Dress to impress – Yourself! | Nicola Gotthardt-Mills on behalf of Parental Choice

pic-of-ngmYou’ve had your body for quite a while and most of us know how to dress it to accentuate and hide our best, and less best, features. Then you have a baby and your body looks like it belongs to the woman who lives at No. 24 and you have no idea how to make clothes work for you anymore.

Step in Nicola Gotthardt-Mills.

By the end of her fantastic article you will be armed with some great knowledge about yourself, your clothes choices and accessories and how to put this all together to help boost your confidence and start making better choices for your wardrobe.

If hitting the shops is currently daunting, we promise by the end you will WANT to go shopping!

You can’t change Mother Nature but……You can disguise her.  Knowing your body shape is the key to successful  dressing, no matter what trends or fashion fads are happening. Stick to the rules and you’ll never be stuck for something to wear again.  There are four fundamental body shapes and some extras:

  • Pear (bottom and thigh)
  • Apple (boob and belly),
  • Curvy (hourglass)
  • Boyish (up and down)

I want you to start to think firstly about your body shape and what parts of your body you should accentuate and how.  You will start to learn what clothes suit your body shape so when you hit the shops you can save yourself a lot of time by picking the right stuff and firmly avoiding all of the wrong stuff! So, our aim is to accentuate the positive and camouflage the negatives.

So, to the nitty gritty – can you identify which body shape you are?

Bottom and thigh (pear shape)

A typical bottom and thigh carries her weight on her hips and thighs and has a comparatively smaller waist, smaller bust and good upper body.  She will generally possess good posture and tends to have a longer torso and shorter limbs.  Thick ankles can also be a problem.

Boob and belly (apple)

A boob and belly tends to have slim legs and a small bottom but carries her weight around her middle, upper arms and bosom.  She will tend to have a shorter torso, longer limbs and no definite waist.

Boyish waist (straight up and down)

This person tends to be straight up and down, struggles to put weight on and tends to be very small busted.  She will need to use her clothes to provide her with some definite shape.

Hour glass (curvy)

Hour glass ladies will always have a tiny feminine waist, she will have a good sized bust and will tend to carry her weight on her hips and bottom rather than concentrating her weight on the thigh like a pear shape.  Their top half is in proportion to their bottom half.

In addition to shapes, height and weight are also a major consideration as are specific parts of the body.  Whilst you should be aware of your overall body shape, you must look much more closely at every element that makes you unique.  This includes both the positive and negative aspects, which we will now look at in much greater depth.

Height matters

Different clothing manufacturers set differing standards; here is the generic classifications of female height:

  • Petite (under 5’3”)
  • Medium (5’3” – 5’7”)
  • Tall (above 5’7”)

Height like size is all about getting the proportions right.  If you are very tall it is easy to wear clothes that are too small for you and if you are petite it is easy for clothes to wear you.

Ok, a bit of fun! We all do it, we stand in front of the mirror looking at all the negative points of our body.  I can hear you all now – ‘my legs are so fat, I’ve got a wobbly tummy, my arms a fat……’

Well, STOP! I want you to focus on the positives.

Do the exercise below with a good friend or even a group of you.  I want you to highlight the positive features about yourself and I want your friend to also highlight what she/he thinks are your positive features, then compare.  I can guarantee you will be surprised about how many positive features your friend thinks you have compared to what you think.  This is a good starting point to kick-start a better relationship with your body. Take the compliments and remember them when you are not feeling your best!

To help you along, I have listed areas of the body, which can be focused on to highlight positive features.

  • Face: Eyes, Hair, Skin,  Lips, Teeth
  • Upper Body: Neck, Shoulders, Bust, Waist, Arms, Wrists, Fingers
  • Middle Body: Stomach, Bottom, Hips, Thighs
  • Lower Body: Knees, Calves, Ankles, Feet, Toes

The point is, you need to look at your whole self rather than focus on just the bits you don’t like.  People see you as a complete body and not just stare at your “thighs or tummy”!

