There are any number of “style types”, and those types come with a default expected body. One of the first great style books, Color Me Beautiful, actually wrote prescriptions for women’s style based on their bodies. This works very well, if the woman in question has an innate preference for one of these types – but if not, then you have the problem of a woman who looks amazing in a certain type of clothing who won’t be seen dead in it.
Contrariwise, if you try to wear a style type *exactly the way you see it portrayed* and it doesn’t work for your body, you come off as a try-too-hard stereotype.
True style marries body and soul, mind and fashion.
That’s why you’ll find four elements of style used in my book rather than the usual breakouts of “bohemian” vs. “classic” vs. “ingenue”. I use those words in my consultations because they’ve become standard fashion vocabulary, but they’re just a stopping point, not a destination – not a “why”.
Fire = Energy/Sexuality/Power
Water = Femininity/Flow/Softness
Earth = Solidity/Athleticism/Nature
Air = Whimsy/Change/Experimentation
It is my firm belief that we all incorporate all four elements somewhere in our personal expression. Three are public, one is private.
So, having gotten your pinboard together, you’re looking at that look you would just DIE to wear, the one that you know would make you look like a half-grown boy (and you’re not the androgynous type). Analyze it! What elements are screaming at you? What can be discarded or changed? Pin up a few more outfits that you like almost as much. What do they have in common? What can you take from that?
Find the heart in the style, that which speaks most strongly to you.
That style can be incorporated into garments that fit your body shape and proportion. Accessories are incredibly helpful here – they transform the spirit of an outfit. You might not be dressing on easy mode, but you’re going to make it your own.
(This Part 1 of a series)