Blog • Leslie Friedman Consulting: Fashion, Personal Branding, and Communication Resources
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What to wear to work in the summer

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Ah, summertime.

 

Love it or hate it, you still have to go to work and look like a decent human being no matter how hot and/or humid is it outside.

 

Although I am definitely in the #lovesummerhateeverthingelse camp with Leandra Medine, I realize that looking professional in the hot hot heat isn’t always the easiest accomplishment. That’s why I’ve decided to come up with a couple simple steps to getting dressed for work in the summer.

 

 

summer work 2

 

Step 1: Choose the right fabrics

Did you know that some fabrics can make you hotter than others? It’s true! Here’s a breakdown of what materials you should be wearing (and which you shouldn’t)

 

WEAR THIS:
  • Cotton, bamboo, and linen natural fibers. Natural fibers are ‘breathable’ meaning that they let air pass easily through them. The more air passing through the fibers, the more your body is cooled down (not to mention all the hot air isn’t stuck right next to your body). BONUS: they also dry fairly well.
  • Performance fabrics. These are specific fabrics that are designed to wick (aka: pull) water away from your skin and transfer it through the fabric letting it evaporate into the air. Think: your fabric yoga outfit. The tricky part is to make what is essentially work out clothes work appropriate (no fear though, I’ll show you some examples below!)

 

NOT THAT:
  • Wool. Wool’s specialty is trapping body heat which is why it’s so effective at keeping you warm in the winter. Even if you are opting for a summer sweater, be sure to choose cotton.
  • Anything plastic (that isn’t a performance fabric). Plastic fabrics are the worst in hot weather. Not only do they allow NO air flow, but they also take forever to dry out…meaning that you’ll sweat a lot and everyone will know. I use the term ‘plastic’ to describe these fabrics because they are literally made out of plastic (fun fact!). The most popular plastic fabrics are: polyester, acetate, and nylon. (IMPORTANT! Technically, performance fabrics are made from some of these same materials. The difference is that PF have been specially modified for athletes. A button down shirt from your local department store made from polyester IS NOT a performance fabric).

 

Step 2: Work around your classic wardrobe

Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean you have to neglect your entire wardrobe. The first step to putting together a great summer work outfit is to have the right basics. (Not sure what the basics are? Click here to learn more about the 20 basics every woman needs in her closet.)

Once you have the right basics, you can build off of them for summer. Here’s an easy formula to doing just that:

1. Start with a skirt or pants (or tailored shorts if your work allows)

2. Add an undershirt (this soaks up most of the sweat, if you’re a sweater)

3. Choose a blouse that is sleeveless or short sleeve (you can stop here if you aren’t required to cover your shoulders)

4. If your dress code requires you to cover your shoulders, wear a light cardigan instead of a blazer

5. Top with fun accessories. Since you aren’t wearing as many layers, use accessories to make your outfits more interesting.

 

Keep reading to see outfit ideas using this formula!summer work 1

 

Step 3: Know the tricks of the trade

 

When you live in a hot place, you develop ways to work around the heat (and still look professional).

 

Here are my favorite tips:

 

1. Wear an undershirt.

I know I already said this, but it really does work! There’s a relatively new company that makes ‘sweat proof’ undershirts. I have never tried them, so I can’t vouch for whether they work, but if you have tried NUMI, leave a comment below and let us know!

 

2. Keep things as loose as possible.

A-lines skirts > pencil skirts. Swing dress > sheath dress. Loose blouse > fitted blouse. I think you get the idea. The more air flow you have, the better things will be. To achieve a more tailored and less bohemian look, tuck in shirts, belt tops and dresses, and add fitted clothing once you get to the office. See picture below.

image

3. Layers are just as important in the summer as the winter.

With the summer heat also comes severe air conditioning abuse. Keeping several blazers or cardigans at work allow you to still look professional without the need to walk across the city in a suit jacket.

 

4. Get your hair and makeup to play along.

Wearing your hair in a nicely coifed up do not only looks professional, but it keeps it off the back of your (hot) neck. As for makeup, you need some sort of setting spray or powder. Seriously. If you don’t, your makeup will take an unfortunate pilgrimage down your face as the day goes on.

