by Joanna Davis
As you may well know, not every woman loves to shop. Some women even hate it and refuse to spend hardly any time thinking about what to wear. You would assume that such women would naturally look a bit sloppy or out of sync - but not so! This week we shall continue with the discussion we started last week: looking through the eyes of the fashion lazy, and disclosing tips on how to look stylish with as little effort as possible.
When it comes to lazy fashion, classic beats trendy every time. Staying up to date can be a mission in itself, requiring lots of time in keeping up with what’s hot and new, and even more time shopping to keep your closet up to date. When choosing a look it’s best to stick to something timeless that truly represents the way you want to be perceived. Spend time on this one step to get it right, and you can reap the time rewards for years to come, modifying or adding slightly as you go. Get too current or too trendy, and you’ll have have to update your look as styles change, which means: more time, more money, more shopping.
Many women who love shopping will look for clothes they love; that stunning blouse or that dress that just makes them stop in their tracks. This item is like a soloist in an orchestra, it works beautifully on its own, and the trick then becomes how to fit it in with the others - so much time and consideration is required to make sure they all work together without overpowering each other.
The other strategy is to go for the ensemble. Take this white on white look featuring our beautiful Veneto Jacket. Each piece of the ensemble may be a bit quieter and simpler, not without its own subtle charm perhaps, but together they create a powerful whole that works, is harmonious, and delivers an overall impression of beauty and style.
When you go shopping, don’t just buy one, buy several! If you find something that fits you well and looks good, double up and buy a few duplicates or variations. Buying duplicates will make your clothes last longer, meaning you won’t have to buy new clothes as often. If you find a shop that fits you well, chances are there will be a few other similar pieces that will also suit you well. Load up when you can and you can avoid thinking about it again later. You may even be able to negotiate a discount. If there is only one left, try the online stores to see if you can get a few more in that style, since you know it fits.
Deciding on a simple palette of colours that work well together will help to reduce the time you spend selecting an outfit. I had a friend who only wore black, white and shades of grey. As a result, everything she bought always fit in well with everything else. The monochrome palette gave her a particular sense of style, but it was a huge timesaver as well. Even a beautiful decorative print or pattern top like our greyscale floral top becomes a versatile addition when combined with a simple monochrome palette.
We may not all hate shopping, but many of us are too busy at the best of times. So whether you are the type who loves spending hours hunting in the discount aisles, or would rather spend the time catching up on some crochet, it always helps to have a few quick tips to save time and stay looking fabulous. After all, nobody minds the looking good part, do they?
by Joanna Davis
The other day I was having lunch with a friend of mine, who always looks well put together, and the conversation drifted towards how much time and effort women spend on putting themselves together, choosing outfits, buying clothes and so forth. To my utter disbelief, she told me that she hated shopping, and only bought new clothes as infrequently as possible. I was shocked. Really?
Beyond this, she also said that she had no time for deliberating about what she was going to wear, and spent very little time, if any, thinking about it. “But, you always look so good and well put together,” I remarked in astonishment. Immediately I set to work on extracting her secrets!
It turns out she was never really interested in fashion. She was a busy woman and always had more important things to think about. But it was important for her career and her confidence to look good and be presentable. She struggled for a while, choosing to only put effort in when it was important, say for a meeting, or a date, but found that she was often caught off-guard and felt embarrassed, or avoided spontaneous social gatherings because she didn't think her outfit would be up to scratch. And so, she developed a few techniques that allowed her to look presentable, and even well dressed, without having to spend more than a few seconds thinking about it.
She said that for a time she used to work as an airline stewardess, which was easy for her because she never had to agonise about what to wear. It was simple - wake up, grab one of the five identical outfits hanging in the closet and hey presto, she was off to work. She even enjoyed staying in the uniform after work to meet friends for drinks; after all, the uniform was a flattering outfit and helped to initiate a few conversations! The trouble was when she changed careers, she really missed the simplicity of the uniform, and tried to create one for herself in her new career. After that, she decided to create another look for her social life and casual outings. That was when it struck me that she has always had a consistent, yet tasteful and elegant, look about her. While I always took this to be her style, it turns out that what I was noticing was her uniform.
