The Number Isn't Everything: Dressing to Body Type and Ignoring the Number

Western Culture and the Fashion Industry has played a terrible prank on women over the course of the past 50 years with almost no end in sight. Unrealistic ideals of beauty, marketed to young girls who then grow up to raise their daughters like bonzai trees to try and let them not feel the disappointment they felt growing up and this constant battle against natural bone structure to fit into brands that just don't make clothes to look good on anyone larger than a size 4. With fashion insecurities like these, what are women to do?

Take a few simple steps to get on the path to fashion security. First, identify your body shape and your personal areas of insecurity. You need to know if you have an apple, pear, hourglass or inverted triangle shape. If you have an apple shape, your stomach is your big problem area, and that is what needs to be minimized by the clothes you wear. The apple shape can be minimized by shaping undergarments, better posture, and empire waistlines. The pear shape usually has the problem area of weight on the thighs and buttocks. By dressing up the upper half of the body with patterns, wearing a flashy necklace, and wearing a padded push-up bra the body is evened out to give a nice curvy hourglass appearance. Straight leg slacks or jeans with heels (even just a slight wedge) elongate the legs and give the body a leaner look. Pears can often utilize empire waistlines to elongate the body even more. The hourglass needs to utilize belts and high waist skirts and pants to really bring out the beautiful even curves of that body type. Empire waisted shirts and dresses often do not look right on hourglass figures, so it is better to go with a dress that falls at the natural waist. Elongating the body is still important for hour glass figures - it really brings out the curves. Using heels and a dark pant, a pencil skirt, or an a-line flared skirt that fall at the natural waist paired with a good pair of either kitten heels, or bold stilettos will make the hourglass figure pop. The inverted triangle need to tone down the shoulders and add some flare to their narrow hips. Flaring a-line skirts are the best option for this figure and can be worn at or just below the natural waist. Bold patterns should be avoided on top, and should only be worn on bottom.

Now that you know your body type and how to dress it, go into your favourite stores and ask to be measured so that you know what sizes you wear for each one. This will help you wear clothes that not only fit properly so you don't appear bigger than you are, but help you figure out what fits are comfortable on you. Remember: a size is just a number.An interesting exercise I've read to do to help with size based insecurity to cut out the size tag from your clothing after buying it. It is more important to wear clothes that fit you and look good on you, than to wear clothes that don't fit you, don't look good on you, and make you feel worse about yourself just because of the number on the tag. The clothes you wear should be fun classy expressions of who you are that can be worn on an every day basis, mixed and matched, dressed up or down, and easily maintained.

If you aren't absolutely in love with the way you look in something, don't buy it because it might sit in your closet and then you'll never wear it. Just remember that clothes are utilitarian in purpose. No woman should feel insecure in what she is wearing. That being said, whenever you are wearing a really great outfit that fits properly and looks really great on you, look in the mirror and remind yourself "Wow, I look amazing." Every woman should hear that from herself more often than from anyone else.

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