How to Dress Well
by Danielle Farmer
If you have noticed, some types of clothing look better on us than others. There is a science to this. Every single item that we wear must complement our bodies in order to look good. A lot of times, we may try to imitate what another person wears without taking our own selves into consideration. More often than not, what we look like in an outfit may look different than others because they may be of a similar weight class, but in the end, it leads to disappointment when it doesn’t look quite the same when we put it on.
Contrary to popular belief, all petite women can’t wear the same thing, all tall women can’t wear the same thing and all plus-size women can’t wear the same thing. In all of those broader categories, you have body types. In most cases, the reason why something may not be flattering on our bodies is not because of the way our actual bodies are shaped, but all too often, we pick clothes that do not complement our natural shape. Your body type is one of the most-important keys to dressing well.
There are plenty of resources that detail the five basic body shapes that most people fall into. This simply signifies where or how your weight is distributed amongst your body:
- Apple: weight is carried mostly around mid-section
- Pear: weight is mostly carried at hips/lower body
- Inverted Triangle: weight is mostly carried at the upper body
- Rectangle: weight is distributed evenly throughout with an undefined waist
- Hourglass: weight carried evenly between the upper/lower body with a defined waist
Because our bodies are all unique, we may not fit perfectly into any one category. However, the first thing we must do is embrace our body type. Realize that there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. God has made us to be all various shapes and sizes and we should celebrate that! When we dress with the mindset to conceal and cover the aspects of our bodies that we do not like, it shows up in the way we dress. But when we dress from a place of self-love and confidence in who God made us to be, that shows up as well, and this is what we want to portray.
Every single person struggles with clothing in one way or another, and having a smaller frame or a certain body-type does not necessarily avail you to more clothing options. In fact, an hourglass frame (which is said to be the most versatile body type) is only attributed to eight percent of women — meaning the remaining 92 percent of us have to do the work to highlight our bodies’ best features. Of course, if you want to work on your body for health reasons or to get in better shape, that is great! But please know, there IS something for every figure.
The key to working with your body type is to create balance in every look. You do this through working with the color, silhouette, and proportions of the clothing. For instance: if you are more of a pear shape carrying most of your weight at your lower body, then you must create interest and the right amount of volume on your upper body. This is what creates the balance. You can wear tops with bold prints or interesting details such as ruffles or embellishments, all while being sure to keep it simpler on the bottom.
When we are too busy trying to conceal the places on our bodies where we generally carry the most weight, this ends up having the adverse effect. In our attempt to conceal those places, we end up highlighting them, which leads to frustration in the dressing room. Be sure to take the time to learn your body type.
Every time you get dressed, be sure to highlight the areas where the weight is not generally carried and keep it simple on the areas where it is. Take yourself to the mall and try on a bunch of different clothes with these principles in mind. Step out of your fashion comfort zone today by trying something new. Try on a different type of garment or try to wear a color that you haven’t worn before. Soon, you will become an expert on how to dress well for your own personal body type, which will help to exude that confidence on the inside of you and bring every outfit you wear to the next level.
Edited by Glenda Giles