Of course, unless you are a stewardess, or are in one of the few other uniformed professions, you cannot wear the same thing every day without raising some eyebrows. The trick to creating a great uniform-look is to stick to a simple formula that works well with several variations, like the simple light and white look with our White Stripes Waterfall Jacket.
For example, if your base “work look” is a tidy grey, knee high skirt with our Q'neel 3 Quarter Sleeve White Blouse, and black three inch heels; it will still work with another white or light coloured blouse of a different style, cut or pattern. Swap out the skirt for black trousers, or choose a different set of black heels and the same is probably true. The main point is to ensure that any of these bottoms can be worn with any of these blouses, and any of these shoes can work the same way. Too bland? You can add flair with scarves, necklaces, and other jewelry to keep the overall look fresh and unique. Again, it's best to keep the set of accessories that are part of the uniform to one side, so they can be grabbed without consideration as and when you need them.
by Joanna Davis
OK, we’ve all heard that black is slimming. But does that mean that we can wear any old thing, as long as its black, and it will do the trick? Well, not exactly. The trick to wearing black effectively is to combine it with other style tips so that you don’t look like a theatre stage hand.
“Black is the most slimming of all colours. It is the most flattering. You can wear black at any time. You can wear it at any age. You can wear it for almost any occasion. I could write a book about black” - Christian Dior
If you're left wondering why black clothing does wonders for your shape and figure... the simple reason is that it disguises the shadows from lumps and bumps. The slimming effect of black might be the very best excuse to buy that signature black dress you've been dreaming about for the last couple of months. Wearing black might not make those extra pounds disappear, but you can trick the eye into believing that they have.
This week we explain the secrets of wearing black, alerting you to some of the best new black designs in our collection which will not only compliment your waistline, but will will have people complimenting your sense of fashion and style as well.
In general, dressing in no more than one colour will have an immediate slimming effect. Wearing only one colour draws attention away from particular areas of the body and emphasises the verticality of your figure. Wearing an outfit that combines three or four different colours will make the eye attracted to the break, which usually occurs around the waist.
Combine this trick with the ever-flattering power of black, and ta-dah! Your outfit will have a doubly slimming effect. Because black doesn't reflect any light, it increases the slimming effect created by wearing only one colour. Lighter colours such as greys and creams reflect light and cast shadows precisely where your body curves or bulges are. Black, however, disguises these “imperfections” like no other colour – bulges remain invisible and under your control. White, conversely, has an effect which is exactly the opposite: it highlights all shadows, making lumps and bumps more visible.
The slimming effect of black can be compromised by certain fabrics, particularly shiny or stretchy ones like faux leather, lycra or sequins. Velvet, to an extent, can have the same undesired glare. This shine can create reflections and shadows that again, will draw attention to imperfections. Finally, don't forget that the slimming power of black doesn't hold true if you stand sideways – the shape of your body is emphasised when you're seen from one side.
Wearing black without an awareness or an eye for style is not enough. Black should be combined with a series of other techniques to emphasise its slim-look effects. A good selection of beautiful black garments in your wardrobe is all you need to start the new season in style. Here are some highlights from our collection – surely you will want to show off your gorgeous curves in one of these!
The Q’neel long black dress with open shoulders is one of our classics. Practical and versatile, it is designed to flatter the fuller figure with a fabric that flows effortlessly along the shape of your body. Its cut-out sleeves add a touch of style and quirkiness that won't go unnoticed, while drawing the eye upwards to the shoulders. The extra length creates a unifying form and emphasises the verticality of your body. Its matt black colour wraps your body gently and eliminates any bunching.
The cute Chianti black chiffon shrug is the perfect accessory for the warmer weather – don't forget, summer is just around the corner! It's light enough to be worn outdoors or indoors, and it accentuates and reinforces the hourglass figure, as the eye is drawn to the inner profile. Its slightly translucent fabric will still allow you to show off the details of your dress underneath without creating a sense of wearing a heavy coat.
