18 December, 2010

A delayed apology...

...for not updating! However, truth to be told, I won't be able to update until I finish my exam the 22th of December. I have another exam in the beginning of January, too, so it'll be hectic!  Studying, trying to move from one apartment to another (I still have some stuff left, eek!), and put an illness upon all that, and you've got my past few weeks. I'm sorry I couldn't get the body shape posts up before X-mas, but hopefully everything will be up before the end of the month. I'll also put up some tips for outfits you could wear for New Year's Eve. :)

See you soon (I promise)!

09 December, 2010

Body shapes: Pear

Alongside with the rectangular shapes, the pear body shapes are what I stumble the most upon. The uttermost basic classification of a pear shape, is that they have wider (lower)hips than shoulders. This in turn means that the pear stores most of her weight on the lower part on her body. Their upper bodies are a lot more slender than their lower body, and they may, or may not, have a defined waist, and the lower body is shorter in length. Usually, their breasts are small in size (since breasts consist of fat), which results in a bony chest if you are skinny, and their shoulders are narrow. Whereas some pears may store fat in the lower areas of the belly, most of it goes "straight to the thighs". Also, many pears have saddlebags and/or a big bum, and chunky calves with little definition are indeed common.

The pear shape is usually the easiest to recognize. However, if you don't know whether your breasts would be classified as small or big, whether your bum is flat or round, or perhaps where you tend to put on weight, take a look at yourself in skintight clothes with your arms down, in front of a full-length mirror. Now, are your shoulders (measured from the shoulder bone rather than the upper arm) smaller than your hips (the widest part of your lower body, usually across the bum)? Are your hips wider than your midsection? If you answered "yes" to these two questions, then you are most likely a pear.

Some famous pears: Hillary Clinton, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Shakira, Kirstie Alley, Kristin Davis


To sum the shape definitions up before we proceed:
  • Lower body are wider
  • Tends to need a larger size in pants and skirts than tops
  • Often chunky calves
  • Small breasts
  • Narrow shoulders
  • May or may not have a defined waist
  • Stores fat in the lower body
  • Saddlebags are common
  • May have a big or a slightly drooping bum
  • Longer upper body
What to wear (and what to avoid)
Make the body appear in proportion. Make the lower body appear smaller, and put an emphasis on the upper body.

  • Choose darker colors on the lower body, and go for lighter and brighter colors, patterns and details on the upper body
  • Avoid details on your lower body, especially around the hips and bum. Avoid horizontal seams across your hips
  • Avoid side pockets, and back pockets if your bum is big. Choose a slit version instead, or no pockets at all
  • Carry your bags high. That is, keep them above your lower body. If the straps on the bag are long, make them shorter by adding new holes
  • Go for tops and jackets that visually broaden your shoulders and draw the attention. Think shoulder pads, wide and high necklines, an eye-catching collar, horizontal seaming, spaghetti-straps, double breasted jackets, patterns and other details
  • 3/4-lenght sleeves are great as they accomodate in drawing the eye towards the upper body
  • You have a slender upper body - show it off! Hiding in boxy tops that fall straight from your shoulders to your hips will only make you appear heavier than you are
  • Jackets should end at the hip-bone, coats should be knee-lenght
  • Make sure tops end at the hip bone (not the widest part of the hip!) or mid-thigh. If your thighs are heavy, you are better off with shorter tops than those that cut across your thighs
  • Avoid capris and anything that is calf or ankle lenght
  • The best skirt and dress length is an inch below or below the knee. Minis or calf-lenght are not for you. Avoid pencil skirts and bias-cut. Wide skirts such as an a-line would be your best bet
  • Patterns on skirts are usually a no-no for the pear shape, but it often works when the pattern is busy with very little negative space (the "holes" between the pattern which reveal the underlying color of the skirt)
  • Grecian, empire-line dresses with a high, wide neckline works great. Avoid skin tight dresses as they reveal any lump and bump
  • Go for bootcut, flare or wide jeans and pants rather than straight and skinny leg
  • When choosing jeans, avoid stonewashed or distressed variants, especially those with whiskering on the thighs. Go for a darker wash instead
  • Your best shoes are knee-lenght boots or as open shoes as possible. Avoid ankle boots and ankle straps, as they will make your calves appear thicker. If you wish to wear ankle boots, make sure your pants or jeans hide them as much as possible, or if wearing with a skirt/dress; make sure it blends color-wise with your thights (which again should blend with the skirt)
  • Go for heavy and chunky heels, such as a straight cone/square shape or a wedge. Platforms are great. Kitten heels and thin stilettos are not for you, nor are completely flat shoes
  • You wish to visually lenghten your lower body as it is shorter than your upper body. Wearing heels with pants that gently sweep the floor and disguise the heel works wonders. High-waisted skirts or pants are also a nice bet. Make sure your shoes never are lighter or brighter than your pants/skirt. If you don't wear tights to a skirt or a dress, choose a shoe in the same color as the dress/skirt or the color of your skin

Examples of flattering outfits for a pear shape:
yes-pear



Examples of UNflattering outfits for a pear shape:
NO-FOR-PEARS


If you have ANY questions, feel free to leave a comment!

