Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Columnar


Here's an outfit that accents my actual figure; by which I mean that it doesn't seek to manufacture curves I don't possess, but rather accentuates the straight, columnar shape I actually have. And I think this is a good thing to develop comfort with, because many of us devote so much time to making our busts look larger, our waists look smaller, and so on, that we overlook the simplicity of working with the shape we already have. Sal is obviously the queen of positive body image writing, so I'll point you to her blog for the more philosophical discussions of embracing your figure; I thought what I'd do here is discuss the mechanics of how this particular outfit plays to my natural shape.

Since I don't have very exaggerated curves, it's easy for me to wear more androgynous shapes; shapes whose lines aren't disrupted by a big bust or round hips. For this outfit, I resisted the urge to add a belt, and instead let the long, vertical lines rule the day. I let the straight-sided cardigan hang open and gathered the scarf into a single line down the middle. I also didn't clutter up the outfit with too many accessories, and let the vibrant red bag be the single point of color.

The sheer black top fits loosely and hangs straight down, and likewise the skirt is a simple column shape. The leggings brought in some visual interest with the horizontal lines, while still keeping the look clean and simple. This was a comfortable outfit to wear, because nothing was pinching or squeezing or slipping anywhere, and I think in large part it had to do with the way the proportions of the garments fit my body's natural proportions.


Over to you. Do you ever try accentuating your natural shape, rather than going for the standard hourglass? What types of clothing play up your real figure, and how do you feel about wearing them?

Top and leggings: Black Market Baby (Etsy)
Skirt: Asos
Scarf ring: from a shop in Buenos Aires
Shoes: Bobbi Blu
Bangles: Amrita Singh
Bag: Foley + Corinna
Cardigan: Anthropologie

17 comments:

LPC said...

Ah, brilliant outfit. I tend to go with the shape I have, I guess, since it subverts no cultural norms, and since at my age I'm happy to have a shape at all.

ladykatza said...

Since I AM an hourglass, that's what I go with.

Rebecca said...

My natural shape is fairly hourglass, but sometimes I like to wear baggy tops or pants that play down my natural shape.

Rhi said...

Great post. I'm pear-shaped, so I usually try to make myself look more of an hourglass, although sometimes I'll really accent my hips with some skinny jeans, boots and a great top. Although sometimes I'm not so keen, I love having some junk back there.

Cynthia said...

I'm fairly straight up and down (my waist measurement is 75% of my hip, but you'd never know that from the front). I like long over long with lots of vertical lines.

I also am not a big fan of the waist belt. Give me a hip belt any day.

CC said...

I love this look and would love to be able to work it, but since I am an hourglass, things just don't hang that nicely. Without a belt, I look twice as big as I am. I really don't get why the 'hourglass' is supposed to be the 'ideal' shape because honestly, it is just a pain! :)

Shybiker said...

I like your attitude. When I started out, I emphasized the areas of my body I liked (mostly my legs) -- but was told constantly by other bloggers to instead work on creating an illusion of curves (which I lack). For a while, I feel prey to those criticisms and even felt bad about my unfeminine shape.

Now, I'm over that. Your post is great affirmation.

ilegirl said...

I love those leggings!

I have an athletic build but am petite and have disproportionately short legs. I'm honestly not very talented (yet) at playing up my natural shape, but I find straight leg trousers and close-fitting tops help me feel comfortable in my skin.

Cel said...

I actually have a large-ish bosom and wide hips so hah... I sometimes think it would be easier to dress if I weren't shaped this way. I have a hard time wearing anything boxy - like most button down shirts - because the shirt winds up hanging off my breasts and making me look huge. I'd much rather wear something that fits me naturally though, not something I need to belt to show my shape.

Sal said...

Thanks for the shout-out, beautiful! And I completely agree that in the rush to enhance and manipulate our figures, we should pause to consider just going with our natural forms. At least sometimes!

LPC said...

ilegirl, that's pretty much my build, although abnormally short is a little strong, but still, I wear exactly that, fitted top, pants that take a fairly straight line from hip to floor.

Megan Mae said...

Loove all the loose sheer layers. I love your snake tattoo peeking out.

I'm still not exactly sure what my shape is, but I try to play around with silhouette often. I prefer to belt and define my waist most days, but sometimes the right piece can make me feel comfortable even without a faux-hourglass.

Emma at Daily Clothes Fix said...

Great look.

I am pear-shaped, so I tend to spend my time making my shoulders look wider to make me look more hourglass.

But I like playing up the androgynous look too, which works against my natural shape but still seems to suit it.

WendyB said...

Loose layers don't work for me...they look great on you though!

Ruthie said...

In the book 'the Triumph of Individual Style' there's a whole section on body shapes, and clothing shapes and how the various bodies can wear the clothing (or not, since some combos don't work). Its a refreshingly different approach to the 'hour-glass' rules attitudes at the mo. I dare say in the 1920s when straight was the thing, the hour glass, busty and pear shaped women had a terrible time! Ruthie (pear)

Sheila said...

I like accentuating my hourglass shape, but I've been experimenting lately with wearing more drapey an flowy shapes, inspired party by you!

I love that you are so long and lean. As my dad would have said, "You're a tall drink of water." :)

throughkseyes said...

I have the same straight shape as you, but with much less height. My instinct has always been to accentuate my slim hips with a drop waist, although recently I've experimented more with the classic hourglass waist-belting.