Last week I covered the topic of Colour Analysis, and hopefully answered many of your frequently asked questions.
This week I decided to cover Body Shapes. There are many grey areas when it comes to dressing your body shape. We all have that Trinny & Susannah book from the 90’s, but the advice in there is so outdated now, and I don’t agree with many of their suggestions either! I love a bit of Gok too, but as my Dad said yesterday “he always went too far. He would create a great outfit and then keep adding to it until you yelled STOP!”
So here is the Styled By Susie easy, fool proof guide to Body Shapes.
The hourglass is the “ideal body shape”. The ideal body shape, means “in proportion”. The shoulders and the hips are in alignment with each other, and they have a visible waist. Usually this waist is concealed beneath a huge cardigan or a top two sizes too big for my client when I first meet her.
The key with an hourglass is showing off her waist. When I say this to my hourglass clients, you can see the colour drain from their face and the palms start to sweat. Before she runs away, I reassure her that she doesn’t have to draw the eye to her tummy, but it’s all about CREATING and ENHANCING her shape. Belts added to dresses, belted trench coats, wrap dresses, skater dresses – you name it, anything that shows off that waist.
By concealing her waist, she makes herself look bigger or shapeless in fact. Why wear a top tucked in, when you can wear a potato sack and feel comfy? If this sounds like you, you need to remember dressing purely for comfort can be your biggest downfall.
Famous Hourglass Women: Caroline Flack, Holly Willoughby, Kelly Brook, Nigella Lawson, Marilyn Monroe.
“I’m a pear, I’m definitely a pear”, is what most women say to me. “No you’re not” is my response! It’s amazing how many women are dressing themselves incorrectly because they are not the body shape they think they are. 95% of my clients are a different shape to what they think they are. That’s a huge statistic, right?
The pear shape can vary. You can get pear shapes that are slightly broader on the bottom half, and others that are much broader. Technically, a pear shape should stick to plain on the bottom and party on the top. However, there are some pear shapes that can break these rules, and that’s where my bespoke analysis comes into play.
I’m a pear shape, but I am very different to my sister who is also a pear. She’s very narrow on her shoulders and waist, where as I am taller and broader. She looks much better in strapless than I do, and I’m better in v-neck/scoop neck.
Generally speaking though, you will 90% of the time see me in detail on my top half and plain on my bottom. Since hitting the gym this year, I am becoming quite proud of my big booty so I have been wearing lighter colours than usual on my bottom. If you want to draw the eye away from your bottom, it’s best stick to dark.
Famous Pear Women: Emma Willis, Kimberley Walsh, Kim Kardasian, Jennifer Lopez, Reese Witherspoon, Kristin Davis.
The complete opposite to the Pear. The Strawberry is the least common body shape that I see, and I get very excited to shop with them because it’s fun to go for styles that I can NEVER dream of!
Strawberry ladies vary, much like any other shape. They are broader on the top than bottom, and many ‘Strawbs’ did lots of swimming as a youngster. They can have broad shoulders and a small bust, or they can just be full busted with narrow hips. Again, this is where my bespoke advice will come in, as there is no body shape that is the same as another.
Strawbs should wear party on the bottom, plain on top. Patterns can be worn but absolutely NO horizontal stripes whatsoever.
They have such great body shapes because they look amazing in any trouser or jean. The only item of clothing they generally struggle with is a dress, as their shape works better in separates.
Famous Strawberry Women: Cindy Crawford, Demi Moore, Jessica Simpson, Salma Hayek, Billie Faiers.
The Apple shape is similar to the Hourglass, except they have a narrower body frame, and a less defined waist. The Apple lady carries bulk mostly around her middle (bust and tummy).
Apple shaped ladies look best when they show off their legs and necklines. Fitted clothing doesn’t work as well as the Hourglass, but they have more freedom when it comes to trousers and jeans.
Many ladies who have been an Hourglass can make the transition into an Apple, particularly post menopause, due to the changes in oestrogen. The Hourglass and the Apple shape are the only shapes that can be very similar. Otherwise, your shape is unlikely to change unless you have a major body transformation or any form of surgery.
