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Why High Fashion Can Leave You Low

Feb 15, 2008
New fashion crazes come in every season and it can be hard to keep up. A constantly revolving end point that leaves you struggling to know where you are! Coming in this spring and summer are sheer fabrics, hippie styles and floral patterns.

Here's the thing we all know but no one wants to admit, trying to fit in with what is fashionable and trendy can be just too much, for our confidence and our purses.

We are not all built to fashion designer's Amazonian ideal so, no, no matter how hard I try, the amazing floral dress by Etro (you know the one I mean, black with a floral panel), will never make me look anything other than frumpy and short.

That's why we need to look away from mindlessly following the 'fashionistas' of the world and start a fashion revolution!

Firstly, you need to start by looking at shapes that flatter your figure and colours that compliment your colouring. Everyone knows the obvious ones, no reds for people with ginger hair; larger woman don't suit skinny jeans and so on.

However, there are a few less well known ones. For example: pale blonde shades go badly with beiges and pale dark brunettes (however much some 'Goths' try) look washed out in blacks.

So start out by identifying your complexions colouring. Most people will fit into one of the following categories:

Winter: pink undertones.

Winter hair is black or ash black brown without highlights, while eyes are blue, brown, hazel, or green. Winter colours are vibrant and intense. Not pastel or subdued tones.

Summer: pink undertones.

Summer hair is ash blonde or light ash brown without highlights, while eyes are blue gray or blue green. Pastels or muted colours look best. Very bright or earthy colours will leave you looking washed out.

Spring: golden undertones.

Spring hair is golden blonde, golden brown, or red, while eyes are blue, blue gray, blue green, or light turquoise green. Warm or bright colours look great but avoid dark or muted colours.

Autumn: golden undertones.

Autumn hair is golden brown, red, auburn, or chestnut, while eyes are dark brown, hazel, or green. Earthy and rich colours will suit you but pastels leave you looking drawn.

It's important to note, especially with women of colour, that having dark hair and dark eyes doesn't necessarily mean you are winter. You may be spring if your skin has a more golden base.

Now you've found your colours it's time to look into flattering clothing types for your shape. No two people are alike but generally you will fit into either a traditional apple, pear, slender, petite and hourglass.

Apple shapes are top heavy, often with very slender legs. Keep things tailored on top to create a waist and in darker shades. Show off great legs in skirts. In dresses, an empire waist dress will show off slimmer arms and allow you to disguise any areas you don't want to show.

Pear shapes have wide hips compared to waist. Keep colours darker on the bottom half but experiment with styles and colours on the top, especially v necks or sleeveless. Trousers with lower waists or skirts to just below the knees look very complimentary. Skinny jeans are rarely flattering (I lied there, they're never flattering).

Slender are straight up and down. Tailored clothes look great as they create shape. Detailing and well placed patterns can create curves. Be daring, as long as you aren't going for all over loose and drab clothing.
Petite shapes are broad shouldered with short legs.

Creating length is the key, to do this avoid low cut jeans and over the knee skirts. In dresses go for all over colour with pinched in waists to create curves. Skinny jeans look great, especially when teamed with heels.

Hourglass figures have large busts and thighs coupled with a slender waist. Flared jeans and trousers add balance to your figure while v necks, particularly wraps, accentuate curves. Always wear tailored clothing on the top to emphasize your small waist. Avoid thick materials, they swamp curves and add bulk.

None of these rules are set in stone what works for one may not work for another. To make sure you are getting it right take a friend shopping with you or even consider an image consultant for a colour and shape consultation.

The key to following fashion is to stick to your 'key pieces' and incorporate current fashion items into your wardrobe. This keeps you looking good without breaking the bank every time something new comes in.

An example would be someone with a pear shape buying a great floral top for the season and teaming it with some classic boot cut jeans, it will look great without deviating from what suits them.

So join in with the fads knowing that by sticking to a few basic rules you can keep up and still look amazing.
About the Author
Sarah McCormack works for The Image Consultants.co.uk, where UK businesses and individuals can find an personal or a business image consultant who can help you show the world what you're really made of. Visit The Image Consultants.co.uk for details.
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