How To Look Awesome In A Skirt

So what skirt styles are ‘in’ or rather on trend for Spring Summer 2017?

Anyone who knows me will be scratching his or her head in wonder at that one!

I don’t do trends!  While I’d love to claim Coco Chanel’s lovely quote for my own, fashion is not and shouldn’t be the primary reason for buying clothes.

Coco Chanel quote fashion

Whenever a client asks me about trends I suggest they simply ignore them. But depending where you shop this isn’t always possible.

It’s worth noting that when fashion buyers are looking what they believe will sell, trends play a part. Remember the buyers are now making decisions about what will sell in 6-9 months’ time so need to start somewhere!

Right now we’re in the midst of the fashion shows for Autumn Winter 2017. This is while stock is being unwrapped for Spring Summer 2017.  It’s an exciting and stressful time of year if you work in fashion.

It got me thinking about this week’s post and in particular which style skirts are going to be available. But more importantly who can wear them.

What To Consider With Skirt Styles

The factors you want to consider when choosing what skirt styles to buy, are broadly the same as other garments:

  1. Style – its fullness and cut. Which skirt styles are right for you will be determined by your body shape
  2. Length – this is important for your height, the shape and length of your legs.
  3. Fabric – texture and print – this takes into account the size of your frame
  4. Colour – the most important colours to get right are those close to your face. But as I tell my clients it’s much easier to co-ordinate your wardrobe if you buy from your colour palette.
  5. Details – the pockets, pleats and embellishments that designers add to finish a style

But at the end of the day, the most important thing to consider is whether the design is right for you and the message you want to convey through your clothes.

Let’s take a look at the key skirt styles that are showing up in the new collections for Spring Summer 2017 and who can wear them.  I want to warn you that this gets a bit frustrating!

We begin talking about what I call proper trends! These are obvious skirt styles. Then the collective changes more to skirt lengths, which cover multiple styles.

This drives me mad, as it seems like the goal posts have moved! My perception is that this is the fashion media’s attempt to group and order things in a logical way.

Ruffle Skirt Styles

Ruffle Skirt Top Shop

Ruffle Skirts

With the emergence of the throwback to the 1980s, it’s no surprise that ruffles are making an appearance.    On the SS2017 catwalks, ruffle style skirts were very popular. I’m delighted to say that this look has been toned down for the high street audience.

As much as I think the designs are superb, the look is much more of a catwalk style than something that translates to the High Street.

Who Can Wear Ruffle Style Skirts?  The simple answer is anyone who has narrower hips than shoulders. So this means:

An inverted triangle body shape looking to create balance on her lower half

An athletic body shape and is looking to create curves. Just be careful that the bottom half doesn’t become too out of balance with the top half.

If you are tall and have long legs a ruffle style skirt will look great. But if you have wider hips than your shoulders and your legs are not slender, avoid ruffle style skirts. They will add bulk and draw attention to the wrong places!

Tiered Skirts Romantic ‘Boho Chic’

With very feminine looks on the catwalk for Spring Summer, there were quite a few tiered skirt styles on the runway.

These do not appear in the new styles being released by retailers at the moment for spring styles. But I would not be surprised to see tiered skirt styles in the summer collections for the festival and holiday seasons.

Tiered skirts, like ruffle skirt styles, work most effectively for inverted triangle body shape.   They are also great for athletic body shapes. They are a very feminine look. Tiered skirt styles can be made to look more boho and less ‘girly’ with denim or leather jackets, and ankle boots. The latter providing it’s not too hot!

If you are a curvy petite frame or curvy hips or a tummy then avoid tiered skirts as they will not flatter your lovely curves.

If you are slender petite frame you can wear tiered skirts if they are not bulky. Bulky skirts will simply overwhelm your body.

Pencil Skirt Styles

John Lewis Pencil Skirt

Pencil Skirts A Return To The 1980s?

As we’re looking back at the 1980s there’s no escaping the pencil skirt styles.

Pencil skirts look fabulous on all body shapes. But you need to pay attention to the fabric, how tapered the skirt styles are towards the hem. If you are a pear shaped body and carry weight around your hips then avoid pencil skirts that are too tapered.

If you have an hourglass body shape, you will look particularly amazing in a pencil skirt that accentuates your curves and your waistline.

Pencil skirt styles in the 1980s were focused on power dressing and were often the skirt design for a women’s suit. Later they became more noticeable in eveningwear, clinging fabrics or sequins.

