A secret of great outfits: colours

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There are various ways to get your look to go from average to awesome, and I’ve been posting a lot about the fit and proportions of garments so far.  But another (really enjoyable) way of making your outfits truly pop is to pay attention to your own colourings, and how your clothes accentuate them.

The theory on colourings is by no means new – if you do a google search of ‘colour analysis’ you’ll find a million articles teaching you how to decipher what ‘season’ you are. There is plenty of advice out there for choosing to wear the right colours, and since learning about this I’ve grown used to picking out outfits that really suit me.

 

I’m going to very briefly explain what the colour analysis theory is, and point you to some excellent resources for finding your colours and sticking with them.  I myself am a soft summer colouring, which means cool-based tones generally, but with some ability to wear, for example, warm corals and some oranges and yellows.  No idea why.

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My palette…wait, WHERE’S THE BLACK?!!

Whilst colour theory has gotten more complex over the years, the basic premise was that there are four ‘seasons’ of colour palettes, corresponding to the real seasons.  The undertone of our skin, be it warm (yellow/olive based) or cool (pink/translucent), and the shade of our eyes and hair are the key components that decide which ‘season’ we fit into.

Summer and Winter are for those of us who suit ‘cool’ tones.  The colour palettes you should wear include blue-based reds, pinks, purples and of course, blues.  The yellows and greens you should wear tend to have no ‘warmth’ to them – so quite icy yellow or turquoise blue rather than yellow ochre and grass green.

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Spring and Autumn seasons have lots of warm shades, like burnt orange, khaki, deep gold yellows, browns and greens.  You tend to suit these colours more if you have less of the ‘cool’ tones to your features, and more warm tones – like golden or red tint to your hair, skin with warmth to it.

There are also many nuances to the seasons which have updated/developed the colour analysis theory and allowed it to explain why some of us don’t fit into any of the four groups fully.  Hence, soft summer, the palette I have the most experience with, tends to represent a subgroup of the cool-toned summer colouring, where there is low contrast between the tones of our colourings (say, yellowish skin and yellow hair; and we lack the sharp contrast of say, Katy Perry who has very cool skin and bright blue eyes).  The ‘soft’ subset tends to suit quite muted colours, with a hint of grey to them – think mauve lilac, dusky pink, duck egg blue instead of pastel lilac, baby pink and turquoise.

For further reading, the best of the best is Color Me Beautiful – they have a Kindle book of the same name (which looks a bit out-of-date now but the theory remains.  The website, The Chic Fashionista has an excellent article with a link to more information here.

Pretty Your World has an interesting explanation of why there are further categories beyond the standard four seasons, touching on how a pure tone can be altered by it’s tint, shade and tone.  There is also links down the side bar to DIY colour analysis.

So here are just some starter resources to look into the subject of personal colour analysis. You will hopefully see me following these rules a lot of the time in my choice of outfits on the blog (it’s become a bit second nature after learning this years ago, and moreover trying on bajillions of different colours in store changing rooms and going ‘ewwww’ when I get it wrong!).  You will also see me breaking the rules at times just because I have an odd penchant for what I can’t have (hence this entire blog) and for some reason I adore the warm, spring/autumn colours like nothing else.  One of the outfits I’m hoping to find and try at some point (these things hover around in the back of my head for a while usually) is an orange dress in a similar colour to this one on Kirsty Fleming (another of my fave instagrammers)…I’ll leave the cut of that dress to Kirsty though to be honest xD but I fell in love with the styling in that photoshoot of her, simply stunning.

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Hope this has been a helpful pointer towards building outfits that suit your body as well as your colourings.  I’ll be back with more soon ❤

 

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That is one stunning outfit…

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While we were recently on the topic of high-waisted outfits….

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Yeah….I know dearest Miranda is not an hourglass, but bear with me people 🙂

I loved this picture of Miranda Kerr when I came across it online when researching my high waisted outfits, and might try something similar if I can pull off the proportions well.   Theoretically if a short-waisted hourglass tried this look, and the torso looked way too short due to the off shoulder neckline, she could pop a necklace on, one that is fairly close to her collarbones would be best, to create an artificial ‘neckline’ and lengthen out the upper body to be proportional with the high-waist, elongated lower half.

 

 

 

Off the shoulder OOTD

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Welcome back all!  Quick little OOTD and mini-review today.  I’m taking these selfies from my new apartment and haven’t found an aesthetically-pleasing background for my mirror selfies yet, so bear with me.  Shout out to my granny dressing gown in the back row there.  Love ya.  Also to note, last time I checked my legs don’t have the general texture of moon rock, but this filter has done something special to them.  Hey-ho!