04 December, 2010

Soon!

In the following days, I'll be a busy bee, so I won't be able to blog until Wednesday. However, please feel free to ask me all your questions, and I'll answer all of them when I'm back.

See you in a few days!

01 December, 2010

Female body shapes

One thing which is so common for a lot of women, is judging what'll look good on them depending on what size they wear, or what the scale says. And thus, they believe that if they are a size 10, and the tag says "size 10", it'll fit them perfectly. Yet, when looking in the mirror, they might feel that something's off. Perhaps the dress doesn't fit at all over the hips, despite being labeled a 10. Or perhaps it's way too big around the midsection. Frustrated, the women leave the dress behind and may even start feel bad. Surely, if they are a size 10, and the dress says 10, then why won't it fit?

In their program, "Undress The Nation", fashion gurus Trinny Woodall and Susannah Constantine proved that even if the label matches your size, a piece of clothing might not fit well, if at all. They gathered a large group of women which all declared themselves to be the same size. Then, each women got one identical dress in the corresponding size. Finally, it was revealed that despite being the "correct" size, the dress looked different on about every woman in the room.

The point, which I'm slowly, yet steady, approaching, is that you shouldn't pick clothes after mere size. Instead, try to pick pieces of clothing that fits your body shape.

You might have stumbled upon terms such as "hourglass", "apple", "pear" or "banana". These aren't just fruits or a depiction of time. No, these are descriptive terms for our body shapes. Or, what I prefer to call them, umbrella terms for our body shapes.


Basically, each of these terms refer to the outline of our body (as decided by the way our skeleton is built). Also, they are indicators of where we store our fat. Let me break down each of these for you:
  • Banana: Also known as ruler, boy-ish or rectangle. May be long and lean, or shorter and broader. Hips and shoulders are in proportion. Little to no waist. Body fat is evenly distributed through the body
  • Apple: Also referred to as top heavy. The upper body is wider and heavier than the lower body. Slender hips. Breasts come in all sizes. Little to no midsection. The classic apple has a protruding belly, and the midsection is the widest part. Body fat is mainly concertrated on the upper body
  • Pear: Aslo referred to as bottom heavy. The lower body is bigger than the top. Hips are broader than the shoulders, and the upper body is usually slender with medium to small breasts. The classic pear has wide hips with saddlebags, a small decollet√©, a slight waist and heavy and undefined calves. Body fat is stored on the lower half
  • Hourglass: Hips and shoulders are in proportion, and the waist is visibly smaller. No matter the weight, the hourglass retains a smaller waist. Even if the hourglass loses a lot of weight, she will still inhibit her curves. The classic hourglass has medium to big breasts, full hips and a waist that is 20-25 cm smaller than the hips. Body fat is evenly stored throughout the body, but it's also common for the sub-types of hourglasses to store the weight around the hips and lower belly
As our clothes lie on the outside of our body and follow our outlines, the most rational thing is to choose according to our outline rather than our size. For instance, a size 12 banana might look better in a sheath dress than a size 2 hourglass. A few common misconceptiona, are that the term hourglass refer to all ladies over a certain style, that all bananas are very skinny, that all apples have barrel-like upper bodies, and that all pears have no breasts and a saggy butt. Let me just get this straight right now: That's a whole lot of crap! All the shapes come in all sizes and a myriad of variations! You'll find apples with flat stomachs, and pears with the perkest butts in town. You'll find size 20 bananas, and size 0 hourglasses.

In the following posts, I explain the sub-shapes and give tips to how you can dress your shape:
[Bananas]
[Apples]
[Pears]
[Hourglasses]

(UNDER CONSTRUCTION! BODY SHAPE POSTS COMING SOON!)

In the body shape posts, it's worth noting that I use my "own" terms on the various sub-types. Despite referring to Trinny and Susannah's episode about body shapes, I'm not using their terminology. However, I can warmly reccomend they book, The Body Shape Bible. My shape isn't there, but it still cover many different body shapes, and they share a lot of great tips. Nor do I use the marvelous Gok Wan's body shape terms. He even has a nifty little calculator up at Channel 4's website. Trinny and Susannah did have a calculator up at Littlewood's websites for some time, but unfortunately, it's nowhere to be found for the moment. While I'm at talking about body shape calculators, be sure to check out Shop Your Shape, if calculators are down your alley.

A few ways to identify your shape
  • Wear either something very tight or nothing and look at yourself in a mirror. If you were to describe your body, what would you say? Big breasts? A wasp-like waist? Heavy legs? Big upper arms? A flat bum? Don't say anything like "fat" or "skinny". Look at each part, and compare them to the rest of the body. Compare what you just described to pictures or descriptions of the body shapes
  • Measure your shoulders, breasts, waist and hips, and compare the measurements to what each body shape description says
  • Pay attention to where you store your fat when gaining or losing weight
  • Ask a friend to look at you with his/her objective glasses on. What shape would he/she say you look the most like?
I would like to say that you shouldn't worry if you don't match 100% up with a body shape. Most people don't. Even if the beforementioned body shapes have sub-types, it doesn't mean that there still are variations on a theme! Dress according to YOUR body, and use the body types as guidelines, rather than rules carved in stone.