Jennine left a fantastically thought-provoking comment on this post:
i really like the sentiment of this, however i don’t know if i agree whole heartedly. just because i hear so many women who use the word ‘flattering’ as an excuse to not try new things with clothing which is a shame because there are so many great designers who make garments beyond our conception of ‘flattering’ which are a lot more expressive, and pushes fashion into an art form rather than a function.
i’ve always felt that clothes are the bodies we can choose, though as i get older, i’m finding that our choices form our bodies as much as they determine our wardrobes.
And I hear that. We often get stuck on what we believe to be the most flattering styles for our figures, and never branch out. We want to look our best, flatter our bods, highlight our assets. And learning to do that is no mean feat, so once we’ve landed on a few key items or cuts that just WORK, we are loathe to abandon them.
But exploring new styles, trying new items, experimenting with clothing that falls outside our comfort zone is an invaluable way to learn more about our bodies, styles, and selves. And that includes clothes that aren’t traditionally “flattering” but may appeal to our aesthetic sense on another level.
But my thought is that, before you can explore garments that hide your figure, you need to learn to show it off. Understanding your highly personal proportions and how to capitalize upon them helps you both to understand which non-flattering items will still work for you, and to feel comfortable wearing them. Without that working knowledge, more adventurous items that play with proportion and volume and suchlike can make you FEEL weird about how you look. You lose your sense of where you end and the garment begins, and can end up feeling disproportionate or uncomfortable.
I think a very solid sense of what flatters your form is necessary before you can start manipulating it.