Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fashion Salad— Apples, Pears, etc.

Fashion salad with crunch

How awful to have been a child of the '50s growing into my adult shape. I bemoaned my long neck and skinny torso until Audrey Hepburn came along. Nowadays we have beauties to celebrate as diverse as Jennifer Lopez and Zoey Deschanel. Whatever your configuration, your shape needs to be coddled, flattered, celebrated, embraced or diffused as taste and fashion may dictate. Because there is not one right look for this or any season, fashion today is a strict taskmaster. When we all had to wear chemise dresses or be square, much was forgiven. That the chemise might be unbecoming was less important than wearing the au courant style. Today if that loosely fitted, slightly shapeless column is not a good look on you, it shouldn't be part of your life.

Everyone has a best feature and one to sweep under the carpet. I could love my long neck; you could hate yours. Legs, arms, tummies— they might have their own concerns. To make life easier there are four distinct body types we can all relate to, give or take a little adjustment for issues. They are: the apple, the pear, the banana and the hourglass. Not a tasty salad, but there is no fruit with a waist.

The Pear
The pear-shape has narrow shoulders, small bust and waist and is noticeably heavier through the hips and thighs. If you are a pear you know it— pants that fit your hips gap at the waist and buying a tailored sheath dresses would mean purchasing two, cutting them in the middle and sewing the smaller top to the bigger bottom. The pear shape loves separates.

Best wardrobe choices for the pear:
> Fitted tops with interesting necklines, pattern and color to focus attention above the waist
> Puffed sleeves or shoulder detail
> Emphasis on the waist, belts a plus
> Light colors on top, dark on bottom
> Accesories (scarves and jewelry) to turn attention upward

The Apple
The apple-shape has rounded shoulders, bust and hips of equal proportion and not a  pronounced waistline. Unstructured garments tend to hang from the bustline as if it were a shelf.

Best wardrobe choices for the apple:
> Tops to cover hip area
> Flowing skirts rather than tailored
> Monochromatic outfit to create impression of length
> Shorter skirts with bare legs or fun legwear
> Boot or straight cut pants without much detail
> Avoid attention to waist or fussy details on top

The Banana
The banana shape is lean, wirey and athletic with small bust and hips and not a pronounced waistline. She can have strong shoulders (aka the inverted triangle) or not. While boy-ish looks are easy to wear, it may be challenging to soften and feminize.

Best wardrobe choices for the banana:
> U-necklines, tailored shirts, V-neck wraps to soften upper half
> Lighter colors on bottom, darker on top
> Knee length A-line, full and circle skirts
> Any style pant especially boot cut
> Avoid pockets or fussy details on top
> Accessorize with belts

The Hourglass
The hourglass shape is also known as the pinup and features curves paired with a definite waist. The challenge may be keeping those feminine attributes tasteful by not showing off too much cleavage or other va-va-voom.

Best wardrobe choices for the hourglass:
> Remember the C's— camis, cardigans and cinching
> cap or 3/4 sleeves, just not stopping at bust line
> Flared or draped skirts, emphasis on waist
> Skirts stop above or below smallest part of calf
> Bootcut or wide leg pants, not tapered or skinny, no crops
> Accessorize with belts, bright touches at neckline

Tips for all types:
> You can't go wrong establishing a waist, whether natural or moved higher (empire) or lower (hipster).
> Results are always better when you emphasis good features rather than aim to hide bad ones.
> Pant lengths should always be as long as possible (without tripping) to flatter the leg.
> The most beautiful outfit in the world is nothing if it doesn't fit you.

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