Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Spring Fashion 2013: what not to hate yourself in


Military is in. Note: camo print does not
necessarily mean it's 'military styled'.
In another lifetime long ago, I was a certified image consultant. This means I was trained to show people how to dress for their personality and body type. I never ended up using the course in its intended fashion--as a personal shopper, perhaps, or as a bitchy gay man on a makeover show--but I have found what I learned to be helpful many times because sometimes the fashion industry seems to be trying to torture us. So here, for what it's worth, are some tips on surviving Spring 2013 fashion trends.


Military styling is always good stuff. There are almost no body shapes that don't suit a military cut because it's generally quite structured, and naturally aims to create an hourglass silhouette. Just be cautious of the colours: if the khakis are two warm-toned, some of us will look washed out. Also remember that anything double-breasted (with two vertical rows of buttons) is meant to be worn done-up and will look boxy if you don't.

Tunics--or, simply, long tops--are still around and this is a good thing, because...

The legging won't die. I love leggings, don't get me wrong; they allow me to wear skirts year-round and that's a wondrous thing because I HATE women's dress pants. But there are still way too many people who wear leggings as pants. Leggings are not pants, people. I don't care if you are 20lbs or 200lbs, you do NOT look good in leggings as pants. Leaving cellulite and pantylines out of it, the simple reality is that most of us are wider in the hip/thigh than we are in the calf/ankle, and this means that leggings make us look extra cakepop-shaped. Throw on a pair of bootcut jeans, though, and the eye will naturally thin the thigh and hip area. Anyway, if you insist on wearing leggings, throw that tunic over top.

I love these, actually; but beware of your proportions. As a woman with short legs, some maxis work on me and some look like I'm impersonating a Pacman ghost: floating along, legless, and shaped like a big bell. Try to have the dress hug *some* part of you so you can see there's some shape under there; I usually go with ones that hug the chest in an empire cut. 

Which is really the start of:


Balance your pastels with a bold/dark piece.
Pastels are deceptively hard to wear, so don't be surprised if you don't look right in them. It's a hard time to wear them too, if you're a pasty near-transparent white girl of Irish descent like myself. Be careful to choose fabrics that aren't too warm in tone: go with powder pink instead of peach, for example. Another easy tip is to wear darker colour with the pastel to balance it out: a stellar pair of inky blue jeans, or a rich brown leather jacket. 

There's a push to have us all wearing really baggy layers in flimsy fabric with bleached-out stripes or mismatched patterns. I don't understand this. If I wanted to look like I'd gotten dressed in the Salvation Army clothing bin during a blackout, I could do it cheaper by actually just doing that. Also, it reminds me of my 80s childhood in some ways and that scares me. 

Be careful of your hemlines. It's an old rule, but if your shorts or skirt is shorter than the reach of your arms when you stand up straight with your hands pointed downwards along your thighs, your outfit is too short for work or normal daily living. Going to the bar? Wear whatever you like, I suppose. But if you're going to the office or the farmer's market, save yourself potential wardrobe malfunctions by just saying NO.

I don't know what to say about this, except that studs on clothing can be cute, or it can look super, super trashy. I know this firsthand: I owned a bedazzler when I was younger. I've made the mistakes, folks. Save yourself by following this simple rule: if you have to ask yourself, "Is this too much bling?" it probably is. The other option: go ALL OUT with it, and then you can say you're wearing it ironically.

Basic optical illusion: if you're not a
stick insect, wear a larger print.
It's not a total no-no, but floral prints can be hard to wear. If you've got a bigger frame, or you have one-half of your body that's wider than you like (I mean, the top or bottom--not the left or right), avoid the floral print--or at least avoid *tiny* floral print. Again, this is something best balanced out with another piece of clothing in a bold colour and no pattern.

Best saved for tall girls. I know, I was disappointed, too. But as a girl with eerily short legs, this hemline seems to just make it more pronounced. 

If you want to be sure you're not going to go home and hate your purchases twenty minutes after buying them, try this simple trick: put on the outfit in the changeroom and look in the mirror; then squint. When your shape is sorta blurry, ask yourself if you look washed out? Strangely proportioned? Pale? Wider than you are? This is a very simple way to avoid some bad purchases.

Wear whatever makes you happy. Love yourself, because if *you* think you look good, your confidence will cast a glow upon you and you will pull off your outfit 80% of the time. But the best way to break the rules is to know them first; so now you know some of the rules, and now you can break them consciously instead of buying a bunch of stuff, getting home, and wondering why you never quite feel like a million bucks. Go forth and dress, my friends!

1 comment:

  1. This was a great post! Although I am a big fan of pastels, I do admit that they can be hard to wear. Fave's though are short things and studs on things. Well said!


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