How do you choose flattering clothes and accessories?
The easy answer is: “Know your own signature style.” That’s the easy answer but when it comes to real life, it isn’t always the answer we follow.
I am an image consultant. I know what colors look best on me. I know the styles that work best, yet I still occasionally succumb to a great bargain. For instance, last fall I found a Ralph Lauren blazer for 70% of the original price. It fit perfectly. It would work with different jeans that I presently owned and would be the perfect jacket for cool days or when I wanted to be casual but look a bit more put together. The problem: the jacket was black. Now I know that black is too harsh with my very fair coloring but I rationalized that I could wear a white or pastel turtleneck sweater under it and it would work, so I bought it. Yes, I have worn it numerous times and all of my rationalization was correct. But, I never feel great in it. I feel okay.
After that experience (yes, there have been others) I have been rethinking my philosophy for making fashion decisions in the future. I have come to this conclusion. I want to always look great. Just okay doesn’t cut it any more.
How do you do this? First of all, know your color palette. This, I think is the most difficult and gets even more so as we age. When you are young with more dimension of color in your skin, the biggest key is getting it right between cool and warm. People’s personal colors change as we age or as we go through stressful periods. About every five years, our coloring adjusts slightly. Sometimes it happens more quickly. I remember working with a lady from New Orleans. She had lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. Carla Mathis, (the woman with whom I studied) had done her colors right after the hurricane. She came to me about two years later and asked to have a reevaluation. The colors that looked beautiful on her were more vibrant that those done right after the hurricane. In another instance, during a workshop I gave for single women, one lady commented that she had mostly black in her closet. She had recently gone through a divorce. Going through emotional or personal trauma effects more than your emotions. Wearing color takes energy. If you need to put your energy into other areas of your life, you will resonate with more neutral colors so that your energy can be devoted to your area of need. As the crisis passes, your more vibrant self emerges.
Know your body shape and proportion. Certain styles flatter certain body shapes. Just because it is in style, doesn’t mean it will work for you. For example, cropped pants were popular last summer. If you have shorter legs, it simply will make them look shorter so don’t follow that trend. If you are a triangle with wider hips, the leggings – not matter what name they bear – will always make you look more like an ice cream cone than give that svelte image of a six foot tall model with no hips.
Know your scale. Whether you are petite or large in scale, accessories should reflect your scale. That huge purse or necklace that is fabulous on a large boned, large scaled person will never work on a small-scaled person. I just consulted with a petite lady who has larger scaled features. She can wear jewelry in a larger scale than someone who is petite with small features but she still needs to keep it in scale with her very small frame.
These are probably the most important considerations in allowing you to choose flattering clothes and accessories. To go deeper into the finer details, one can consider proportion in more detail and look at the part line and texture have in helping each person present his or her best self.
If you want to get past okay and always feel great in what you wear, we need to talk. This fall, I have been working with clients to show them how to always look great with fewer clothes. Save money, time and consternation! Beryl@StyleWithAplomb.com 404-467-0288