Style tip – if you feel overdressed in pencil skirt styles then dress them down with denim jackets or a camisole top and an over-shirt.

Midi Skirts

There is no prescriptive length for a midi skirt. The hemline can fall just above the ankle right up to mid-calf.

Midi skirt styles vary immensely. The most popular styles for midi skirts are: A line, full skirts, pencil styles, pleated skirts or wrap over.

But midi skirt styles are not for everyone.

If you are a slender petite frame then be cautious with midi skirts, unless they are slender styles. The danger is that they will overwhelm you.   You can play down the effect with high heels.

For curvy petite women midi skirt styles are not a great look. With a horizontal line across your calves making you look shorter and broader.

For taller women and in particular athletic body shapes or inverted triangle body shapes a midi skirt will look great to create curves and balance on your bottom half.

Desigual Mini Skire

Desigual Mini Skirt

Mini Skirts

Again not a skirt shape but they do refer to the length.

Like midi skirts the mini has no formal length. The hemline can rest anywhere on your thighs.     Mini skirts can be figure hugging, straight or pleated or a flared out skater skirt.

Great legs? Show them off with a mini skirt. If you are tall or petite, mini skirts will look fabulous.

If you have broad hips and thighs then mini skirt styles are not really for you.

Wearing a mini skirt is partly about making a statement and you need to have the self-confidence to do that.

In winter it can be easier. I will team a dark mini skirt with opaque tights and boots and will be incredibly confident.

I wouldn’t feel so happy to wear a mini skirt in warmer weather with bare legs.

Tips To Consider

If you want to wear a skirt but are not sure what suits you and really don’t have the patience to shop around, then consider:

  1. Flattering length for most women is around knee length. So the hemline finishes just above or below the knee.
  2. Straight to Pencil Skirts are broadly speaking the most flattering skirt styles for most body shapes
  3. If you have broader hips and thighs don’t try to hide this look under A lines or voluminous shapes. It will have the opposite effect
  4. If you are wearing skirts that are quite figure hugging, look in the mirror before you leave the house. You don’t want a VPL!
  5. Have fun with skirts! Skirts can be really versatile and great way to mix and match your wardrobe.

I’d love to hear about your favourite skirt styles in the comments below.

 

 

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winter boots sophia webster

Winter Boots: How To Make The Best Investment

Winter boots for me are a wardrobe essential.

Personally I live in boots from the autumn right through to when I get my toes out for summer! They are versatile, looking great with daywear – smart or casual, or for a more glammed up look.

purple ankle boots
As a runner and step aerobic addict enthusiast, finding boots to fit was my worst nightmare! Boot styles were not designed for my muscly calves and so my boot collection was entirely ankle boots. This may go some way to explain my personal extended boot season!

Gradually designers have realized we don’t all have naturally slender legs. This is great news, but with more choice, what styles should we look for?

Our choice of boots depends on a number of factors:

  • body shape
  • height
  • leg length
  • width of calves

Far too many factors, when all you want to do is buy a pair of winter boots!

But I’ve done the hard work for you just follow my top tips for winter boots!

Post Christmas sales are a good source of ‘bargain hunting’ for boots. Why? Well retailers have one eye on incoming spring fashion and our recent mild autumns have not been great boot selling weather!   But don’t get seduced with the price tag! The fact you are getting a bargain is the cherry on the top, not the reason for buying!

My tips below cover the five body shapes and then I also cover tips for petite and taller women. If you’re not sure what body shape you are then check out my guide.

 

Apple Body Shape

If you are a luscious apple, you will have a full tummy and but lovely slender legs.  You want to create balance and so wedges are perfect for this.  Calf length boots will show off your lovely legs.

If you are an apple body shape with short legs then choose a more slender heel.  If you have longer legs then go for a chunkier wedge heel.

winter boots wedge heel

Very.co.uk – wedge heel boots

Pear Shaped Body

You carry your weight in your lower half.

Avoid calf length winter boots. These will simply make you look broader.

Instead look for knee length winter boots or ankle boots.

Choose boots that do not have a lot of embellishment and wear tights or leggings that match the boots and have an elongating effect.

Winter Boots Knee High

John Lewis Knee High Boots

Hourglass Body Shape

With your lovely curves, you will look great in a pair of ankle boots.

These will show off your lovely curvy ankles.

