I love shopping for clothes. But that wasn’t always the case. Sure, I liked the idea of “going shopping” with a girlfriend, my mom or my daughter. But more often than not, my initial enthusiasm would eventually spiral downward into what my husband calls “a shopping headache.” (Have you ever had one of those?) It’s not always easy to dress your body!
Not too long ago this is how most of my shopping ventures would go. I’d head out on a shopping trip full of anticipation and girlish giddiness. I might be looking for a new and unique outfit for a special occasion. And I might even have had money budgeted for my purchase. But as the day wore on, I remember growing more and more frustrated. When I first walked into the fitting room where the sales lady had hung my chosen clothing oh so artfully, I was excited to begin trying on the items.
But it didn’t take long for the shiny to wear off. Pants sizes that normally fit didn’t seem to work that day. And even when the clothes did “fit,” they didn’t seem to do anything for me. They even looked prettier on the hangers than they did on my body. Ugh!
Do you ever get frustrated while shopping and trying on clothes? Does it seem like the fashions in the catalogs and on the mannequins don’t work on you the way they do on others?
Today is the first post in a series I’m calling Dressed for My Day…My Way. (Bonus: I will be emailing access to handy downloads to my subscribers throughout this series so that you can build a helpful notebook full of shopping and styling tips for your body. Learn how to subscribe here.)
Learning to Dress for Your Day…Your Way
Some say that style is all art. Others say that dressing your body is not art at all, but purely science and math. I prefer to think that getting dressed in a way that flatters your body and speaks your language is equal parts science, math, art and passion. The problems arise when we lack a clear understanding of how any of those factors contribute to our overall appearance.
So I’d like to help you consider each of these factors and discover how you can understand the science, do the math, create the art and then wear it with passion. In this series we’ll slowly but surely learn how to factor in:
- body shape
- body proportions
- body variations
- & lifestyle
so that you can dress your body for your day…your way!
To get us started, here’s what you can expect to learn about each of these contributing factors that make up your personal style.
How to Dress Your Body Shape
In the past I made the mistake of thinking that if I just learned my body shape (which was confusing enough in itself!) then I would be able to dress myself in a way that consistently flattered my unique body. But it turns out, body shape is only part of the equation. Body shape doesn’t tell you what colors look best on you, how long the hem of your skirt should be, what shoe styles look best on you or what accessories you should gravitate to. Knowing your body shape alone will not equip you to have a successful shopping trip.
Understanding your body shape, however, does equip you to use lines in order to balance your body. You’ll learn how to use vertical lines to elongate or slim, how to use horizontal lines to broaden or balance, how to use diagonal lines to move the eyes to other areas and how to use curvy lines to create the female form or add volume. Learning your body shape is an important first step.
How to Dress Your Body Proportions
While understanding your body shape is all about geometry, determining your body proportions will require you understand the science of aesthetics and do a little math. You see, body proportions is all about how you stack up!
Our bodies are basically divided into 8 portions. Those portions are:
- top of head to base of chin
- base of chin to middle of bust
- middle of bust to natural waist (where you bend)
- natural waist to leg break (where your thigh bends at your torso)
- leg break to mid thigh
- mid thigh to knee bend
- knee bend to half calf
- half calf to base of foot
But on few to none of us are those 8 portions exactly even. In fact, most of us have either:
- a long body (top of head to leg break) and shorter legs (leg break to base of foot)
- a short body and longer legs
- or equal body and legs with shorter mid sections (middle of bust to leg break and/or leg break to knee bend)
As we go through the series you will learn how to measure your portions (it’s not even necessary to have a tape measure!!!) and how to then dress your body so that it appears more aesthetically proportional. Hint: It’s not a 50/50 split!
How to Dress Your Body Variations
Did you know that you can figure out both your body shape and body proportions and still not know what swimsuit to wear, how to wear your jewelry or which shoes to put on your feet? That’s because neither of those mathematical equations will address your unique body variations.
Body variations include your peculiar:
- hand size
- upper arm size
- rump size or shape
- bust size
- ankle size
- foot shape
- and more!
These are the areas that you either want to draw attention to or not, depending on…well…the size or shape! But they have nothing to do with your body shape or proportions. So we’ll have to learn how to address these separately.
How to Dress for Your Coloring
Most of us gals know that our coloring plays a role in selecting clothes that flatter us. But when we discover exactly how this works, it becomes easier to gravitate toward shades that flatter and steer clear of colors and tones that don’t. In fact, you’ll learn how your skin color and undertones, your hair and your eyes contribute to this part of the styling equation.
