I don’t usually talk much about fashion in my writing, but this upcoming season of clothing has me worried. I feel like, as a classically educated image consultant, it’s my moral obligation to stop a lot of women from making themselves look terrible in an effort to
conform to the fashion world’s newest obsessions. Let’s see if I can help you avoid some pitfalls this spring.
PASTELS ARE THE DEVIL’S PLAYTHING.
Everything in the stores lately seems to be a shade of beige with some pink or taupe mixed in. More recently, looks like we may be seeing some minty greens and yellows, too. Pastels are uber feminine—and remember, there are lots of ways to be feminine, but pastels are the fashion equivalent of a giant mammary gland. They are not sexy, they are girly and sometimes aging, which is fine if that’s what you want. They also tend to be less slimming than their rich-pigmented colour cousins. If you choose to play with pastels, be cautious. Throw in a pinch of it with some other crisp tones: a soft pink top with a bright white cardigan and blue jeans.
THE ‘IN’ COLOUR IS A LOT OF COLOURS.
Usually every season, there is one or two popular colours. Last year, Kelly green was in—not for long enough, in my opinion. But if you didn’t like green, there were still other colours around to choose from. What’s dangerous this season is that the fashion industry has fallen in love with an entire pallet—faded pastels, as mentioned above—and this means it’s hard to get away from the trendy clothes, and find yourself something that flatters you. A couple seasons back when chartreuse was in, I managed to creep around the periphery of the stores and find some other colours choices…but I worry that this spring
won’t allow for that. We’ll have to see. A good trick: if you try on the current colour trends and (like me) hate them on you, spend this season shopping second-hand. Last year’s spring clothes will be out at the consignment stores and you can find some items in the right colours for you.
BATWING IS DRIVING ME BATTY.
Everywhere I look, shirts seems to be batwing or simply square-cut. Even sweaters! These styles of tops immediately add ten pounds to most women. I’m sorry, you may like them, but you must be very careful and very critical when you try these on. I have bought one wide-sleeved shirt this spring for myself, and it was because the body was still completely fitted—meaning that you could still see my small waist and well-bra’d bust. If you really want to try this style out, look for the same thing: shape somewhere in the garment to help the eye recognize your curves. Or, if you just can’t resist, compensate for the bagginess with very fitted pants.
I think we’ve all learned by now that leggings are only pants if you’ve covered your bum with a top or tunic. Good. But skinny jeans continue to be worn around by girls with luscious backsides. If you’ve got meat on your butt or thighs—this is most of us, girls—skinny jeans should be worn cautiously. You can end up making yourself look like Miss Piggy, with all your mass at the top of your pants, and little piggy hoofs…especially if you’re wearing a slender shoe. If you really want
the skinny jeans but are a normal woman who isn’t ‘H’ framed with perfect thighs, throw a long shirt or tunic over. Think of the jeans as leggings.
Elastic waists and belted waists are in. I’m sad for anyone who isn’t a stick insect, including myself. I am an hourglass-shaped gal myself, leaning towards an ‘H’ frame, and when I try to wear these waistlines, I often end up looking like I have a bun in my oven because of where the waistline visually divides my body. If you’re anywhere over 108lbs, you will likely have this trouble, too. I know it seems like a tiny belt or elastic at your waist, around your belly button, is going to show off your waist, but it doesn’t. Your clothes should visually lengthen your torso (where most of us feel the most square or round), not divide it in two awkward pieces. If you insist on wearing these little belts, wear them low on the low part of your
hips; they will at least draw the eye past your belly. If you insist on wearing the elastic waistlines, I don’t think I can help you.
Put on the clothes you’re consider, then back up. Look at yourself from a distance in the mirror, and squint or unfocus your eyes. Do you look square/wide/round/shortened? If so, it may not be the right outfit for you. Don’t feel pressured to buy styles that are thrust upon you by the fashionnati; they’re typically designing for scrawny 16 year-olds—the models they spend their time with and think are ‘real’ women. If you happen to be a human giraffe, more power to you…enjoy all the clothes the rest of us can’t wear. But for the rest of us: hold your breath and pray for better selections next season.