Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 31 March 2020

Fashion notes: Flaunt when if you have, forget if what don’t

Certainly when it comes to body shape – and our clothing choices – we tend to waste rather a large amount of time focusing on our perceived shortcomings, instead of playing to our strengths.
Getting into shape: an hourglass figure (Christina Hendricks). Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP
Getting into shape: an hourglass figure (Christina Hendricks). Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP

Exercising willpower can be as tedious as trying to match socks from a heaped laundry pile or listening to someone explain their dreams in ­extraordinary detail.

It’s the new year, and as excruciatingly boring (and repetitive) as it is, most of us will be sucked into striving towards some sort of Olympian regime of self-improvement in one way or another. Perhaps to live in a clutter-free environment; to take up character-building classes; to become better than “that girl” at yoga; to lose 10 kilograms – I could go on. ­Anything really, as long as we end up as a somewhat honeyed version of ourselves by March. Ah, January. How you make us feel like such a flop, again and again, year after year.

Certainly when it comes to body shape – and our clothing choices – we tend to waste rather a large amount of time focusing on our perceived shortcomings, instead of playing to our strengths. It’s silly really, as I can promise you that nobody thinks of them as much as you do.

If you’re lucky enough to have an hourglass figure, you should play to it, accentuating the curves, rather than pretending they don’t exist. Good tailoring is a must. Opt for single-­breasted jackets that fasten with one or two buttons at the most, and make sure they’re cinched at the waist to show off the S-curve, making sure to avoid anything with an empire line.

Most manufacturers use the hourglass figure as their blueprint, so try to balance out your outfit to achieve as close a shape to that as possible. Aim for a vertical line starting from the neckline downwards – a deep V-neck works well, as does a scoop. Know that a high neck will only cut the imaginary ­vertical line you’re after in two. Adding a long necklace can also help to lengthen the torso, if needed.

For those with a pear-shaped figure (a dreadful description) with a rounded bottom and narrow shoulders, look for jackets that hit just above the hip, as they tend to balance out the overall form.

By experimenting with colour combinations and patterns, you can help even out most proportion problems. Bold patterns can deviate attention away from an area that we wish to avoid; fine florals or repeated prints can trick the eye into shrinking a “problem” area.

With skirts, the A-line is a great base from which to build, but make sure to stay away from pleats or side pockets, as they will only add unnecessary dimension.

If you have a boyish frame, a double-breasted trench coat has the kind of excess detailing needed to emphasise a fuller form and create the illusion of a waist. Wearing tops with a high neckline can also trick the eye into the illusion of a fuller chest, and anything with a pleat or a frill around the hip will create the necessary detailing needed to define shape. Form-fitting skirts will help emphasise your trim frame, but make sure to add a top that will skim the lack of definition at the waist.

We live in a time in which we feel defeated for looking anything less than perfect. It’s impossible to avoid – every magazine or TV show seems to want to “fix” our supposed flaws. Perhaps this January a little conscientious objection wouldn’t go amiss – for what we have isn’t always so bad.

weekend@thenational.ae

Updated: January 1, 2015 04:00 AM

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