Rounded toes will also accentuate your curves. Heels should be stacked to show off your curves and add balance to your body.

You should consider mid-height heels, as the boots will be in proportion, low or high heels will look too clumpy.

winter boots cone heels

Mint Velvet Boots

Athletic Body Shape

You are looking to create curves.

Stilettos will add definition to your lower legs and in particular your calves.

You can also wear boots with embellishment and details that will add width to your lower body.

With regard to length of winter boots, you can wear all styles except for slouchy boots, as these will be disproportionate to your slim legs.

winter boots stilettos

Very.co.uk

Inverted Triangle Body Shape

You want to add definition and balance to your lower half, so consider chunky heels and winter boot designs for this.

Calf length, slouch boots or cowboy boots will look fabulous on you to balance your broader top half.

Boots with embellishments or details will also help to balance your body shape.

winter boots calf length

Mustang Boots – Zalando

Petite Women

Add heels!

If you are a petite woman with long legs then over the knee boots will look fabulous. Pointed toes will also help to elongate your height.

Avoid embellishments and details around your ankles as this will create a horizontal line and have the effect of undoing the illusion of height.

If you are petite with short legs, then go for ankle boots with a heel.

Winter boots over the knee

Carvela Over The Knee Boots

 Tall Women

Winter boots look fantastic on tall women, particularly if you are tall and slender.

You can wear heels but you will also look amazing in low heel winter boots.

Riding boots with a low heel will look really glamorous.

If you have large feet then go for styles with a more rounded toe to help balance the length.

So What About ‘Difficult Feet’?

Wide Feet

I have wide feet and find that Dune’s shoes and boots generally work for me and so do some Russell & Bromley styles.   Apart from that it’s pot luck and very often tears of frustration!

Narrow Feet

For me this was always one of those ‘nice to have problems’. That was until a friend who has very narrow feet told me that she struggles to find footwear where her feet stay in the shoe! James Inglis cater for narrow feet.

Brands that cater for different width fittings (not necessarily across their entire range) are:

Ted & Muffy

Clarks

Vince Camuto

Sam Edelman

Hopefully this will give you some ideas and inspiration for boot shopping!

Just One Last Thing…

One question I’m regularly asked is how to style ankle boots with jeans or skirts/dresses.

My simple answer is you need to feel comfortable and confident. You do not want to feel self-conscious or faintly ridiculous with your outfit. This goes much deeper than simply boots but winter boots are a great example.

Here are a few suggestions, which are generalist and don’t take into account body shape:

Jeans

Skinny or straight jeans are best with ankle boots.

You can either tuck jeans in to your ankle boots or you can roll them over the top or create cuffs to sit on the top of your boots.

Skirts

Ankle boots look great with mini, knee length or midi skirts depending on the style and design of each.

I’ve found that wearing ankle boots extended the life of some of my summer skirts.

Mini or knee length skirts – you can add opaque tights, the same colour as your boots if you want to blend your look.

Finally … A Huge Thank You

I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who reads my blogs, either comments on the blog posts or on social media.   Your input means such a lot to me.

I would love to hear from you in the comments below what subjects you would like me to cover in 2017.

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small boobs styling tips

How Excited Would You Be To Increase A Cup Size?

If you have a large bust then you’re probably shaking your head in despair at the thought of a bigger bust.  But if like me you have small boobs then you might be nodding enthusiastically?

I recently got fitted for a new bra and found that I’d gone down a chest size but up a cup size. As someone who spent years lamenting my pancake chest I was grinning like a Cheshire cat!

Over the past 18 months I’ve added box fit and weight training classes into my workout routine. One of the positive effects this is apparently having is to reduce my back fat.

boxing training and weight training

But as I’ve mentioned before in my recent blog how many of us wish we were taller, the grass always seems greener!

A survey carried out by the Daily Mirror in 2015 found that 30% of women don’t like their boobs. Interestingly 20% of those surveyed wanted smaller boobs and 20% longed for a bigger bust!

While surgery may be an option, for most of us it’s about embracing our bodies. By following and applying a few styling tips we can make the most of our lovely busts.

Regardless of whether you have a bigger bust or smaller boobs all of us should get fitted for the right bra.

I’ve got small boobs – why do I need a bra?

I spent years not bothering with a bra – after all I had nothing to put in them!  As I recovered from anorexia and gained some weight, I saw my shape change.

