Dressing Your Body Shape Part III – The Individual Shapes

This article recently appeared in Live Well Wyoming

If you’ve read my last two articles, you know your body shape and a little more about how to use the illusion of color and shape to your advantage.  Now it is time to discuss how to dress each shape.

If you are a Straight/Rectangle body type, your top goals are to add length to your torso, hide a large rib cage, create the illusion of a waist, and draw the eye to your legs.  Dresses that fit the shoulders and fall loosely to right above the knee are a great choice.  Add tights and slim boots to emphasize the legs for fall.  A deep v neck will elongate your neckline.  Avoid belts and choose items that suggest a waist but don’t emphasize one.  Other good choices are a longer jacket with a short skirt or a loose fitting jacket with straight legged pants.

For the Pear/Spoon body type, you will want to draw attention to your upper torso, add width to your shoulders to balance wider hips, hint at your waist without cinching it, and de-emphasize your lower body.  Empire waist tops and dresses are a great choice for you.  Choose necklines that are wide like the boat or cowl because they will add balance to your hips.  Choose flared skirts rather than straight.  Other good choices for you are ¾ length jackets over shorter skirts as well as tops that hit just below the waist rather than at the hips.  Choose darker colors for the bottom.  Avoid belts or emphasized waists unless you have an open jacket over the top.  Use accessories to draw attention upward.

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The top goals for the Hourglass body type are to emphasize your waist and curves as well as to avoid oversized clothing.  Choose fitted styles with darts or defined waists.  Wrap dresses are your friend because they show off your waist and bust.  Choose top styles that allow room for a generous bust and blouse your tops to help provide balance.  Mid rise pants are more flattering on a larger rear than those that hit at the waist.  Just be sure to wear a shaper to avoid the muffin top that mid rise bottoms often create.

Inverted Triangle body types should draw attention to their hips and legs, work to slim their shoulders and de-emphasize the upper torso.  Low slung waists or loosely draped belts are a great choice for you.  Deep v neck or round necks will slim your shoulder area.  Shorter hemlines or straight pant legs will draw attention to your legs.  A longer jacket with a short skirt is also flattering on this figure as it serves to elongate the upper torso.  This is a great body type for leggings and longer tunics.

For the Oval/Round body type, the top goals are to elongate the neck, downplay the middle while elongating the upper torso and drawing attention to the legs.  Try loose fitting jackets or tops over slim legged pants or narrow skirts.  Choosing tops and bottoms of the same color with a jacket over the top that is a different color will elongate your torso and draw attention away from your middle.  Make sure the monochromatic portion is darker than the over jacket or top.

The Diamond body type should draw attention to a spot above the waist, add width to the shoulders, and draw attention away from the hips and thighs.  This is another body type that works well with empire waists.  Wider necklines and cap sleeves will make the shoulders appear wider and balance out the hip area.  Flared skirts allow room for full thighs.  Tunic tops over slim legged pants also work well for this figure type, especially when they are the same color.  Hemlines that fall just below the knee are also good for this figure type.  Avoid tops that hit at the hips or outfits that emphasize your waist.

The key fashion trends for this season are still focused on elongated tops, sweaters and jackets over slim legged pants.  This is good news for almost every body type on this list.  If you have wider thighs or calves, just choose a straight leg style rather than a slim leg style.  You will still accomplish the same look.  Choosing the right clothing takes a little practice but is a skill that can be mastered.

Necklines and Hemlines are Key

Necklines and Hemlines Are Key
One of the big mistakes women make in trying to stay young is wearing necklines and hemlines that are too revealing. Dressing past 40 should be about flattering your figure. Choose balance. If you are wearing a skinny jean with a boot, don’t wear a tight fitting top too. Choose instead to “balance” the figure revealing jean with a top that has a bit more volume. If you are wearing leggings, make sure your “uh hums” are covered by more than just an inch of fabric. Tunics should come to the middle of your thigh in the front and the back. If you have great legs, show them off with a skirt that comes to the top of your knee, not the middle of your thigh. The point is, you can still show off your figure, just not all at once.

Better Together – Jewelry and Friends

I’m loving the layering trend with jewelry right now. We have just picked up two new jewelry lines for Fashion Crossroads that have made this an art form.