What to say about our Q'neel yellow party dress, an all-time favourite! It draws attention to the narrowest part of the waist, and it expresses your bust like no other. The clever and stylish cut adds verticality thanks to the vertical black band – the eye is drawn to the profile of the lighter areas, and their visual impact is minimised. What's more, this very clever vertical black band allows the slimming effect to also work when you're standing sideways, as the width of the body seems to be divided into two – just take a look at the photograph on your right.
The Black Lace Tiered Tunic is both feminine and elegant, and is best worn with black trousers or leggings. The lacy detail of the arms draws the eye away from the body towards the arms, while the horizontal banding covers up the shadows and folds caused by bumps in the body. It is made from a lush fabric that flows very beautifully along the figure, accentuating curves and reinforcing the hourglass body type. Also, it is an ideal garment to wear alongside shapewear. Finally, the lovely scoop neckline also frames the neck and face and draws attention towards the face and away from the waistline.
It is worth mentioning that dark colours such as navy, dark grey or brown can have a similar effect to black. For example, our Brown crushed velvet tunic with chiffon sleeves, though not technically black, is dark enough to have a slimming effect but is also elegantly designed, featuring a shimmering fabric which catches the light beautifully. The chiffon sleeves draw the eye to the texture of the fabric and away from the body. This elegant material creates, in turn, a perfect backdrop for an elegant necklace which can keep the eye entertained, thereby minimising the visual impact of the body.
by Joanna Davis
Having clothes that don’t flatter you is like having friends that don’t flatter you - they make you feel ugly and damage your self esteem! You wouldn’t hang around with friends like that, would you? So why let unflattering clothes hang from your body?
Have enough confidence in yourself to know that you are a beautiful woman; if your clothes don't reinforce this positive self image then they shouldn't be in your collection! It’s not your fault that they are unflattering clothes, they were made that way. But they are just clothes, they don’t have feelings of rejection. Chuck them out. Show no mercy. They are not going to care either way. Bin them if they are old and worn, or give them away if they can help somebody else.
Surround yourself only with things that reinforce a positive self image. Doing this will improve your appearance and make you a happier person.
It’s a well known fact that keeping clutter can clutter your mind, making it slower to make decisions, which ultimately leads to more indecision! Out of sight is out of mind, so it’s better to only have things visible that you are actually going to wear in the next few months. Make 4 piles or get 4 boxes. Label one for summer, one for winter, one for spring and one for fall. Now go through your wardrobe and quickly sort out all of the clothes into the box that seems the most fitting. The trick is to do this quickly, taking no more than 10-15 seconds for each. Rely on your impulse decisions, they are usually right. Don’t worry, you can go through the box again later and change a decision if you feel unsure. Of course, there will be some overlaps but that’s okay. There is nothing wrong with shifting some spring clothes into the summer box when the time comes. Do this also with your shoes, scarves, hats, socks and everything else that you wear. At every point utilise tip number one.
You may find that while sorting through your wardrobe, you come across various things that will distract your train of thought. Similarly, you might end up fixating on particular items and allowing hours and hours to drift by without getting things done. The trick here is to set yourself a time limit and race to get it done in time. Those distractions will just have to get filed into the ‘not now’ pile. You have work to do and you don’t have time to get lost in the labyrinth of your closet.
Once your items have been set aside, look into your pile for this season and see if you have too much or too little there to manage. Now it's time to make adjustments; add a few of those overlapping pieces from another box or shift some away. Hang these back into the empty closet and enjoy the space they have there. Everything in front of you should be something you love, or at least like to wear; it should be the privileged few, the iems that makes you feel great when you wear them. Everything that doesn't should go the way of tip number one.
If any of the items need hemming or repair, put these in a bag and take them to the tailor to get them repaired - they'll be back in your wardrobe in no time!
Now, go back and neatly fold and prepare the clothes in the other boxes for storage; you can take them out again when it's the appropriate time of year. Vacuum pack bags can save a lot of space and still allow you to see what’s inside them. It’s also nice to have uniform stackable boxes that are clearly labelled and tidy in order to declutter the space.