I still wasn’t convinced I needed a bra. A chat with a lingerie expert made me realize I was wrong.

It’s obvious when you have a bigger bust that you need the support but why do you need one when you have small boobs?

  1. Gravity – sorry but regardless of your small boobs, time marches on! As we get older the ligaments that hold up your breasts will start to sag.
  2. Posture – you carry more weight at the front. Even with small boobs! The result is that your shoulders will start to slump forward.
  3. Confidence – the right bra will enhance your small boobs. It will give you shape and definition.   A bra can offer a real confidence boost.

 small boobs buying a bra

 Styling Tips For Small Boobs

So if you have smaller boobs what are the best styling tips I can give you to help you embrace and enhance your assets?

This will depend on your shape scale and proportion but if you have small boobs you are more likely to be:

  1. An athletic body shape -slender shape with no real curves. Or
  2. A pear shaped body smaller on top with larger hips

My tips will indicate any differences for your body shape.

Jackets

You want to add width to your top half; so wide lapels are perfect for this.  Double-breasted jackets are another great way to make the eye believe your top half is broader

In terms of jacket shape, choose something structured that defines or creates a waist.  You can also use shoulder pads to add shape and definition to your top half.

Small Boobs - Look great in double breasted jackets

Karen Millen – Double Breasted Jacket

Printed fabrics are another great way to make enhance your small boobs.

In terms of jacket length, this will depend on your body shape:

Pear Shaped Body – you want to avoid jackets that end on the widest part of your hips, as this will simply create a horizontal line and make you look broader.   Your best shape will be something that ends just below your hips

Athletic Body Shape – you want a jacket that will create the illusion of curves, so look for a jacket that ends on top of your hips.

Tops

You may be self-conscious about your top half but you have a great opportunity to wear tops that show off your small boobs.

Add detail with cowl necks or high necks. The trend for ruffle blouses is one that really works for you.   Pussy bow blouses are another option.

small boobs ruffle neck blouse

Ruffle Neck Blouse – Topshop

You can also add jewellery to draw the eye upwards. Another great trend that works for you this season are the choker necklaces.

You can also wear slash necks or crew necks. Scarves can also add another dimension of interest and add volume to your top half.

A shirt with a traditional collar unbuttoned at the top will also draw the eye upward.  Gathers and details that create shape are a great way to add definition and shape.

Halter necks are another option if you have an athletic body shape. The narrowing effect of a halter will not work for a pear shaped body.

Dresses

If you have small boobs and are a pear shaped body you may struggle to find dresses that fit properly.

One option is to choose a vintage 1950s style. But be careful that the skirt is not too full or the fabric too stiff. As this will simply have the effect of making your hips look wider.   You want fabrics that will skim your hips.

If you are an athletic body shape then shirt-dresses are a good choice for you and accentuate your waist with a belt. Shirt-dresses will often have a breast pocket. This is great if you have small boobs, as this will add volume.

You  may also want to consider backless dresses. Backless dresses cannot be worn with a bra, but many styles offer shaping around the bust line and a level of support.

Articles that I’ve read recently suggest that women with small boobs should go for a plunging neckline.  You may suffer from unwanted remarks and be too self-conscious to carry this off.

small boobs warehouse shirt dress

Warehouse Shirt Dress

Nuggets

The following are a few quick tips you might find useful

  1. Handbag – if you like to wear your handbag on your shoulder, ensure the strap length means the bag finishes in line with your bust. This will add volume to your top half.
  2. Trousers – this is for tall athletic body shape – wear flares to help add width and balance to your overall body shape
  3. Stripes – Wider stripes will make you look broader. Just be careful if you are a pear shaped body that the stripes end before your hips.
  4. Keep colours on your bottom half darker and plainer. This is important as well if you don’t want to draw attention to your hips.
  5. Layers on your top half will help to create volume. Bolero jackets and shrugs work well if you have a pear shaped body.

Conclusion

Embrace your body and learn to love your small boobs. Remember you are beautiful. That’s really the best possible advice I can give you!  If you have small boobs and would like to share your tips in the comments below that would be perfect!

 

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taller woman

Wouldn’t You Just Love To Be A Taller Woman?

Hands up those of us who are average height or below and have dreamt what it would be like to be a taller woman?

Many of us believe that those added inches would make all our style issues simply evaporate!

