What to do when you walk into a clothing store? This is when the magic starts. You are loaded with ideas of what you are looking for. Either individual items or entire new looks.
Today, I will share with you below what goes on in my head when I look at an item of clothing. I do this with every item that I pass. Without fail. It is like a checklist in my mind and it will need quite a few ticks before I would actually take it into a changeroom.
I am going to take it as a given that you know your body shape and what part of your body needs balancing out. Click here if you don’t know your body shape.
You know what you want and you know what you have in your wardrobe. So if you are looking for a top then you don’t look for a dress at the same time.
It is the focus that lets all the relevant items stand out and it removes the enormous amount of other stuff to impact on your attention.
If you are looking for a new look for the season you allow yourself to be open to inspiration and broaden your focus. The new look could already be brewing in your mind for a while as you may have seen it online, at school pick up on other mums, at work on your colleagues or in magazines.
I strongly suggest you take 5 to 10 seconds or so to scan the store as you will see splashes of colours appear that you like, styles that capture your eyes and accessories to match. Then you enter a store and start wandering through clock wise scanning through each item.
It is what I do without fail when I am with a client. It kind of sets the tone, it lights up my senses and sparks my attention.
Observe the mannequins, as they might inspire you how to put a look together.
I often see ladies walk into a store with their heads down trying to avoid the sales assistant at all cost.
As I work closely with the large retailer, Diana Ferrari, I see what happens at the back-end of retail. I see how much time and effort goes into the shop display. I see how passionate the store manager and her team are to help you find items you love. They also have seen the clothes on many different body shapes. Shop assistants can be a huge help in getting different sizes and styles. I suggest that when you are ready ask for help and they will be happy to assist.
BROWSING THE COLLECTION WITH A “CHECK LIST”
I will share with you below what goes on in my head when I look at an item of clothing. I do this with every item that I pass. Without fail. It is like a checklist in my mind and it will need quite a few ticks before I would actually take it into a changeroom.
Here are the questions is go over with each item of clothing:
✔︎ Is the colour right?
✔︎ Does the pattern appeal?
✔︎ Is the pattern the right size?
✔︎ Is the style right?
✔︎ How is the neckline?
✔︎ Will it make me look busty?
✔︎ What are the sleeves, arms and collar like?
✔︎ What is the rise of the pants?
✔︎ Is it tailored enough?
✔︎ How long is it?
✔︎ How does the fabric feel?
Decisions are great. Trying for the sake of trying will make you extra tired and could lead to disappointment.
In this checklist there are a few critical questions that would make me dismiss an item straight away.
➜ Colour is not your best.
➜ Pattern does not appeal
➜ Pattern is too large or little and does not suit body proportions
These are things you can’t fix in any way.
Let’s look at the rest of the checklist in more detail:
Is the Style Right?
When you know your body shape there are may resources available on the Style Angel website. I strongly suggest that you click on your Shape below and educate yourself on what areas needs balancing out what are suitable styles.
Click here if you need help measuring your body shape.
What is the neckline like?
A neckline can often surprise you. It is the high up t-shirt collar or turtle neck collars that are the most tricky to look great straight off the bat but generally most collars styles will suit a lot of different body shapes.
Square neck, cowl neck, v-neck, round neck and boat neck can look great on most ladies.
During my Style Sessions I often hear a client talk in absolutes like “I never wear this neckline” and when she does try it in on she is pleasantly surprised so I urge you to have an open mind when it comes to necklines.
Will it make me look busty?
Some body shapes, like a Pear Body Shape, want the top to make them look less flat chested. For other body shapes like an Inverted Triangle, the neckline is one of the most crucial elements to an outfit as their chest cavity and bust size are the largest part of their body.
When I see a button shirt for example with elegantly styled pockets on the bust I may pick this up for a Pear Shape and Rectangle body shape but not for an Inverted Triangle or Hourglass.
Then there are styles like cowl neck that often have the reputation of making you look bustier but they often camouflage the bust really well no matter what size.
Bust shapes vary so much that if it ticks the colour and pattern checklist, I am willing to see this on the body to see if it comes alive and looks great or if it goes back on the rack.
If your bust is a A to B cup then a medium size pocket on the bust visually will make your bust look bigger. C cup size and up usually don’t like any pockets right on the bust especially if they are cut square.
What are the sleeves, arms and collar like?
When you first look at a top, jacket, dress or cardigan you can identify a few things about the sleeve, neckline, collar and arms even before you put it on.
Is the stitching on the top right on the shoulders or does it keep going? What is the neckline; V-neck, cowl, round, deep round. Is the collar big, small, no collar. Is the arm style full length, cap sleeve, sleeveless or 3/4 length.
It is important that you choose a great size in top, jacket and cardigan that fits your shoulder line. I often get my clients to try one or two sizes smaller in cardigans and jackets that are open at the front. This will result in a much smaller line around your waist, back and arms without looking too tight.
Sleeves that keep going are a great option when you are very broad in the shoulders as it slims your shoulders down but not so great when you have narrow shoulders.
It all comes back to the Vital V which is the area people look at the most when they interact with you.
The Vital V starts from the top of your bust in the middle of your chest, goes around your ears to the top of your head and back to the chest.
So your shoulders are a huge factor on how “together” your look is.
