Fashion designers are often quoted saying “don’t be afraid to show off your shape” but where we often come unstuck is not actually knowing what works on our own shape.
Chrissy from The Lindy Charm School for Girls tells us how we can go from just wearing an outfit to carrying that perfectly fitted outfit.
First let’s review our options when choosing our outfit:
- Handmade to fit – Couture
This is awesome if you can afford it but doing your whole wardrobe this way is very expensive.
- Vintage style
Outfits in this genre are not always readily available in your shape/size/style so a lot of time can be invested in hunting for the right fit that is also affordable. There’s also the issue of the condition of the stock on hand. However in my opinion, this is still the best – you just have to work a bit harder for it.
- Off the Rack
If you find a clothing label you like you can fashion some nice retro/vintage inspired outfits around it. But you might experience a poor fit from some items – watch that they don’t hang on you. Remember, you need to carry them.
So this is how I approach it. When I am looking for new off-the-rack outfits, the price tag is not the price in my head. I always add $20 to $30 for my seamstress because 80% of the time I will be taking that outfit straight to her! She will nip and tuck in a few key places and voilà! It now fits my shape so I can carry it rather than just wear it! Exactly where the nipping and tucking takes place is going to vary from one body shape to the next, but the areas I generally address are:
- For pants – at the small of the back where I sway. Most jeans, and trousers I find off the rack today have this gaping problem at the small of the back region. I just don’t understand it as I hear many women complaining about this same ill-fitting area;
- For pencil skirts – the side hip/upper thigh area plus darts in the front hip section;
- For frocks – the shoulders, small of back and sometimes even a dart under the breasts.
Of course you can have it all nipped and tucked in all the right areas but if your foundation garments are missing or not working, then you can still be setting yourself up for an epic fail. Today’s fabrics (especially off-the-rack) are very unforgiving, so there are two types of foundation garments that we at The Lindy Charm School like to encourage ladies to get acquainted with:
- Well made and functional power meshed cinches, step-ins or girdles – either original vintage pieces as found at Fossil Vintage or some of the leading brands such as Rago.
- Smoothing wear – generally commercially marketed as ‘shape wear’ but due to the fabrics they use, rather than shaping you they smooth the bumps and ripples. This is, of course, equally important especially with modern fabrics.
I also encourage you to wear a really nice slip under frocks so the material doesn’t ride up when you walk. Original nylons or silks are great but steer clear of today’s cheap slips! They’re usually made from a cheap synthetic fabric with lots of static causing them to ride up.
As with everything beauty related, it starts from the inside and you work outwards from there. The same goes for undergarments to outer garments.
Chrissy and The Lindy Charm School team will be demonstrating this and other tips at Sydney’s Vintage & Retro Fair. They will also be offering vintage styling makeovers in vintage vixen, Pin-Up gal or classic Hollywood looks.
The Vintage & Retro Fair, Australian Technology Park, Eveleigh, September 27 – 29.
Image credits: Brooke Orchard Photography, Waist Cinch pic by Kate D Photography
Hair, Makeup and Styling by The Lindy Charm School For Girls