As I’ve said before, there is no one right way to look great. You do NOT have to buy into the tall, thin, hourglass thing if you don’t want to. It’s your body, and it’s your decision what to put on it. Wear what makes you feel like a luminous creature of incomparable beauty. Even if that happens to be a skirt that shortens your legs or a tunic that masks your waistline.
But you should still know what looks good on your figure, what highlights your favorite features, what works with your body. When the word “flattering” slides out of the mouths of style experts, it tends to do so on the tall, thin, hourglass side of things. So it becomes tempting to make “flattering” the new f-word. But instead, let’s do some reclamation and redefinition, shall we?
Flattering clothing lies flat against your body: If you’ve got a bubble of dress material perched atop your butt, a shoulder seam that creeps toward your neck throughout the day, or a side-entry pant pocket that wings out, you’re wearing something that neither fits nor flatters your specific shape. Seek styles and sizes that sit flat and quiet against you, even when you are in motion. (Or most of the time when you are in motion. Cloth does migrate.)
Flattering clothing doesn’t pull, pinch, or subdivide: If there are five giant wrinkles that extend from the fly of your slacks to your hipbones, they’re too tight. If your cap sleeves dig into your upper arms, seek a different sleeve style. If your skirt’s waistband causes your midsection to spill out over its top, go up a size. Your clothing should caress your body, not squeeze it.
Flattering clothing works with your eyes, hair, and skin tone: Forget the complicated stuff and pages-long guides to finding “your colors.” Look in a mirror in a well-lit room and ask yourself these questions: Does this shade brighten or dull your eye color? How does it play off your hair color? Do you look healthy and robust, or wan and sickly?
Flattering clothing creates a silhouette that pleases your eye: Please note that I did NOT say “flattering clothing makes you look tall and skinny.” If those are your priorities, then by all means go for ’em. But feel free to chose a different set of figure flattery priorities. You know your best silhouette, so seek garments that present that silhouette to the observing world.
Originally posted 2010-07-08 05:36:00.