By Kalyn Wilson
Have you ever looked at yourself in a mirror after getting dressed up only to find yourself deeply frustrated? My clothes don’t fit me you thought. You were filled with worry, maybe even shame, because you realized you can no longer keep up with the shapes and sizes in your own closet – or worse – on the racks in the stores.
If you relate to this, fret not! This problem does not always mean that you have gained or lost weight – sometimes, it just means you have changed in shape or there are new fashions that do not exactly flatter you.
“You have to understand what’s for you and what’s not for you,” says Kayla Hutchinson, the public relations chair of For Loving Yourself (FLY) and a sophomore health promotions and public relations major from Atlanta.
Finding your fit is the art of understanding and accepting your body type so that you can find what looks best on you and makes you feel your best.
A few campus fashionistas have shared uncommon knowledge on how to make this possible.
The Body Types
Although no two snowflakes are just alike, there are basic shapes our bodies tend to take. Knowing which category we fall under will help us better navigate the shopping and dressing process. Some of UGA’s own fashion experts share their knowledge of what “fits” each of these types and ways to achieve the right look with just a few tips.
The first body type is the athletic or slender body shape, with minimal curves and a traditionally slimmer build.
“There are two types of slim women,” says Raven Pratt, a junior advertising major and fashion merchandising minor from Athens. “Some slim women like their physique and like appearing thin… Others want to appear as though they have those [curves].”
Pratt suggests to those who want to maintain their slim to wear solid colors and simplistic options because patterns and elaboration add dimension. For those who want to magnify their shape, horizontal stripes, waist-synching and minimal prints should do the trick.
The next is hourglass or curvy, where the waist is the smallest feature of the body and the hips and shoulders are proportional.
“With hourglass, you definitely need to accentuate your waist,” says Taylor Gadsden. She mentions several waist-defining pieces such as empire waistlines, high-waist skirts and shorts and an accentuating waist belt tend to make this shape pop.
Pratt warns that larger prints, unlike on slimmer ladies, works well for curvy girls and helps to present a slimmer build. Both Gadsden and Pratt say that wide-flare jeans trump skinny jeans for the curvy girl, although Gadsden says that skinny jeans work for everybody.
The next are pear and apple shapes, where the apple shapes have a smaller bottom than the top and the pear shapes have a smaller top than the bottom. Pratt suggests that, since smaller prints make you look larger and vice versa, use that to direct attention to your most flattering parts.
“A tip that is so simple, yet easily forgotten is making sure
that tops are the right length,” says Pratt.
For pear shapes, it is important to have tops that do not obstruct the view of the rest of the body. “If it’s too short or I’m not feeling comfortable in it,” says Gadsden, “I would just bunch it up and tuck it in.”
“There’s some truth to the little black dress,” says Nadine Hernandez, a senior fashion merchandising major from Kennesaw. “It’s slimming.” Hernandez summates for all sizes that dark colors tend to be slimming while lighter, brighter colors make a shape look larger. This universal rule helps all shapes and sizes achieve the look they want.
The Body Image
While tips and tricks to looking your best are helpful, the best way to love the way you look is to accept the way you look.
“You have to change how you see and feel about yourself,” says Hutchinson. As an executive board member of UGA’s For Loving Yourself and a model for the UGA Agency, Hutchinson knows that fashion can make or break someone’s outlook on themselves.
“It’s all about knowing your true size and
emphasizing your assets.”
Hutchinson recommends taking the time to get an accurate bra size or using your technical resources such as Google and YouTube to help understand your true size in order to wear it well.
“Size is arbitrary and does not define you,” says Hernandez. Size is not standardized and all clothing is not made for all body types. Use your “size” as a starting point, but be open to the fact that something smaller or larger may fit – but it does not speak the volumes that society normally places on it.
“First, you should focus on what you love about your body rather than what’s not ideal,’” says Hernandez. This is a great approach to getting dressed and shopping that will eliminate the pressure of looks and size.
All in all, we are all different, and there is no status quo. Aiming for an idealistic image is like aiming for nowhere. Hutchinson says there are resources out there to help you achieve the best looking you aside from unrealistic images seen in media. All you have to do it look and learn.
“It’s all about taking what you have and working it,” says Gadsden.