The basics of flattering style when it comes to your wardrobe essentials are fit, silhouette and proportion. When Coco Chanel said that “Fashion is architecture: It’s a matter of proportion” she was talking about your frame and dressing for that part of you.
*I want to use this as a moment to emphasize that Coco did not say fashion is a matter of size, age and budget. Many of us think we can’t achieve looking “stylish” because we’re too short, too old, our arms are weird, our butt is big, we don’t like our legs, etc.
Now that you know that good style is achievable no matter what, let’s talk about how to assess what wardrobe essentials you have.
First thing is you absolutely MUST have a full-length mirror. This is a requirement. You can’t assess fit, silhouette or proportion without a full-length mirror. Also, if you’re heading to your closet, get ready to try on your clothes and have a glass of water handy – you will work up a sweat!
A proper fit means the clothes should skim the body. They should not pull or tug nor should they create excessive bagginess. This means you need to try on your clothes to make sure they present a flattering appearance when it comes to fit.
Silhouette and proportion are much more nuanced… The ideal silhouette for a man is the V and for a woman is an hourglass. I am not saying this is how you need to appear or that you are destined to a life of not being stylish without an hourglass shape. Many of my female clients say that they want to emphasize their waist and they don’t realize that they are trying to create the hourglass. The same thing for guys – they typically want to appear broader at the chest whether they know it or not. So do your clothes help enhance the silhouette you want to achieve or do you look shapeless?
The guidance for proportions is this – you want to create an unbroken visual line. Said another way- nearly everyone wants to look taller and leaner than they are. I’ve yet to have a client come to me and say he/she wants to look short and dumpy. Some of my tall clients don’t want to exaggerate their height but they don’t want to appear shorter.
Are your clothes creating a clean, lengthening line or do you appear shorter with shirts that are too long, pants that are too short and shoes that cover the tops of your feet (this is more of an issue for women than men)? Take time to evaluate the line created by your outfits and if you feel leaner and taller or not.
If you’re feeling stuck…
If this is overwhelming, you feel stuck or you still don’t get this wardrobe essentials “styling thing,” I’m here to help. I’ve relaunched my course (for women) and in it, I address body shape and the basics of style in the first two chapters. I show examples from my clients (real people!) to help you plus I’ve got lots of videos to show you examples. Head on over here to check it out.