Look into your new seasonal wardrobe and see if there is anything missing or if there are any gaps - perhaps you have too many tops and not enough bottoms to balance things out. Write down what you think you need and use this as a shopping list to add a few new flattering and great pieces to your wardrobe. Reward yourself for a spring cleaning job well done. You may want to have a look at the Vida Moda colourful new arrivals or our summer clothing for some great choices. And certainly take your list with you when you go shopping, so that you can target what you are looking for.
This simple spring cleaning job is sure to leave you with a mean, lean and flattering wardrobe that you'll feel proud to wear!
by Joanna Davis
The delicate rays of sunshine which trickle through newly leafing trees, the scrumptious chocolate easter bunnies which line the store aisles, the soft perfume of flowers which dances across the air, as the trees cast their multi-coloured flower petals into the street - all simultaneously announcing the arrival of spring.
Ah yes, spring is in the air. We have survived the winter, so it’s time to switch off the winter blues and turn on some colourful springtime jazz. Spring brings new life, which means it’s the perfect time to bring out a new you. Here at Vida Moda we want to share a few tips on how you can make the most out the season and put some spring in your step.
Instead of chasing the trends this year and buying into a colour and style that will be ‘so last year’ in the near future - create a look that has the timeless quality of springtime. Look around you, there are dozens of beautiful hues in the flowering trees and in the sprouting greens, all which have such a new and fresh feel. Isolate your favorite palettes inspired by nature around you or seek them out. Whether you’re into the soft cherry blossom pinks, the bright and cheery yellows or the deeper violets and blues, combine these with colours that you see them working well within the nature around you and you can't go wrong.
Spring coloured tops like our Semi Batwing Fishnet Hole Top in Yellow can tie in perfectly to the floral flavours of spring, but can give you a fresh new look that not only goes with the season, but will be just as fresh next year and every year to follow.
The key to stretching your shopping budget as far as it can go is by avoiding the one-off outfits and breaking it down to components that can be re-combined in different ways, with different clothes, to create many different looks! Choose a few good versatile pieces and you can find you have three new looks for the price of one. Take for example our stylish Que Plus Size Ivory lace blouse. It’s subtle enough not to draw too much attention, yet delicate and refined while still feeling light hearted and casual. Combine it with an all white ensemble like a pencil skirt and matching heels for an angelic pure innocence look. Wear it with bright colourful jeans to strike a classy yet casual tone. Wear it half open in combination with a colourful top and matching bottom and this will change the vibe completely. A darker or more vibrant colour below will showcase the delicacy of the pattern, making it appear more ornamental and elegant. With a top like this and some playful imagination there is really no end to the possibilities you can dream up.
It’s so easy to be tempted by the allure of a stunning new piece that looks oh so good on the model in the shop display, only to realise at home that the colour doesn’t go with any of your other clothes. Now you’re stuck with a one-off piece. Before you go out on your spring shopping spree, decide on a palette of colours that all work well together beforehand and you will reap the rewards afterwards. Take a picture or a clipping with you that has your colour palette shown, or stop by the paint store for some sample picking to design your overall look in advance.
Armed with this preparation, shopping will be a springtime breeze. You’ll be able to dip in and out quickly, being able to tell at a glance whether there is something there for you, and you’ll be able to move five times as fast. Whenever you do stop to smell the flowers, you know that your new items will all work together, and that is a refreshing thought indeed.
Spring is a tricky time to plan for. You never know whether the sun is going to come and warm you up or if the rain is coming to cool you down, so it’s good to choose accessories that will work in either case. Sporting a stylish spring hat will accentuate your look but will also create some shade to protect you from the elements. A stylish silk scarf can be wrapped tightly to help keep you warm, but can also be worn open and hanging vertically to keep the breeze flowing while adding that little bit of kick to your outfit.
Choosing your accessories wisely can be the perfect tool to keep you looking cool while you're hot, and looking hot when it it gets too cool.
by Joanna Davis
If you are an apple shape you probably have a thick waist and possibly a round belly with weight around your mid-section. If you also have a medium to large bust and hips, you may find that your overall curve is quite boxy and straight, without that hourglass definition. With smaller breasts and narrow hips you may have this line bulging outward at the middle, creating more of a rounder overall appearance. But no matter what your overall shape, the important thing is to know your shape and how to work it, making use of the subtle art of illusion to your advantage - to make you look great and feel sexy.
