Winter Coat Invest In The Perfect Style For You

A good winter coat should keep you nice and toasty but you also want a style to flatter your figure.  A coat is an investment piece so take the time to choose the right one for you.  I’d suggest buying a coat that you really look forward to wearing.  My own winter faux fur coat is at least 20 years old.  I still feel a million dollars every time I wear it.  It’s a classic shape that won’t date or go out of style but equally looks modern and sassy.

So what should you look for when you choose a coat?

Winter Coat Styles For Your Body Shape

Pear Shaped BodyDebenhams Winter Coat With Fur Collar

You want to show off your waist and add some volume to your top half.

Choose double breasted and wide lapels.  If you can’t find both in a style you like go for wide lapels in a faux fur finish.  The texture and pile of the fabric will give you volume.  It goes without saying that your winter coat should be belted as well to show off your waist.

Debenhams – Grey Fur Collar Coat

winter coat for hourglass body shape

Hour Glass Shape Body

You want to flatter your curves, but keep things in proportion.  A great style for you is a single breasted coat with a belt.    If you are a petite hourglass figure just be careful not to choose a winter coat that is too bulky.

Hobbs – Camel Coat

 

Athletic Body Shapewarehouse winter coat funnel collar

You will find you can wear a number of styles of winter coat.  If you are tall then an A line with a funnel neck will look amazing.  You can also wear a winter coat that’s belted to give you some curves.  Puffa jackets will also look fabulous on your slender frame and will add some curves to your top half.

Warehouse – Funnel Coat

 

 

Lipsy Winter CoatInverted Triangle Body Shape

You want to soften your shoulders and add some volume to your bottom half.  You can do this with a slightly fitted coat with soft shoulders.

Lipsy – Red Coat

 

 

Apple Body ShapeWinter Coat Chesca Wrap Style

You want to avoid anything that is too bulky and lacks definition.  Look for  some structure in a winter coat.  You can wear either a waterfall style jacket or coat that you can wear open and finish with a scarf. Alternatively look for a winter coat that has a wrapped look.

Chesca Wrap Coat

 

 

winter coat for petite womanPetite Body

While not a body shape, anyone who is petite needs to avoid overly big and bulky styles.  A winter coat for you needs to be more figure hugging otherwise the fabric may overwhelm you.

A shorter coat (finishing around your knees) will make your legs look longer.  Alternatively look for a winter coat with an asymmetric hemline

Joe Browns Coat

 

Big BustWinter Coat Single Breasted

You may find that buying a winter coat to fit your bust will mean it’s too big everywhere else.  Do not be tempted to swamp yourself in a poncho it will simply draw attention to your bust.  A good option is linear style single- breasted coat. This style will be simple and figure flattering especially with a deep v.neck.

Reiss Single Breasted Coat

 

Don’t worry if you’re not sure what body shape you are, download my free body shape guide to find out.

 

 

 

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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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lines and curves magic

You Need To Know How To Create Wardrobe Magic

Now we’re going to talk about lines and curves, I tell my clients, offering to them the suggestion that we’re about to create some style magic!   It provokes an interesting reaction.

Some laugh, others smile politely wondering what’s coming next,. While others look slightly bewildered wondering if I’m going to get my Potterish wand out!

lines and curves magic

What Are Lines And Curves?

Once you understand your colour palette, it’s time to start working on what suits your body shape and your personality in terms of clothing styles.   In order to really make the most of this you need to understand lines and curves.

Let’s be clear lines and curves are not just about the fabric patterns or prints. As a fashion designer you would not be able to create a garment without lines and curves.

Lines and curves are created in clothing by:

  1. The shape/silhouette of the garment
  1. The seams and construction
  1. The fun stuff – finishes, details
  1. Fabrics – prints and patterns

The messages our brain and eyes exchange about lines and curves are always done in a split second but specific order.

Vertical and Horizontal Lines

LK Bennett – vertical and horizontal lines

How Do We See Lines And Curves?

Our eyes are drawn to horizontals first because horizontal lines help us to create balance. We then consider verticals, diagonals and then curves.  We can create illusions because of the way that our brains and eyes work.

Without diving down a fascinating scientific rabbit hole, let’s keep this simple. Our vision depends on our eyes to see and our brains to interpret what our eyes see. The brain receives messages from the eyes but also adds two elements: memory and interpretation (or perception). Optical illusions occur when the messages sent back from our eyes conflicts with what the brain is expecting. Result = confusion!

The bottom line is that this is great news for us as we can use lines and curves to guide others to see what we want them to see. This will enable us to show off the great bits and downplay the bits we are not so keen on!

