I talk a lot about traditional figure flattery. In no small part because that’s what you folks tell me interests you, and because the questions you have are typically very specific and include topics not covered by style books and magazines. I find it fascinating to learn about the challenges you face in dressing your personal best, and love to explore options with you.
I’m also fascinated by the F*ck Flattering movement which was more or less sparked by a tee shirt designed by Gisela Ramirez, and have read with interest the responses to this conscious rebellion against fashion rules and dressing norms. In common use, “flattering” means something that “makes your body appear tall, thin, balanced, and hourglass-shaped.” It also implies limiting jiggle, covering cellulite, wrinkles, and scars, keeping a large bust in check, and lots of control-related mandates. Traditional ideas of figure flattery are rooted in a very narrow beauty ideal, tied to the male gaze and heteronormativity, and extremely exclusionary. Looking past the obvious sizeism, consider that some petite women will never appear tall and some thin women will never appear hourglassy. “Flattering,” in common use, tries to force a marvelously diverse population of women into a very specific idealized shape.
Originally posted 2013-07-22 06:02:00.
Back when I worked with personal style clients, one of the first things I made them do was write. I sent them a laundry list of questions about their personal style preferences and choices: Tell me about brands you like and brands you hate, styles you love and styles you wish you could wear. List 5-10 adjectives that describe your style. Are you a skirt girl, pants girl, or both? Do you wear dresses, and if so, what style? Can you wear heels, and do you like to? Name a celebrity whose style you admire and tell me why. Introspective questions like these are helpful to nearly everyone who answers them. And I do NOT believe that’s because there is some magic set of questions that unlocks the secrets of great style. I believe it’s because we are trained to give only cursory thought to our personal style choices.
Originally posted 2013-07-15 06:25:36.
A goal that arises again and again with my style consult clients is feeling “pulled-together.” It’s an interesting phrase, no? As if the wrong outfit keeps our bottom half at the office, while our top half visits Aunt Martha in Detroit … and the RIGHT outfit will reunite those pieces. But then, my brain likes to be amusingly literal. And, clearly, many women feel that their dressing choices can create a disjointed or unpolished appearance, and seek ways to create looks that help them feel sophisticated and chic. So here are three items that constitute shortcuts to pulled-together-ness.
Originally posted 2013-09-10 06:38:07.