I have to give a quick shout-out to Becca for providing a lot of information related to building a capsule wardrobe both on her blog Free Motion and in the Facebook group Capsule Wardrobe Sew Along.
Now that I'm mostly recovered from my illness, I'm ready to write about the process of choosing the correct clothing for my body type. First I need to determine exactly what body type I have. There are several ways of doing this including everything from calculated methods involving body measurements to the most simple method ever - looking in a mirror. I'll start with the calculators that use measurements.
My measurements are 42 - 35 - 45. When I plug these exact same measurements in to various calculators (there are a ton more, but these are the first few that came up in a search) I got the following results:
Rather than simply looking in a mirror, I went slightly more technical and got out the camera and took pictures of myself from the front, back and the side. The results were interesting, at least to me. I'm not sure that anyone else will read this far down into the post, so this might well remain interesting only to me ;) From the front, I do indeed look quite a bit like a rectangle, although a fairly wide rectangle. My shoulders and hips are approximately the same width, and my waist, although not perfectly straight, is not necessarily well defined either. I appear to carry my weight evenly distributed from head to ankle. Although even excess weight does nothing to improve my skinny, bony feet! When I look at the pictures taken from the back, I can see where the pear results come from. I have a fairly narrow back for my size, and my hips do indeed look wider that my shoulders when viewed from behind. But the side view is what really throws me off. From the side, I am distinctly top heavy. As previously stated I have a large bust, and when you combine that with the fact that I have a somewhat flat butt and I don't carry a lot of weight in my stomach, I look like an inverted triangle.
So one question really stands out for me. How exactly am I supposed to dress for my body shape if I can't truly determine what it is? The answer: screw the body types :) Seriously, stop focusing on overall shape, and start focusing on individual attributes. For example, I've never been a fan of being full busted. It was, quite frankly, the bane of my existence while running high school track! I swear there wasn't a good sports bra (remember this was pre-internet) made for someone wearing a 32DD bra. It's possible there might be now, but since I no longer wear that size, and I'm sure I never will again, I really haven't taken the time to look! Although I no longer care as much about my bust size as I did then, I still out of habit tend to dress to minimize my bust, avoiding ruffles or anything else that adds volume on top.
On the flip side, I don't carry a lot of weight in my stomach. Sure, it's not as flat as it once was pre-kids, but it's still flat enough. As a result, I tend to wear more fitted clothes and avoid wearing empire waistlines which fall straight from my big boobs and tend to make me look pregnant. I've done the pregnancy thing enough, thank you very much!
I just realized that this post is kind of long already, and I haven't even gotten to the kind of clothes that flatter my shape, so I'm going to mix that info in to the post with the patterns I've chosen for my capsule wardrobe. I'm not making any promises about when I'll post, although I'm sure it will be fairly soon. Barring a plague or anything of the sort ;)
In the mean time, if you want to read more about dressing various body types or individual attributes, here are some good websites:
- Gala Darling - choosing appropriate pieces for each attribute organized by clothing item (i.e. choosing dresses for large calves or trousers for short legs, etc.)
- Joy of Clothes - overview of each body type, relationships between them and clothes that flatter each
- youolookfab - lots of articles about body type and fashion
- Style Makeover HQ - An interesting approach to body shapes that includes vertical body shapes. Just in case you were wondering, I am short (5'4") but with long legs and a short torso according to the site. I agree with the short torso thing, but I'm not too sure about the long legs!
- Shop Your Shape - Slightly different classification of body types, but good visuals for what flatters each type