 

Need some outfit inspo? Check out these ideas:

workoutfits1

(Can you tell which items are actually activewear? I’ll give you a hint: both dresses and two shirts are made from performance fabrics)

 

What do you love to wear in the summer when it gets hot? Tell me below in the comments!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

 

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How to wear shorts when you’re over 50

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How to wear shorts when you're 50+

“I can’t wear shorts, I’m too old for that”

It’s a comment I hear often from women over the age of 50 (and sometimes over the age of 40!)

They feel that hitting a certain number automatically takes away their right to wear specific types of clothing. Well folks, I’m here to tell you that it just isn’t true.

Saying you can’t wear shorts over a certain age is just as ridiculous as saying someone over a certain size shouldn’t wear a swimsuit.

I understand that you want to look age appropriate, but I have a little secret for you. It’s possible to wear shorts at any age and look age appropriate.

Here’s how.

1. Choose the right length

Obviously, you don’t want to wear daisy dukes, but just because you’re older doesn’t mean you have to wear Bermuda shorts. Finding the right length for your body is key to looking age appropriate in shorts. Essentially, you want your shorts to be no higher than where the inside muscle of your leg ends. To find that spot, stand in a superman pose with your legs slightly spread. The inside of your legs will get thinner as they go from your pelvis to your knee. Whenever they stop getting thinner and just go straight down, that’s where the muscle ends. Here are several pictures featuring women of different body types and shapes. The red line is where the inner muscle ends (and where your shorts should begin).

From left to right: Ashley Graham, Goldie Hawn, Julie Andrews

2. Keep it simple.

Leave the bright floral prints, polka dots, and stripes to your kids and grandkids. Opting for neutrals like white, beige, black, and navy are going to look more classy than cutesy. It’s also a good idea to choose shorts from more structured fabrics like thick cottons and canvases. These fabrics don’t wrinkle as easily, they don’t cling to your skin, and they look more pulled together (aka: age appropriate!) than linens and slinky polyesters. Keep it simple when it comes to pockets, too. Cargo pockets look bulky and will make your legs look bigger than they are. The more hidden the pockets, the better. If you need help coming up with a classic wardrobe of clothes, click here.

Washed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda ShortsWashed Chino Bermuda Shorts7" Button-Hem Short Riviera Shorts with 6 Inch Inseam color Coral Blush

From left to right (LLBean, Eloquii, Talbots (other colors available), LOFT (more colors))

how to wear shorts and not look frumpy

3. Choose the rest of your outfit wisely.

If you’re showing more skin on your bottom half than normal, cover up more on top. A cardigan or long sleeve shirt will keep you from looking like you’re baring all. Also, try to pick tops that match the formality of your bottoms. In other words, if you’re wearing gym shorts, wear a t-shirt. If you’re wearing tailored khaki shorts, opt for a nice blouse (like a button down oxford). Pair nice shorts with the same tops you would wear with business casual khaki pants.

Here are several ideas of how to wear shorts:

outfits with shorts

Left to right (Casual daytime look, more professional look, very casual/beach look)

Creating a wardrobe of clothes you love can be hard, not to mention when you’re trying to achieve an age appropriate look. If you’re looking to boost your style (or even start out in the right direction) keep reading here about my classic wardrobe basics (and the 20 items that make up every great wardrobe- no matter how old or young you are).

How do you wear your shorts? I’d love to know! Comment below. 

xoxo, Leslie

 

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The pair of shoes you can wear with anything

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The only pair of shoes you'll need

 

Anyone who knows me (or follows my blog) probably knows that I’m a neurotic packer.

I absolutely love packing for trips. This, in and of itself, is weird (or so I’m told). But while the rest of world dreads packing and procrastinates until the last minute, I start planning months in advance.

My goal is to pack the least amount (I almost never check a bag!) but still have enough clothes to look really stylish and appropriate for my destination. Because of that, I approach packing like a puzzle. How many outfits can I make from the least amount of clothes? How many accessories do I need to make each outfit look amazingly unique, even if I wore it the night before? And, the question that brings us to today’s topic, what is the least number of shoes I can pack? (psst. My biggest packing tip is to only pack some of the basics from your wardrobe.)

