I recently facilitated a lively workshop where I spoke to several women about the importance of understanding our body types to dress for success. We have no more than 7 seconds to make a great first impression – how we present ourselves nonverbally sets the tone for victory.
Before we jumped into the second part of my workshop, fun with accessories, I educated the attendees about body shapes and ideas on how to select the right clothing item to enhance her silhouette. Although each woman has her own unique body shape, we all typically fall into one of four primary categories: Triangle (smaller shoulders, wider hips –sometimes referred to as pair shaped), Inverted Triangle (broad shoulders with small hips and thin legs), Rectangle (no defined waist, shoulders and hips same width apart), Hourglass (shoulders & hips align with a clearly defined waist – think Marilyn Monroe!). The hourglass is the most balanced shape. The goal for the other shapes is to select pieces that create visual alignment.
As fun as accessories are, they are also a key trick to creating a well-proportioned silhouette and redirecting the viewer’s eyes to those areas we want to showcase. Accessories complete an outfit. They make the difference between a look that is ho-hum to one with pizzazz!
I love the magic of accessories! Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to looking polished:
Scarves – This year-round staple is a great tool to not only warm your neck but it will brighten a plain blazer and make a simple t-shirt look chic. Want to draw the eye away from wider hips? A thicker scarf draped around your shoulders or neck will draw the eye up and add needed balance to your frame.
Statement Necklaces – Oh how I love the bling and sparkle of a fabulous statement necklace! No matter your body shape – a statement necklace creates a focal point for the eye to land. One caveat – if you have a fuller neck, make sure you wear a necklace with a longer chain and not a choker. You want the necklace to rest easily against your body and not appear to break it up.
Earrings – Femininity is at its finest with a fabulous pair of earrings. Often simple diamond studs or lovely pearl earrings are all the accessories an outfit needs to exude elegance. Want to add a bit of funk and pop to your look? Consider this, a long and/or thin neck is the perfect backdrop for long chandelier style earrings. Like the choker, if your neck is shorter or fuller consider drawing the eye up toward the ear with smaller dangle earrings.
Rings & Bracelets – The Olympics should not be the only place where it is appropriate to wear gold, silver and bronze! Draw the eye to the wrist by embracing this Spring 2014 trend and bulking up your arm with a multitude of bangles in all metals. Extend the look by adding a sexy cocktail ring on your middle or ring finger.
Note: Be careful not to over-accessorize! Sometimes a statement ring is all you need to add class to a look. Likewise, if you have a statement necklace you do not need statement earrings too. Too many accessories worn at once can do just the opposite – confuse the eye and leave the viewer wondering, “what was she thinking?”
Handbags – In the February issue of Trade Secrets, two articles promoted beautifully crafted classic and trendy designer handbags. Want some help narrowing down your selection? If you have a more rounded shape, search for a bag with straighter lines and structure. Do you have a more athletic build; I suggest you select a slouchy hobo style bag. Each of these help to complement your frame. If a clutch is your bag of choice – select an accent color or design and have fun with it. They do not have to match your shoes!!!!
Shoes – How do I love thee – let me count how many pairs are in my closet! Well let’s just say I have a lot! While it is important to have a few standards in the closet such as black, chocolate brown and nude (Nude pumps elongate the legs!) it is equally essential to have a few pair to show off your personality! Hip green wedges, preppy salmon peep toes, sexy silver d’orsay heels all play a role in redirecting the eye and creates a fresh and put-together look.
Accessories are a fun solution to balancing your body shape while expressing your individuality. Remember, first impressions are like magic, it only takes a bold statement necklace or hot shoes to create a balanced illusion!