Your Body’s Style

(Photo by Lindsay O’Neil)

Your Body’s Style

By Maylin Rowe

Ever get tired of your everyday routine and want to change it up? Our desire for change stems from our love of diversity. We love diversity in fashion, in art, and in the world around us, but we forget to love the ways in which we contribute to diversity. We are unique, each and every one of us, and so, as we go about navigating fashion, we should always put our own take on current trends.

Much of what appears on the runway seems to suit very thin women, but just because this is how the clothes are represented by the designers does not mean they won’t be suitable for other body types. Knowing how to best dress for your shape is key to understanding style. Knowing how to adapt styles to your own wardrobe so that they become more than a passing trend, and instead are a part of you, is also key. For instance, when Vogue declared peplums the trend of 2012, that didn’t mean the peplum’s influence was limited. The ruffled detail was featured on blouses and shirts, skirts, and even pants. It was worn high on the waist, low on the hips, and sometimes even lower, on the thighs. This occurred because it accommodated more body types, and appeal to more individuals’ styles.

Just as peplums were used to emphasize a waistline, or create curves where they may not normally exist, so other styles can be adapted to suite the individual’s body. When we think of style, too often we are left considering size when our focus should be on shape. Take a look at the following body shapes and some ideas of how to adapt fashion to most flatter you!

Triangle: Smaller torso, with larger hips

To de-emphasize hips, try wearing something close-fitting on bottom with something a little wider-fitting on top. Or emphasize your hips! Wear a close-fitting top to show your curves. To avoid over-emphasizing, though, don’t wear wide-leg pants or A-line skirts. If you want to participate in these trends, try a boot-cut pant, or a more subtly flared skirt that hugs closer at the hips and thighs before it flares.

Inverted-triangle: Larger torso with narrow hips 

Wear wide-leg pants or flared skirts! Try finding tops with built-in structure or lines to create distinction where your waistline is, and have them skim closer to the body to create balance. To avoid over-emphasizing this shape, avoid shoulder pads and tapered pants.

Hourglass: Curves in at the waist

Try balancing the weight of clothes on top and on bottom so that they are harmonious, and then belt in at the waist. Over-emphasizing isn’t as much a risk as de-emphasizing for this shape, unless you’re built like Dolly Parton.

Oval: Wider at the middle

Wear boatneck shirts and blouses with wider straps to emphasize shoulders, then belt at the waist to create balance. Peasant blouses are incredibly fun for this type, as are A-line, circle, and bubble skirts. Wear your pants lower around your hips and try slimmer pairs so they sit close to your legs and create balance that way. To avoid over-emphasizing, don’t wear solid color body-hugging tops.

Rectangle: Not much definition at the waist

Wear structured shirts or prints that indicate a waist. Mid-rise pants can create the illusion of the waist, but keep it moderate: a high-rise can make you look boxy. Try to create balance here as well, by wearing a similar weight of clothing on top and bottom, but having structured items that fit closer to the body at the waist and flare away slightly. To avoid over-emphasizing, don’t wear boxy clothes. If you want to wear shoulder pads, make sure the item cuts in closer around the waist. If wearing wide-leg pants, having a belt at the top to indicate waistline also helps.

These are general suggestions for how to appreciate your figure. What prints or details you choose will make the clothes all the more yours. Just try to think of fashion as something to adapt to you, not you to it!