Everyone is born with an individual body structure that sets them apart and makes them unique. While some people clearly recognize their shape through the direct weight placement in their body, others may question their shape and body structure. Most women fall into a hybrid category which is a combination of two different body types according to New York fashion consultant Erika Chloe. Sometimes drawing an outline around the body doesn’t clarify a specific shape like an hourglass or pear shape. “An image consultant helps people identify the characteristics which determine their individual body structure, weight placement and skin tones. A fashion consultant then teaches you about what styles, fabrics, brands and colors are best suited for your individual body structure so that you have a powerful personal image,” says Chloe CEO of My Image Expert.
Companies like My Image Expert provide individual image consultations and a fashion / wardrobe analysis that is tailor-made for each client. While these types of services are by appointment only, you can utilize their complimentary articles in the featured article section of their website for helpful tips that enable you to make better fashion and shopping decisions. Fashion and Style Expert Erika Chloe realizes that some fashion tips can be universal no matter what body type you have. She shares five figure-flattering tips that every woman should follow, whatever your shape, size and body structure
1. Evaluate the Fabric:
Garments that contain wool or heavy weight cotton are best to smooth out bumps in the mid section and hips. These fabrics tend be more forgiving of areas that contain bulge and cellulite. To accentuate your feminine shape, try a sheath dress or pencil skirt in a heavy weight wool for fall and cotton for summer and spring.
Look for garments that contain low percentages of lycra (1-2%). If you are unable to determine a low lycra percentage, check the care label. The Trade commission is required to list all fiber content over 1% that can be found in a fabric. With a low percentage of stretch, the garment will be able to contour your shape while allowing some additional wiggle room. Be careful it doesn’t have too much stretch or the piece will not create a smoothing effect.
Avoid clingy fabrics or fabrics that contain a high luster or sheen. Silk and satin blends’ are notorious for over exaggerating bumps and imperfections in the body. These fabrics retain water and are unforgiving when it comes to sweat stains which also create a discoloration when air dried. If deciding to wear a clingy silk or satin fabric (ideal for Holiday season) be sure to include a body skimmer or spanx underneath to smooth out any areas you want to conceal.
2. Proper Proportions:
Use firmer fabrics that have structure and shape to accentuate the larger parts of your body. Be sure to offset that with flimsier fabrics when paired together in an outfit combination. For example, if you have larger hips try a fitted wool pencil skirt and combine that with a light weight whimsical blouse. Never put over-sized pieces together as it creates a sloppy look. If you’re top heavy, opt for a tailored blazer with a fitted cami to accentuate the curves in your upper body and pair with an a-line skirt or wide legged pants to balance out your proportions.
Outfits that are both blousy on the top and bottom will make you appear larger than you actually are. Combinations that are unbalanced can leave your body looking awkward and accentuate areas or weight placement features that you are trying conceal.
3. Comfortable fit:
First rule of thumb – make sure the item fits the widest part of your body comfortably. For most women, this is the hip area. If pants or skirts are pulling in the pocket area and creating lumps around the seat with buckling fabric, chances are the garment is too tight. If the item is snug, it could be a good fit and be sure to consider the stretch factor that occurs after wearing an item for a few hours. A good test is to sit down, make sure you can breathe without the garment cutting into your waist. Think body skimming instead of body slimming and avoid anything that requires constant readjusting. How to determine your body type is an important tool to have when deciding on specific wardrobe styles and how garments should fit.
4. Use prints and color to your advantage:
Prints are designed in relationship to placement and scale. When used properly, prints can enhance or minimize certain areas. Be sure to select prints based on your proportions. Mid-size and medium sized prints tend to look best on full figured woman or areas of the body with larger proportions. Petite woman should select smaller prints to compliment their frame. Be sure to check the placement of the print. Border designs are a great way to draw the attention away from the mid section and towards the legs while all-over prints camouflage a specific area.
Bright colors are great to play up a specific area. If you’re slim on the top, go for a bright hue that is complimentary to your skin tones. If you’re shapeless on the bottom, try a bright skinny jean or boot cut style. Dark colors help create a slimming look and should be used for the heavy parts of your body!
5. Choose your Accessories wisely:
When wearing skirts or dresses, the idea is to elongate your legs. To create a streamlined effect, select heels that are few shades darker than your skin tone. A classic pump or peep toe heel is ideal for the work environment but try not to wear a heel height above 1 ½”. A neutral shade shoe will help the legs, calves and ankles appear slimmer. For thicker ankles, opt for a pair of mary-janes or an ankles strapped heel!
Belts are a great way to add a touch of color and emphasize your curves. For shorter torsos, try a low rise pant with a colorful skinny belt or a color blocked sheath dress to break up your proportions. A wider belt is a great idea for an hourglass shape to emphasize curves and create the illusion of a shorter torso for those who have a long upper body! If you need help determining what type of body structure you have or what style are best suited for your figure, please contact an image consultant who will help teach you about what brands, styles and colors work for you as an individual.