To achieve lasting, sustainable style, you must get the foundations right – the basics of flattering style. These are flattering fit, silhouette and proportion. Without all three of these being in alignment to create a pleasing appearance, your whole outfit and presentation will be off.
What’s crucial to understand is that style basics do not include your size, age and/or 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.
Great style has nothing to do with those things. It’s the basics – the foundational pieces of style that matter. The good news is that great style is achievable by anyone at any point in their life no matter their budget. Once you understand how to assess the basics, you can create flattering outfits for your body no matter where the clothing came from or how much it cost.
How to assess the basics of flattering style for lasting sustainable style
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!
Fit – 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. Proper fit must come first with any outfit.
Silhouette and proportion are much more nuanced… The ideal silhouette for a man is the “V” and for a woman is an hourglass. Please note this is the “ideal” and not the requirement. It does not mean 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?
Another way to think about proportions is this – you want to create an unbroken visual line. Using the full length mirror, evaluate your outfits. 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.
See the examples below of flattering fit, silhouette and proportion for both menswear and womenswear.
As you create outfits over the next few days, really take the time to assess the style basics in your outfits. Are they helping create an unbroken line? Do they flatter you? Or do you feel like something is off or not right? Pay attention and make adjustments.