Style and Image Specialist
“How do I accessorise?” is one of the most common questions I get asked in styling sessions. These clients, being women in business, like the idea of accessorising, yet don’t want it to look like they’re trying too hard, nor do they want to spend hours getting dressed.
I, for one, am a minimalist when it comes to jewellery, opting for classic outfits with a unique twist paired, with a strong handbag and killer shoes. However, I do appreciate the power of accessories and their ability to take an outfit from boardroom to bar.
So, I’ve narrowed in on three accessories, that when styled well, can add character to an outfit and lift it from “normal” to “interesting”.
Waist belts are my most loved accessories. The person that invented these deserves Heaven on Earth. They can highlight a feminine silhouette, add an interesting element to a plain outfit, or polish one off beautifully.
As for hip belts? Burn them; put them in a big plastic bag and light them on fire. They are the quickest way to cut a woman’s body in half and create width and roundness. If you’re wanting to avoid attention drawn to your thighs, hips and lower stomach, give these bad boys a miss.
Back to the hip belts more flattering alter-ego; the waist belt.
Where do you place it, exactly? Great question. The answer; your natural waistline, this is vital. Not higher (under breasts), not lower (at hips) as this will only create width, no matter your body silhouette. To find out where your natural waistline is, tip to the side and put your hand where you fold in half (where your side bends). That place exactly.
No defined waistline? All good, you can create one. The key here is to wear a flowing garment (top, or dress) and wear a thin belt around your waist. The flow will create curve (instead of a rectangular silhouette) and the belt will create a waistline.
Thin, medium or thick? All depends on the length of your torso. For longer torsos, opt for medium and thick. For shorter torsos, thin is your winner. This will ensure your proportions are balanced. However, these aren’t concrete “rules”, it really all depends on what kind of look you want to create, and whether you tend to follow certain trends. Overall, just ensure that the waist belt creates a feminine silhouette, rather than a masculine one (rectangular).
Switching an outfit from work to dinner can be as easy as changing shoes and throwing on a necklace.
Chokers. Avoid these if you have a short neck, or big breasts. You won’t like what you look like in a photo, as this will create the illusion of width/bulk. Chokers are great for long necks, and smaller breasts.
The long v-neck necklace. This is the longer necklace that drops past the breast to the waistline. If you’re going to own one piece of jewellery, buy this. You’ll need to get acquainted with The Ratio System to really get the gist of why (read about it here) .
Say you’re wearing a plain t-shirt and jeans, the eye will go directly to the stomach area and the top will draw a line half way across the body (creating a half, half ratio; width, and attention goes straight to the stomach and thighs). A necklace that finishes at the waist, will draw the eye up create a one third, two third ratio (the perception of longer legs, and camouflages stomach).
Side note, this is also ideal for women with bigger breasts that want to create the illusion of smaller ones.
Statement necklaces. If you have a beautifully wide décolletage, flaunt it with these beauties. These are also perfecto for creating the illusion of bigger breasts; the chunkier, the bulkier, the better.
Handbags, just like shoes can make or break an outfit. Mr Google will show you that there are many different guidelines around choosing the right type of bag for your height, shape and features. Here’s a general round-up on shape and size.
Shape vs Body Type. The general go is that the shape of handbag needs to be the opposite of your body type. For example, if you’re tall and thin go for a slouchy, rounded bag. If you’re shorter and curvier, choose a handbag that is tall and rectangular or long (tall & sleek).
Big or small? The oversized bag is still a trend (it has been for some time now). However, if you’re style, not fashion focused, the size of your handbag needs to be in proportion to your birthday suit. For the petite ladies, small to medium bags are ideal (a handbag too big will be too overbearing for your body size). Of course, it’s the opposite for the taller women.
However there are a few that you may have not heard before. Like, placement and perception.
Where should it sit? Ensure the bag of the hand, doesn’t finish at a part of your body that you want to camouflage. Most women say that they want to draw the eye away from their hips and thighs, so a bag with a shorter strap that finishes around the waistline is ideal; it draws the eye up.
Perception. I always advise my clients (no matter their body shape), to opt for a structured bag when it comes to work related outfits. The strong lines convey a sense of authority and success. I encourage them to hang the bag over their forearm and to their side (away from the front of their body for open body language. In front of the body, creates a barrier between them and the person that they’re speaking with). As for casual settings, a slouchy bag is perfect for a relaxed vibe.
Images: Pinterest, Zimbio
Feature image via pinterest
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