Friday, June 6, 2014

Billie Proudman - jacket style fail

Style into Action is all about putting your best foot forward. The direction in which that foot travels is based on you. Specifically your:

Body shape;
Colouring; and
Style preferences

You also have to overlay that with what’s available in the stores (bricks & clicks), alterations, made to measure and (& this next one tends to be recalcitrant), your whims.

It’s our whims that lead us astray. That coupled with advertisements of gorgeous models, the inviting displays in stores and the implicit promise of a better lifestyle if you buy this dress.

Enter style icons and celebrities.

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

Enter Billie Proudman, FICTIONAL character from the Channel 10 television show, Offspring.

Billie’s style is dramatic suity, sharp lines, bright colours, bold jewellery, fitted silhouettes. Nothing soft (in colours or style), nothing floaty, nothing dainty. She reminds me of a Samantha from Sex & the City but without the 80s references.

If Billie’s style is your style, I am sure your wardrobe already resembles hers. And if you are scrambling for the latest chocolate jacket with wavy stripes, then good on you. As long as it suits your body shape, complexion and height.

No surprises her body shape is angular & lean. It’s a perfect foil to her character’s style of sharp, clean silhouettes with  bright colours. Without taking her measurements, she looks slightly pear shaped & small busted. Not an hourglass, although on the red carpet, Kat Stewart often looks like an hourglass (thank you red carpet gown corsetry). Not a rectangle either, because she can get away without belting her ensembles.

She looks slightly taller than Nina, sans heels. That’s definitely taller than the average Aussie girl.

Back to the look in season 5, episode 4.
Remember this look? 
Of course you do. 


Hate me readers, hate me if you must, but this page isn’t about pandering to your ego.
It’s about honesty, information and constructive analysis so that you can move forward with your look.
The one thing that I provide to my clients (& readers) is the ability to say “no, this is not for me”.

So when a celebrity wears XYZ and everyone else is tracking down copies of XYZ because they must have it, SIA reminds you who it will suit & who it will be a disaster for.

Back to Billie. Her look in S5E4 did not do her any favours.

* The grey tee washed her out.
* The low graphic on the tee (combined with the low neckline) brought the eye down to her tummy/hips.
* The jacket & the low neckline of the tee made her look more flat chested than she is.
* The fabric of the tee below the jacket was too much & too low - making her look hippier than she was.
* If you do the blink test, the eye zooms down her "lapels" (faster than you can say lapels) and rests on her tummy, where the tee print moves the eye east-west. Oh dear.

If a pear shape looking pear-er is the look she was going for, she nailed it. Plus washed out & eyes down & she has to win style award for this. Not.

Let’s get to the nitty gritty.


The jacket was chocolate. Not the best colour for more than half the girl population. It helps that it’s an open/wide neck, but even so, if your wardrobe isn’t based around chocolate/cream tones, this piece won’t be as versatile as your black, navy or whatever pieces.


The jacket had wide horizontal stripes. For a pear, this is gold.


The jacket has the extended shoulder line made current a few seasons ago by Balmain. Gold for pears. Long term trend staying power? Not much. 

Lapels & bust detail

The jacket had no lapels and an open cut. Bad, bad, bad for a small busted girl.
Small bust? Go for bust details to puff you up.

Tee length 

Hippy? Watch the length by which your under piece (tee, blouse) extends below the jacket. You’ll find it gets to an optimal length, then starts to detract. I think Billie’s tee was in the detract zone. How do you find the optimal length? Wear the jacket & move a long tee slowly down, in front of a full length mirror. 

Tee print placement

When you place a print on one section of a garment, the eye tends to travel to that section. When the section is over the tummy (or bum or wherever...)..the eye will go there too. If that's not a section you want to show off, then remove the print form that area.

Billie has a trim tummy but the fact that the graphic is on her tummy makes the eye move downward to that point. Not the best - see mext paragraph.  

So let's look at where the eye travels with various styles. Most of the photos following are from the Zara web site. 

The eye makes a bee line for the button. 
SIA would rather get dragged by wild horses than wear garments where the eye moved downward. The most flattering looks involve the eye moving upward to your face. 

The lack of detail up top (eg: lapels), is what causes the eye to sprint to the button.

If the button is sitting over an area you want to hide (eg: protruding belly), then flattery has flown out the window.  

The eye travels down (fast) goes into a circular motion
around the invisible closure.
Do I want circular motions around my tummy? I would much prefer wild horses thank you.

The eye goes to the pointy closure
and immediately moves east-west along the triangle opening up underneath it.
East-west, tummy? No thanks.

This one is interesting.
The eye goes down & sits at the jacket
points/around the skirt fly.
Sure she is skinny. But I am not.
So this isnt a good jacket style for me.
And half the population. 

Let's start putting some detail on the collar/lapel area - this serves to slow down the speed at which the eye moves downward & provides distraction from a tummy landing. 

A traditional lapel & blazer cut
& the eye stays at the
decolletage. Not bad at all. 
A more pronounced (wider) lapel
& the eye stays even higher.
It travels upward to the notch of the lapel. 
Ditch the notched lapel and go for a peaked lapel.
Even more upward eye movement.
That's why when a lawyer wants to intimidate his/her opposition, out come the peaked lapels.
This one is more effective again, because of the
contrast texture & the statement necklace.
Notice how the eye starts at the button
& moves up to the neck? Gold.

Waterfall lapels always tend to move
the eye down to the points.
The critical thing is where the points finish.
On a good bit? then it's fine.
On a bad bit? Who on earth
wants to accentuate a bad bit?  

The points on this jacket are on the waist.
That's where the eye goes.
No thanks, unless I have a really strong shoulder line
and I am tall.
How many people is that? Not alot.

A jacket without too much fuss at the lapels will
slim you more when you leave it open.
It's called sectioning and it works by breaking up
one large torso area into three smaller areas.

See where Billie's tee falls in a large area just under the jacket? Where the jacket edges start to move outward? It almost creates a de-sectioning effect - too much exposed fabric in the one area creates a blobby effect. 
Sectioning doesnt work as well when
the jacket sits open very widely,
because the vertical eye movement of the
three sections is overtaken by the
east-west eye movement
between the edges of the middle section. 

A better alternative for Billie?
A higher neckline in the tee,
absolutely no stand out tee print
on the tummy and lapels (or any jacket detail)
that keeps the eye upward.

Incidentally, Billie's jacket doesnt look high end to me. Notice how the stripes don't line up between the front & the sleeves? Notice how the pocket on her left side isn't lined up with the rest of the pattern? 
They are all signs of cheep & cheerful. 

I recall this style last summer, SS 2013/14. Portmans was one store that did it. Voila. 

If Portmans does a style you can bet many other high street stores also did the style.  


I hope this post has given you some ideas about the lines of garments and how to use them to flatter particular shapes. 

In all seriousness, when a celebrity wears something, even if you think it looked fab & glamourous, you have to assess whether you are able to wear that look based on your own height/shape/colouring/lifestyle. More than 50% of the time, it's a very easy "no". 

In fact, Billie's look wasnt even flattering on her. Glamourous, dramatic, yes. Flattering, no.

All I ask is that whenever you buy something, make sure it loves you as much as you love it. 

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