With apple shapes, the key is to create a lengthening effect in your overall appearance. Choose cuts and designs that create a more vertical or V shaped effect. Many apple shapes are shorter in height, and so can benefit from wearing taller shoes for extra height and length. The next strategy is to use structured clothing to add volume and shape to your bust and hip lines to create the illusion of a waist. The final step is to choose cuts and colours to draw the eye away from the mid-section and toward the bust and the hip line.
Fitted tailoring is your best friend. One of the best ways to create more volume and give structure to your shape is to wear a nice jacket with some weight in the shoulders and a gentle taper inward toward the hips. Single breasted designs will give a more shapely overall appearance and have a narrowing effect on the waist. Wear either a short jacket that ends at the hip line or a slightly longer cut that tapers inward at the waist and back out toward the hips. If you combine a lighter or coloured jacket with a dark top, this will also draw attention to the bust and shoulders, and defocus the bulk of the mid-section while creating some nice lengthening verticals.
Choosing a wider cut top like a wide scoop neck or a cowl neckline may seem counter intuitive. You may start to ask yourself: why should I widen my body shape when I want to create a narrower look? However, the secret to giving a more shapely figure is to widen the bust and hip line, giving the effect of a narrower waist line by comparison. Choosing tops that show more skin area to the top of the bust and have a horizontal oriental will shift the focus away from your waist and toward your bust and shoulders. Choosing tops with more material like a short puffed or angled sleeve, or gypsy cut can also add more width to the shoulders and draw the eye upward.
Vertical cuts, such as a v-neck or tear drop, also work very well to create a lengthening effect. In this regard, take a look at our Chianti Summer Burst Wrap Top: the cut as well as cheerful colour might just be right for you. Wearing shirts with wider or expressive collars like a waterfall collar, or wide shirt collar, will also create a similar v-neck effect while adding a strong vertical line down the centre.
Be on the look out for designs that have some extra material or folds around the top of the hips to help give these areas some extra definition. Using a brightly coloured belt around the hips can also help to give your hips that extra kick as well as make a stylish contribution to your wardrobe. Choose dress shapes or skirts with some shape or structure to add extra volume to your hips and reinforce an impression of the hourglass figure.
If dividing your look into top and bottom, make sure that this transition occurs at the hips and not the waist. What you want to avoid are designs with any horizontal lines or folds falling across the waist; this includes tops that have horizontal bands of colour which will cut up your mid-section horizontally and create a shortening effect.
Trousers, of which you have a lot to choose from the Vida Moda range, can visually “lengthen” the body and draw attention away from the waist. Denim jeans are great as they will have a smoothing effect on your hips and thighs, which makes your legs look nicer. Avoid wearing tight fitting or skin tight materials which only make your mid-section look bigger by comparison. Opt instead for flared or wide legged trousers with any lines or zippers on the sides instead of the front - this will draw attention away from the centre. Combine with some comfortable low to medium heels to give you some extra length and an elegant stride you can keep up all day.
For situations when wearing a skirt can be flattering, choose the right shoes to show off and lengthen your legs. Platform shoes, strappy sandals, wedges and calf length boots all help to create the impression of long legs and a fuller bottom to balance you out. Avoid long buckle boots that will make your legs look short or wider shoes like uggs that make your feet look too big.
Follow the tips we've highlighted above, using contrast and colour to your advantage to reinforce the effect you want. Finally, keep a look out for styles and patterns that will suit your body type and you will have never looked better in your life. Enjoy the new sexy you!
by Joanna Davis
Often referred to as top heavy or inverted triangle, strawberry shaped women are defined as having a large or curvaceous bust accompanied by narrower hips and a smaller bottom. This shape is basically the inverse of the pear, and like the pear, can have hourglass type curves about it, but with a greater or lesser imbalance of the top to the bottom proportions.
Some women may find themselves moving into this category for a period of time when with child or nursing; others who have been born to have a large bust will usually have large breasts accompanied by a wider frame and broader back. In either case, whether temporary or not, the trick is to take the attention away from that lovely bust and even it out elsewhere.
