February 22, 2011
That’s What It’s All AboutTags: Dressing Slimmer, wardrobe expression
The topic of my latest workshop last weekend was “Dressing Slimmer,” the first of a three-part “Breakfast Club” seminar series our clients can participate in at the store to get ready for Spring. The women who came echoed all the main reasons why looking thinner is such an issue for so many people when they dress. Whether it’s from medication, slowed metabolisms or just the cruel process of aging, we all want to learn how to hide those figure flaws that showed up unannounced one day, in order to feel better about ourselves.
I began with a quick review of the six different Wardrobe Expressions (Dramatic, Classic, Natural, Sophisticated Casual, Romantic and Delicate,) because it’s important to remember that, even though our body’s shape changes over the years, our personal style preferences stay pretty constant throughout our lifetime. Just because we aren’t at our ideal weight doesn’t mean we have to dress in a way we don’t like; we just have to temper the clothing styles within our wardrobe expression to fit the new circumstances. A Classic woman, for example, who loves tailored, traditional separates doesn’t have to migrate to large unconstructed knit dresses in an attempt to cover up a bigger tummy. She can still wear jackets with a strong shoulder and beautiful tailoring, but will be better off choosing one in a stretch cotton for ease of arm movement, or looking for tailored construction that pulls the fabric in slightly at the back and flairs out a bit at the hip, to give the illusion of an indent at the waist. Conversely, we should not get bogged down in trying to find clothing ideals that may not actually exist for us – stacked heels that are comfortable when we have feet problems, for example, or jeans with the perfect fit. Instead, while we’re working to stay healthy through diet and exercise, we also need to accept the facts of how we are shaped now, and work on the variables we can change.
Next we discussed our different body types, both the good and the less than good parts, asking ourselves “Where do we gain weight first?” and “What variables can I change?” In other words, “What parts of my figure do I want to accentuate versus divert attention away from?” Good foundations, such as our “teezer” underpinnings with a built-in waist shaper, as well as good quality bras to lift the bustline off the waistline, can help camoflauge thickness in the tummy area. Providing more coverage is also a strategy to divert attention away from heavier areas– choosing sleeves over sleeveless styles, adding a colorful tank top under a low cut top to cover cleavage (as well as bring attention up toward the face,) or choosing a tunic style that ends below the widest part of the hipline to accent the thinnest part of the legs are just a few ideas. We discussed proper necklines for various body types, the benefit of little pads to lift sloping shoulders, and how shoes and belts can create the illusion of height and curve.
During the last half hour we put our slimming strategies into action with trips into the dressing room, and lots of revelations in front of the mirror. The most wonderful part was finding all kinds of contemporary styles, including soft cardigans, tunic tops, skinny legged pants and jacketing pieces, that complemented every body type. Hugs and praises soon abounded and I think participants came away feeling supported, and maybe even a little lighter, even if only in their step. What we did in the seminar on Saturday is a great example of what we strive to do every day at The Difference: partner with clients to help them look and feel their best, no matter what size they are. It’s not really magic; it just feels that way!