Body Balance

A visually balanced body, regardless of weight or height, always looks more flattering than an unbalanced one.

Creating perfect proportions can be achieved by modifying the lines of clothing. In this way you can visually e.g. widen narrow shoulders, create a longer neckline, disguise a fuller tummy or lengthen a short waist. It is possible to appear taller, shorter, heavier or thinner by making the line, style and cut work to your best advantage.

Your bodyshape, proportion, scale and body features e.g. small bust versa big bust; short versa long neck will determine which clothing line and details, such as neck-sleeve-waist-hemlines, will flatter you the most. By looking at your build objectively you will know how to dress your body and how to emphasize your advantages and hide your disadvantages. Every person has their own unique DNA, so accept your differences in build to others and see them instead as a challenge to create your own personal style.

So, for those of us who don't have a perfectly balanced figure ( hourglass bodyshape/ upper and lower body in proportions) there are ways to give an illusion of balance. To achieve this we need to understand "line design". A line leads the eye and can give optical illusion for our benefit.

Design lines in our garments need to complement our figure shape. So, a curvy figure looks more appealing with curvy design lines in the outfit rather than straight line, and a straight figure looks better in straight lines rather than curvy lines. All style lines need to lead towards a feature you want to emphasize, such as your waist or shoulders.

We often think that by wearing long loose jackets and tunics we will appear taller and slimmer- this is not so for everyone. A horizontal line can make us appear shorter and the nearer it is to your knees the shorter we look. For example if you are a pear shape, try on some short fitted jackets and see how much longer your legs appear and how much taller and slimmer you look. In many cases loose flowing garments will achieves the opposite by adding pounds instead of slimming our silhouette.

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Body Balance rules in general

Do's

  1. For your body to look balanced your shoulders need to appear balanced with hips and thighs.

  2. Wear garment design lines to complement your figure shape

  3. To balance a long waist wear a belt, a wrap, Empire line, details to shorten it

  4. To balance a short waist be choosy and careful with wearing fuzz and buzz such as belts, bows, highlighted Empire lines- less is better or even none of it.

  5. Wear a tone in tone outfit to give the illusion of height.

  6. Break the colour when you are tall

Don'ts

  1. Avoid jacket hems finishing at your widest point e.g. hips or thighs. Your best length is above or below this level.

  2. Avoid skirt/dress hems finishing at your widest point e.g. calves, unless you have very thin legs.

Small Bust

  1. Add details around neck and bust line e.g. necktie, cowl neckline, ruffles, pockets, prints, layers, scarves, dropped sleeve line

  2. Wear a padded bra to add volume in your bust line

  3. Layer on top to create curves

  4. Avoid wearing tops dead straight from neck to hemline without any volume or layers or details

Full Bust

  1. Wear lower and wider necklines e.g. scoop, square or v-necks

  2. Make use of a well fitted bra to lift the bust and create more space between bust and waist

  3. Keep the attention to your décolleté line e.g. embellishments and necklaces

Big Calves

  1. Wear your skirt/dress hemline on your thinnest part of your leg line e.g. below knee or ankle length

  2. Wear medium to chunky heels to balance with your big calf

  3. Opt for straight or boot cut in your trousers instead of narrowing leg line

  4. Avoid any bulk and detail in this area e.g. finishing hemline, short boots, buckles on your boots, ankle straps, kitten heels

  5. Don't wear mini skirts or short trousers or Capri trousers

Double Chin

  1. Wear lower and wider necklines

  2. Wear clean and clutter free tops around your neck

  3. Avoid turtle or cowl necklines, ruffles, neck tie, rolls, turtle neck and short necklaces

Short Legs

  1. Wear straight or boot cut trousers.

  2. Opt for darker denim or trousers- ideally without patterns

  3. Opt for a skirt/dress hemline that is not short than at knee

  4. Wear heals rather than flats

  5. Add length by wearing tights or socks in the same colour as your trousers or skirts

  6. Avoid bulk and volume in your bottom, thigh and calf area e.g. strong feature in your back pockets, dropped skirt lines, baggy trousers, pleats, full skirts

  7. Avoid turn ups, heavy patterns, washed out jeans or light coloured trousers, wide legs

  8. Avoid shorts or mini skirts

  9. Avoid volume and fuzz and buzz around your bust and sleeve area such as ruffles, puffed-, short or dropped sleeves, neck ties, scarves, buttons, jewellery lying over your bust

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Tips for Broad Shoulders

  1. Wear lower wider necklines e.g. scoop or v-necklines

  2. Avoid halter necks-, boat or bardot-, turtle-, roll- or any necklines that add bulk and volume

  3. Avoid too much padding and big wide collars in your shirts or tops

  4. Avoid lapels that are too narrow or too wide

  5. Avoid wearing big shawls on your shoulder

  6. Avoid any shoulder details

To Correct Tapered Shoulders

  1. Wear shoulder pads in your clothing

  2. Make use of a good bra to lift your feminine curves

  3. Wear clothing that give you visually straight shoulders e.g. puffs and cap sleeves, square necklines, raglan sleeve line, structured lines and fabrics in your shoulder line