Famous Apple Women: Catherine Zeta Jones, Pink, Jesy Nelson, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Hudson, Drew Barrymore, Adele.
The Rectangle shape has the most freedom when it comes to shopping, because their shape looks best in detail. It’s very easy to add detail with patterns, textures and accessories. It can make a big difference whether you go for large or small patterns, and many Rectangle ladies are doing the opposite of what they should be!
Their body shape is in proportion but lacks waist definition like the other body shapes. Wearing a head to toe block colour or baggy clothing can totally swamp a Rectangle body shape.
Most shop mannequins are Rectangles. This is the reason why many women feel disappointed trying on clothing they’ve seen on a mannequin, because the clothes have usually been pinned to create shape and are not a realistic view of how they look on any body shape (including Rectangles themselves).
Famous Rectangles: Duchess of Cambridge, Tess Daly, Ella Woodward, Fearne Cotton, Jennifer Aniston, Kylie Minogue.
Q: “I bet slim women have it so easy with shopping. They look good in anything”.
A: Nope. I shop with women of all shapes and sizes, and there’s not one body shape that has it easier than another. We all encounter problems shopping, but they are all different problems. Rectangle shaped clients struggle with issues such as clothes hanging off their shape, swamping their frame, and gaping on the bust. Most women struggle with confidence in one area or another, so we should never assume anything and we should never judge anyone.
Q: “Zara is for tall, skinny women”
A: Nope! This is a myth I absolutely LOVE to debunk. Zara fits more women than you think, and I’ve had clients who are a size 18 walk out with bags of well fitting clothing from Zara. Most of their tops are made of cotton or chiffon which means it’s actually a very generous fit. The jeans and trousers are cut for VERY narrow hips, but otherwise, please give Zara a go – just check the white tops for orange stains on the neckline 😉
Q: “I feel like I am too young for this shop”
A: Nope! (Notice a theme here? Ha ha!). It’s a case of using your common sense. I shop regularly in River Island, and I shop wisely. Avoid the crop tops and slogan tees saying “Born in the 1990’s” and you’ll be safe! And YES you can wear ripped jeans in your 40’s.
Q: “I’m too intimidated to go in there”
A: You shouldn’t be. Most shop assistants are friendly and helpful. They’re not guarding the shop door with pitchforks, only letting in women of a certain age. The only shop that I find hostile is Zara, but it’s not personal, they are moody with everyone. We all suffer from Resting Bitch Face every now and then, and I’m always being asked “what’s wrong with you today?” when I am actually just daydreaming about shoes!
Q: “Why are shops different sizes?”
A: I don’t have the big answer to this, I can only speak from experience. My general advice is, the more pricey the item of clothing, the more generous it’ll be. I size up in Primark, New Look and H&M as they are all budget shops. I don’t take it personally and assume my ass grew from the walk from Next to H&M. It’s just their fabric. Either that, or they have evil elves in their workshops, planning to destroy you all with their poor sizing. Be realistic. If it’s jersey, size up. If it’s skinny jeans, size up. If it’s chiffon, size down. It’s not a personal vendetta, it’s just shitty fabric sometimes!
Q: “Do you get tempted to buy yourself things when you are shopping with a client?”
A: No. To shop effectively for a client is to put yourself in her body. Not literally, like Patrick Swayze in Ghost….I mean it in a different way! I shop with her taste in mind, her size, her colouring, her lifestyle, etc. My own taste never comes into play. If it did, you would all be walking around like Susie clones. I have my own signature style I inject into my clients’ wardrobes, such as the emphasis on costume jewellery and colour. But to shop for someone else, literally means that. It’s personal styling, not Susie styling.
If you’d like to book a session with Styled By, check out the website http://www.styledbysusie.co.uk
Come and say hi on social media too. @styledbysusiehasler on Instagram is where the hive of activity is. I show you photos of outfits, ideas as well as my cooking (haha).