Well as we know the grass is always greener isn’t it?

grass greener taller woman

Now put yourself in the shoes of someone who is >5’10” (1.78M), so considered a taller woman. While it might feel great to survey the world from a different perspective; think about the challenges you face and if you’re stepping into those shoes you will probably find that they are too big!

Just for a moment envisage what it might be like to struggle to battle with jeans which appear to have a Mexican stand off with your shoes and sleeves that argue with your wrists!

Add to that a posture with a few legacy challenges; as you struggled not to be taller than your friends during that frenzied teenage growth spurt.

Like most style challenges if you are a taller woman it’s about following a framework. But as I will keep reiterating it’s about how you express yourself in a way that feels right for you.

Like my recent blog about petite fashion, if you are a taller woman you are not a unique body shape. Being tall is another dimension on top of your body shape. You are most likely to be either a slender athletic shape, an inverted triangle or a pear body shape.

I hope that the following tips and advice, along with my suggestions on where you can shop will be useful if you are a taller woman.

1. Jeans and Trousers

If you are a tall slender athletic body shape or an inverted triangle you are going to look great in most styles of trousers and jeans.

You will look fantastic in skinny jeans, but equally as good in flared jeans or trousers, which will add some width to your slender frame.

If you are a tall pear body shape, you want to look at trousers and jeans with a wide or straight leg but the key is to keep the area around the hips as fuss free as possible!

The real difference though comes around the detailing on trousers and jeans. Tall pear shapes should avoid adding bulk with pockets and pleats as this will add width at the widest part of your body.  But if you are a slender tall woman then you may want to add some detail and width at your hips to create a slightly curvier silhouette.

 

skinny jeans for taller woman

Bell Sleeve Blouse Taller Woman

Lipsy Bell Sleeve Blouse

2. Sleeves

I’m going to lump sleeves into a general pile rather than explore blouses, dresses, jackets and coats as separate elements.

The problem is the same regardless of garment – finding sleeves that are long enough for a taller woman and what to do when the sleeves are not quite right.

Bell sleeves look great on tall slender women. Flaring out from the shoulder and ending anywhere between elbow and wrist. The width of the sleeves will help to make your arms look shorter.

Regardless of your body shape, look for double cuffed blouses that you can create a slight boho chic look by wearing the cuff extended.

Sleeves that are just a bit too short can be pushed up to give a ¾ length appearance (versus finishing just shy of your wrists). Add chunky bracelets and a wide strapped watch to create balance.

 

Black Jersey Maxi Dress3. Hemlines

You will look great in mid-calf length skirts and dresses. This length is really difficult to pull off unless you are a taller woman. This is because it creates a horizontal line just where you don’t need it at the widest part of your calves.

Maxi dresses will look amazing. If you are very tall just check that the length is long enough! A fitted maxi dress with a split for a party will just make your legs look endless!

If the style is quite loose then consider making a waist if you are a slender frame. If you have a tall pear shape body then consider styles that skim your hips and drawn attention to your top half. Strapless or spaghetti straps are great.

You will also look great in skirts that finish just above the knee and for those with slender legs then you can opt for mini skirts.

4. Heels

Do not feel you are consigned to a life in flats if they don’t appeal!taller woman can wear heels

Like most style tips that I give, it’s about your own confidence levels and not about what you ‘should’ do.   If you feel good and want to wear heels then go ahead.

I’m forever giving women tips on how to make their legs look longer. I normally advise avoiding shoes with chunky ankle straps and details. These make the wearer look shorter as they create horizontal lines.   Guess who will look absolutely fantastic in chunky ankle straps?

I would however look at more rounded toes and styles – avoiding pointy toe styles, as these will make your feet look longer. If you have very slender legs beware of footwear that’s too chunky as it will have a ‘Minnie Mouse’ effect.

You will also look fantastic in over the knee boots with those lovely long legs.

5. Accessories

Belts – As a taller woman you will look fantastic in belts.handbag

They will create a horizontal line and add definition to your waist. If you choose contrasting colours this will create even more of a horizontal line.

Remember that every horizontal line will add width and reduce height to the eye.

Bags – large day bags are yours to wear and hold! Just a note of caution that any bag styles that are too chunky may still overwhelm you if you are very slender. So consider this when you are choosing handbags.

Large jewellery will look great on you, but again I will just say that if you are extremely slender be careful that the styles you pick are in proportion.

Choker necklaces look amazing on tall women as you have the height to really show off the look. If you are a pear shaped body then even better as you’re drawing the eye upwards.