So let’s take a look at how we can use the way we interpret lines and curves to our advantage.

Horizontal Lines

lines and curves

Desigual top

Most of us learn from an early age that you don’t wear horizontal stripes if you want to look slimmer and in most cases this is correct.

I’ll explain the exception in a moment!

Most of us are not looking to add width to our body, but if you have a small bust or a pear shaped body (hips wider than shoulders) you can create balance using horizontal lines.

You can do this by adding a horizontal line this can be in the form of:

  • Padded shoulders
  • Wide horizontal stripes
  • A different colour yoke on a top or blouse, bateau necklines
  • A shrug or bolero jacket in a different colour to the top underneath

Each horizontal line we create in an outfit will have a widening and shortening effect. This applies to hemlines, changes in colour, trims and decorative details.

If you want to add height and like wearing skirts or dresses the easiest way to do this is have tights the same colour as your shoes and outfit. This way you do not create a break of colour at your hemline.

Our eyes also take two short horizontal lines and ignore the gap. What do I mean by this?

If you have a large bust and wear short sleeves that finish at the level of your bust, our eyes will follow the line from one sleeve hem to the other and see it as one horizontal line.

However there is an exception and that is very narrow horizontal lines. When the horizontals are too fine for the eye to follow along one at a time, and when there are multiples of them, they can actually start working like a vertical line and become elongating.

 

Lines and Curves Vertical Lines

Karen Millen

Vertical Lines

Vertical lines lengthen, our eyes move along them more quickly than horizontal or curved lines. So anyone wanting to look taller or slimmer should look to include vertical lines in their wardrobe. The good news is that this is so easy to do, as I mentioned earlier you do not need patterns and prints to add lines and curves to your wardrobe.

You can define verticals simply by:

  1. The way you layer clothes, leaving a jacket open, wearing a sleeveless jacket are great examples.
  2. Accessories are a great way to create verticals too. A long pendant or a long scarf will add vertical lines.
  3. The structure of garments: vertical darts, pleats, trouser creases will all add vertical lines. Knitwear that is ribbed creates a vertical line.
  4. Details on garments – piping down the side of trousers, buttons in a contrasting colour on a jacket or blouse. Pussy bow blouses also add a vertical line.

But it is important to also note that just as horizontals can have an elongating effect, verticals can have a widening effect! Vertical stripes that are too wide in contrasting colours will add width.

You don’t want to add vertical lines to the widest part of your body, as they will draw attention to this area. If you have large hips or tummy then avoid verticals on these areas.

You can create a single vertical with an outfit and negate the effect of any horizontal lines by using the column of colour. An outfit all in one colour will have a lengthening effect.

Diagonal Lines

Lines and Curves Diagonal Lines

Joe Browns Top

Diagonal lines create movement and action.  They direct the eye from one element to another. We can have real fun playing with diagonal lines!

As we read from left to right, we tend to read diagonals this way.   So let’s take a one-shoulder top as an easy way to look at this.

If your left shoulder is exposed then the eye will follow the diagonal upwards towards your face and neck.

Alternatively if your right shoulder is exposed then the eye will follow down from your left shoulder towards your bust and body.

So clever isn’t it!

You don’t have to wear off the shoulder tops to create diagonals! You can create diagonal lines with the following details:

  1. Patterns and prints – look for designs that draw the eye in different ways – you’ll be amazed how differently you look at clothes. Joe Browns and Desigual are both brands that make good use of diagonals.
  2. Wrap-over tops and dresses. A really flattering way to guide the eye across your body
  3. V-necks. These do have diagonal lines, but depending on the depth and shape of the v-neck these lines can also be interpreted as vertical or horizontal lines.   A deep plunging neckline will act more as a vertical.   A wide, shallow neckline will create a horizontal.
  4. A cross body bag – great way to draw the eye up or downwards.
  5. Chevron stripe fabric. A lovely way to create a very slimming effect on a dress if the angle points downwards across your tummy.
lines and curves curved lines

Joules Dress

Curved Lines

The slowest line we see is the curved line. As our eye follows the curve it slows down and we follow the curve with our eyes. The effect is that curves add volume to our bodies.

Curves create a place for the eye to rest. Want to draw attention to an area of your body that you really love? Then add curves. Curves also add a feminine soft touch to an outfit.

As with diagonals our eyes will follow the line of the curve from left to right.

Curves can also soften the effect of straight lines. A curved hemline on a top will soften the horizontal line, particularly if this is ending on your hips.