Zacasha necklaces combine delicate crystals and beads with colorful tassels and charms.  I was blessed to get to meet the designer of Zacasha at market just a few months ago. Indeed, this is one of my favorite things about attending market in Las Vegas at the Magic Apparel Show. It is not uncommon to have the designer help you buy the line.  In her decidedly French way, and using lots of hand gestures, Jennifer Belcourt recalled the story of how she came up with the line and how it has grown over the years.  After having traveled throughout Asia, she settled in Bali.  She used the traditional Balinese tassel necklace as her inspiration and began to mix techniques and materials from the various islands she had visited. and example of this is described on her website: “The island of Madura’s specialty, is necklaces with tiny knotting between each bead. Using this technique Jennifer designed necklaces made of crystals, Mala beads, fresh water pearls from the island of Lombok and lava stone beads from the volcanoes of Mt Batur in Bali and Mt Semeru in Java”(http://www.zacasha.com/#!our-story/cast).  Her necklaces symbolize good luck, peace and respect for the planet.

I am always amazed with someone who can take an idea and turn it into a company. I am always heartened, when that person is a woman!  As a buyer, I am always attracted to companies that support impoverished areas in the manufacture of their product.  Jennifer’s necklaces are not made in factories but by Indonesian artisans who traditionally work from their home and in this way provide for their families.

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Zacasha is a tassel necklace line designed to be layered.  Indeed, the more you add together, the better they look.  They are perfectly designed to wear with today’s tunic style tops and blouses and a whole lot of fun.  Be careful, however, you just might catch yourself playing with the tassels in an absent minded moment.  They are quite soft!

Another new line that is also designed to be layered is Bourbon and Boweties.  These beautiful bracelets use semi precious stones as well as agates, lava stones, polished coral, and many others.  The stones are wrapped in gold plated wire for a artistic and unique look.  Each bracelet is as distinctive as the stones in the design.  Like Zacasha necklaces, these bracelets look better together. Bourbon and Bowetie bracelets are hand made by proud southern ladies!

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And you know, that makes me think….we women are better together too.  So, when you embrace this jewelry trend this season, let it remind you to appreciate your girl friends and how each of you is unique and yet even more beautiful together.

How to Take Care of Quality Fabrics

How to Take Care of Quality Fabrics

Better quality clothing costs a bit more, but if you care for it correctly, it will last for years. First, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions. These are not suggestions. The manufacturer knows the fabric better than anyone and their recommendations are there to help you get the most from your garment.

Many companies will ask you to wash the garment inside out in cold water. To avoid pilling (balling of fabric), you will want to make sure not to wash your garment with anything rough such as a towel or a garment with beads, sequins, stones, etc.. For extra protection, you can buy a garment bag. This is essentially a large lingerie bag that is made from a mesh fabric and zips closed. These bags will protect your items from being twisted in the washing machine or from being rubbed by other fabrics. If you don’t have one, we sell these at Fashion Crossroads.

If the manufacturer recommends hand washing, follow the instructions. Usually, if you have a newer washing machine with a hand wash cycle, you can use your machine instead of your sink. Again, you might want to use a garment bag. Buyer beware: washing a garment when it is recommended that you do not wash it, voids the guarantee and most stores will not take it back under these circumstances. There are dead giveaways that an item has been washed in a machine.

You can preserve the color of your clothing by adding a quarter cup of vinegar into the water and turning the garment inside out. The vinegar helps set the color. This is especially helpful with black cotton or denim pants.

The biggest enemy of quality clothing is your dryer. Usually we recommend that you hang higher quality clothing to dry. This will keep it looking its best for much longer. if the garment will stretch on a hanger, lay it flat to dry. You can usually get away with throwing the item into the dryer for a quick 10 minute cycle to soften the fabric and remove the wrinkles. Adopting this practice will also greatly reduce shrinkage and pilling.

Some manufacturer’s do not recommend that you dry clean your clothing so be careful about assuming that this is always okay. Again, read the washing instructions.

To save time, I create a separate laundry basket for my good clothing that requires special care. I can do a whole load of cold water wash at the same time if I make sure to separate out any items that have beads, stones, sequins, etc. that could catch or rub other fabrics and any items that require hand washing. I separate my light and dark colors, turn everything inside out and add a 1/4 cup of vinegar. When the clothing is washed, I hang the items or lay them flat to dry. You can also purchase a wooden drying rack at a home goods store that will fold up when not in use. If necessary, I put some of the items in a wrinkle reduction cycle with steam and then hang them or fold them immediately. Using this method, I am rarely disappointed in how my clothing performs.