread and butter.
Here are some of the ways I bend my own guidelines:
- Wearing V-necks and scooped necks: my long neck, regular bust size and bony chest looks best in high necklines (turtle, funnel, slash, mandarin or cru). Lower necklines end up making me look like an ostrich and my bony chest is unattractive. But by finding low necklines that are cut high at the shoulder neck point but low in front helps shorten my neck. Also, a chunky necklace or scarf adds just enough chest coverage to make the style work.
- Surrendering my waistline: I look best in form-fitting, waist- defining styles because they add curve to my straight-ish body. But I’m all over the deconstructed revived 80’s silhouettes of right now so I had to make them work too. For starters, I keep the bottoms extra sleek and the shoulders of the tops or jackets extremely tailored so that my ensemble is somewhat structured. I also add girly detailing like low heels, ruffles and pretty accessories to balance out the androgyny of the look.
- Wearing shorter length skirts and dresses: my shapeless legs look best in knee-length skirts that finish around the knee cap. But hemlines have been getting shorter and finding skirts long enough has been hard. But for the first time ever, I’m wearing hemlines five inches shorter than what I’m used to as long as I wear them with slouchy boots. That way I get extra coverage and a bit of volume around the lower leg area.
Sally from alreadypretty.com and I were telepathic last week as we both thought about tackling this subject at the same time. Sal’s great post entitled “figure flattery as a limiting factor” cuts straight to the chase and you should definitely have a squizz.
You’ve just been challenged to take a make a traditionally non-flattering item for your body type look flattering. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with.