Being endowed with a buxomly bust line may seem to some ladies like a thing to highlight or to emphasise. However, the trick with a strawberry frame is to try to restore the balance between your upper and lower halves by downplaying the bust and giving some more emphasis and weight to your hips and thighs. Using colour to accentuate your bottom portions is a great way to add flare and emphasis to your lower regions, especially when accompanied by a black or dark coloured top.
Flexible or fitted, dark coloured shirts and t-shirts that have a medium neckline will draw attention to the neck and face, and will also have a lengthening effect on your upper body. Avoid low or revealing cuts that draw attention to the bust line.
A medium v-neck style is a great device for minimising the shape around the bust, only don’t go too low or you will undo all your efforts. Experiment with different cuts and curves to see what works best.
A scoop neck or wide scoop is also a good cut for this type. Choose a low round shaped neckline which looks like a semicircle; this will give emphasis to the top of the neck and chest, and will also create a minimising effect on the upper body. Avoid high round necklines at all costs. High round necklines, such as a polo neck or crew neck, will exaggerate the expanse of chest area, making everything look larger and out of proportion.
The aim is find a medium neckline that will divide the bulk of the upper body without drawing attention to it. If you go too low you will draw attention to the bust line, if you go too high it will increase the appearance of the mass of the upper body. Avoid slash or other horizontal necklines as they tend to be unflattering for the shoulders of strawberry shaped women.
If you do want to express your beautiful bust, showing too much skin or cleavage with a low cut can generate negative attention or make the wrong impression. Try instead to opt for an empire line dress which is pulled close to the body just under the bust. This will both emphasise your bust and create a beautiful contrast with the waist to accentuate the hour glass curves of your figure. Though up top it's best to cover up, it's OK to show a bit of skin high on the waistline if the occasion calls for it.
Strawberry types need to emphasise their hips and waist in order to balance out the weight in their upper halves. For this reason, it's a good choice to wear skirts or dresses with a bit of flare (as well as flair), or skirts which have more body, such as our new Silky Fauna Print Summer Dress.
Experiment with skirts that add volume, wide leg pants and high waisted styles that will also add emphasis to your narrowest point. If you’re into trousers then stick with the flared or wider cuts, and avoid the skinny pants and high heels look, which will only accentuate your top heaviness and make you look unbalanced.
The most fun part of being a strawberry shape is the emphasis on accentuating the hips with a stylish chunky belt or light scarf wrapped around the waist. Using large belts, or belts in bright colours will be sure to give your hips the kick they need to balance out your look. Alternatively, choose tops which have a slab of colour or detail towards the bottom like our new Que smock tunic for the same effect.
Whatever you do, don’t wear a lacy bra visible under a smooth top or you undermine all your efforts to move attention away from your bust. With all these tips and tricks we hope you learn to love your body type and work to balance your curves to look absolutely fantastic.
by Joanna Davis
Pear shaped bodies are similar to hourglass shaped bodies except they are proportionately wider in the hips with a much smaller bust or shoulder width.
Some women just naturally gain more weight around the hips, thighs and buttocks than they do up top. Also, women from certain backgrounds are more likely to be born with wide hips, but don't always go on to develop large breasts. In any case, the pear shape is a common and naturally occuring body shape. As with other body shapes, there are certain things you can do to make a pear shaped body look its best!
While pear shapes do typically have some nice curves with the waist as the narrowest point, the trick with this body shape is to try and minimise the hips as much as possible and give some more weight and emphasis to the shoulder and bust areas, just to balance things out a bit.
Wearing fitted, broad shouldered breast jackets can help to add some weight to your shoulders without losing your waistline curves. For a look that is especially chic, you could wear a fitted trench coat with a built-in waist height belt to really broaden the shoulders and draw attention to the central waist.
Horizontal lines like a smock top or an emperor line dress can really emphasise your bust and create a widened appearance of your chest and shoulders. Shoulder pads and shirts with extra flaps or buttons in the shoulders can also be a good technique to bring out your shoulders. However, don’t go crazy or you will look like you’re coming back from an 80’s fashion convention. Visible but imperceptible is always a good bet. Also, remember to draw attention to the narrowest point of your upper body - your waist! Wearing a skirt with a high waistline, or sporting a funky belt or scarf around the midsection is a great way to draw attention to your narrowest point and emphasise your curves.
