Saturday, March 29, 2008

Tips to Live By

I know that everyone has read a list in a magazine on tips on how to dress to appear slimmer. I suppose this is to appeal to our vanity. And let's be honest, who doesn't want to look five or ten pounds slimmer. But I feel like we should be beyond that by now. Why not offer up a list that is called "tricks for looking your best" because ultimately that is what we are trying to accomplish...tricking onlookers' eyes of how they perceive us and all of our "flaws".

I have noticed that sometime in the last few years, I accepted what I had to work with in the body department. No, I didn't throw my hands up in frustration and cancel my gym membership, but rather I slowly, but surely began realizing that fabrics are not created equal and that certain types can do awful things to my body and self-esteem in as little as two minutes and I realized that there are certain things that should I want to look good are just not for me. I hate to think that this realization comes with age, but I do think that after 30 years a gal just has some practice at dressing her adult form. I stopped grabbing shirts and sweaters that ended at my waist. The last thing a short-waisted gal needs is to shine a light on the fact that her wider than desired bum could use a little more distance from the chest area. Wow, now that paints a pretty picture. But you get where I am going with this.

I have learned that when I see someone in a great outfit, I no longer lust after their exact look. Especially if that person is five feet three with no curves. I have (almost) stopped shopping for the fantasy me (cut me some slack, I might have purchased a sweater dress or two in the last year and just invested in a few strategically placed belts and spanx to help a sister out) and instead look at aspects of the outfit that may potentially work for me.

So my list of tips for trying to put my best fashionably shoed foot forward are as follows:

1. Fabric choice can make or break you. I recently watched a wedding video and I cringed for one of the guests who was shot from behind in an overly-clingy number that exposed every bulge and line. How dreadful to be captured that way for future generations to see. But it reminded me of how important it is to choose fabrics that drape my body, not magnify my flaws.

2. Dress monochramtically. No, you don’t have to pay homage to Johnny Cash and wear all black all the time. This just means wearing the same solid color, any color, all over. I happen to be a big fan of wearing all white. I know that white has a bad rap, but I swear that it actually looks great when the right fabrics are chosen (hey I am not talking all white spandex, although I have sadly seen that combo on a gentleman at the gym and I still can’t comprehend how he got out of the house thinking it was the right choice for him).

3. Manage your proportions (I heart Tim Gunn), by now you know the hand you were dealt fairly well. This idea is simple….add volume where you don’t have it and keep it sleek where you are voluminous. Top heavy, skip boat necks and ruffles. Bottom heavy, don’t do pleats. Likewise, if you are long on top and short on bottom, work on your illusionists skills. Short-waisted gals should invest in tops and jackets that hit below the “natural” waist and steer clear of high waisted pants/skirts. Long-waisted gals can take advantage of the empire style dresses and tops that are everywhere.

4. Always, always, make sure you purchase the right length pants for your height. Nothing is worse than pants that stop just short of being long enough. And long enough doesn’t mean stops just below your ankle, this can make a gal look dumpy (read: adding poundage and who wants that). Look for pants where the hem almost touches the floor. You will be amazed at what a difference this can make in your overall silhouette and if you care, too short pants are a huge pet peeve of mine.

Good luck my fellow illusionists!

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