Friday, June 15, 2012

Dressing for your body shape

Over the years I've read a number of books on dressing for your body shape (if you want tips on how to find your own body shape take a look at my earlier post)

One of the best books I've ever found in Mary Duffy's  HOAX book. I believe it is out of print, but you can find it on Amazon. Feel free to use my affiliate link below, you'll help me stay in design school with your easy contribution!

Yes the book is a dated (it was written in the 80s) but it right on point, especially for fuller figures. I find this book to be an excellent reference! I used to check out this book from the library all the time. Mary Duffy was a former plus size model that created her own plus size modeling agency. She really knows her stuff. In her book she makes and argument for 4 basic body styles and nicknames them H, O, A, and X. For the H shape, she is a straight up and down body shape, with little waist definition. O is the typical apple shape, full on top and skinnier legs. An A lady is also called a pear shape, smaller on the top and full through the hips and legs. X is the hourglass shape a lot of women envy, full bust and full hips and small waist. No matter your body shape this book will help you look your best. I would really love to see this book updated and reprinted!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How to find your body shape

No matter what size you are or how much you weigh, to look your best you should dress according to your body shape. People come in all shapes, sizes and heights but there are some basic categories. Different people call them by different names, and sometimes you fit kind of in the middle of two different descriptions. I'd like to give you some general guidance.Some clothes look better on some body types than others for the simple reason of body shape. Have you ever tried on something with a friend that's the same size? Did it look better on her than you? Even if you are the same size on the rack, you may have very different body shapes.

First think about your height. Are you 5'2" or under? Then you fall into the petite category. Are you the average height of 5'5"? Then you=average. If you are taller than 5'8" you generally fall into the tall category when it comes to clothing.

A tip I've read that is pretty cool in helping you visualize your body shape, but can only be done if you have two people unfortunately is to get a big piece of poster paper and hang it on your wall. Grab a close friend and put on a form fitting (tight) outfit like a body suit, bathing suit, tights and tight tank, etc. Then stand straight and tall against the wall and have the other person trace you. Take down the piece of paper and put another one up and this time turn to the side. Have your friend trace your profile. With these two tracings you will be able to see where you carry your weight.

Once you see where your weight distribution is you can better classify your body type. An alternative way is to take your measurements. It is important to get accurate measurements, so it is best if you can have someone else do this for you. You will want to at least take your full bust, waist, and low hip measurements. You can take them on yourself using a mirror. Make sure you good form and don't suck in or tense up your muscles. When measuring yourself you will want to keep the tape measure straight and parallel to the floor. Don't let the measuring tape get crooked or twisted. Measure at the widest part, snugly. Not too tight or too loose. You want accurate measurements! Once you have your measurements you can see where you carry your weight better.

Using both of these methods will give you the best idea of your body shape. The tracing gives you a visual representation of the actual space your body is taking up, while the measurements give you concrete dimensions.

Let's start from the top. People who carry most of their weight in the top third of their body (shoulders, bust, waist) are usually called top heavy, broad shoulder or thick waisted. Sometimes these shapes are referred to as V-shaped (broad shoulders) apple shaped (full bust or full waist). Typically the lower torso and legs are quite small in comparison. Women who carry most of their weight in the bottom half of their bodies are often called pair shaped. This shape usually has slim top half (arms, bust, and even tummy) and heavier butt, hips, and thighs. This is an extremely common body shaped. If your bust and hip measurements (or tracings) are about equal and you have at least and 8" drop in circumference from bust to waist you are part of the so called body ideal of hourglass. This curvy shape is very balanced, but can range from looking pretty straight up and down (but waist goes in) to very, very curvy.

Of course there are gray areas and blends of body shapes. With weight gain or loss you may move from one shape to another. Whether you are petite, average or tall also makes your clothes fall differently. Just think of wearing a petite sized mini skirt if you are 5'10"...not only will it be super short on you, the buttons and details may look to small and imbalanced.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Finding Inspiration

Where do you find your inspiration?

I found a lot of inspiration from this book "Contemporary Lingerie Designs." You can read my review of the book on Amazon here (if you purchase the book through my link above it will help me continue to provide information to you:) I am always intrigued by where designers find their inspiration. I know some people start from a concept, others from a silhouette, some from nature or a certain fabric. Some designers use a combination of methods. How do you find inspiration? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

For the Spring 2013 line, I was inspired by 80s glamor. In particular I had seen some beautiful 1980s vintage lingerie on Etsy. I loved the silhouettes of the teddies and wondered how I might apply that to a full figured lingerie line. I started loosely sketching some ideas. From there I narrowed down my ideas. For our class we had to come up with at least 5 complete looks. I also started looking at color palettes and doing magazine tears.

Inspiration Resources:

An awesome site is Designs Seeds. This site has different pictures that the artist then pulls out the colors and creates palettes with usually about 5 colors. Another great site for color inspiration is the Adobe Kuler site.

I recommend looking through some of the Pinterest pin boards. I've linked to my page, but also try googling "Pinterest + a designer's name or season." If you're inspired by street fashion take a look at the blog style website

If you'd like to start with the fabric first, check out or or search for a particular fabric designer's name or line.

Friday, June 1, 2012

More board pics

I finally took some better shots of my mood board and technical board (including some close ups). I posted a few pics of my tech board and storyboard earlier. If you want to see even more of the progression check out where I started on blogging about it on Tortilla Designs.

Without further ado here they are!