Learn to love your height and not feel it’s a hindrance. I can guarantee that most women under 5’ 7” would love to be taller!

 

Shopping Suggestions If You Are A Taller Woman

Long Tall Sally – ‘At Long Tall Sally we don’t just sell clothes for tall women. We champion tall women.’ Since 1976 LTS has been specializing in sourcing clothing and footwear brands for tall women.

Legs For Days – only supplying fashion to long tall girls!

6 Foot Fashion – launched by Kelly Scott as a one stop shop for clothes and accessories for taller women.

Several High Street brands also offer a ‘tall range’ but their ranges are not as wide nor do they cater for the really taller woman as the specialist retailers I have listed.

 

 

 

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Size 0

Is Size 0 still an issue?

‘I can’t relate to models on the catwalk.  The clothes look great on them as they are very skinny, but they would look awful on me!’

This is most common reaction I get when I’m discussing fashion images in the  media.

catwalk

Let’s stop burying our heads in the sand and admit that the fashion industry still favours tall skinny Caucasian models.

It’s also fair to say that while heroin Chic is not the headline it was 20 years ago, size 0 is still the elephant in the room!

Suna Erdem’s shocking article Extreme Measures* Sunday Times (August 9th) exposed that the size 0 issue has not gone away.   Suna’s article cited stories of models being encouraged to have surgery to ‘shave’ their hipbones.

Some countries have introduced laws to counter the size 0 issue, but Suna’s sources claim these are largely ignored. Others apply self-regulation with limited effectiveness.  Madrid banned models with a BMI of less than 18 on its catwalks. There are reports of models undergoing ‘weigh ins’ and hiding weights in their underwear.

While this is tragic and most of us are appalled by the size 0 issue what’s the relevance to you and I?

Body Confidence Issues

A staggering 97% of us suffer from body confidence issues. Imagery of size 0 models looking chic and sexy in gorgeous clothes simply fuels that fire.

New research published by the Dove Self-Esteem Project showed just how prevalent the ‘Selfie’ culture has become.

selfie

On average girls between 13 and 23 post an average of one Selfie a day online. This doesn’t mean they are snapping one photo and uploading to their social media feeds – far from it, some admit taking up to 100 photos per day!

But it doesn’t end there because they then get upset if they don’t get enough likes and this adds to their issues with self-esteem.

Why is this behavior relevant to the fashion industry? It doesn’t take a mathematician or psychologist to do the sums and work out the theory.

The idealistic imagery we associate with fashion, that to be perfect you need to be tall, skinny and Caucasian doesn’t add fuel to the fire about body confidence issues it pours petrol on the flames.

Fashion Industry is about Selling Clothes

At the end of the day the industry knows that the designs look great on stick thin models and that this results in sales.

To have a sustainable industry it must make a profit and it must market in the way it sees fit. I know this remark may spark some comments but I’m doing my best to look at this from the fashion industry’s perspective.

To illustrate this point, you may have read reports of retailers commissioning designs and manufacture through the night of the Oscars to create lookalike dresses from the outfits worn by celebrities. The brands know that the designs will sell out if they’ve been modeled on a Hollywood actress.

The fashion industry is made up of a number of different factions from large organisations to self-employed freelancers and everything in between.

Therefore finger pointing at the different factions is a lot easier than coming up with a Code of Practise that everyone will follow.

Designers blame agencies for recruiting stereotypical models, agencies blaming designers for only creating sample garments in very small sizes.

Overseas designers and manufacturers are blamed for designing and manufacturing for smaller figures.

But hang on a minute we are not one size fits all! Different cultures and ethnic groups have evolved with different skeletal frames, but the industry must ask itself who are its customers? Are they designing for an Asian subcontinent or the Western market?

A blame culture is not the answer, a cohesive joined up approach is the way forward.

How do we effect change?

Change doesn’t happen overnight in an industry so entrenched in a way of thinking. But nothing will happen if we simply turn our backs, shrug our shoulders and say ‘that’s fashion’. It’s simply condoning the current approach.

Heroic attempts have been made to get the industry to sit up and take notice.

I took my hat off to Laura Berry who challenged Top Shop on Social Media for using unrealistic mannequins in its stores. Her outcry went viral and was picked up by the media. This was the second time that TopShop had been challenged and it responded well agreeing to no longer use overly tall and skinny mannequins that represented an unrealistic body image.