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Here is a very simple summery outfit – a cotton, lace-trimmed off shoulder dress (a brighter colour would improve the look for warm summer days).  I was able to pair my black dress (last season from The Warehouse, NZ) with my…eeeeeee!…new Calvin Klein pointy pumps ❤ I’m getting a bit pedantic when it comes to pumps, because I find this shape shoe is my favourite smart-wear shape, but if you don’t get a well designed shoe, they often slob off the back of your heel, bunch your toes up or rub and cause pain.  For me, another key specification is maximum 3-3.5″ heel, because anything higher than that takes too much effort in a locomotor sense, when walking about the office.  By way of mini-review, I can highly recommend these heels, they’re a little bit of an investment (I got them from Macy’s in the US, I think they were about $99 at the time) but they are comfortable, well-fitting, easy to walk in and look incredibly chic.  I’m wearing them non-stop with just about every outfit at the moment, but they don’t go so well with my pyjamas or in the shower I’ve discovered.  #dontjudge #I’llgetoverit #withtimeandcounselling

 

Styling High Waist Clothes When You Have A Short Waisted Figure

Body, Casual hourglass, Struggles, Wardrobe planning

If you’re wanting a bit more information on whether you have a short waist or not, a really good resource is Joy of Clothes.

In brief, a short waist means you just don’t have much length in the middle part of your body between where your ribs end and your hip bones start.  It’s apparently a defining feature of our hourglass shape, as it creates the dramatic out-and-in effect of an hourglass (as opposed to a longer waisted lady with similar measurements, who will have more gentle out-and-in ‘cello’ shape).  A short waisted girl will often not look great in a thick waist belt, but looks great in a skinny waist belt, which is one easy way to test.

I describe the impact the short waist has on your outfits in another post, but one of the key styles impacted by the short waist is the high-waisted trousers/jeans/shorts/skirts trend that prevails.  I personally love the look of high waisted stuff but I can remember the fateful day in Primark when I marched proudly towards the changing room with an armful of floral and denim high-waisted shorts ready for my beach holiday.  This was the day I realised that high-waisted shorts looked more terrible on me than I could’ve predicted.  I had no explanation why I hated how they looked on me, as I loved the look in general, had picked lovely shorts and great tops to go with, and generally knew what shapes and styles would look great or hideous on my frame.  But the information I was missing was the short waist concept.  It explains why some high waisted stuff just looks really ‘off’ on me.  I wonder if you’ve found the same.

I have come up with several strategies so far for wearing high-waist trousers/shorts/skirts in a way that looks aesthetically pleasing.  This is still an evolving aspect of my wardrobe, as several years ago I thought I couldn’t wear high waisted items, and now I’ve realised there’s ways I can enjoy this look without looking like just boobs stacked on legs!

-Wear matching colour top and bottoms; this reduces the visual torso-shortening impact of the high waistline, but still allows you to benefit from the put-together, waist-emphasising effects of the garment.

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-Wear high necklines so you lengthen the torso.  So, a classic torso-shortening move would be a low neckline with a high waist.  The opposite effect occurs with a high(er) neckline, but the proviso here is that if you are full busted, the high neckline emphasises the boobs and you can look bulky up top if you’re not careful.  I often counteract this by wearing a necklace over my high-neck (eg, roll-neck jumper) which creates a visual lower neckline effect and breaks up the boob silhouette.  Alternatively, wear a sports bra (or two) and be sure to scoop and swoop your boobs towards the middle in the bra, to minimise the volume of your boobs so you can wear the high neck without looking too big up top.  An important note here is that if you have quite a short neck, which I think I probably do, and many hourglasses might, you will not want a neckline that goes higher than your collarbones, lest you make your neck look too squat and chunky.  Not a great look, been there done that.  Photos were burned and sent to bad photo hell.

-Lift your boobs: ie, get a really effective, professionally-fitted bra, shorten the straps and lift your bust away from your midriff, in order to lengthen the waist area.  Small to medium busts will find this most effective.  Larger busted ladies will not be able to see because the boobs will be so high they’ll be blocking the sunlight.  Don’t say I didn’t warn ya….:p. No but on a more serious note, I find Freya is an excellent brand for lifting larger boobs, and their bands are firm enough to hold you up.

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My latest Freya purchase, the Rio Underwired Balcony Bra in nude – perfect for perky lifted boobs

-Play up the proportional mismatch by creating a very long legged look.  Like, stuff all the rules, who cares, lets just maximise the weird proportions.  This is currently one of my favourite smart outfits: long palazzo/wide-leg trousers with platform heels; and any top (I still tend to colour match with the trousers but I’ll get braver eventually).  This combo makes my short lil legs look like they go on forever, and combined with a short, teensy-looking torso, can look quite girlish and elegant.

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I have no idea who this lady is but blimmin’ Nora she’s perfect…anyone know if she has a blog or Instagram??

Anyway, my next outfit plan is to get hold of some cute high waist, cropped ankle skinny jeans (like these I’ve seen in Forever New like this or more likely this (the mid-rise version) but I prefer the buttons on the first pair.  Then I was going to see if I could find a blue chambray or denim shirt to pair it with for a bit of a Kim K double-denim type look.  I’ll keep you posted if the jeans work or don’t work on my micro body 😀

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Notice that Kim actually has mid-rise jeans on here, and has created space in her torso by wearing less-than-high-waist jeans – the proportions of her outfit look great to me.