Shoes are a big deal. For one, they take up a lot of room in a suitcase. They are also extremely important when it comes to enjoying your trip. You don’t want to get blisters on the first day from bringing shoes that don’t fit well.

I just went to New York City for the weekend to meet up with my sisters. Activities included everything from walking around the Met to going out and laying out. I needed a shoe that would look great with a fancy dress, jeans, and a swimsuit. It was a tall order.

What did I end up choosing? A cute pair of black mules. The picture below is the exact pair of shoes I wore.
target black muleBlack Mules from Target ($24.99)

Since I had copious amounts of time in airports and cars this past weekend, I got to thinking, “Is there one shoe you could pretty much wear with anything?” The shoe above did just that, but what happens when that shoe is outdated? And that’s when I got my follow up answer; it wasn’t about the exact shoe itself so much as the type.

The picture above, is a fancy flat. If you’re not familiar with that term, don’t feel bad, I literally made it up in the Delta lounge last weekend. More on what makes a fancy flat fancy later, but I want to hit on why this type of shoe will always be around:

When that fancy flat gets outdated, another fancy flat will take it’s place.

Just think about the last couple years of fashion when it comes to flats: ballet flats were all the hit (a la Tory Burch), then loafers, and now mules. In a few years (or months) another flat will take the place of mules.

So what makes a fancy flat fancy?

So glad you asked. It’s some sort of embellishment or attribute that takes the shoe from completely casual to gussied up. It could be an actual embellishment like tassels (see above) or rhinestones. Or it could be as simple as using leather or satin instead of canvas or some other cheap substitute.

This is the secret to having a shoe that can go back and forth from a maxi dress to a swimsuit.

Below are two flats. The one on the left is just a normal, casual flat while the other is one I’d consider ‘fancy’. Can you tell the difference?

Galinsky Loafer

Left (Toms $49.95), Right (Aldo $59.99)

The two shoes above are very similar, but because the one on the right uses leather instead of canvas and has a pointed toe, it looks fancier. Crazy how such a small change can make a big difference right?

Both shoes will look great with jeans, but only the one on the right will look good with fancier skirts, dresses, and even work pants.

Keep reading to see the top 3 reasons why fancy flats are so incredible.

you can wear these shoes with everything

 

The top 3 reasons why the fancy flat can be the only shoe in your closet:

  1. It’s a flat, so it’s easy to walk in. If you have one shoe in your closet, it better to be easy on your dogs.
  2. It’s fancy (or part of it is dressed up in some way) so the casualness of the low heel is contrasted with the more formal embellishments or materials. These two qualities ying and yang to create the perfect shoe that can work just as well with jean shorts as it can a silk slip dress.
  3. What’s en vogue changes enough, that by the time you wear out your pair of fancy flats, another pair will be on the market (which means you are always in style)

 

I love fancy flats, and think they’re so important, that they actually made my list of the top 20 items you need in your closet.

 

 

Looking for more fancy flat options? Try these:

Renzo Flat

DSW $44.99

Rodney Pointy Toe d'Orsay Flat, Main, color, Pink Snake Print Leather

Nordstrom $83

Sunflower Studded Mule Slide

Bergdorf Goodman’s ($347)

 

As you can tell, not all fancy flats have to be plain black (although that is pretty versatile!) Pick a pair that works well with the color scheme of your closet or opt for neutral colors like beige and black to get the most wear! They also don’t have to be fancy priced. The pair of mules I took to New York were less than $25. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Do you have a pair of fancy flats that you love? Tell me below!

xoxox,

Leslie

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The Best Swimsuits for Every Body Shape (2018)

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To celebrate the official start of summer, I want to talk swimsuits.

Did I hear a groan? What’s that? You don’t LIKE shopping for swimsuits?

That’s weird. Just kidding.

It’s not weird at all. In fact, most women I talk to absolutely dread bathing suit season. They either don’t like their bodies, or they have trouble finding swimwear that fits. (Sound familiar?)

Well, fear not, because I want to help make swimwear season a little less horrible for you.

Below, are my top swimwear and cover-up suggestions for each body shape. If you’re not sure what body shape you are, take this easy quiz.

