Monday, 8 March 2010

Break the Rules

I'm quite strict with myself when it comes to style. I don't live and breathe fashion but I am a firm believer that your shape suits certain things, and you shouldn't deviate from the flattering, well-worn path you've followed since becoming that shape. Basically - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. My unbroken rules include lots of LBDs, short skirts with long sleeves, opaque black tights, wrap-dress necklines and sky-high heels. I am and always will be a curvy girl, which counts out frilly-detailed tops, waif-perfect volume and athletic playsuits. With curves comes the grave responsibility of not looking like a potato sack.

There has to be waist belts and block colours and no high necklines. As a bit of a shortie, hosiery and shoes must elongate legs, which leaves very little room for pattern or t-bars cutting across the ankles. If I dare to wear a very eighties-flashdance oversized T, every other aspect of the outfit has to scream slim. A flash of shoulder or collarbone, black leggings or skinny jeans, more heels. It's all about balance and proportion for the curvalicious, a logistical nightmare for some trends. I quietly admire most catwalk highlights before mentally putting them back on the rack. This Spring/Summer, massive tribal prints and baggy trousers (which look great on who, exactly?) cropped tops, dungarees, double denim and clogs will all be huge fat no-nos for girls like me. On the other hand, we can console ourselves with military jackets, trench coats and nude-toned shoes (structure, structure, leg-lengthening. Tick.)

This may sound a little style-nazi, but I just don't think shapely women look or feel comfortable in 'arty', experimental clothing. A size 12-14 in a classic DVF wrap dress is ravishing - wedged into futuristic shapes or microscopic hotpants, not so. I think it's great that we get to look to old-school Hollywood starlets for inspiration and can fill out corsets and get that coveted waist-to-hip ratio in voluptuous red carpet dresses. But I don't think 80% of what comes out of fashion week is meant for us. It's like any modern art; lots of us can appreciate the innovative nature of a stained bed or signed urinal, but that doesn't mean we want it in pride of place in our living room.

This year, however, I've realized I'm only inches away from becoming the fashion Grinch when it comes to new trends. So I'm setting myself the challenge to spend this Spring trying the bits that my mind immediately stamped a 'NO' on when I was flicking through the trend reports.

Cute, but will it work on real women?

White tights
Is it Alice in Wonderland fever or just us longing to get back to our party-dress thrill? When I was about six I had white opaque tights with a sparkly Little Mermaid illustration near the ankle that I absolutely adored. Can the thick white tight be resurrected in my 23rd year? Asos magazine seems to think so. I'll have a browse for a suitable pair in the next couple of weeks and get back to you on whether it's nostalgia-chic or just lamb-dressed-as-foetus horror.

Oh, to be Blake-shaped

Oh so flirty and cute on tall athletic chicks, I have long admired and feared the playsuit. Arrogance aside, I think I have the legs for it, but it may have to be a slinky, belted design for me to get away with the look. Might also be time to haul out the fake tan, my legs have had little or no exposure this winter.

The ultimate 'don't'?

Socks and sandals
Whether it reminds you of your grandad or your woodwork teacher, the S'n'S has been a long-running fashion joke. But lo, this month both Glamour and Cosmo are filled with leggy models rocking the (delicate) ankle sock with (epically high) sandal trend. The best real world way to work this would probably be a sheer or lacy black ankle sock with vertigo-inducing black heels, but I kind of love the way Glamour did brights with clashing brights. Either way, this is the one I feel will be the hardest to pull off in urban Surrey.

Hello, boys

Dare to bare
I've always admired a curvy woman who's content to put it all out there and say 'yes - I am a goddess' with everything she wears. In classic terms, this is always Marilyn; a modern day equivalent might be Kelly Brook. When you're ample of bosom and generous of hip, it can be so comfortable to hide under long sleeves, wrap necklines and pencil skirts. But the Marilyn effect of just wearing it, no matter how sheer, strappy or cleavage-enhancing is really quite something. I need the right event for this one (and God knows, the right dress) but I'm determined to do it.

Loud and proud

Loud prints and baggy clothing are about as far from my idea of style heaven as you can possibly get. The enviable figures on are sporting baggy pantaloons, psychadelic dresses and jumpsuits and chunky jewellery. While all of this extra volume may compliment a slim wrist or legs up to one's armpits, how do us mediocre 5-something footers wear it? I'm seriously asking! Fashion bloggers' thoughts welcome.

So I'll get back to you when all boxes are ticked (I've set myself months rather than weeks to try these out... I don't have the budget for weekly fashion experiments right now.) I recommend you set yourself a similar style challenge and step outside your trusty shape-flattering box this season. There are few starting points for someone exceeding a size zero - even Mark Fast's generous casting of size 12s on his runway was undermined by his dressing them in shapeless, badly-fitting knitted dresses that I personally wouldn't touch with a barge pole. But it's the thought that counts.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I don't need to buy any white tights, my legs are white enough ;o)