Your bust, funny enough, is less of a focus, as it is not a resting place of the eye when people look at you, it is considered rude to stare at a woman’s breast area especially for men. Don’t get me wrong I am sure they sneak in a quick look but it is not a spot where the eye wanders for a break in eye contact for a long period of time.
If the size and/or wobbliness of your upper arms are bothering you than solely going for long sleeve or 3/4 sleeve is not necessarily your only option. It is really effective to use a short sleeve top and wear a jacket or cardigan in a different colour over the top for a slimming vertical colour contrast.
The length of your sleeves should not come past your wrist and if they are long simply take them up or fold them under instead of bunching them up your arm.
What is the Rise of the pants?
This is something I check straight away. I measure the rise from crotch to band and if it is not at least 21 cm then I move on. A band size of 21cm+ will give you support around the stomach area and it will not show a muffin top. It will stay on your bottom when you bend over and create a “stress-free” look.
Is it tailored enough?
This is definitely a big point. I find that most women want to accentuate their waist but in a comfortable way that does not show too many lumps and bumps.
Therefor I look for slight tailoring in a top, dress or jacket. A boxy and stiff top needs more work to make it look amazing on your shape but it is not the deciding factor until I have seen it on the body especially in a size smaller. Straighter tops can look incredible when tucked into a skirt or underneath a longer cardigan or leather jacket. There is potential and I have seen this style look incredible.
How long is it?
I am noticing that the length of tops in store are increasing as the sloughy relaxed look over jeans is becoming more and more popular. This does not mean that this is your “look”.
Before I go on, it is still important that the length fits your scale of your body. If you are 5 foot tall and your top looks like a dress, it is not even going to look great tucked into a skirt. If you are medium to tall in height then a longer top will give you a great number of mix and match options.
While we are on the subject of tucking in….
Learning to tuck in your tops regardless of your stomach size is a must in making your outfit look slim.
What I see most women do is to simply leave the top over a pants, skirt or jeans. Especially when you do this over a skirt, it will make you look boxy and very likely extra long in the upper body and short in the legs.
Tailoring your outfit in whatever way possible is crucial so you appear slimmer. Tucking in and blousing over, at least in skirts, is a great way to disguise stomach rolls and back fat. Leaving a top simply hanging down will show every lump and bump.
Did you know that you can test your best finish line of cardigan or tunic by holding your arm right by your side. If the cardigan length finishes between the knuckles and bottom of your finger tips the length is perfect!
When pants are extra long for your body the first check point is to see if you take the pants up it will not change the look. This is most imporant for bootleg and wider leg pants.
The ideal length of your slim pants is to the ankle or the top of your shoe.
The ideal length of your straight, wider or bootleg pants is 1 to 2 cms past the base of your shoe. If you have a shoe size that is 7 1/2 or smaller take your pants up to 1cm below the base of the shoe and if you have 7 1/2 or above you can go up to 2cms below the base of the shoe. You may wonder why? Well, you want to show off slim parts of your body and giving your foot a slimmer/higher cut off point will make your leg look slim.
The ideal length of your skirt is just below or just above the knee so if you see a skirt in the collection that either way shorter or way longer then don’t worry about trying it on.
When it comes to correct sizing of a skirt. The rule of thumb that works 9 out of 10 times is to pick a size smaller than your regular pants size.
How does the fabric feel?
Using your fingers to instantly feel what the fabric feels like next to your skin is very smart. Trust your gut feel; when it already does not feel right in your hands it is not going to feel better on your body which is even more sensitive. Itchy wool blends can drive you crazy. I will say that some colour seasons are more sensitive than others. Women with Summer or Autumn colouring are more sensitive than Winter or Spring colour seasons.
The Final Selection Into The Change Room
By now you should have a handful items that have made it past the checklist ready to try on. Part 8, 9 and 10 over the next few weeks will be dedicated to how to pick the right pattern, the perfect fit and how much you love the item.
Style Angel PodCast
I have also created a Podcast of Part 7 for your convience! Podcast is the audio file of todays newsletter. Simply click on the image and make sure you check out the images in the newsletter to get the most out of it.
YOUR NEXT PART IS ONLY A CLICK AWAY!
Part 8 – Pick the Right Pattern
Patterns are a tricky thing to pick for most my clients so I have it easy in Part 8 that you can find the right size of pattern as well as the right colour combination.
Patterns have a great ability to hide your natural curves by giving the mind of the person looking at you so much to process.
If the pattern is not only great in size, perfect for your colouring and the garment is a fantastic style for your body shape; you have hit the jackpot!
Part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 Quick Links
Did you miss the last few weeks of articles here are quick links:
Book a Styling
If all the above seems way too hard and you feel you need my help to select the right pieces for your body shape, please press below to book your Style Session most suited to you (and your budget! 😉).
ABOUT ANGELA BARBAGALLO
Angela Barbagallo is one of the brightest minds in personal styling and confidence coaching today.
Angela has educated her many clients in making great style choices, which translates into increased feelings of well-being and a positive attitude in life.
Angela is a body shape and colour expert and a best selling author on Amazon of two style books “8 Ways to Look Fabulous, Taller and Slimmer” and “The Real Woman’s Guide to Hair”.
Angela is the NSW Independent Style Consultant for Diana Ferrari since 2011 as part of their Fusion Reward Program.
Angela also collaborates with Corporate Clients such as Bank of America, Jetstar and Bupa with her “Dress for Success” program.
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