We talk a lot about figure flattery around here. There are more requests for posts related to traditional figure-flattery priorities than just about any other topic, so many discussions point in that direction. But I hope that this message is always clear: YOU get to choose your own figure-flattery priorities, even if they go against the traditional grain. You are the one wearing the clothes and feeling the feelings, and that means you get to make the choices.
Clothes that flatter your figure along traditional lines – elongating legs, cinching waists, creating hourglass silhouettes – can make you feel good about yourself and your body. But so can clothes that do NONE of those things. Clothes that make you feel good about yourself and your body run the gamut, and can affect your well-being and emotional state for a multitude of reasons.
Seeing color can affect your emotions, and so can wearing color. As I’ve said many times, even if a woman looks ghastly in yellow I’m inclined to tell her to keep on wearing it if it makes her feel amazing. And, of course, there are ways to wear color that will have minimal impact on your complexion: Lower on the body, as shoes or accessories, or broken up within patterns. But however you do it, remember that wearing colors you love is a great shortcut to creating outfits that make you feel marvelous.
Solid colors can be soothing, but patterns can be enlivening. If the boost you need is an energy boost, go for dots, plaid, florals, paisleys, or stripes. Pattern mixing is a fun sartorial challenge, but just throwing a single pattern into your outfit mix can lift your spirits.
A pair of heels can make you feel good about your long leg line, but a pair of flats can make you feel good by cradling your feet. A belted sheath dress will look chic in many cases, but a tunic and leggings might feel more welcoming. Clothing that works with – instead of against – your body and keeps your physical form comfortable will generally make you feel content while wearing it.
Slippery silk, nubby linen, thick velvet, cozy cashmere. We can take clothing texture for granted because many basics don’t feel all that interesting or luxurious. But a few key pieces in sensually pleasing textures – a scarf or sweater, skirt worn against bare legs, or even an invisible camisole worn beneath other garments – can completely transform how you feel about your look and your figure.
Many of the items that stick around through closet purges regardless of their ability to flatter our figures do so because they are associated with certain people or events in the past. And this is NOT a bad thing! So long as you have the storage, keep them. And if they bring you joy, wear them. And consider sharing their stories with others so that joy can be augmented.
Aside from 5″ stilettos worn on cobblestone streets, most clothing doesn’t pose safety risks. But certain garments can enhance feelings of safety and security merely by design. Scarves help us feel less exposed, cardigans help us feel enveloped, flat boots ground us, jackets imbue us with authority. Feeling secure in your clothes can boost your confidence and buoy your emotions.
Clothes that feel good may do so because they feature gorgeous colors or prints. You may enjoy the texture of the fabric against your skin. Wearing certain items may remind you of people or places from your past. Aside from traditional figure flattery, there are many reasons why clothing might feel good to wear. And it’s a good idea to wear as many items that make you feel fabulous as you possibly can.
Images courtesy Gudrun Sjödén