Our bodies: Like them, love them or carry a fevered resentment toward them, they are what we have to work with. If you are a woman that judges yourself against women on the runway or in shiny magazines, you need to stop. Few, if any, women look like the models we see everyday in the media. Not even the models look like the models. They are digitally airbrushed, stretched, enhanced, smoothed out and otherwise sugar-coated for consumption. If a model is being real, they will be the first one to tell you that.
Two short stints working in retail positions at women’s clothing boutiques, as well as a few years spent modeling professionally, taught me two important things about women and fashion: The first one is that no two women’s bodies are the same. I’m not just talking about differences in weight or natural shape. I’m talking about differences in height, weight distribution, posture, muscle tone, skin texture, bilateral symmetry (or lack thereof) and even physical disability.
The problem is that many style guides illustrate how to “dress right for your body type” according to shapes defined as Inverted Triangle, Pear, Hourglass or Rectangle. These guides might be helpful, but, if the truth is to be told, women should know that most women are a blend between two types and even that changes as they age and/or bear children. These guides also don’t consider the natural variations that come from height differences or even the proportional differences caused by waist or inseam length.
The second, and possibly most important, thing that I learned from retail sales and modeling is not to judge a woman by her appearance. The women that look like they would be the most confident and happy, are often neither confident or happy. Appearances truly can be deceiving. On the other hand, many women that don’t match up to societal standards (for varying reasons) often are confident and happy. Don’t get me wrong, fashion is fun and compelling—I love it—but it will never beat out confidence as every woman’s seasonal “must have”—no matter what body type(s) she represents.