Here’s something I learned firsthand from my style consultation business. It’ll be old news to many of you, but since it surprised the hell out of many of my clients, I thought it was worth a quick post.
Non-skinny people can look fantastic in fitted, tailored clothes.
Skinny people can look fantastic in loose, formless clothes.
Not a cut-and-dried dichotomy, by any means, as every figure is different. And, of course, taste and comfort levels influence decisions about looseness and fittedness as much as figure flattery does. But I’ve put plus-sized women in pencil skirts and petite women in flowy tunics, and both were amazed by how fantastic their bodies looked.
When you’re not skinny, voluminous clothes often conspire to make your BODY appear more voluminous. You may end up inadvertently creating the illusion of bulk where there is none. When you’re skinny, fitted clothes can be quite flattering, but depending upon your body shape, they may draw attention to your slenderness in ways you’d rather avoid.
When you’re not skinny, fitted clothes show off your actual figure. Your instincts may be to mask, but sometimes your best bet is to reveal.
When you’re skinny, volume adds whimsy to your overall look. Looseness should be counterbalanced, and an unstructured top, tunic, or dress needs to be anchored by a fitted pair of pants, trim vest, or slim blazer. But slender limbs protruding from an avalanche of loose cloth can look fun and funky instead of unruly.
Now, I generally prefer fitted clothes for women of ALL figures because I think that bodies are meant to be seen, not disguised. And, of course, volume works beautifully for some curvaceous figures and tailored works fantastically for some slight figures. Nothing hard and fast, here, as always. But having worked with makeover clients on both ends of the height and weight spectrum, I have been amazed by the unexpected flattery of instinctively-opposite styles on extreme figures. And so have the women I’ve made over.
It just goes to show that exploring options outside your established comfort zone can be extremely rewarding. You may not end up buying that sheath dress, but trying it on costs nothing. You may hate that deconstructed jacket, but no one will ever see it on you if it never leaves the fitting room. Don’t limit yourself because you think your body looks best only in certain styles, or because of arbitrary style rules. Let yourself branch out. See what happens. And this goes for EVERYONE, not just plusses and petites.
Originally posted 2009-08-12 05:46:00.