Is flattering a styling must?
Each year you read the same titles over an over in women’s magazines: “how to find your perfect fit?”,”find out what your shape is”, “how to dress when you are pear shaped”… Because women are all looking for the holy grail of fashion: finding out which clothes are made for them.
Yet in the same magazine you also read “Must have: vintage Levis”, “Strappy shoes are all the rage” or “crop tops are this summer’s hit”. As if all readers were to wear the same thing even though they obviously do not have the same body.
In this schizophrenic situation, many wonder if they shall dress to their body OR follow the trends because both are not always compatible.
As a personal stylist, I consider both to be equally important.
Therefore I help my clients define a look that both suit their personality and flatter their body.
But how do you define “flattering”?
1/ Definition of flattering
An outfit is considered flattering when it creates an harmonious silhouette.
With nowadays fashion it is easier to dress when you look like a model. Which is why models get hired as models. An oversize outfit can be as flattering on them than a super tight one. The tight one may be more sexy. But sexy does not equal flattering.
Then, let’s admit this model lady owns a flat and flabby butt. She may not be your first choice for modeling silky satin pants because it would underline what society tells us to be a flaw. Is flattering what does not underline our “flaws”. If this model was to go to an event, the stylist would maybe choose push-up pants to flatter her tiny butt. Is flattering what transform our “flaws” into assets.
Yet, the opposite is not true. You can cover all of your assets and still have an harmonious and flattering silhouette as proven with the first example (the model in oversized clothes).
Now let’s go to the matter: is it possible to have style when wearing non flattering clothes?
2/ Being stylish is non flattering clothes is a challenge
To achieve it, you need one of those (or both):
- an overdeveloped sense of style
- an hell of an attitude
Therefore, I’d say there are very few people to whom this can apply.
Amongst them is stylist Leandra Medine aka the well-named “man repeller”.
When you look at her, you only see the brilliant pairing of clothing… and forget to pay attention whether her skirt is too large for her or create a small torso effect (it does).
I could also quote photographer Tamu Mc Pherson or french influencer Sophie Fontanel who both seem to consider non flattering outfits an art de vivre.
I could also refer to director Lena Dunham, who wear ill fitting clothes in a flamboyant manner, which make girls admire her daring style.
I must say I prefer when the above stated women combine their epic sense of style with flattering clothes (it happens).
3/ “Flattering” is one ingredient of the style
To me, each body, with its characteristics, is part of the style mix. Just like you pay attention to the cut and fabric of a piece of clothes in order to find out what matches it best, I think you shall pay attention to your body’s characteristics to see what matches it best.
To be honest, the styles that are not flattering do not catch my eye but make it sore.
I therefore unsubscribed from Tamu Mc Pherson’s instagram account last year as I had the feeling her goal was to look the least attractive possible, like a big branded potato bag. When I consulted her account for the purpose of this article, I was pleased to see she was back into flattering outfits. She still looks cool (which probably was the aim of the branded potato bag style) and now looks gorgeous as well!
Instagram Tamu Mc Pherson
Same goes on with Leandra Medine. After having been through a huge I-do-not-care-if-it-fits-me-as-long-as-it-looks-cool phase, she is back into wearing flattering stuff.
Which are just as cool. Yet less man repelling I must admit.
Instagram Man repeller wearing a killer outfit
Beeing super edgy whilst winning the body flattering game is a though thing to do. Too many street styles do not look not elegant. For flattering street style, I recommend the blogs of Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman who both pay attention to the body behind the clothes.
4/ Choosing flattering is body positive
Beeing body positive is being proud of the body you have.
On internet, you often read that being body positive means that everybody is beautiful and therefore anyone can look amazing wearing the same clothes.
Since all bodies are different, the clothes that will make a body gorgeous are different for each person.
Therefore I do not think this is body positive absolutely trying to fit into the things that the fashion industry have declared to be “the items of the moment”.
Unfortunately designer often think of only one type of body when designing clothes.
If you do not have this body, instead of trying to fit into the clothing norm, I recommend you to find what is YOUR flattering, because your body deserves to be gorgeous.
To conclude, here are too pics of Lena Dunham, both in her usual quirky style.
Doesn’t she look hundred times better in the body flattering outfit?
And you? Do you consider if clothes are flattering before wearing them?
Cover collage: all flattering outfits by Man repeller, Lena Dunham and Tamu Mc Pherson