Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shop for Your Shape - Style vs Fashion

Trinny and Susannah left me in a quandry last Thursday night. For the past few days I have been wandering around trying to work out which of their ingenious 12 Body Shapes I fit into, in order to gain some basic rules about how to best shop for my figure. I couldn't quite work it out from the tv show, as I was distracted by the protesting pagans who *shock horror* were wearing incredibly unflattering headgear, so this morning in the shower I tried their little test to try and work it out: When the glass on the shower door is all fogged up, draw an outline of how you see your body shape. It will force you to note your problem areas and get an idea of what is where. I thought I was maybe a pear, though that was very distressing as T&S kept using the term "saddlebags". However after my little experiment and a quick glance through this article I discovered I am a Skittle. This means I am genreally slim and in proportion on the upper half, but the main problem area is thighs and short legs. 100% spot on. I should be looking for vertical stripes on the bottom, broad jacket labels and chunky heels. Excellent. Have a quick squiz through the above link to work out your shape!

10 points to T&S. I know they released their book about this like a year ago, but I hadn't read it or seen the show til last week, so forgive me. It did, however, make me think about all the "classic" fashion that has been gracing the pages of glossies lately. It seems a return to the failsafe world of tailoring, trench coats and polish is all the go. Which is great, but prompts this innate reaction: "Wonderful! Now I can finally get that wardrobe together where I can waltz in, pick any random pieces and throw them on, feeling confident that I look fabulous and prepared for any occassion, and I won't look back at pictures of myself and laugh......well where's the fun in that?" It's almost scary. I want to experiment with fashion, I want my own personal style, I don't want to look like a clone of every stylish woman the world over. When I'm in my 30's maybe I'll appreciate this a bit more, but at the moment it's about not only having fun, but creating memories - if clothes maketh the woman, and are such a fundamental expression of ourselves, they''re also a reflection of the times we are living in, the events we lived through. Looking back at baby pictures wouldn't be as funny if Mum's hair wasn't permed, her eyebrows overplucked and her eyeshadow a fetching shade of bright purple. Christmas bbq's throughout childhood wouldn't seem like they were from years ago if Dad didn't have a mullet, Uncles wore stubby shorts and Aunties had shoulder pads. School pics just would not be the same without scrunchies, face glitter and big fringes. Much in the way a particualr scent has personal meaning for everyone, so do clothes. Life would be as boring and affected as a magazine spread if everybody dressed beautifully, classically and stylishly all the time - it might be aesthetically pleasing but it would be as dull as K-Ho.

"Fashion fades, style is eternal" - so true. But so is "Beige fades, memories are eternal".

For those of us (read: all of us) on that never-ending quest to find a personal style that is both flattering and feel-good, here is a quick checklist of the very fundamental rules of shopping:

-Work out your body shape and go from there. If you have a big tummy, please don't wear crop tops. Big hips, don't go high-waisted. If Mischa Barton wore it, chuck it out.

-Invest in those classic pieces but keep it fun by adding trend-based items. Don't be afraid of mixing colours (whoever said blue and green shold never be seen, or put a ban on pink and red was a fascist). If you're unsure, try bold jewellery or bright shoes, and remember, if you look back and giggle, it was all worth it.

-Trends are trends, they come and go, so if you're watching your $ don't spend up big on them. That's what chain-stores are for. The general rule: if you remember it the first time around, don't go there again (which is scary and going to leave most of us nude, considering the current 90's reinvention means you have to be in primary school to think it's new).

-Make sure your underwear fits properly and is suitable for your outfit, ie don't wear bright red knickers under white pants. Please.

-Always try one thing you never thought you'd wear - you'll be pleasantly suprised!

-Just because it's designer doesn't mean it's great. If it looks fugly, the colour doesn't suit you and the material irritates you, then it's not worth it. Get a cheaper option you'll actually wear.

-Gradually, through trial and error (which in this case is downright fun) work out your own style and don't be afraid of it. If you love bright orange then bloody well wear bright orange! It doesn't matter of the glossies say it's "out" this week, or if young girls stare at you because somehow you have transferred their faux skin colour to your outfit. To end with a ghastly but true cliche: if you feel good, you look good.

And always remember, the best, most timeless accessory that transcends the ages while still evoking feel-good memories, is a smile!

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