All women want to look their best in whatever they wear. However, looking good has little to do with fashionable trends. It's far more about dressing correctly for our age, shape, size and the life we lead as well as feeling confident about how we look which helps build our self esteem and helps to create a more positive body image. It's also about feeling comfortable in our choice of clothes. When we feel good it shows in our outward attitude in a very positive way.
For many women, clothes are our camouflage for all our perceived flaws and imperfections so wearing the right clothes to hide the parts of our bodies we don't like while maximising all our good points, is the goal for most of us.
In my experience as a fashion designer and style advisor, the majority of women all have the same aim. They want to look and feel good in the clothes they wear so my job is to strive to create fashion designs that will help them achieve this look. My own view is that feeling good about ourselves inwardly is key to how we see ourselves in the mirror so far from being about vanity, wearing clothes that help us to feel good is vital to our self esteem and how we show up in the world.
I've worked with 100's of women over the years and I've learned that strong reserves of inner confidence is key to looking our best. How we feel about our own reflection on the inside is equally as important as how we appear on the outside. Current society trends focusing heavily on looks and body perfection do little to help women feel good about themselves so it's important to remember that our inner confidence and self esteem always needs preserving so that we can still shine and look good on the outside.
Know your body shape
The best way to choose clothes that will suit you as a unique individual is to understand your own body shape first. By doing this, you will come to understand the style and fit of clothes that's best for you. You should always choose clothes based on your shape, not your actual size.
To help you further on the next page we have included a section titled Identifying Your Shape. Once you understand, the true nature of your shape, then you can begin to experiment with clothes that work well for you. For example, let's say you have a slim upper body but a heavier, rounder lower body. This would suggest you are a typical triangle shape, or sometimes known as pear shape. The trick here requires a balancing act of choosing tops that broaden your shoulders so that they create the illusion of shrinking down your lower body by making you look more streamlined, or more like a rectangle shape. Patterned tops and jackets with slight padding, wider sleeves, wider lapels and collars will all help create this balancing effect, while darker, plain straight trousers and skirts will help slim down a heavier lower body. Once you know your body shape, you then need to work out your vertical body shape. For example, if you've got short legs and a longer upper body, ideally to bring your body into balance, you would choose clothes that make your legs appear longer by making your upper body appear shorter. Shorter length tops and jackets will do the trick of making you appear taller and slimmer. If your vertical body shape is longer legs and shorter body, then it's the opposite approach of choosing longer line tops and jackets to lengthen the upper body to correct the balance.
Disguising your heavier angles
What about those body parts you'd rather not show? Lets assume you are heavier around your tummy, hips and thighs and that this is the part of your body that makes you feel the most self conscious. I don't know a woman on the earth that wants to show a rounded stomach. The key is to dress over your widest points in order to reduce the appearance of any heavier angles. Layer dressing is often a very clever way to disguise any extra kilos and instantly look much slimmer as well as taller. So to disguise a bulging tummy, a top that sits at crotch level is the correct garment to wear. Softly tailored looks are best, draping fabrics that don't cling and styles that are flattering and forgiving are all wise choices. Be sympathetic towards yourself too. Don't spend money on clothes because that's all there is available. Hunt around until you find clothes that suit you.
The best way to discover which clothes suit you best is to work out your own style preference. These fall into several categories of which a few are mentioned below.
This style is usually understated, refined, elegant and timeless. But, take care because overdone it can be too conservative, sometimes severe, a bit too safe and it avoids experiment. It can also look dated. The message you might be sending can be that you're aloof and a bit cool.
Comfortable, casual, easygoing, no effort, throw it on, anything goes. If this is you, you might need to make more of your hair and make up to bring the look together. The message that you might be sending here could be that you are too casual in your attitude which may not get you the promotion you're after at work.
Stylish, out there, wants to be seen, glamorous. Be careful not to go over the top and become a fashion victim. The message that you may be sending is that you are restless and changeable.
Feminine & Romantic
Pretty, soft, flowing style, frills, flounces. Sometimes with this look, it can be a problem being taken seriously. The message that you could be sending is that you might not be as capable as your colleague who wears a suit.
As you might be able to see, your clothes send messages and have a language all of their own.They make statements about who you are so it's important to create the right impression especially in the workplace and for any occasion where you may want people to judge you correctly.
A few dress code rules:
- Wear what's compatible with your own taste & comfort zone but be open to experimenting with new styles and looks.
- Don't impulse buy, plan your purchase.
- Buy the right size.
- Think about the message your clothes are sending. How do you want to be seen and responded to by others?
- Find a style that works for you and stick with it.
Legal, finance, company management or executive employment
You will need to exude competence and authority, give the impression that you can be relied upon and appear to be in control. Your ideal wardrobe for work would consist of smart professional, essential work-wear in darker, strength giving colours. A uniformed and strong, professional look, you want people to listen and look up to you.
Teaching, property sales, property management, insurance, hospitality, retail, advisory
People will need to feel they can trust you, you will need to be approachable, look professional, likeable and knowledgeable. Your ideal wardrobe for work would consist of smart professional to smart casual mix and match, co-ordinated work-wear in both darker and complimentary colours and accessories. A warm and inviting look, you want people to talk to you and like you.
Fashion, art, creative arts, music, design, photography
You will need to show your talent for creative imagination, being innovative, a modern thinker looking outside the square, inspiring and full of enthusiastic ideas. Your ideal wardrobe would be eye-catching, colourful, reflect your personality and be vibrant. A positive and captivating look, you want people to see you so they can share your vision.
Copyright Nina Wornham