I often dress for my personality without taking any notice of what is “correct” for my shape.
I’m what you’d call a classic hourglass: square shoulders, big boobs, small waist, big hips. But do I get dressed every day thinking “Now, is this what I’m meant to wear in order to show off and flatter my hourglass figure? Have I accentuated my waist? Am I steering clear of high necklines and loud patterns?” Er, no… it never even occurs to me!
I thought I’d bring you something a little different today for #iwillwearwhatilike and do more of a writing post than a “what I wore” post (not that I’ll deprive you of outfits today of course – there will be several)! I’m featuring examples of times where I’m absolutely, most definitely NOT wearing clothes that adhere to the rules of dressing for my particular shape.
And I loved the outfits I wore, and wouldn’t change a thing about any of them.
This red dress is a great example of something I loved wearing, but that breaks all the “rules” about dressing for my shape. Let’s look at the evidence…!
How to dress if you’ve got an hourglass figure (according to WikiHow)
In other words, don’t wear this red dress (exhibit A):
1. I’m not meant to add bulk to my bust. Whether that’s not wearing ruffles (which I have done), or not wearing high necks (as I’m doing in the red dress) I’m certainly not meant to have something skimming over the top of my boobs. Tut tut, Catherine.
2. I should wear snug, tailored pieces… Yeah right – this dress isn’t anything of the sort. Well made and beautifully cut, yes, but definitely not snug.
3. A wrap dress is my best friend, apparently. But I don’t like them personally, and I like them even less on me. But I liked the trapeze shape of this dress.
You get the idea? If I followed all those rules every time I’d be wearing the same sort of thing day in, day out. I’d never experience the joy you get from wearing a long, oversized trapeze dress in a bright red colour made from the most beautiful floaty, pleated fabric. Okay, so I’m not showing off my waist and my long skinny arms look even longer and skinnier than usual, but what does it matter?
Why should I deny myself wearing such a beautiful dress that I felt fabulous in just because my shape tells me I should be wearing something else?
The reason I wore the red dress is that I LIKE wearing red. It’s a beautiful, bright colour. It’s glamorous. It’s attention-seeking. If you put me in a blue wrap dress that has a pencil skirt and a low V-neckline that’s nipped in at the waist I’d be miserable as sin.
I WANT my cleavage to be covered up. I WANT most of my legs to be covered up. I WANT to wear big statements and bright colours and loud patterns – because they make me happy.
According to hourglass shape rules, I should stick with solid colours. COULD YOU IMAGINE ME NOT WEARING PATTERN ANYMORE…?!
I’m told that I can wear muted patterns, but really solid colours “flatter my figure best”. This basically goes against EVERYTHING that I enjoy about clothes. I LOVE loud patterns. And as you can see above, I love wearing clashing patterns. I don’t do it to shock, or because I want to be a rebel – it’s because I love pattern and can rarely choose just one. A beautiful pattern makes my heart sing. I went to art college so I’ve always erred towards colours and pattern and the way that they work together.
Those who know me personally will probably agree that I’m not a particularly quiet person(!) – I KNOW I have a loud voice that carries (my dad has told me so on many, many occasions), but I also know when to shut up and I do like spending time on my own now and then.
I’m extroverted. I’m a glass-half-full person. But I’m also shy among those I don’t know – I can’t stand drawing attention to myself in a room of strangers by being loud and I try to act with humility in appropriate situations.
How I dress for my personality, NOT my shape
If I like something, I wear it if it then makes me FEEL good as well.
Black isn’t my thing (too sombre and quiet for me). I love loud pattern and colour (that’s much more like the “loud” part of me). But I also don’t want to draw attention to my cleavage or my not-so-great legs (flashing the flesh ain’t my thing, in other words, and I do lack confidence at times)… I’m much happier with those covered up. So my style of dressing – you could describe it as “In Your Face Modest” – could be a way of describing my personality as well.
I’m certainly not saying that you should ignore ALL the rules for dressing your shape, especially if you’re stuck about how to hone your style and want some guidance. I just believe that you use those “dress for your shape” rules as just guidelines, not rules – and wear what makes your heart sing and expresses your personality as the building blocks of your style first and foremost.
Some other outfits that have broken the hourglass shape rules…
Above: A loud patterned, oversized coat with no discernible waist and boyfriend jeans? Hmmm…
“Stick with solid colours.” Sorry, no.