We find curves in clothing in:

  1. Structure – necklines, hemlines and sleeve shapes, gathering and lapels (note how some lapels are very angular but some are rounded)
  2. Detailing – frills and lace are great examples
  3. Fabrics – patterns and texture. Softer fabrics will drape and naturally fall in a softer more curvy way than stiff structured fabrics.

Use curves to their best effect if you want to add balance to your body.

Again let’s take the example of a pear shaped body where the shoulders and bust are narrower than the hips. Add puff sleeves to add width to your shoulders.  If you have a small bust use a gathered neckline to make your bust appear larger.

Hopefully this post will have given you lots of ideas about how you can use lines and curves to create some real style magic with your wardrobe.

Give it a try…. why not try to work out what the lines on this dress are doing? Answers 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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thick thighs

Thick Thighs? You can wear Shorts!

thick thighs

You can wear shorts

Some women despair that having thick thighs means that you end up slouching around in maxi skirts or leggings and big baggy T Shirts at this time of year. It doesn’t need to be that way as you, will have the most amazing parts of your body to accentuate. Then it’s simply a case of using a few styling tips to downplay your thick thighs.

Most women with thick thighs are a pear shaped body. The good news is that this is the most common body shape in the western world.   You will most likely have slender shoulders and a small bust with a lovely curvy waist. You need to think about drawing attention to your top half and away from your bottom half and your unwanted thick thighs. That sounds fine in theory but what does it mean in practice?

Dressing Tips for Thick Thighs

thighs

thighs

Shorts

Yes you can wear shorts regardless of the fact you have thick thighs. Just follow these tips

  1. High Waisted Shorts will be much more flattering than hipsters
  2. A line shorts are good as they will skim your hips, accentuate your curves
  3. Keep away from added details such as pockets – these add unnecessary volume
  4. Mid-length shorts are good too
  5. Keep material plain or dark – bright bold prints will add volume

Leggings

Leggings can look great on pear shaped bodies with thick thighs, particularly if teamed with a longer top. Just be careful that the hemline of your top does not finish on your widest part as this will simply add volume.

For a night out why not select a pair of wet look leggings with a chiffon blouse and camisole top to finish the look.   You will be surprised how fabulous a pair of wet look leggings can look on a curvy figure. A coloured blouse or one with a print this will draw the eye upwards. Add a statement necklace or scarf to finish the look.

Skirts

With your pear shaped body you will look fabulous in a pencil skirt skimming your curves.   Pencil skirts are one of the most flattering skirt styles and on you they look simply fantastic!

Pencil skirts might be a bit uncomfortable when the weather’s warmer so another great option is to wear an A Line style skirt which will look great with thick thighs.

Just remember with thick thighs keep away from anything that adds volume to your hip area – such as side zips, pockets, pleats or very flared skirts.

Your skirt length will depend on your height and if your legs are generally wide. Knee length or just above is a good option if you’re not very tall. Taller women will look great in longer skirt lengths.

Trousers

Steer clear of tapered trousers these will simply make your thick thighs look wider as they taper to your ankle. Straight cut trousers are your best choice and boot cut jeans will look good too. Jeans will possibly cause a few issues as finding jeans to fit your hips and your thick thighs will mean that the waist is too big and the bulky denim may make them uncomfortable.

Stop Dwelling on the Negatives!

In conclusion start focusing on the positives and stop dwelling on the negatives. Start thinking about how you showcase the best bits of your body shape! Emphasize your top half, show off your fabulous cleavage and draw the eye upwards and away from your thick thighs with style and colour. Start loving the way you look.

 

thighs

thighs

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taller woman can wear heels

Can I wear Flip Flops to Work?

what not to wear in summerDon’t ruin your promotion prospects at work this summer!

However much you love your job or running your own business it can be tough to stay motivated when the temperature rises and the temptation is to take a day out on the beach or soaking up the sun in the garden!  Looking professional and keeping cool in hot weather can be a challenge particularly if you have to travel by public transport and endure the agonies of overcrowded trains and the underground!   To pile on the misery many of us suffer from fluid retention in the heat causing ankles, feet and hands to swell so that our clothes and shoes tend to feel tight and uncomfortable.  If you’re hot and bothered it’s really tempting to keep your clothes loose and casual – dressing smartly and taking a more formal approach seems to be too much hassle.  Others have started the trend to dress down and the temptation is to just follow them.  A word of warning – don’t!  Instead take a look at my handy tips to solve those summer work wear dilemmas.

