Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A line shifts - figure flattering

A friend of mine is an inverted triangle shape - essentially her shoulders are noticeably wider than her hips - she has ample boobs, small hips/thighs & (is lucky enough for) a defined waist. And she has 3 kids. Despite her heritage, she hasnt inherited the European hips & thighs - lucky girl! Did I mention she has fabulous legs? Why am I hanging around this girl? ^*$%#@(*!#@

Well one of her best clothing shapes is an A line shift dress.
Yet she refuses to embrace this look.

So I promised her some pictures, to encourage her to take up this challenge.....

A little background first.....

Before my time, in the 50s, with voluptuous bodies, voluminous skirts (& hair), the emphasis was on an hourglass physique and high heels - then along came a new decade & a new look.

Born in 1942, Jean Shrimpton caused a stir when she arrived in Australia for the 1965 Melbourne Cup wearing a mini - never before at such an event had "they" seen that - normally the women wore hats, gloves and most definitely dresses below the knee. Not only was Shrimpton's dress too short, it was also sleeveless, with bare legs and she wore no hat! It was scandalous!

Thankfully times have changed - this look is acceptable, in fact, unlike some of the weirdness we see on red carpets & the like these days, this look is always appropriate.

And its perfect for inverted triangles as it balances out the larger top half of the body.

Lets look at the details...

The clean lines (lack of clutter) at the waist help to create a lovely sillhouette. Think no tucking, no pockets, no belt, no gathers, no pleats.

Did I mention that typically inverted triangles have short waists? The lack of clutter at the waist is precisely what a short waisted (petite) person needs.

The added benefit of this? if (unlike my friend) you dont have a defined waist, or your waist has a few love handles, this look completely hides them. Perfect strategy!

Jean Shrimpton was a stick and so a crew neck worked well - my friend has boobs - so my friend will tweak this by having a scoop neck which shows some decolletage (not cleavage, there is a difference and I like to think of it as "class"). You see, large boobs and high necklines can at times look like you have a mono-boob - probably not a look you want to go for.


Works especially well for great legs or petite ladies.
Please use fake tan - no direct sunlight


One simple piece to bring the eye upward to the face.
You can use this principle to bring the eye to any of your best features, buy placing the bling in that place of bestness!

Chanel flat kitten heel slingbacks
Does it get any easier?
You can buy classy inspired versions at very decent prices.

Simple, structured purse. Tailored dress watch. Please leave the Swatch at home.

Simple, it lines up with the whole look - fresh, not "done", natural.

Applying this to today - 2011 CFDA

I noticed that this look was replicated at the recent 2011 Council of Fashion Designers of America - an industry body of over 370 members that supports and recognizes designers of menswear, womenswear, jewellery and accessories in the USA.

Diane von Furstenberg (President since 2006) in her own design

Look at how she has added some shoulder coverage (she isnt 20 any more - great idea!), gave the fabric bling all over & an an underskirt to anchor the look.

Totally modern shoes to complete the look.
Chic at 64 years old.

Kerry Washington in Calvin Klein Collection

Shown here with Francisco Costa, the head designer of the Collection range, who has interpreted Calvin Klein's minimalist aesthetic in a way so true of the original designer yet still made it his own.

Kerry has small boobs - the high neck is totally appropriate.
Look at the hem - little feathers & it looks like the same at the back.

The moral here? You dont need to be Lady Gaga to make an impression.

Naomi Watts (fave Aussie), in Calvin Klein Collection.

Some have said this to too bland. I think the colours & the way it falls is perfection.

It simple & can hide a multitude of sins for a new mum like her!

Since this is a "liquid" look fabric, I'd guess the shapewear is well practiced & she isnt rushing out at the last minute to find an appropriate piece. She must have been a girl scout - be prepared!

The thing that strikes me about all these looks, whether in the 60s or in 2011, is their simplicity.
Maybe there's something in that idea!

PS: This style of dress is probably one of the easiest to make - if you can follow a pattern, why not have a go?

Then change fabrics, maybe even change necklines or sleeve shapes & with accessories changes you can create a myriad of different looks that can go to work (with a jacket) to to play (chambray fabric, Stella McCartney style) or out in the evening (sparkly tiny matt sequins).

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