How to look good (not) naked: Part 1

So with some of my things inaccessible, I’ve decided now is the time to start on wordy posts.

I’ve been thinking about this post for a little while, and it’s one thing to have a personal private opinion and another to actually say it out loud because people can tell you you’re wrong when you say it out loud… but that’s what’s great about the internet, right? You can gather many different opinions to form your own opinions. So here’s my two pence about it.

The way I see it, you can break down dressing ‘well’ to three different things; clothes that fit well, clothes that suit you, and confidence. We’ll talk about the first on this post.

“… the reason you think that some people have such good style is simply because they always wear clothes that fit them – and fit them well.”

– Alison Freer, How to Get Dressed: A Costume Designer’s Secrets for Making You Clothes Look, Fit, and Feel Amazing

I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled upon this quote some donkey years ago because I haven’t actually read said book. In fact, I had to do some Googling before I found the right quote and book. However I found it, this quote just sums it all up. And as time goes by and I’m forced to make decisions on what my well-earned money is spent on, I find this quote  to be more and more true.

The rise in petite-friendly fashion and my awareness of petite-friendly brands have opened up a whole new world to me. I’m not lying. Dresses waist and bust darning; who knew it was possible to have both sit in the right place on your body? Jeans; for a number of years I genuinely struggled with the idea that jeans that you do not have to roll up does not meant that it’s too short but that it’s the correct length for your legs. Any type of tops; who knew those weren’t actually meant to end mid thigh?

It also opened up my eyes to how badly some of the clothes that I thought fit well, actually did not.

So future purchases are put under more scrutiny and I prefer shopping for petite clothing specifically. But that’s not to say I’ve completely stopped compromising, because even petites, which are definitely progressing better than the curves section, is still limited. Sometimes you make yourself believe that yes, you can definitely take that top in just a little…

Anyway, my point is pay attention to what you’re buying, pay attention to fit, and if there’s a particular section that is geared towards your body type a little better, compare similar pieces.

Try it on.

Check the shoulders, the bust, the waist (and hips), the length.

Writing it down it seems rather self-explanatory but pointing out the obvious sometimes help. What I find helpful is looking at other people whose style I admire, more specifically I try to focus on people whose style I admire AND whose body shape is similar to mine. Because we all know that one size does not, in fact, fit all. Goodness knows how long I’ve tried to make things work because I saw it on someone taller or have more of a figure than I do only to be disappointed. That’s not to say you can’t rock something someone else has because your body is different- but more on that later.

And another tip? Look at your own photos and wardrobe. What pieces do you love wearing? Are there outfits you’ve seen in photos that just looks right? Why? Is there a pattern? What kind of necklines sits better? Are you a bodycon person or fit and flare? Trousers or skirts? What kind of fit?

Move.

If the fitting room allows, and if you’re at home, well that just makes it a lot easier. You’re not going to just stand still in those clothes so find out how they fit when you move. I’m not talking about the big movements, just enough so you can get a feel for the clothing. This is when it gets a little too cliché and embarrassing but this is the time to do your best and worst end of catwalk posing impression, twirl, swish the skirt, put your hands on your waist, turn to the left, to the right. I’m not saying I do this all the time, or to that extent, and yes it’s silly, but it genuinely gives me a better idea of the clothes and how it sits on my body.

Try to work out what you like and don’t like about it.

I promise it does not require as much effort as I’m probably making it sound like. You don’t need to have a notebook and pencil ticking things off and recording things as you go, but just knowing what to kind of look for and keeping a mental note or two just helps sorting through clothes. Most people probably do these observations naturally anyway but just in case anyone needed it breaking down, there you have it.

And if you’re really stuck? Take someone you trust with you. They don’t have to have the same taste in clothes as you to help you figure out if the shoulders seam is too low or if that skirt is definitely too long. It seems like such a small thing to fuss about if the shoulders do not sit quite right but it really does make a difference.

***

I know this post is very wordy and I do feel like it could use photos and I considered leaving it a little bit longer before publishing this so I can get some photos in but at the rate I’m going that might take another three months. If, in the future, I manage to find/shoot examples I will definitely update this post and/or create an updated one or a visual guide. I don’t know but we’ll figure it out!

 

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