I guess I can delay the inevitable no longer. The time has come for me to share a picture (a real picture, rather than one I can photoshop to death) of me. And my body.
As well as discussing my current style and body shape, principal AS stylist Nina asked me about my assets: a stumper, for me because: 1. I struggle to identify such things; and 2. I hate to appear vain.
Because Nina’s obviously a Nigella Lawson fan, she suggested my ample bosom was a plus (although I’m less wedded to it quite frankly) in addition to the fact I have a waist.
“My height,” I said – cos – although far bigger than I want to be, I am just over 5ft 10inches (178cm). I also (arrogantly) named my smile, and Nina and Belinda added my eyes to the list. (Later Belinda told me that my personality actually needed to be at the top of that list. Which was a nice thing for her to say!)
And then came the moment of truth. The dynamic duo ushered me into the nearby salon where they’d sent up temporary shop (below, which – incidentally looked AMAZING!) to start the styling.
We started by talking colours. You can actually do entire sessions to work out ‘your colours’ but Belinda made it simple.
“If you’re wearing the right colours your eyes pop.”
That’s it. If you’re wearing the right colours you and your face don’t get lost in the fabric. In my case – thank god – black is a good colour. I need ‘real’ colours apparently – nothing wishy-washy.
We’d already agreed my body shape was that of a rosebud (ie. I’m bottom heavy) although I do have a defined waist. I also discovered I am EXTREMELY long-waisted and my legs are balanced (calf to knee and knee to hip, presumably).
I’d already warned Belinda and Nina about my aversion to booby-ness. “Getting the girls out,” one of my friends says when she’s wearing something low-cut. I’m a less-is-more person when it comes to my chest and prefer to look as flat as possible. However… as a bottom-heavy rosebud, I’m supposed to be drawing attention to my upper body. Gah!
You’ll see from the pics though that you haven’t always got to wear something low-cut, rather looping some pearls (etc) to draw the eye to the region, is just as good. Apparently.
Nina and Belinda zipped about the salon finding combinations of clothes while I watched on in amazement. They knew what was where and moved with incredible synchronicity before Brisbane-based Belinda announced she was ready for the styling to begin.
Although I’d said I really only wear trousers, the duo were keen to get me out of my comfort zone and had me try on three or four dresses before returning me to my black trousers to don several tunic tops.
In all honesty I struggled with what I saw in the mirror. Belinda and Nina (and the next
victim stylee, J) commented on each of the different outfits but I continued to see my big belly and boobs; fat thighs and face; and scary styleless-because-I’m-growing-it hair. It was marginally better at one point when the mirror was too low for me and my head was cut off as I was able to look at my body more dispassionately – as I would the gals in the Curves (etc) pictures.
This dress (above) was the favourite of both stylists. I liked the look of it but wasn’t sure where I’d wear it at this point in time. (Plus I’m on a budget, but more on that later!)
I tried on quite a few dresses with high waistlines. I know this is somewhat inevitable given that I have a long body, but Belinda advised that you need to draw attention to the SMALLEST part of your waist – which could be your upper waist (just under your boobs). If you’re wearing a belt, you need to wear it high, not low over the larger part of your body – unless you’re needing to draw attention to it (which I most certainly am not!)
In most of the outfits I donned I wore the ‘framer’ – ie the black soft light coat. I don’t like my upper arms so it works to hide those but also frames my body.
I also learned that – if you are trying to give yourself more shape (a waistline) then you should push your sleeves up to 3/4 length so they end at around your waistline (when your arms are by your sides!).
This dress below, is the first I tried on and was the biggest shock for me. I felt very booby and exposed and it wasn’t really ‘me’ but probably looks the most different to the usual ‘me’.
I also tried on a number of other dresses and tunics and as I did so a few things became obvious: round necklines and I do not a marriage make. This had never previously been so obvious (and I suspect the number of things I tried on made it more evident). I know Belinda suggested I can knot pearls or wear a necklace, but I felt my boobs looked very boxy when I wore a round neckline.
Sadly a few of the other photos are quite blurry (though I might add one of the others to my Facebook page… maybe).
Rather ridiculously – despite the fact I’m not currently working or earning an income I chose to buy the most expensive thing I tried on. I didn’t do it deliberately but… rather sensibly.
The Chameleon Florence Wrap dress (pic from AS website below) can be worn a number of ways (including inside and out) and will be great for work, the pub or outings with friends. It’s literally about ten dresses in one.
It will be the first dress or skirt I’ve worn in about 5 years; and I may need a PhD to work out the different ways to wrap it but thankfully the Annah Stretton website has instructions AND a video to help!
I’d love to get styled again when I’m feeling better about myself.
It occurred to me that I needed this after I lost 25kg a couple of years ago – because although I started dressing a bit more confidently, my style didn’t really change. I continued to ‘cover up’.
I now realise that
if when I again lose weight, I don’t have to dress any differently (just go down a size or two hopefully). My body shape, my colouring and my ‘assets’ won’t change. I need to continue to downplay the bad less-good and promote those aspects I want others to focus on.
Being styled by people who know what they are doing was extremely beneficial. Our perception can be so tainted. My eyes immediately go to certain places and all I can see are the bulges or chubby bits, whereas other people (particularly those who know what they’re doing) can look dispassionately at your body as a whole and work out what looks best.
Would you consider a personal styling session?
Do you think you’re currently wearing the wrong thing for your body shape?
PS. This is not a sponsored post. You can buy Annah Stretton online or in locations listed on the website.
PPS. In my ‘before’ picture I’m wearing an old faithful outfit: a Nicola Waite (Nic) blouse; TS14+ black trousers; Nine West boots; and jewellery from Thousand Island Dressing (all purchased by moi).
PPPS. Had I known I’d be trying on clothes I would have worn better underwear. #justsayin