“Look for belted jackets, trench-style coats, or other fits that draw in toward the waist.” Nope, not done that.
“Look for pants that have a slight flare.” Again, sorry – I love my baggy boyfriend jeans.
Yes, my figure is covered up. Do I care? Not a jot. I love the bright colours, the comfort, and that crazy-large check.
Here are a few more…
Left: High neck. No waist definition. No “balancing out” of my boobs. Don’t care: I love the colours, the layers, the comfort.
Middle: A shift dress with no waist and generally the “wrong” shape. But still one of my favourite outfits ever – oh, the colours! The tailoring!
Right: I’m hiding all my “best” bits (boobs, waist) and showing off my “worst” bits (legs) here. But I love the Parisian-chic of that cape despite its not-good-for-an-hourglass silhouette, and anyway it actually looks better with a dress/skirt and legs out IMO.
Are all these outfits flattering? Maybe, maybe not. But what matters more to me is how I FEEL in them. I want to express my personality through my clothes, not announce to the world what my body shape is ad nauseam. I care more about what I think I look like, not what everyone else thinks, ergo: #iwillwearwhatilike…!
HAVE I CONVINCED YOU THAT YOU SHOULD DRESS FOR YOUR PERSONALITY BEFORE YOU DRESS FOR YOUR SHAPE? (OR DID YOU NEED NO CONVINCING…?!) TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS!
Like this post? You might also like…
Ladies I’d like your opinion on the Featured Favourites please! I’ve noticed that every week it seems to be the same people that link up over and over again: I LOVE the fact that those of you that do, do – but for those readers that come here for style inspiration I’m sure they’d like to see some more people take part.
Therefore rather than featuring three small images from the previous week’s link up, I was wondering whether you’d like to see a full post, say, once a month featuring outfits that I’ve seen and loved? Ideally I want it to be concentrated solely on those who have linked up but I need more variation in order to do that. Unfortunately many blogs also don’t have full-length or high-res images (I can’t use those) so in order to be featured they need to be both of those things too.
Any ideas? Would you lovely ladies be willing to recommend other bloggers in the comments who might like to link up? You could either leave their blog URL in a comment or ask them directly if they’d like to link up (they can subscribe to the reminder email below under “Want to receive an email reminder for the next link up”) perhaps. If you leave me their details I’ll contact them to say I was recommend by you, so please make sure you know they’d be happy to hear from me.
I know many of the links left here are from those that purely dump links and run – they never comment or leave a link on their post, which I know happens but TBH it’s bad form. I block those that consistently link up non-outfit posts (I provide the #SaturdayShareLinkUp for all subjects so there’s no excuse) and I try not to feature those that do that in the Featured Favourites. You’ve got to give a little as well as take…!
So let me know what you think – shall I change it to a monthly feature? Are you willing to recommend the link up to some new stylish ladies who’ve never linked up before? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas, and thank you x
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Thank you for joining the #iwillwearwhatilike link up! This started as a campaign on Instagram in August 2015 where women over 30 wore everything on a journalist’s list of “inappropriate” items for 30+ women (including leopard print, short dresses and oversized sunglasses. Yes, really). It was so popular that I decided to carry it on weekly where women of all ages link up their fabulous style, never mind what anyone tells them not to wear!
The link up goes live every Monday at around 3pm UK time and will stay open for a week. Whilst the original article was of course aimed at the 30+, you can be ANY age to link up. The only criteria is that you’re wearing whatever you damn well like!
Linking up etiquette…
CLICK HERE to read the rules of linking up (and to grab the #iwillwearwhatilike button). Basically it’s just good manners to link back to here – to leave a comment is even nicer!
PLEASE NOTE: This is for linking up WHAT YOU’VE BEEN WEARING ONLY. Non-outfit links will be removed and you might be blocked if you turn out to be a repeat “offender”!
Want to receive an email reminder for the next link up?
Please note that due to the new GDPR laws I’m unable to send an email reminder unless you subscribe to the mailing list of your own accord. CLICK HERE if you wish to be sent an email with a reminder to link up to the #iwillwearwhatilike link up as soon as it’s live.
Do share the love and visit as many links as you can (you never know what other lovely like-minded ladies you might meet) – the original Instagram campaign forged some wonderful new friendships so don’t miss out!