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The magic of proportion

Looking pulled together isn’t just about figuring out which colours go together, or how to wear a scarf. Proportion is the secret sauce to looking great – no matter your shape or size.

Proportion is about how your body parts work together in balance. Whether you have a long torso but short legs, or wide hips but narrow shoulders – there are ways to bring balance back.

Some easy ways to play with proportion so that it works for you:st-john-knits-r16_lookbook_15_b

  • Balance long and short. Wear a long coat or vest over a knee-length skirt. Or, wear a cropped jacket over a long skirt. Either provides balance and proportion to your look.
  • Fit fits. Make sure your clothes fit properly – not baggy, which just looks sloppy, and not too tight, which can actually make you look heavy. Your buttons should not pull on tops, your trousers should pull into a line across your hips.
  • Wear pleats carefully. Pleats can be a lovely detail, however, can quickly add bulk to your shape. If you are apple-shaped, pleats are never your friend since they add visual weight exactly where you don’t want it.
vertical-body-shapes

L-R: long, average, short waists

  • Short waisted? Consider getting tops and jackets in the petite department, no matter how tall you are. Women who are short-waisted often have to get sleeves hemmed and shoulders adjusted. Regular tops are often too long. The petite department might just be an easy answer for you.
  • Long waisted? Avoid cropped pants or low-rise jeans since each makes your torso longer and your legs shorter.
  • Pear-shaped? Wear tops and jackets with shoulder pads, or add small shoulder pads. Not 80s football pads, but just small, structured pads to add height to your torso.
  • Apple-shaped? Wear unstructured tops and skinny pants, or slim tunics over leggings. Keep fabrics sleek (i.e. no velvet or bulky knits).

When thinking about proportion, always ask yourself what can bring balance to my look? Simple tricks can make a big difference.

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Effortless style

Reading fashion magazines, listening to Nina Garcia or Diane von Furstenberg, “effortless style” is the most desired state to achieve. It is hailed as perfection.

But, exactly what is “effortless style.”

If you are thinking about it from pure semantics, “effortless” means without effort. In the context of fashion, it means looking pulled together and chic without looking like you tried to hard. While this advice may be clear to fashion insiders, interpreting it for the every day can be confusing.

I believe effortless style is about ensuring each element of your look is simply and stands on its own without a lot of embellishment. Let’s take a look at this, from head to toe.

anne hathawayHAIR

Soft, easy styles that don’t need a shellac of hairspray to hold in place. For many French women, for example, this means a chic bob or mid-length hair, loosely styled with movement and shine.

MAKE UP

The natural, no-makeup look is polished and clean. Too much foundation, heavy eyeshadow or liner, or bright lips (or, worse, all of this together!) is overdone. Not effortless. Anne Hathaway, right, shows what this total look is all about.

Marc Cain navy blazerWAIST UP FASHION

Tops and blouses should fit easily, with shoulder seams in line with shoulders, buttons done up without pulling or stretching the fabric, and sleeves that hit at the wrist. Jackets should be able to button easily, be fitted through the sleeves, and suit your silhouette.

WAIST DOWN FASHION

Trousers and skirts should accent the silhouette. Knowing your body type is critical to choosing lines that make the most of your shape. Skinny pants on women with wide hips just make your hips look bigger. Women with tummy bulges should never wear pleats. Always go for clean lines.

ACCESSORIES

Some women feel naked without earrings (I’ll admit, I do). Tiny earrings paired with a statement necklace can work, but large or dangly earrings with a statement necklace is too much. Add a cuff bracelet and a large watch, and now you’re way beyond “effortless.” Also consider your nail polish in your total look. Go for balance, and use a light touch.

SHOES

I have said this before, but shoes make the outfit. Jeans with athletic shoes look very christianlouboutin-militante-3151010_bk01_1_1200x1200_1434712192casual and should only be worn outside of work. Those same jeans with high heels and a blazer are acceptable in most workplaces. Pumps are dressier than sandals or open toes. I actually own these Louboutins, at right.

PULL IT TOGETHER

Here’s how you can shine with effortless style. Either of these looks show a polished work look, with options for accessories – you may not want to wear them all, but there some choices to consider. Simple is best.

 

pink and greenpulled-together