Style Rules –> Fashion Freedom
The four parts of the equation that I’ve mentioned so far could be categorized as the “rules.” Now, I know some of you gals don’t like rules. You want to color outside the lines and be who you want to be. I hear you. But hang with me here.
When we learn the science and math behind the rules of body shape, body proportion, body variation and coloring, we can make wiser choices about the clothes and accessories we chose and how we wear them. Those wise choices then set us up with the ability to just have fun in two other parts of the equation.
Look at it this way. If you’re very experienced in the kitchen you know that cooking allows for a lot of liberty, but baking requires precise measuring and following a recipe. If I want to create a moist, delicious and structured (not flat!) cake, I’ll need to choose my ingredients wisely, measure them carefully, mix them properly and bake them at the right temperature. I’ve got to follow the rules or…no cake! But if I do follow the rules or the recipe I can then play around with a few things. I can substitute almond flavoring for vanilla if I’d like. Or I can add blueberries or lemon peel or nuts or chocolate chips. And I can ice the cake with a cooked caramel icing, a whipped buttercream frosting, a chocolate ganache or just a dusting of powdered sugar. Some things really are just up to me!
[bctt tweet=”When I follow the RULES of body shape, body proportions, body variations and coloring, then I am FREER to dress my body according to my personality & lifestyle. Woo hoo!!!” username=”@mykayharms”]
How to Dress for Your Personality
When we dress for our personality we consider our preferences (what do you like?) and our priorities (what do you value). We’ll really break that down later in this series. Personality is an important factor in determining your personal style so that you can dress for your day…your way.
How to Dress for Your Lifestyle
Truthfully, I think one of the biggest fashion mistakes I’ve made in the past is starting with this component. I was so determined to dress for my lifestyle – whether it be college student, working gal, stay-at-home mom or work-from-home woman – that I forfeited the style I could have had if I’d paid attention to the previous components.
Considering lifestyle is oh so important. There’s no point in wearing clothes that don’t “work” for you. But considering lifestyle when we make our styling choices needs to follow on the heels of determining and observing the five aforementioned factors. We’ll really break down how lifestyle factors into your personal style after you’ve become very familiar with wisely choosing clothes that fit and flatter your body.
Look for more Installments in this Series
Today’s post is really just an introduction to this series. The real work starts tomorrow. And there is work involved.
To really benefit from this “course” you’ll probably want to keep some notes, jot down measurements and such. Ultimately, you’ll want to build your own personalized style guide based on your findings. These are the personalized guidelines that will help you walk into a clothing store with confidence and enthusiasm…and leave, not with a shopping headache, but with fashions that fit you and make you look fabulous.
So I’m providing worksheets for my subscribers. Right now I can only give the subscribers the worksheets and they’ll be sent to you in the emails that introduce the posts. Both my daily and weekly subscribers will receive them. If you subscribe during the series, you can simply email me or leave a comment saying that you’d like to receive the previous worksheets and I’ll send them to you when I verify that you’ve subscribed. Later, after this course is complete, I’ll offer the full packet of worksheets to all new subscribers automatically.
And remember! My subscribers have other benefits, too. Chiefly, I give away a $25 gift card to a favorite retailer once per month to a subscriber. Yay! That’s coming up soon for this month. So if you haven’t subscribed yet and you’d like to, you can subscribe here.
Thanks for hanging with me for a little while here at Dressed for My Day! Tomorrow I’ll have the first session of our Dressed for My Day…My Way course up. But then I’ll return to fashion posts and such for a few days as well.
And don’t worry! There will still be plenty of fashion posts. This style guidelines series will be drawn out over the summer with approximately one post per week.
Blessed for My Day
As you might have begun to reflect today on your body shape, proportions, coloring and such, may you remember that ultimately you are an amazing work of art! The Creator has designed you wonderfully and intricately. He has taken time with you, and He is enamored with your beauty…inside and out. He knows ever part of you, even the inner workings of your mind and heart. He has made no mistakes concerning you. Instead, He creatively designed you to make specific contributions, generate personalized ideas, feel all those amazing and sometimes overwhelming feelings and strive to accomplish goals and dreams that are also unique to you. Ultimately, He shows us all a little more of His own character in you…and you alone. You are beautiful and you matter deeply. Be blessed in that truth today.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. ~ Psalm 139:13-14
Hey! Why not share today’s post on Pinterest or Facebook? This is going to be a series that a lot of the women in your life may enjoy. Be sure to spread the word so they can subscribe and receive the printouts.