A wide horizontal cut like a Bardot-style neckline, a wide scoop or a wide off the shoulder cut will draw attention to your shoulders. Extra material across the chest like a gypsy cut or a puffed sleeve can also have a very positive effect on your overall frame.
In cooler weather, wraps and scarves might also have a widening effect when worn to cover the shoulders, as it does in our turquoise & white floral print dress. Avoid hanging scarves or deep v-neck tops or any other cuts that create central vertical lines, as these will create a narrowing effect. When wearing something long sleeved, go for arms that have some extra body or a different colour to accentuate the arms. Line cuts are best for tops and dresses. This style will flow evenly over the trouble areas and help to conceal them. Saying that, try to avoid spaghetti strap dresses as sometimes these can have a dampening effect on the bustline.
When choosing pants, try to stick to darker colours to minimise the hips and thighs. This is especially effective if combined with a light coloured voluminous top.
Avoid tapered designs that exaggerate your hips; instead, choose designs like our simple black trousers that flow evenly from the hips downwards with a slight widening at the bottom. If your top is a little bit smaller than your bottom, try slipping your waistline down a bit to lengthen the effect of your torso. Balance this against the effect on your waistline - the eye will naturally be drawn to this area and you don’t want to end up with a wide point on the hips.
A nice pair of heels can help to lengthen the legs, but its better not to go too high or too slim with the heels or you will look like a spinning top! Broad and solid designs work best, as do those which balance your body's width while adding height to your appearance.
by Joanna Davis
Hourglass body types can typically be described as being equally balanced between your bust and your hips with the narrowest point being at the waist. This shape naturally occurs with women who have both wide hips and broad shoulders or large breasts.
The subtle “S” curve that is created is considered quite feminine and is therefore also the shape referred to “curvy” or “curvaceous”. Though the curve can be more striking or more subtle, hourglass shaped women usually have a strong contrast between the outermost and innermost parts of the curve. If this difference is quite small or non-existent then the shape is leaning more towards being an “apple” then hourglass. Some women fall in the middle; if this applies to you then you're probably best off looking at both types and choosing which fashion tips and advice would be most appropriate.
If you are lucky and already have a good balance between your top and bottom curves, you are best off choosing a style that will focus more attention on your waist while being careful not to throw off the balance you already have.
The most important thing is to draw attention to your inner waistline. A fun way to do this is by slapping a big chunky belt on your midsection. Use it as a bold accessory with matching coloured heels to create a bold bombshell look, or go more subtle with neutral tones or matching tones. Remember though, the emphasis is on the waist. Look out for fitted tops that taper inward or dresses that are cinched at the waist to express your curvy nature. Choose a dress that highlights and narrows the area slightly above your navel for the maximum curvaceous expression. With dresses, go for a fitted look. Fitted doesn’t mean skin-tight by the way, but rather shaped to follow your body's natural curves and flexible like our Fitted Bandage Dress which can adapt to your shape without being uncomfortable.
Try to avoid extremes that will unbalance your proportions; a high neck line like a crew neck, t-shirt or polo neck will overplay your upper proportions, while a very wide neck like a slash neck will only exaggerate the horizontal proportion of your shoulders.
Choose designs that show medium amount of bust and accentuate a soft curvy nature like a v-neck, or scoop neckline. Have a look at our Abstract Wrap Over Top which strikes a perfect balance for balanced curves.
Avoid straight cut strapless and spaghetti strap dresses that create an awkward horizontal line across your top. If you want to show your shoulders off, you are best with a classic halter neck or scalloped strapless that also expresses your body's curvy lines. This look also works well with an asymmetric shoulder strap, again as the lines flow diagonally across the body in harmony with the direction of your curves.
When choosing pants, be sure to opt for a straight cut or slightly flared. Avoid very tight or tapered cuts that may make you look top heavy. If you want to get some length in your legs, go for a higher waistline instead. This will also place the focus higher on your waistline and make your waist look more narrow.
