FASHION Dress for your body shape



Dress for your body shape

Maggie Gibbons

Have you ever wondered why something looks amazing on a friend but looks all wrong on you, even though you’re both the same size? Why is that?
Well, it has all to do with your vertical shape, and understanding this is the key to successful dressing. I’m not talking ‘horizontal’ shape (bust, hips etc). Vertical refers to the long and short parts of your body from head to floor. The measurements of these parts play a huge role in determining how to dress to suit your unique body.
Knowing the proportion of the legs to torso is crucial to identifying your best garment lengths. Outfits are most visually appealing when they are comprised of unequal lengths i.e. long over short or short over long.  Outfits comprised of equal lengths can appear boring.  
There are three vertical body types: Balanced (same length torso as legs), Short Legs/Long Torso and Long Legs/Short Torso:
Imagine your body in 4 lengths, head to bust, bust to waist, waist to leg break, and leg break to floor. Where are your long and short bits? Is your body longer than your legs or vice versa? Generally, someone with a long body tends to have shorter legs and the short body has longer legs.
The main thing to be aware of is you will put the weight on in your shortest part. The person with a short body will usually pile on weight around the middle while the legs will stay slim, the long body (short legs) will put the weight on the hips and thighs.
So, let’s look at what suits the different shapes… Long legs/short torso can be enviable, as long legs can make a person look taller than they are. A person with long legs can trick the eye into believing that they’re tall even though they’re short to average height. On the other hand the long torso/short leg usually has a nice well-defined waist.
If you don’t have a well-defined waist, keep your mid section clear of too much detail. Avoid wide belts and leave blouses out rather than tucked in. Balance with longer tops that skim over the mid section. Tops with vertical details will slim and visually lengthen the torso. Avoid gathers around the mid section. Hip-length jackets visually lengthen the torso. Side zips on pants are brilliant if you’re bigger around the middle.
With the Christmas party season is kicking off, bear these tips in mind when you’re picking out a dress to impress.  

It’s a wrap
There is nothing to compare with the feeling of femininity a dress gives. The wrap dress is a wonderful wardrobe staple, and it’s a style that suits every shape. On the short torso, go for a wrap that ties just under the bust as this is the slimmest part of the body.

Night shift
Twiggy made this the shape of the mini shift dress famous in the ’60s, and you can still wear one today if you have the legs to carry it off. I preferred Jackie Kennedy’s stylish elegance in the knee-length style, as her straight shape suited it beautifully. A fantastic style for the lady with little or no waist (this tends to be the way with the short torso).

Tea time
If you have a bigger bottom half (pear shape), the ’50s tea dress, full skirted and swishy, is the perfect style for you.

Pencil skirt
Pencil skirts are just wonderful on the curvy lady. Someone with an hourglass figure really rocks this style. However, pencils are generally not good on ‘straighter’ shapes as they just hang off the hips.

Next week, I’ll be looking at what fabrics and colours are in fashion this Christmas, from party dresses to accessories.