So what is the answer?

Stand up and be counted.   Add your voice to the groundswell that’s building for change within the fashion industry.

The fashion industry is self-regulated in the UK and while it is making some progress it is frustratingly slow.

While some brands are attempting to show more healthy images of women, others ignore it or simply get it wrong. A campaign run by a major high street retailer, claimed to reflect its customer profile in the six models it chose. The campaign used five very slender models and one curvy model to advertise lingerie. The backlash was enormous as this was simply misrepresenting its claims.

There are a number of organisations and campaigns that are fighting for change.  They are actively demonstrating that beauty is much more than Size 0.

Models of Diversity is one such campaign. This amazing body is campaigning for diversity in size, ethnic race, disability and age.

Models of Diversity

Models like Rosie Nelson have decided to take action.  Rosie started a petition  in September after her own experience with one of the UK’s leading agencies.  A healthy size 8-10 she was told that she needed to lose weight. She went on a diet and in four months lost one stone and 2 inches off her hips.

She returned to the agency, their reaction was that she needed to lose more as they wanted Rosie ‘down to the bone’. Rosie had the courage to speak out.

Conclusion

I’m a strong advocate of representing real women in modeling, as the fashion industry should represent Society.  I feel very strongly that we have to address body confidence issues and to educate women that it’s okay to have curves.

We need to educate and inform children that they do not have to be super skinny to be pretty. This needs to be balanced by being a healthy weight that is right for our height and build.

We need change in the fashion industry and not allow the industry to get away with sweeping the size 0 debate under the carpet because they design clothes to look amazing on super skinny girls.

 

* Suna Erdem’s  Extreme Measures Sunday Times (August 9th)

 

 

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Flouncy Sleeves

I Hate my Arms!

Flouncy Sleevesflared half sleevesbatwing sleevesDo you dread the summer, as warmer weather means showing your arms? 

Many of us feel that our arms should remain safely hidden away, which is fine in winter, but let’s face it can get us hot and bothered in summer!

When women say ‘I hate my arms’ this isn’t just older women or those who are deliciously curvy, very slim women are often self-conscious about their arms being too thin.  Summer can be a miserable time for women who prefer long sleeves and covering up.

 While you are probably keen to have a longer term goal which will enable you to brazenly show off your lean and toned arms to anyone, this will require diet and exercise to improve your muscle tone, which despite the various claims is not a quick fix.    Building up muscle takes time and you need to be eating the right diet to help you grow your muscles. 

If you’re just thinking about this now, just weeks away from warmer weather and holidays, it’s too late to expect a radical change to your body shape even with an intense exercise program but the good news is that you can apply some simple styling tips to ensure you’re not worrying constantly about your arms, below are the 5 most common problems relating to your arms and suggestions for each.

 1. Heavy Upper Arms

Wearing ¾ or full length sleeves in draping rather than clinging fabrics is the ideal solution, if you are conscious of having heavy upper arms.  If you do want to wear shorter sleeves be mindful and do not wear cuffs or bands which will only draw attention to your arms.

2.  Large Bust & Heavy Upper Arms

Just be careful if you also have a large bust that your sleeve length should finish below your bust line.  Wearing sleeves that finish at your bust line will just have a widening effect, so wearing sleeves that finish below your bust line are more flattering.

3.  Wide shoulders and Narrow Waist

Typical features of an inverted triangle body shape, often found in women who work out a lot either by resistance training, including weights or swimming.

Avoid puff sleeves which will add more bulk and volume to your top half.    A halter neck will broaden your shoulders but if you are toned you may want to show off your defined shoulders

4. Narrow Shoulders and Small Bust

Classic Pear Shaped Body features, the trick here is to add volume to the top half.   Puff sleeve, cap sleeve, short flouncy sleeves are all great ways to create more volume on your top half and are all perfect partners for summer

5.  Athletic Body Shape Women with no Curves

Avoid fitted sleeves as these will just make you look more slender.  Batwing sleeves will look good to hide skinny arms but just be careful that the overall size of the top is not too large as this will overwhelm a slender figure.

Ultimately the solution to getting your arms in shape is regular exercise, and a healthy diet.  Many women are reluctant to lift weights as they do not want to bulk up, but did you know that lifting weights can be more effective than cardio exercises at burning calories and in particular fat, it can also help with bone density and cardiovascular fitness.  Ladies, let’s get pumping!

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