It is really important after becoming a mum to feel comfortable in your clothes.  Don’t think about fashion, but practicality. You are going through a transitional period and it can be really tough to dress your new body shape.

Please do not hide your entire body! Darker tones always slim you down and ensuring clothes fit properly will help enormously: too big and you look sack-like and too tight will make you look even bigger during this period of getting your six pack back (joke)!

Once you know what body shape you are and have received advice from me on the styles that suit you, stick to it! Buy the same silhouette in a few different styles and then you can make your outfits look different with your accessories giving your outfits variety.

Before you buy any new tops and as previously discussed in my first article it is critical that the correct bra is being worn.  A good fitting everyday bra that flatters your new boobs to act as the perfect foundation is a must. Once you have your bra sorted, remember a body skimming silhouette is kinder than a baggy one. Look for tops and dresses that drape over and away from your tummy, rather than fitting too tightly (t-shirt dresses, tunic tops, empire line tops and dresses).  Tops that are ruched around the tummy act as a great disguise because you cannot tell what is tummy and what is fabric.  Ensure your tops finish mid-tummy, which gives an illusion of a longer line.  If tops hang lower than mid-tummy they will either hang off the tummy or cling to it.  In either case, emphasising it even more. A top below another will cling and emphasis the waist.  If you have a tummy, wearing two tops is a great way of hiding that mummy tummy. A woman’s décolletage is very sexy so invest in v-necks and low scooped necklines as they slim the torso and elongate the neck, making them very flattering.  Use vertical patterns to elongate the body and ¾ length sleeves are always very flattering, drawing attention to slim wrists.

Make your pins look leaner and longer by steering clear of wide leg trousers and billowing fabrics. Go for leggings or slim fitting trousers/jeans.  Avoid pleats, as they add pounds especially if you have a tummy.  Flat fronted trousers are instant minimisers; they can make you appear taller and slimmer.  Side fastening trousers are great to disguise a tummy and lengthen the leg. Try and ditch your maternity jeans as soon as you can so you can start getting back to your old self as soon as possible. I literally kept one pair of maternity jeans and bagged the rest up straight away so I wasn’t tempted to wear them. Maybe invest in some mid rise jeans if you are self conscience about your tummy as these will be far more flattering then low rise jeans.

Use accessories to not only create illusions but they are also a good way of making an old wardrobe more contemporary and up to date.  Being pregnant, you may have been out of the fashion loop for a while, so why not invest in a few on season accessories to update your look. Get the proportions right with accessories. This is important as used wrongly and they can add weight, which is definitely not our aim right now!

Use necklaces to create an elongating illusion. If your boobs are now much bigger, then make sure your jewellery is not too big around your neck because it will just make you look heavier.  Alternatively, it shouldn’t be too small as it just get lost and emphasise your size. Long necklaces can be very slimming because they can elongate your shape.  However, if your boobs are huge you don’t want any pendant finishing at your cleavage, drawing attention to it, unless of course you want to!!

Scarves in a light fabric such as gauze, silk or cotton can be a great slimming device.  A scarf that goes around the neck and hang down are perfect for hiding lumps and bumps and can also be used to cover up whilst breast feeding in public. The wearing of a scarf tends to follow current fashion trends so are a good way to be on trend and lift a boring work suit or casual outfit.

Accessories can also give you your styling signature and make you look individual.

Shape wear such as Spanx is great to wear for special occasions while you’re still losing the baby weight, since it can hold in your stomach and hips and make you look smoother — and maybe even smaller! Some shape wear companies now even make pieces of clothing such as leggings, pencil skirts and tank tops so you don’t even need special under things. Just make sure there’s not a huge amount of compression as it can be uncomfortable and unhealthy.

I know you have a baby now, but try where you can to wear your heels.  Invest in some comfortable ankle boots with a low stacked heel, these are guaranteed to make you look taller and instantly more glamorous.

If you would like further advice on what clothes suit your body shape, please contact me at [email protected], or through my Facebook Page

Parental Choice Limited, the one stop source for all your childcare needs and queries. www.parentalchoice.co.uk – Helping you make the right choices for you and your family.


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