Hope these ideas prove useful!  Let me know if you have any other tips!

An entire post dedicated to this beautiful hourglass woman

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Who art thou, most beautiful of women??!  Who knows, but thou canst rock(eth) the high waisted trouser like none other and your hairfacemakeupjewelleryoutfitbodyandaccessories is simply divine to behold(eth).  So, dearest lady, I salute you.    screen-shot-2017-01-14-at-12-04-38-amscreen-shot-2017-01-14-at-12-05-08-am

And yon dearest readers, sorry for thine bank accounts after you see this inspirational post and go out and drop some serious k’$ on seventeen different shades of high waisted trousers.

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And lastly, an incidental aside as I analyse how thick the waistband is on her trousers, I think this lady has more of a ‘cello’ type shape, with a normal length waist area, so be aware a shorter-waisted hourglass may need to invest in trousers with thinner waistbands so that your damn waistband doesn’t take up the entire region between chest and hips.  Just sayin’.

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Which is your fave look?  My favourite is number one.  Speak soon xx

Emphasise Your Waist To Lose Ten Pounds, Part I

Body, Wardrobe planning

Slight disclaimer on the above title: I’m talking about the visual effect of losing ten pounds not the actual loss of ten pounds 😀 Although that said, I did do an article on tightening up your thighs that talked a bit about weight loss if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

For the rest of us however, grab yourself a coffee and biscuit and I’ll proceed :p

So, as I’ve said before, I’ve always struggled to feel like I look my best when wearing casual outfits.     They just look no more than ‘blah’ and I go walking around for the day feeling quite chunky and frumpy.  I believe I just haven’t been finding the right clothes for my body, and this is why this blog started in order to analyse this problem…aloud…in the company of you guys!  But my problem with casual outfits is compounded by the fact that I just cannot resist a good floaty, loose top.  The type that hangs from your boobs and floats about your body in an oh-so-casual, look-at-me-I-look-awesome-without-even-trying type of way.  In my head, I suppose I’m kinda idealising the type of look that Roxy often espouses, see pics below.

Just so you get an idea of what I’m referring to in my head.

Now I think that pink top looks fantastic on the model, who appears to have a fairly straight figure (I think this is her in a bikini outfit but could be wrong!)*.  But when I try the same sort of items on in the store, they never looked ‘cool, laid-back and surfy’ but just plain frumpy. xD.

I’ve used this image before but here’s J Law in dress-downs: jen-lawrence-062012-204

…and the feeling this image gives me is similar to what I get when I’m in dress-downs – like, her mate is doing practically nothing different but looks great and I can’t explain why (NB here is a pic with her actually rocking denim shorts, proving it’s about the garment itself and how you wear it)

Now I think it’s important for girls like me to change their mental image of casual outfits slightly.  It’s important to lose the idealism of the ‘super-laid-back’ loose/unfitted surfy outfit, and find a way to emulate the laid-back feel whilst emphasising the waist.  And it’s another challenge to do this without looking more dressed up than you want.  I find a lot of waisted garments have a more smart/casual feel for some reason, and this effect is sometimes compounded when you put them on a curvy frame making the overall look quite ‘womanly’ rather than ‘surfy’ or whatever you’re going for.

Below are some examples of small alterations to expectations that you can make to keep your beachy, surfy outfits flattering to your shape, meaning you look 10lbs lighter than if you didn’t flatter your shape.  I’ve focussed on the beachy look today, but the same principles will apply for, say, hiking or sporty outfits too.  I should cover those in another post at some point perhaps.  All my examples come from one of my favourite instagrammers, @gypsylovinlight – if you ever need to learn how to stack rings or accessorise a boho outfit, check out her pictures.  She’s not particularly an hourglass figure but the principles are what I’m trying to get at.  And a slight disclaimer, the rules for clothes are not exactly hard and fast so sometimes if you want that straight-up-and-down dress or top, you just damn well buy it and enjoy it because it’s just clothes at the end of the day!

Maxi dress

Look 1 is beautiful but obscures the waist, whereas look 2 clings to the waist more allowing a slimmer look on an hourglass figure.

Short beach dress

Cute look on the left, but bound to make a curvy girl look heavier than she is, whereas the gorgeous dress on the right follows the line of the body which is great for hourglasses.

Shorts and top

A straighter figure can look better with a floaty top paired with shorts, because often their hips and thighs are a very narrow point of their body to show off.  An hourglasses narrowest part is her waist, and if you play it up like the outfit on the right, you de-emphasise the thighs and hips which is our widest point, and avoid looking heavier than you are.

*Mid post I had a bit of an ‘aha’ moment too when I tried to look for the same model who wore the straight T-shirts in the bikini section to see how straight her figure was – I realised they very craftily use a curvier shaped girl to model the bikini’s than they use for the clothing.  And where they did use a straight waisted girl, she looked worse in the bikinis than she did in the straight-hanging tops.  Even the tall slim models can’t suit all different styles of clothing and have their strong and weak points.