Don’t worry – no political content from me today. Suffice to say that I am bewildered by some of the things going on in our country at the moment and I wonder how this period of our evolution might be characterised by future historians.
On a history theme – my sons’ school recently held a ‘history week’ of its own. Parents were asked to dress the children in the fashions of a particular decade, depending on their year group. Something I found really interesting, when looking at these time periods in such a compartmentalised way, was how over time what is happening in society or government – rationing, changes in manufacturing, strikes, CND, etc – has an effect on clothing choices. Specifically, changes in the political landscape seem to have impacted the textures of clothing that we were drawn to at the time.
The 60s were all about Tweed – while British manufacturing was still a thing – and using the new ‘wonder’ fabric Nylon.
During the 70s, there was a pendulum swing away from nylon to natural, practical, fabrics. The faded photo albums of an entire generation reveal anyone (boys and girls) aged 4-13 at the time sporting flared, corduroy dungarees in shades of brown and green (thank you parents) while the mums wafted about in crochet or denim.
In the 80s, everything was about status. As a nation we got into power-dressing, and lycra, jersey and shiny, shell-suity, show-offy material in a big way.
What, you might ask, does this have to do with the advice I’m going to give today?
My answer: don’t overlook texture.
It has a big impact on how you look – even in a photograph!
Use texture wisely to avoid ‘bulking up’.
Regular readers will have heard my mantra about using colour to highlight your best areas, or disguise any bits you’d rather keep quiet about. Dark colours minimise, light colours draw attention.
What is interesting – and rarely noted – is that texture does the same thing. We are drawn to interesting fabrics and textures but often don’t stop to think about what they are adding (sometimes bottom inches) to an outfit.
Highly textured fabrics such as lace, crochet, a chunky knit or tweed often look lovely, but they tend to add visual bulk. So, if you want to look as slim and well-proportioned as possible (who doesn’t?) adopt a similar guiding principle as you would for putting colours on your body. Only wear a ‘look at me’ texture where you want the eye of the beholder to actually look at you.
Where (on your body) to wear texture.
Top-heavy figure types such as heart, rectangle, angular or ellipse should be careful when it comes to wearing texture on top. For bottom-heavy or pear shaped figures, adding texture to your outfits, on your top half only is a genius way of rebalancing your figure.
Recently a client came to see me for a transformation day. It was a classic English, freezing-cold, summer day. This fab lady had brought a cardigan with her (understandable given the classic weather), it was a lovely knitted piece but quite thick in texture. We chatted about why this navy blue cardigan was flattering to her figure when the exact same cardigan in white, which she also owned, did nothing for her.
The light bulb moment came when I explained that even though texture on her top half wasn’t a great idea for her body shape, in a darker colour it is easier to get away with. A white, highly textured top will add volume to her upper body, especially when she wears it with dark trousers which act to further slim down her already slim legs.
By reversing this outfit – so swapping the dark trousers to a lighter colour and the top to a darker colour with less texture, she will immediately look more in proportion and slimmer.
Try it for yourself.
It’s an easy thing to try for yourself. Experiment with textures on the different areas of your body and see if it makes a difference to how you look. And, for more information about how what you wear affects how you look and feel, and a guide to body shapes and how to balance them, you need my ‘5 Easy Style Tips for Looking and Feeling Fabulous’.
Based on my political analysis, I can’t help wondering which texture we might end up favouring for the rest of this decade. Let’s hope it’s not hessian!
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Good for thought Helen and love the photo, the colour is lovely on you.
I think ‘we’ are in for a rough ride as a ‘country’!
Thank you Margaret. I love bright blue!
You’ve reminded me that I’ve got some original 1960’s tweed of my mums that needed to be made up into a skirt!
Great, informative article as always Helen! I’ve always wished I could get away with wearing a chunky cream aran/cable knit jumper (lol…since the 80’s) but know that it would make me look…chunky 🙁 so I agree with the advice you gave your client about texture and darker colours on top.
Great advice as always Helen. Darker cardigans definitely look better on me and these days I go for layering rather than chunking up 🙂