Monday, February 14, 2011

Essentiels de la Mode: Building the Perfect Silhouette

Although we may fail not realize it, the first thing that many of us think about when dressing ourselves is a silhouette. All of us at one point or another have been delighted, depressed, or just plain obsessed with a certain silhouette. Unfortunately, as we all know, different body types make different silhouettes impossible.

That is actually a positive thing!

Each of us is blessed with a beautiful body that we can accentuate with different silhouettes. Thus we set out on the quest to discover what our "body type" is...
And oh, what a quest it proves to be!

No matter how many body type quizzes, long looks in the mirror, and taking of measurements we subject ourselves to, a specific "body type" is elusive to many of us. This fact used to confuse me to the point of frustration and mild anxiety at times. Yet the answer to this dilemma is so simple and profound that every girl should be excited that they don't fit just one "body type!"

You are unique. There is no one like you. You are one of a kind. You are special. You are beautiful.

*Put away your body type guides at this point*

There is no one stereotype, body style, or style type that can or could ever encompass or embody you. However these can be great tools in defining your personal style and discovering silhouettes that flatter you.

*It is now safe to bring those body type guides back out*

In my opinion every girl fits into at least three different body type categories. Your "best shape," "worst shape," and "frame size." But keep in mind that a girl can go through a whole slew of sizes throughout her lifetime. What you look like now will probably change in the next five, ten, or twenty years. Certain events in a woman's life also bring about drastic body changes very quickly.
Your "best shape" is the body shape/type that most closely matches you at your "best."
Your "worst shape" is the body shape/type that most closely matches you at your "worst" or your "problemed" areas.
Your "frame size" is the size of your body in general. Are you tall? Petite? Slender? Broad? Are you bones small or large? Are you athletic? Frail? Soft? These features that most people (and body type quizzes) forget to take into account make up a huge portion of your unique body.

Because there are so many things to take into account, your body type can be very complex. Here's and example of how you might classify your body type.
Best shape: Hourglass-- meaning that you're fairly proportionate; your bust and hip measurements are 5-10" larger than your waist measurement; you tend to gain and loose weight evenly throughout your body
Worst shape: Pear-- meaning that you have shapely hips, bottom, and legs; your hip measurement is at least 5-10" larger than your waist; you tend to carry extra weight from the waist down.
Frame size:
-average height (between 5'4"-5'6" in the US)
-broad shoulders
-heavier, athletic build
-long waist
-short legs
-average bone size (One test to tell the size of our boens is the wrap your thumb and middle finger around your wrist where it meets your hand. If your fingers overlap you are small boned, if your fingers just meet you are average, if your fingers do not meet your may be large boned.)

Now that you have personalized your body type, pick at least three things that you like about your figure. --Yes, style (and your identity) is more than just your figure, but when trying to build your best silhouette you need to focus on your figure.--

For example, you might like your:
-dainty ankles, wrists, or hands
-long neck
-small waist
-broad shoulders

Once you've completed your current body profile you can determine which silhouettes show of your figure and features to their best advantage.

One great secret of fashion is that some silhouettes never go out of style. Items that give you these classic shapes are what the Essentials of Fashion series is all about.
Stay tuned for next week's post.

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