Understanding your body shape, skin tone and personality, is the first major step in identifying your unique style profile. There are different body types: Pear, Apple, Hourglass and Strawberry (the names and groupings vary). Universally, the hourglass shape is purported to be the most coveted body shape; perfect proportions with a teeny weeny waist. Yeah right! How many of us are thus proportioned?
In some cases, we do not clearly fall into any particular body type; this is not odd at all. Get a measuring tape, derive your statistics, identify the category you are grouped into, and start dressing to skillfully highlight the right features, carefully balancing out your proportions. It is all about creating an illusion with clothes.
Fashion magazines and online media quite often celebrate the skinny modelesque figure. Quite a large percentage of African women on the other hand, are quite big boned, with a more voluptuous figure. This is indeed a beautiful shape. Dress to compliment your shape and bring out your inner African Queen: Generous, curvy, all proudly packaged with huge helpings of regal spunk!
Here are some basic tips:
Are you small on top and heavy on the bottom? Some refer to this as the “Pear Shape”; these general tips would keep you in the right direction.
- Be adventurous and experimental with your upper half. Wear pretty, eye catching colors on top; This draws attention to your beautiful upper body and gives you a smarter silhouette.
- Wear dark colors on the bottom, this creates a slimming effect on the bottom and helps balance out your smaller top.
- Avoid very light lycra fabric and sheer materials on the bottom.
- Go for clothes with thicker fabrics, they offer the right support.
- Straight cut skirts rather than wide or flared styles.
- Show off your shoulders and neckline; V-neck dresses/tops are flattering. Accessorize with interesting neckpieces.
Are you Big on Top and Smaller at the Bottom?
- Flared skirts, pleated skirts and puffball skirts are perfect for your body type. They create volume and balance the top half of the torso.
- Bold textures and horizontal stripes should be worn below the waistline. Don’t be afraid to wear bright colours on your bottom half.
- Exaggerated shoulder pads and dramatic sleeves, may not be the preferred option, they add bulk to your upper part.
- Minimize the upper body with open necks and collars.
- Bootcut jeans and fuller legs in trousers, if you have the height to carry it off.
- Pockets on the hips and loose flowing fabrics.
Do you carry most of your weight around your middle?
- Shoulder pads and shoulder definition along with definition at the hips will create the illusion of a waist.
- Empire style dresses and dresses cut on the bias are quite a good choice; they skim through the body and are very figure flattering.
- Colour blocking at the waist to create an illusion of a waist (a thick belt will work well).
- Please avoid high stretch viscose lycra, they tend to cling .
- Skirts with volume, also a very nice look.
- The biggest tip: Spanx or “comfortable” tommy trimming/controlling underwear goes a long way in helping the clothes fall fluidly on your beautiful silhouette.
Here are some pictures of On-Air Personality, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi from her PR promo shoot last year. Gbemi falls between hour glass and pear shape. While Gbemi is not a “skinny minnie”, she still looks absolutely body beautiful.
Embrace your curves! Confused? Book a style consultation!
Gbemi’s Images: TCD Photography | Make-up: Tinuke for BMpro
Ezinne Chinkata is a leading Fashion Stylist/Image Consultant/Writer/ Fashion Editor in Nigerian Fashion. She has styled numerous lookbooks and editorials and is the current Fashion Editor at WOW! Magazine. Follow Zinkata on Twitter: @Zinkata1; Contact: [email protected]