Personal Style 101 – Balance Your Silhouette

This post on how to balance your silhouette is part II of the Personal Style 101 series.

Step two to developing your personalize style is all about learning how to balance your silhouette. If you haven’t pulled out a tape measure and figured out your body shape yet – apple, pear, rectangle, avocado, or hourglass – now is the time to do so. You can reference the first post in this series for a how-to. The key to looking great in any outfit is balancing your silhouette so that you fool the eye into thinking you have an hourglass shape. Aesthetically speaking, the hourglass is the most pleasing to the eye. But since most of us don’t have the classic hourglass shape we need to fake it.

Copy of style sneakers

Here’s how to balance your silhouette and fake the hourglass shape:

If you are an apple:

Remember an apple is someone who has a larger top half than bottom half. Usually this is someone with wide shoulders or a substantial chest. To balance this out you need to downplay the top half, making it look smaller, and then add a little bulk to the bottom half, making that look larger. How do you do this?

Look for tops that are:
A little more fitted than the bottom half. A fit and flare dress is great for an apple.
Solid in color. Patterns, no matter the size or shape make things look bigger.
Muted in color. Shades of red and yellow, for example, attract the eye and therefore make that space look larger.
Lacking in texture. Texture, like pattern, tends to attract the eye and make things look larger. For instance, stay away from sweaters with ribbing.

Look for bottoms that are:
Textured, patterned or bold in color. All of these will trick the eye into believing the body is balanced.
More flowy or have more layers of material.

If you are a pear:

Remember a pear is someone who has a larger bottom half than top half. Usually this is someone with wide hips or a substantial rear. To balance this out you need to downplay the bottom half, making it look smaller, and then add a little bulk to the top half, making that look larger.  How do you do this?

Look for bottoms that are:
A little more fitted than the top half. Fitted doesn’t mean painted-on. That will equally make you look larger.
Solid in color. Patterns, no matter the size or shape make things look bigger.
Muted in color. Shades of red and yellow, for example, attract the eye and therefore make that space look larger.
Lacking in texture. Texture, like jacquard, tends to attract the eye and make things look larger.

Look for tops that are:
Textured, patterned or bold in color. Have fun for the colors and patterns, letting your personality shine through on the top half of your outfits.
More flowy or have more layers of material.

If you are an avocado:

Remember an avocado is someone whose waist is the largest portion. To balance this out you need to downplay the waist area to help make that diminish while making the shoulders and hips look a little larger. For this body shape you can borrow a number of the ideas of the pear, but the trick is not to wear clothing that cuts you off at the largest part. How do you do this?

Consider this:
Wear clothing that ends either above or below your waistline. This could even mean a belt worn near the empire waistline or low on the hips.
Stay away from placing belts at the waistline. Similarly stay away from tucking tops into pants at the waist. Both of these create a harsh line and draw the eye to that area.
Wear things that drape or flow in a way that draws the eye upward toward the face.

skirt-stripe-blouse6If you are a rectangle:

Remember a rectangle is someone who doesn’t differ much between the top, middle and bottom. This is what I am, usually. The trick for this body shape is to balance the silhouette by creating the allusion of a nipped in waist. How do you do this?

Consider this:
Wear clothing that creates the look of a waistline. This can be don’t by tucking things in, belts, or just the natural nipping of a top or dress. Even clothing with patterns or a switch in pattern which draws the eye to assuming there is a waist.

What’s one small change you can make to start doing a better job of balancing your silhouette?

Katy Rose

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