How to Develop Personal Style: Proportion, Shape, and Age

Painting of woman looking into mirror

I don’t really like discussing the topic of proportion, shape, and age (and how they affect personal style) because it is so specific to every person that I can’t stand when writers/stylists break down bodies into generic categories (for example: curvy, boyish, tall, petite). Obviously, they have to do it because it is an important topic everyone wants answers to, but it’s best left to your own observation of yourself as well as personal shoppers and stylists that work directly with YOU.

Thanks to “fast fashion” and mass production, we often do get lumped into these categories as consumers. The days of personal tailors and dressmakers are over (for most) and the days of size-obsession are upon us (think 0, 2, 4, 6…). And now that I’ve discounted generic advice on this topic, I’m going to give you generic advice.

Firstly, stare at your body in a full-length mirror (you narcissist you) and evaluate your strong points and weak points from a distanced perspective. Try to refrain yourself from comparison to others or thinking of yourself as you always have, and view yourself as a new person you’re coming across. Name at least 5 positives (aka, your nice legs…really nice legs and so on). Name a few “trouble zones” (aka, the stomach pouch that never goes away). Great work!

Now, pull out the items in your closet that you feel like hot stuff in. I’m not talking trashy clubwear, I’m talking everyday-wear. There must be a reason you feel great in them beyond the emotional “I like it!” Think of it scientifically. That blazer looks awesome on you because it emphasizes your waist (a positive) while taking attention away from your wide-set hips (something you might want to hide).

Once you’ve developed a list of body features you want to emphasize/hide, as well as a list of your favorite “shapes” to wear, you’ll be able to think about this when shopping and when cleaning out your closet.

To take it another step, think about proportion in the sense of tight top paired with baggy boyfriend jeans or mini-skirt with a turtleneck sweater. There needs to be balance and that balance should be based on everything you learned above. If you love your legs and want to show them off, covering up your top half will help draw all the attention to your favorite feature. Another proportion to be aware of is long versus short torso when analyzing your shape. Clothing is going to fit you differently than it fits a “sample size” model. If you have a long torso, you’ll have to be careful about purchasing items that cinch at your actual waist as well as shirts that are long enough for you not to be always showing an inch of belly. And just because belly baring tops are “trendy” doesn’t mean it fits your personal style.

Finally: age. Though every fashion magazine has an “age issue” (where they break down what colors/styles you should be wearing dependent on your age), age is really just a number. I think at every age there is a difference between class vs. trash, and it doesn’t matter if you’re 21 or 61, you should NOT where that miniskirt with the plunging neckline tank. I would follow the above advice more so than focusing on “do I look too young?” or “do I look too old?” and go with your gut. You may be the type that likes to look dignified at 25 or romantic at 75…that’s called PERSONAL STYLE! When I discuss shopping in a later post, I will talk about having both a strategic¬†and emotional relation with what you buy rather than basing it off of your age and trends.



P.S. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post on creating a style profile for yourself.

P.P.S. If your body doesn’t fit perfectly into everything you try on, invest in a tailor…please. They’ll be your BFF for life.


5 thoughts on “How to Develop Personal Style: Proportion, Shape, and Age

  1. Pingback: How to Develop Personal Style: What is Personal Style? | Lulu's Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: How to Develop Personal Style: Style Star | Lulu's Wanderlust

  3. Pingback: How to Develop Personal Style: Creating a Style Profile | Lulu's Wanderlust

  4. Pingback: How to Develop Personal Style: Shopping | Lulu's Wanderlust

  5. Pingback: How to Develop Personal Style: What to Wear to Work | Lulu's Wanderlust

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