Fashion Intelligence: Fit, Flattery, and Proportion
by ATFDC Contributor Susan Stipanovich
As any great Fashiontonian knows, the true secret to looking fabulous every day is fit, flattery, and proportion. Whether running errands in jeans and a top or primping for a black tie gala, the foundation of every ensemble should be the way a garment fits you and the silhouette it creates. It goes without saying that your clothes should fit you properly; however we all know that this task can be tedious and time-consuming. Building the cost of tailoring and alterations into your clothing budget is a wise decision. Good fit means clothes skim the body (showing curves without clinging to them) and all details such as pleats and buttons lie flat. Clothing that pulls or buckles not only looks unbecoming, it also adds pounds. Taking an honest look at one’s closet may be in order. Do all of your garments fit? If not, are you willing to pay to have them altered? If you don’t feel it is worth it, perhaps it’s time to donate these items in order to make way for pieces that suit your figure.
Proportion is also key here, a balancing act- you must consider the length of your legs in relation to your torso and the width of your shoulders in relation to your hips. Only you know what works best for you, and what assets are your favorites. Use this opportunity to play to your strengths, using pieces that highlight your best features. Not certain about your body shape? A comprehensive guide to body shapes and finding your proportions was published out by Oprah in 2010 and is one of the best tools available for navigating proportion and flattery. Beauty and fashion expert Dawn Del Russo offers a few tricks of the trade for styling your unique figure. “Finding the style that works best for your shape makes a dramatic difference,” she says, “Sometimes, it’s a matter of a quick trip to the tailor.” A dress that clings in all the wrong places can easily be remedied by a few nips and tucks at the seams for a complete transformation.
Knowing which styles work for you is also key. For those that are ‘pear shaped’, Russo suggests drawing attention to your neck and chest with boat neck tops and wear jackets that are cropped at the waist. For those that are ‘apple’ or ‘circle’ shaped, she recommends drawing attention to your legs by wearing straight leg jeans or a great skirt. The classic ‘hourglass’ shaped ladies will find that emphasizing their waist with a belt or fitted wrap dress will emphasize feminine curves.
No matter what your body shape, it is important to emphasize your favorite features and conceal your less desirable attributes through the proper garments. Taking a bit of time to ensure that clothes fit and flatter will take you from lackluster to polished day-in and day-out.
photo courtesy of William Waldron for InStyle
Susan Stipanovich is a stylist and writer who lives and works in Washington D.C. She researches counter terrorism methods and international security sector reform in Africa and the Middle East by day as a Department of Defense associate and spends her free time curating a fashionable lifestyle through her blog Hepburn Loves Givenchy.