Shoes are easy with the hourglass shape. Choose something that will help to balance the proportions of your upper and lower halves. If you have long legs, stick to flats or lower shoes. If you are longer on top, heels are a great way to balance things out. Stay away from ultra thin or ultra high heels though as this may create an unbalanced appearance with so much curve going on above.
by Joanna Davis
All women are unique, with shapes and sizes as diverse as the endless bounty of nature. Each shape is different and benefits from different style advice. Of course, it would be absolutely amazing if each of us could all have our own fashion professional to tell us what to wear and what cuts, patterns and styles would perfectly flatter our individual body shape. However, as we cannot do a special post for everyone, we have pared it down to a few basic body types to help you identify your shape and get the straight story on dressing for curves.
For the next few weeks our episodes will focus on how to dress depending on your specific body type. We will give you advice on which styles you should pick and which ones you should purge, plus which patterns and cuts will flatter your curves if you happen to have a fuller figure.
So let's have a look at the different shapes and try to figure out which one describes your figure the best. You may find that you fall between two shape types - this simply means that you can take advice for both types and see what works best for you.
Also simply referred to as curvy, the hourglass is characterized by an equal weighting around the hips and the bust, with the narrowest part being in the middle at the waistline. This usually means you have broad shoulders and wide hips. The hourglass figure creates a subtle ‘S’ curve in the figure which already has a nice and proportioned balance. The trick is to choose clothes which highlight your midsection without throwing off the balance between your upper and lower body.
Quick hint: Choose fabrics that are soft and fitted. Try to avoid baggy or stiff fabrics that can distort your shape. Also, accessorise with belts or cinched fabrics to highlight your waistline. Also, check out our blogpost Going vintage with style for some classic tips on how to pull off this look.
No, this doesn’t mean that you’ve gone all wrong. Pear shaped women are characterised as being similar to the hourglass but having more developed hips in relation to the bust and typically a smaller shoulder frame. Pears usually develop more weight around the hips, butt and thighs and can therefore be described as bottom heavy. The main idea here is to de-emphasise your hips and focus the attention upward to try to create more of a balance.
Quick hint: Choosing darker colours for pants or jeans accompanied by heels can lengthen and minimise the impact of your hipline. To widen your upper body, choose tops with a wider neckline and experiment with shoulder pads or designs that have more material in the shoulders.
The strawberry shape is basically an inverse of the pear, having more of the mass upstairs compared to the hips and waist. This shape can be due to having large breasts or wide shoulders accompanied with narrow hips, thus creating a kind of heart shaped or top heavy appearance.
The strawberry shape though typically genetic can sometimes appear spontaneously due to breastfeeding, or sometimes as a consequence of overly ambitious cosmetic surgery.
Quick hint: In opposition to the pear, the trick to balancing this shape is by de-emphasising the bust and drawing more attention to the hips and waist. Wearing dark colours can create a slimming effect up top. Opt for higher necklines to take attention away from the bust and choose skirts or dresses that give more body to your lower half.
The apple shape can be described as being at the opposite end of the spectrum to the hourglass. The apple shape is characterised as having a large waist with narrow hips and narrow shoulders. This body shape tends to have a midsection which is much less defined than the hourglass. In larger women, apple types typically put on more weight above the hips, thus creating a much rounder appearance. The trick here is to take the attention away from the midsection.
Quick hint: When choosing tops, avoid high necklines that add more area to the mid-section. A classic V neck or lower cut (let's not go crazy here) can draw the eye and focus the attention upward. Look for skirts with higher waistlines, this will help to hide your tummy and draw attention to the narrowest part of your mid-section.
All women add weight differently; this is mostly to do with genetics but in some cases can be a consequence of lifestyle choices, such as diet or childbirth. The important thing is to identify which shape best describes you and how best to work with it.
Everyone knows someone that can described by each of these types. Join us for the next coming weeks as we take a more in-depth look at each of these shape types and hone in on what patterns, cuts and styles can really emphasise your body shape, as well as the body shapes of your friends. It's time to make you a local style expert in how to dress to express!