Short Waist

  1. Longer line jackets are flattering, as attention will be drawn away from the waist

  2. Long jackets with short skirts

  3. Jackets with hemline below the waist and above the hip with long skirts

  4. The best skirt lengths are 1-just above the knee 2- just below knee and 3- full length

  5. Dropped waist lines and princess line dresses

  6. Match small belts with small buckles to top to give the illusion of a lower waist - but best to avoid altogether

  7. Medium heels or flat shoes. High heels give the leg even more length and make the top appear even shorter. Ideally with details, coloured or patterned shoes or boots in order to shorten the leg line. Simple/classic shoe lines are lengthen the leg line

  8. Single breasted are better than double breasted. When choosing single breasted jackets go for 1 or 2 buttons, because too many buttons are overpowering and will crowding your short waist

  9. Avoid very short jackets e.g. boleros or that finishing on your waist

  10. Also, avoid any waist pockets

Long Waist

  1. Short Jackets

  2. Long - medium skirts with bolero jackets

  3. Short jackets with long trousers

  4. Flatter the waist with belts and buckles

  5. Make use of details in your waist area e.g. belts, wraps, double layers, waist details, waist pockets, colour, pattern

  6. Medium to high heels look in general better than flats

  7. Wear always fitted to loose fitted lines instead of straight lines. You always need to show and define your waistline

  8. Avoid long jackets with long skirts

  9. Avoid long straight tops with no waist details

Bottom lines

If your bottom is one or the widest part of your body do not add details and bulk in that area such as patterns, baggy trousers, coloured back pockets, hipsters. Try instead to focus e.g. on your waist wearing fitted lines

Necklines

When deciding which necklines to wear you need to consider the following in case you need to do proportional dressing or to balance your body visually:

  1. How prominent your neck or collarbones are

  2. Do you have a small or big bust

  3. What bodyshape are you- do you need to balance your top half with your lower body half

Here are some examples of necklines:

Bardot

Gives also the illusion of wider shoulders and adds volume to your arms. Not good for inverted triangles or wide arms.

Boat

Give the illusion of wide shoulders. Great for pear and/or if you have a long thin neck. But not good for inverted triangles, who have a short wide neck, prominent collarbones or/and full bust.

Collars

Wide collars should be avoided by inverted triangles and by women with a short and/or wide neck. Low collars are great for women with a smaller bust. Flat collars are better for short and/or wide necks.

Cowl

Great for thin and long necks or when you have a small bust, but should be avoided when you have a fuller bust and/or short wide neck or/and double chin.

Halternecks

Excellent for thin or long necks, pear, short body longer legs but should be avoided by women with a wide and/short neck or by inverted triangle.

Jewels

Great for most- unless you are very big busted. In that case you need even a lower neckline.

Roll

Should be avoided by women with wider and/or shorter necks and/ or with a full bust.

Ruffles/Frills

Great who can wear details and fuzz e.g. women with a long, thin or normal neck, small busted, pears and lean columns.

V-necks

Looks good on most especially the more prominent the V-neckline is. If too much of a plunging V-neckline wear e.g. a camisole underneath- revealing too much of a cleavage can make you look tacky.

Scoop

Works on most and is one of the most flexible necklines for everyone.

Sleeve lines

Important here is to remember never to end sleeves at a wide point on your arm, bust and shoulders

Here are some examples of sleeve lines

Batwings

Great for pears, lean columns, small busted, long waisted and tall women. But should be avoided by women with fuller tummy, bust and short waisted

Cap

Great to widen your shoulders and pear shape It should be avoided by inverted triangles and women with broad shoulders.

Cuffed / Ruffle

Fantastic details for Inverted Triangles, small bottoms, long legs, tall and/ or short waisted. Not very good on pears, short women, short waisted or pears.

Puffed

Not good for women with broader shoulders, inverted triangles, big arms and/or big bust. Nice line for straight lines to give roundness to their upper bodyshape.

Thigh Lines

Same rule applies here as for bottom lines. Avoid any bulk and fuzz in this area e.g. patterns, thigh pockets, washed out jeans, light coloured trousers or skirts, hemlines that is finishing on your thigh or any thigh pockets.

Waistlines

With waistline you can create the illusion of a waist, shorten or lengthen your top half.

Dropped Waistline

Looks great on short waisted women, or short body/long legs or if you are tall. Also, be careful it doesn't finish at your fuller point e.g. if you have bigger thighs or hips. Short waisted, short women or/and long body/short legs should avoid this line.

Empire Line

It is a great feature to lengthen your leg line, shorten a long body, distracting from a short waist, add volume to a small bust and hides from a fuller tummy or waist.

High Waisted

Great for long waisted women, women with a defined waist e.g. pears, neat hourglass, and short women. But be careful it can be a tricky business to get it right here.

Hipsters

Good for many - if you know how the tricks. Great for lean columns, rectangles, short waisted.

Waistband

It is an excellent feature for long waisted and/ or if you have a defined waist e.g. neat hourglass, full hourglass, pears. But if you don't have a defined waist because e.g. rectangle avoid this feature in your skirts or trousers since it will do you more harm than good.

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