Before I became interested in dressing and style, I avoided thinking about my body. At all costs. I didn’t look in the mirror if I didn’t have to, didn’t focus much energy or attention on how my outfits interacted with my figure, and did my utmost to think about anything besides my own physicality. Because of this choice, the information I was given about my body came almost exclusively from external sources. And none of it was good news: I was chubby, disproportionate, my breasts were too small and my hips were too big, my arms were flabby and so was my stomach. Virtually all of this information was comparative: I was flabby compared to Gwyneth Paltrow, my breasts were too small compared to Victoria’s Secret models … you know the drill. I studiously ignored my body, hoping its perceived inadequacies would diminish if I pretended I was a brain in a jar. And yet this comparative information still crept in and made me feel inadequate.
Originally posted 2013-09-16 06:02:50.
I’ve long used my instincts and eye to determine what looked best on myself and others, but over the past few years I’ve realized that there are some guidelines that can help aid my instincts and eye when I doubt myself. I still flub, the guidelines sometimes fail, and – just like everyone – I have my share of unfortunate outfits. But keeping a few of these guidelines in mind has helped me improve my batting average. The most useful guideline of the bunch has been the Golden Ratio.
Originally posted 2012-07-05 06:17:10.
Reader Sarah e-mailed this request to me:
I’m short and small-boned and hourglass-shaped, and I can find lots of advice for dressing that body type (full skirts, v-necks, nipped waists, tailored pants, etc.). However, I feel like there’s a clash between my body type and other elements: my face (apple-cheeked, not conventionally pretty), my hair (very short), and my personality (tomboyish, casual). When I wear skirts and dresses, which I do think suit my body, I feel very self-conscious, like I don’t match what I’m wearing. Clothes that I feel more like myself in (bootcut jeans, casual graphic tees) do not make me look my best. I wonder if other women struggle with this type of conflict, and how they deal with it.
Originally posted 2013-07-31 06:05:30.