1. Is it okay to wear flip flops?

In a word ‘no’ – it just says you don’t really care about your job.  Flip flops are for evenings, weekends and holidays!      Be guided by your workplace as to whether open toed shoes or sandals are really acceptable and if they are then great.  But ensure your feet are buffed and your toenails polished to perfection before you bare them to work colleagues. If you work in a formal environment it’s much better to stick to court shoes.  Showing your toes may be seen that your standards are dropping.  The chances are that the offices will be air conditioned and someone will have turned the air-con up to deep freeze levels so that sandals will leave your feet in the cold!

2. What about baring the flesh?

Depends what you mean!  But if you’re asking the question then the answer is probably no! Higher hemlines, lower necklines and sheer material are probably not the greatest way to secure a pay rise or promotion!  The men might like it but it doesn’t do much for your reputation as a professional.   Sheer blouses are fine but you should wear a camisole underneath which may defeat the object of keeping cool as you’re adding another layer. Looser fit clothing will be more comfortable than tight fitting garments particularly if you tend to suffer from swollen limbs in the heat.  If your body shape means loose clothing doesn’t work and you need more structure then chose natural fabrics rather than synthetics. Alternatively you could wear a belt with a loose fit dress to give some structure to your body shape, just don’t wear a very thick or tight belt.

Here’s a summary of the best dress styles for each of the five different body shapes

  • Apple Body Shape – the best style dress for apple shape is an A line dress which will draw attention away from your tummy.  This pretty blue cotton dress is a good example.
  • Pear Shaped Body – you can find it quite difficult to find dresses that work for you which fit your bust and shoulders, and work for your hips.  Very often you will find separates an easier option.  But the best dresses for pear shapes are either an Empire Line or Wrap Dress.
  • Hourglass Body – You’ll look great in dresses to show off your curves and while most dress shapes will work for you the most flattering is a wrap dress.  This might be too warm in the summer so be careful that the material is not too heavy.
  • Athletic Body Shape – If you have an athletic body shape you’ll look fabulous in a princess dress shape that will create the illusion of curves but show off your lovely slender body.   An Empire line dress will also look good on you.
  • Inverted Triangle Body Shape – you will look fabulous in either a shift dress, which is one of the perfect shapes for summer, being loose but still with a structure or an a line dress which will create curves.

3. Don’t go overboard on colour!

Again depending on your work environment overdoing the bold and bright may have some of your colleagues reaching for their shades! Balance bright colours with neutral accessories to tone down the effect.   Alternatively wear a neutral top with a bright coloured skirt or vice versa.

4. Can I do sleeveless?

Yes in most offices this is perfectly acceptable.  A bold sleeveless top with a striking necklace will look smart and professional, particularly with toned arms!  Wear natural silk or crisp light cotton.  However, sleeveless doesn’t mean camisole or spaghetti straps again you’re in danger of just looking over casual.  You can only get away with this approach if you wear a jacket or cardigan and it remains on all day long!

5. Brighten and Lighten the Accessories

If your favourite handbag for the office is a dark or dull colour, swap it out for something bright.  Alternatively depending on your colour palette go for a light neutral shade such as grey or beige.  Dark colours will look out of place with light summer fabrics, not just the colour but the lighter texture

6. Can I do shorts or skorts?

If you work in some environments shorts are okay for office wear, but ensure they are tailored and smart.  Wearing with at least a low heel will be a lot smarter than wearing with pumps or flats.  But some offices shorts are an absolute no go area.  You can always slip a pair in your handbag if you’re heading out after work.  Simply tuck your skirt or trousers in to your bag or leave them in the office until the following day!

7. What about maxi dresses

In some work environments a summer maxi will work, providing it is not too casual or bohemian for the office.  If you have to use the stairs a lot then a maxi dress can be a trip hazard and a midi dress might be a better idea.   Just be careful if you have short legs, a midi dress is not likely to be your best friend

8. Tights are just too hot

Absolutely agree with that one unless you’re in the deep freeze air conditioning zone.  Stockings are definitely cooler than tights. Alternatively you can buy ‘spray on tights’ products which you simply apply in the morning and wash off in the evening.    Another option would be to use a fake tan product but make sure you exfoliate first and practise!

9. A word of advice about heels

You may be passionate about wearing heels and not feel dressed without them, but many people suffer swollen ankles and feet in the warmer weather.  Wearing high heels will just put more pressure on your feet and make the problem worse.   Shoes will probably feel uncomfortable and straps will dig in to your flesh.  This doesn’t look great and you’ll just be uncomfortable! Best of luck for keeping your cool this summer! feet-657207_1280

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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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