Dressing for your body shape and learning how to find outfits that make you feel confident can be a challenge
Body Shape or Personal Style – How do I Choose?
“…and you can’t wear white jeans as a pear because they make your hips and thighs look bigger.”
Wait. WHAT??? Yet another favorite wardrobe staple was supposed to be purged from my wardrobe and style. As I started to learn the rules for dressing to flatter my body shape, some of them were totally fine, and others…weren’t.
After spending years re-finding and refining my personal style, I was losing item after item I considered staples in my wardrobe. Leather pants, black moto jacket, skinny jeans, belts, my favorite shoes and bags (now that’s crossing a line), and more had been added to the unacceptable list.
And yet, I couldn’t deny the benefits of following the rules to flatter my body shape. After switching from skinny jeans to bootcut jeans, I couldn’t unsee the difference…and I didn’t want to go back. Yet I mourned my carefully curated collection of skinnies and the variety they brought to my wardrobe.
But some things I just couldn’t let go of. I felt as though I had to choose between dressing for my personal style and dressing for my body shape.
This article and the video below are taken from the Stunning Style Weekly Style Snack! Join us Wednesdays at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.
All or Nothing
After spending so much time and effort to reclaim my personal style, I wasn’t willing to let it go. Dressing to reflect who I am and wearing what I love is so valuable to me that I wasn’t willing to let it go. Some of the body shape rules I could work with, but other eliminated key elements of my style, and that doesn’t work for me.
My very black and white, all or nothing, perfectionist mentality immediately went to, “This doesn’t work for me. If I can’t follow all the body type rules, I won’t follow any of them! If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all. There’s no point in doing it halfway. If I can’t do it all, why bother? There’s no point!”
“I can’t do my whole get ready routine in the morning, so I don’t even bother,” my friend told me. And she’s not the first or the last woman to say that to me.
I get stuck in black and white thinking about…everything. Many of us approach areas in our life with an all or nothing mentality. The gray area of anything is so hard for me. And I nearly tossed all the benefits of the rules because I didn’t want to do it all.
It’s A Choice
When learning a new concept, it’s easy to feel blocked in by the rules, but really, it’s a choice. I can choose to accept the concept wholly, in parts, or not at all.
Our minds are filled with “shoulds” that are cast on us from every direction. You should do this, this, and this. You shouldn’t do that that and that. Some shoulds are helpful, like, “You should brush your teeth every day.” Other shoulds are really someone else’s opinion like, “You shouldn’t wear red lipstick after 40.”
Rather than letting others dictate what we should and shouldn’t do, it’s important to decide what authority they have to make that should (dentist, I will listen to your tooth brushing recommendations), and whether you agree with it.
Tools Instead of Rules
That’s when I started to think of the rules as tools instead. When you work on a project, do you use every tool you own? If you don’t have the PERFECT tool for the job, do you run out and buy it? Do you abandon the project entirely? Or do you work with what you have?
As silly as it sounds, it took a major mental shift for me to realize I can use these rules/tools when and how I wanted to. I use the ones the suit me, and ignore the ones that don’t.
There’s a Spectrum
Not all the rules have the same weight or impact as others, so getting all worked up about some of them was absolutely pointless. If you think of it like money, each denomination has different value. I leave pennies in the tray next to a cash register rather than carry them in my wallet. I don’t leave dollars in the take a penny tray.
Likewise, some rules I can happily ignore because the impact is so minimal on my outfit. Is it technically a best practice? Sure. Does that mean it’s worth sacrificing my personal style or comfort? Not usually.
Other rules or tools make a much greater impact and are worth considering or following when I choose to.
Over the last few years I’ve consciously embraced the “Done is better than perfect” mentality, and it’s been both a battle and a blessing. You could also call it the good enough approach. It’s all about living in that gray area I struggle so much with.
Following some of the rules or using some of the tools is better than nothing at all. It still makes an improvement! Done and good enough can take you places! I’ve seen enormous growth and success in my life by embracing that rather than being paralyzed by perfection.
My Rebellious Side
My love and disdain of rules is something we’ve discussed many times. If you want to see my rebellious side come out, just tell me I CAN’T do something. My entire life, whenever someone told me a thing can’t be done, my first thought was, “There has to be a way,” and I’d go in search of it.
True to my nature, I did the same thing with the body shape rules. How can I wear all these things I’m not supposed to wear and still balance my body shape? Through trial and error I figured it out, and now I’ve created a course to teach you the same.
Style Your Silhouette
There is value in learning to dress to flatter and balance your body shape, which is what I teach in Style Your Silhouette Course 1, and in course 2 I take you deeper into concepts about your unique shape and teach you how to break the rules so you can get the benefits of dressing your body shape and wearing what you love.
Where Does that Leave Me?
For me it comes down to a few things:
I don’t have to choose between my personal style and dressing for my body shape.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, even within an outfit. Just because I break one rule doesn’t mean I have to ignore them all. Breaking some of the rules some of the time doesn’t mean I reject them altogether.
It’s a choice.
They are tools I can choose to use when and how I want to rather than rules to bind me completely.
Not every rule has equal value, and some I can ignore without a second thought. Some rules make a huge impact and those can be enough
Good enough is good enough.
There are ways to break the rules and still dress to flatter and balance my body shape.
And still wear white jeans.