Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought,
“You know what? I really look like a pear today.”
No. No you have not. Because we’re not fruit, our bodies do not resemble fruit and this oversimplified idea of what women’s bodies are “supposed” to look like – according to the Pinterest realm – is trash. I said it.
So much of our society’s idea of what makes someone “beautiful” or “attractive” is dictated by men. Think about it. American Standard Sizing was first developed in the 1800’s during the Civil and Napoleonic Wars taking place and for the first time there was a need for mass produced clothing. This first attempt at “standard” sizing was for men and was based on the chest measurement.
Think about how much has changed in only a hundred years. I mean, the term “fashion designer” was spoken for the first time in 1908. That’s only about a hundred years ago. It was a term developed to determine the difference between an artist who used clothing as a medium and a run of the mill dressmaker. Meaning that a little over a hundred years ago we were all getting clothing custom made for our individual shapes.
We joke around about being the generation that remembers the sound of dial-up (if you don’t know – google it. Feel our pain) that was already only a little over a decade ago. Everything in our day to day lives have changed yet we’re still okay with a sizing system that was originally developed by taking a selection of 15,000 white, poor and undernourished women in 1939? No account for diversity, occupation or health? We’re still okay with the beauty standards that say that there is only one body shape that is truly desirable? Um, hard pass.
These fruit shapes are where it needs to stop. Your STYLE has absolutely nothing to do with your shape. Did you hear that? I looked up the definition of style in three different dictionaries. Not a single one of them made any reference to shape or size. Because style is how you put your clothes together not the clothes you chose.
Learning and understanding the key elements in proportion are a much more beneficial tool to be able to use in your style journey. Proportion being how pieces interact with each other and on your body. Some of these elements are almost touched on with the fruits – I think it was probably what they were going for but they missed the mark. A few key elements to remember when working proportions into your style game:
Volume, length and shape.
Remember that advice from your mum where she told you if you were going to wear skinny pants to not wear a fitted shirt? What she was saying was play with “volume on top” and utilize balance in your appearance. Volume can also be used all over, on just the bottom, in the sleeves of a garment. The trick is to use volume to create balance. If you have wider or more athletic shoulders, adding volume to that area will bring more attention to it. If you want to offset that area then using volume on the bottom will create a more balanced look. Neither is wrong, it depends on what you like as the wearer.
Length doesn’t have to mean where your hem hits. Length can be in the sleeves, waist, pant length and they all can change where our eye goes and help draw attention to the parts of your body that you want to accentuate. Think about it this way, if you want to make your waist look super tiny wearing a high waisted black pant (I’m thinking about the Shelby here) with a more voluminous top (Riley) that stops right at the waist you’re creating a hard line at the smallest part of your body which is then drawing your eye there.
Sneaky tip – you can also use a “V” neck top or a long pendant to create a “V” shape which will act as an arrow bringing even more attention to your waist. See fashion is about math, which is probably why it’s so hard to explain.
Finally Shape. Shape has to do with the cut of the garment, the sleeves, neckline etc. As demonstrated above we can use the shapes in your clothing to bring the attention we want to the areas we want them.
Did you notice the words I used though? Proportion, Shape, Length, no fruit salad anywhere here.
Be kind to yourself. We have so many outside pressures and life pressures that happen naturally that we don’t need to add to it by trying to figure out an overcomplicated chart that really only a few people understand or fit exactly into one of these shapes and that these tips work for. I wrote that all as one sentence because in my brain it’s said very fast and long winded like that. I write like I talk, sorry.
Remember, style is a way of speaking without having to use words.
Also Rachel Zoe said that, not me. But I wish I did.