Finding clothing that looks good, makes you feel good and is at a good price — that’s every woman’s dream, right? That’s precisely why we partnered with the amazing Stacy London, Co-Founder & Stylist in Chief, Style for Hire, and her equally fabulous team of stylists to curate a sale event on Gilt.com that’s all about helping you find the most figure-flattering look possible. London, who also recently penned The Truth About Style took a break from her hectic schedule (yes, we are obsessed with her as the longtime co-host of What Not To Wear too!) to answer five key questions for Gilt StyleFile. Read her fabulous advice and then shop the Style for Hire event on Gilt.com starting at 9 PM ET on October 17.
Q: How do you determine what body type you are? Do you find that women have a hard time identifying correctly what their shape is?
I always recommend that you make an honest assessment of your body shape – at home — before you start any shopping. Objectively and without judgment, stand in front of a mirror and note the parts of your body that are wider or narrower or shorter or longer than a proportional, hourglass shape.
There are five basic female body types: bigger on the top, bigger on the bottom, extra in the middle, straight (not curvy) and the holy grail – proportional! But remember only 8% of women in the U.S. actually have a proportional, hourglass figure. So, the rest of us need to utilize styling tools to help create the illusion of having a perfectly proportional body shape. That’s where a stylist can really help, because let’s face it, most of us are not born with these tools automatically at our fingertips!
Q:What’s the best way to play up your favorite body part? -What’s the best way to downplay your least favorite body part?
The goal is to create balance, and once you understand where to add or subtract volume, the easier it is to achieve a look that fits and has sophistication.
You need to address what we call “top-to-bottom symmetry”: a key styling principle. If you are bigger on the bottom, you’ll want to draw the eye or add volume to the top with a garment that accents the upper body. The most important tool you have to create balance is silhouette – or shape of the garment. Remember, you want to use clothing to create the ILLUSION of an hourglass figure!
For example, if you have a broader chest or wide shoulders, avoid anything that will widen you: horizontal stripes, extreme shoulder pads or puffed sleeves. Look for clothing that creates volume in your bottom half like A-line skirts or dresses and wide-leg trousers. They will de-emphasize a wider shoulder or chest and give the illusion of a more proportional silhouette.
If you carry your weight in your belly, your instinct may be to hide it with blousy tops and baggy clothes, but this will only make you appear wider. Always attack the area you want to hide! In this case, try wearing a belt just above your natural waist, or a top with a v-shaped neckline. This will pull focus up to the face and emphasize the smallest part of your torso, creating the illusion of an “hourglass”, or proportional body shape.
Q:How much should you ask friends’ opinions in choosing what’s flattering? Why is using a professional stylist better?
Style for Hire stylists are non-judgmental, impartial, non-competitive ALLIES, when not all “friends” are. And this is what we DO all day, every day!
Q:What’s your best advice to women about feeling good in their clothing?
I believe that everyone can have great style, because style is not a privilege, it’s a right! It also takes time and a bit of effort, which is why hiring a stylist to help you navigate the process can help relieve stress and make shopping – and ultimately, getting dressed – fun!
It’s important to find joy in your wardrobe, so that you have the confidence to look your best – and feel your best – every day.
Q:What’s your favorite part of shopping on Gilt.com? Any favorite purchases to share?
I love the breadth of choice on Gilt.com, from fashion to accessories to lifestyle experiences – like hiring a personal stylist. All at price ranges that make these amazing finds more accessible to everyone.