This is an exclusive extract from Rescu Me: The makeover guide for a life more fabulous by Bahar Etminan.
Colette Werden has cracked the code on dressing for your body type and taking control of your style through the right clothes and accessories. With the right style choices, your self-confidence will soar and you can become the woman you really want to be. In this extract, Colette shows you how to accentuate your best features to save you time and money.
How does it work?
Most women believe that to camouflage their stomach, hips or thighs, they need to wear tops and jackets that hang over these areas, usually in baggier clothing. However, what this does is create a dominant line across the hip region, right around what is commonly the widest part of a woman’s body. Like this:
This is a “half (torso), half (leg) ratio”, as the most dominate line is around half of the body.
It creates a rectangular shape to the woman’s stomach, rounder thighs and the eyes go straight towards a woman’s mid-section (the area that she most commonly wants to camouflage). She also looks shorter. In general, this ratio is what men need to use to create a stockier, masculine silhouette. If men use a one third (torso), two third (leg) ratio, they will create a feminine profile.
Generally, women want to achieve a longer, leaner silhouette. To achieve this, the ratio must be one third (torso), two third (leg). Like this:
The model’s PANTS were changed from a low waisted pair (which drew the line around her hips) to a high waisted pair (drawing the line around her waist). The result; the attention moves away from the stomach, to the waist and higher. It also creates the perception of longer, leaner legs and a feminine silhouette. In the low waisted PANTS, the focus is on the stomach and the legs look shorter. Overall, it’s a masculine, rectangular profile.
It’s the same in the following example. The half torso, half leg ratio was creating a rounder, fuller figure, and bringing all the attention to the model’s hips. The belt was moved from around the hip, to the waist to create the right ratio, in turn a longer, leaner appearing silhouette.
The next example shows a few different ways The Ratio System™ can be applied to create a longer, leaner, feminine silhouette using a blouse, waist belt and skirt.
The picture on the right illustrates that you definitely do not always have to tuck your top in to create the right ratio. Or, have a natural waistline; the Ratio System™ creates the perception of one when styled well.
Key Garments With General Styling Techniques
These are the key garments that help effortlessly create the one third (torso), two third (leg) ratio.
The styling of these garments is all dependent on the woman’s individual needs and the other areas she wants to camouflage alongside her stomach, hips and thighs. The styling is also dependent on the woman’s natural silhouette. For eg, if her body moves straight up and down, then a clever mix of garments with structure and flow will create the perception of a curvy silhouette, if that’s what she wants to achieve. The natural proportion of her body will also effect which techniques are used.
The best way to determine which of the key garments and styling techniques work for you, try each of the below and be open to trial and error until you perfect it.
High waisted bottoms
These include jeans, pants, skirts and shorts. High waisted bottoms suit women of any height, size or natural silhouette. The fit of these bottoms are key. If you find it challenging to find bottoms that fit your thighs, yet are big around your waist, then focus on fabrics with high levels of elastane.
The fabric needs to be flexible enough to mould around your body. When styled well, the high waisted bottoms especially help a woman of a shorter stature that wants to appear taller, create the perception of increased height (even in flats).
Cropped Jackets / Blazers
“Cropped” jackets/blazers are the ones that finish at the waistline. These can be effortlessly worn over tops left out with a pair of jeans (if you do not want to tuck your top in). Or, over dresses to draw the eye up to the one third (torso) ratio.
If you have fuller breasts that you do not want to draw the eye to, opt for structured cropped blazers/jackets with long sleeves and no lapels. Cropped jackets/blazers are incredibly versatile. They can be worn casually with a tee and jeans. And to the office over dresses, or high waisted bottoms and a blouse.
Firstly, let’s define your natural waistline. To do this, tip your body to the side and pinpoint where it naturally folds. This is where your waist belt needs to sit. Not higher, like under your breasts, as this will draw attention to the stomach. And not lower, like on/near your hips, as this will create a half torso, half leg ratio.
If you do not have a naturally defined waistline, but want to play with waist belts, you can create the perception of one with the right garments. An example of this is by wearing a flowing/baggier blouse and cinching it in with the belt. The flowing fabric mixed in with the structured belt will create curve.
The thickness of the waist belt depends on the length of your torso. If you have a short torso, thin waist belts are best. If you have a long torso, thin, medium and thick waist belts will work.
Dresses with waistband or cinched waist
This is the simplest way of achieving a one third (torso), two third (leg) ratio. The style of dress is dependent on your natural silhouette. If you have a defined waistline, any style of dress with a waistband will work; structured or flowing. If your torso moves straight up and down, without waistline definition, dresses that move in and out from the waist will work well or flowing shift dresses cinched in at the one third ratio will work too.
Scarves that reach no longer than the waist when wrapped
When scarves are worn with a knot at the neck and left to fall to the bottom of the stomach area, they draw the eye to the hips and thighs. To create the ideal ratio, wear the scarf like you would a snood (or just buy one of those if your purpose of wearing a scarf is for warmth rather than accessorising). Tie the opposite ends of the scarf together and wrap it enough times so that it finishes at your waistline. You don’t want to use a scarf that’s too bulky as this will make it difficult to achieve, especially if you have breasts that you want to camouflage.
Necklace that reaches the waist
An effortless outfit is a pair of jeans with a top left out and a necklace that falls at the waistline. A necklace can also strategically be used on a plain dress. The necklace that falls at the waist will draw the eye to the top part of the body, rather than the lower stomach.
- “Half tucking” rather than full tucking into high waisted bottoms can be used too, for a more casual look. The easiest way to half tuck is to move your hand from one nipple down to the bottom of your top, and tuck this part in.
- Peplum tops, jackets/blazers or dresses are also a quick and easy way of drawing the eye up to the one third (torso) ratio.
- Cropped tops with high waisted bottoms are another easy option. If you want to camouflage your buttocks, wear a longer jacket left open.
Colette Werden is the Founder & CEO of Australia’s only one-stop Personal Branding Agency for entrepreneurs, an Authentic Personal Branding Expert and Keynote Speaker. She is the Style and Image expert here at Rescu and imparts her knowledge and experience to have you to get dressed for success.