As I was planning new blog posts, I thought about doing a series of posts for "dressing your body type". I may still do that at some point. It is useful information. It's true that there are certain articles of clothing that look better on specific body types. There are some pieces that should be avoided if you're trying to create a slimmer middle or minimize a large bust. There are certainly a number of "style tricks" you can use to create the body you want with the body you have.
And therein lies the problem--I want you to want the body you have. I don't like the idea that we should all be optical-illusioning ourselves into tall, thin, slight hourglasses. How boring would that be!
Aside from the fact that "dress your shape" instructions seem like society is telling you there is something wrong with your body (newsflash: there isn't), the other issue is many of these "tricks" are out of fashion.
For decades, women were told they needed to have no hips and the backside of a prepubescent boy. These days, a curvaceous bottom half is "in style". So all those tips on making your hips and bottom appear smaller when you have a pear shape? You may not want to hear it! You may be celebrating the fact that you're a big-bottom girl with body con dresses, tight jeans, and clingy skirts. If you love your curvy bottom half, then you are probably not interested in trying to minimize it.
Another issue with "dress your body type" advice is that it can be so prescriptive, it's paralyzing. You label yourself and box yourself in. I am not a believer in "fashion rules". I don't think you should be banned from leggings if you're an Apple shape, for example. It's more about how you feel in the clothes, rather than the clothes themselves. If you are that Apple-Shaped woman and everyone wants to put you in a Scoop Neck Blouse and Bootcut Pants, and you hate those things? Well, that doesn't seem like a style win to me. When you cling so hard to fashion rules, you end up making purchases you don't love and missing out on garments that actually excite you.
Having dressed women of many shapes, another issue that always comes up for me when discussing "style rules" is that most of us do not neatly fit into one body type. For example, I am between an hourglass and a pear, leaning more toward pear. I am also petite. And, I have a tummy. Many of the suggestions for one aspect of my body will cancel out the other. For example, how can I define my waist and avoid drawing attention to my midsection at the same time? This contradictory advice can be maddening. Fortunately, I have years of experience on my side to know what works. Unfortunately, not everyone does.
Like I said above, I may at some point highlight the best pieces for unique body types. I have given various presentations on the topic. I wouldn't want anyone thinking that she can't wear something because it isn't meant for her or it exacerbates her perceived "flaws". It turns out I have the same issue with "dress your shape" as I do with most "fashion rules"--style is about the person; it's not about the clothes.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. I help women organize their closets, define their style, and shop with intention. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.