Enjoy! (and happy swimming!)


 

 

Pear

If you’re a pear, look for bathing suits that are basic (aka: boring) on the bottom and fun up top. This draws the eyes away from your bottom half and up to your top half, making it look larger (which is a good thing).

Off the shoulder tops, ruffles, and lace up styles are all really popular this summer. Look for ones that have those features around the bust or shoulder area (like the swim suits below!) High cut legs are also really in this year and will look amazing on you. Don’t be afraid to try them.

If you’re self conscious about showing off your hips/butt in a swimsuit, try adding a neutral colored sarong (like the first picture) to your outfit. This will help cover your butt and hips without making you look short and stumpy (which is what those skirt bathing suits do when the skirt hits across the widest part of your hips)

Main Idea: 

Wear this…ruffle sleeves, embellished necklines, and off the shoulder tops with neutral bottoms.

Not that…Hipster bikini bottoms and lots of detail around the hips/butt. Avoid skirts/shorts/bottoms that hit across the widest part of your hips. 

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Inverted Triangle

 

If you’re an inverted triangle shape, look for bathing suits that are basic, or more boring, up top and have more details around the hips and waist. This visually makes your hips look bigger (in a good way!) and draws attention away from your broad shoulders.

As seen below, pom-poms, ruffles, and high waisted swimsuits are all in this year. Choose swimwear with ruffles around the hips (like the last pic), or other similar detailing like peplums, horizontal stripes (like the second pic), or bright colors.

Your best cover up is going to be a fun sarong. Go crazy with colors and textures, like in the one below, or keep it simple with one bold hue. Whichever you decide, make sure it makes a statement!


Main Idea: Wear this…ruffles, patterns, skirts, and horizontal lines on the bottom part of your suit while keeping the top half boring. Usually triangle style tops are better than bandeau. 

Not that…off the shoulder tops and anything embellished around the upper body!

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Hourglass

Hourglasses are the ones who never complain about swimsuit shopping, because they look good in pretty much any swimsuit.

If you like showing off your curves, keep your swimsuit simple like the second picture. If you like a more modest look, go for a retro looking one piece.

Your best cover ups are going to be ones that come in at the waist. That means that they either have elastic, a tie, or a drawstring around the waist. Long robes with ties (shown below) will look especially good.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…balanced swimwear that doesn’t have too much going on up top or on the bottom. 

Not that……..(there literally isn’t anything! You’ll look great in pretty much everything)

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.

Rectangle

If you’re a rectangle, you’ll want to look for swimwear that makes you look curvier than you are. You can do this a couple ways: 1) by adding volume to your hips and bust, 2) by accentuating your waist, or 3) both 1 and 2.

The model in the middle picture below (and under the apple example) are both rectangles. Look for one pieces that accentuate your waist, like this tie waist option below. Look for bikinis that have an equal amount of visual interest (ruffles, ties, colors, etc.) on the top as on the bottom, like the second picture below. Any sort of seaming or tailoring that draws the eye into your waist and back out is also good (you can see examples of this under the apple swimsuits).

You can wear almost any cover, so why not go dramatic? The Tory Burch caftan below was made for your body.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…suits with fun trim, accented waists, and princess seam details. Hipster bottoms and bandeau tops work well for you. 

Not that…solid, athletic suits will make you look like a child, or pro swimmer.  

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.


 

Apple

Similar to the rectangle, apples should focus on swimwear that makes them appear to have a defined waist.

Seaming and pattern changes, like the one piece below look best on you. If you are looking for a one piece, make sure that the top and bottom have equal amounts of visual interest. The bikini below has a color, style, and button details that reflect evenly (for the most part) on the top as on the bottom. The way the buttons slop inward to the waist on the bottom and are on the middle of the top, visually create the illusion of a waist.

Elastic waist coverups are a good option for apples, as you can adjust the elastic to wherever you want your ‘waist’ to appear.

Main Idea: 

Wear this…suits with princess seams, pattern changes (like the Tory Burch above) and color blocking. 

Not that…muumuu bathing suits that make you look like a sack that is much bigger than you actually are. 

 

Want to know what top 20 items every woman needs to have in their wardrobe? Check it out here.

