We devote a category to body type on YLF because the information provides a helpful starting point when you’re unsure about how to create conventionally flattering and balanced proportions for your shape. The suggestions there are useful and tangible, but they should be viewed as helpful guidelines and NOT as rules. Partly because no set of guidelines can completely cover the infinite variability of body shape, but also because conventional figure flattery is not the only way to be stylish. The edgiest and most fashion forward outfits are often not conventionally flattering at all. They are creative, trendsetting and “just flattering enough”.  

Over the years I’ve placed less and less emphasis on the importance of body type dressing guidelines. When YLF first got started almost 8 years ago, body types were all the rage. These days the idea of sticking to a prescribed way of dressing for one’s shape seems like a dated concept. We want to celebrate our freedom to wear what tickles our fancy. That’s why I thoroughly support looking beyond body type dressing rules in order to create interesting and individualistic looks, and most of all, to have fun on our style journey.

Bending the guidelines is not about wearing unflattering outfits that make you feel self-conscious and unattractive, just for the sake of looking unique and showcasing your creativity. Rather, it is about bending a guideline in just the right way so that you can create conventionally flattering proportions. By doing so you will have a larger variety of silhouettes and outfit combinations at your disposal than the strict guidelines would suggest.

Regardless of whether you are following, bending or throwing away the guidelines, I believe it helps to understand them. So over the next five weeks it will be back to first principles as I update the dressing guidelines across all five body types and in the context of current fashion trends.

Note that although the guidelines are general, most of us don’t look exactly like one of the prototypical shapes. So it will be up to you to filter through the information and use the parts that make sense for your shape. You will also need to take into account your figure flattery priorities. Sometimes you’ll adhere to the guidelines and wear conventionally flattering outfits. Other times you will let those creative juices flow and wear things that you love even though they sacrifice some degree of conventional figure flattery. Either way, there is only one rule to always keep in mind: Have fun with fashion.