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How to dress an HOURGLASS shape

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Different styles throughout the decades tend to favor various body shapes. The 60’s claimed the rectangle, the 80’s the pear, and the 40’s were great for apples- to name a few. What about the hourglass, though?

If you’re an hourglass and you’re feeling left out because the decade of styles that looked best on your were from the 1950’s…DON’T. Your time has come again.

Thanks to the Kardashians, the hourglass shape is back in and hotter than ever. This is especially good news for extreme hourglasses (ie: you’re curvier than most) who might have trouble finding outfits to fit their bodies.

So, no matter what you think about the Kardashian kids, give them your thanks, because their celebrity status is driving fashion trends (which means you don’t have to rely on ‘retro’ style clothing to make your body look as incredible as it is!)

 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What an hourglass shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity hourglass examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re an Hourglass If…

You know you’re an hourglass shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. You have a defined waist that is noticeably smaller than your hips/bust

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Hourglasses:

I already mentioned the Kardashian kids (and I did throw one in for good measure) but here are several other stars with hourglass shapes.

 

See the source imageThis fitted dress is a huge success at showing of Salma Hayek’s hourglass curves. 

 

Source: New York Daily News

Sofia Vergara  

 

See the source image

Ah yes, and then we have Kim. What I like about Kim is that there are literally millions of paparazzi shots of her wearing everything from sweatpants to going out clothes (like above). This is nice because it allows hourglasses to see what they might look like in different outfits, without even having to try them on. Thanks, Kim!

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

Here’s the thing though. You don’t have to use any optical illusions to make you look like an hourglass because YOU ARE an hourglass. Your only job now, is to preserve your hourglassness.

 

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: preserve your hourglass shape. If you wear something voluminous up top, you need to match that visually on the bottom. For example, a loose t-shirt looks best tucked into fitted wide leg pants. Likewise, a full skirt is best evened out with some eye catching detail up top (off the shoulder shirt, statement necklace, etc.). Whatever you do though, don’t lose your waist!! Make sure it’s defined at all times. (Pssst: want some help picking out the basics you need in your closet? Click here to hear about the 20 basic items everyone needs)

Here is what to wear, when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: Fitted shirts are going to look best on you. Make sure to choose shirts that have equal interest above and below the waist (example: the first shirt is off the shoulder AND has volume below the waist). This is really only important if you plan on wearing your shirts untucked. You can wear any neckline.

    • Blazers/Jackets: Wear anything that comes in at the waist, or accentuates the waist in some way.

    • Skirts: High waisted skirts are going to look best on you. Flared skirts or other types of skirts with volume at the bottom are also good choices because they even out the volume of your hips.

    • Pants: Wide leg, boot cut, and flare pants are your friends. Much like the skirts, the volume at the bottom of the pants evens out the width of your hips.

    • Dresses: Anything fitted (note! fitted doesn’t have to mean skin tight) is great and the simpler the better. If you’re really curvy, it may be difficult finding dresses that come in enough at the waist. If you have this problem, try belting the dress at the waist, or shop for adjustable dresses like wrap dresses.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. You can wear any jewelry that you want. Woohoo!
  • Purses: You also want to keep your bags in proportion to your body. If you are more a Kim hourglass, go for bigger bags. If you are a smaller hourglass (less dramatic curves) opt for a small or medium size bag.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy where your waist isn’t accentuated. (Like the baggy shirt below) Depending on the extremity of your curves, you may need to have a tailor on call to help make every item fit just right.
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes. (Exception: if the boxy jackets end above your waist or if you belt them)
  • Skirts: Low rise skirts that lie across the hips are generally not good.
  • Pants: Skinny pants make your hips/butt look bigger than it is. Low rise pants are also a bad idea. Rompers and jumpsuits are best to avoid as they will most likely not fit your curves without extensive alteration.
  • Dresses: You’ll want to avoid anything sack like.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your figure!

Sample Hourglass Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for an hourglass with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!


Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) White dress + jacket + heels.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Button down shirt + denim skirt + heels. Change from heels to sandals after work.

Wednesday: (work) Jacket + off the shoulder top + khaki pants + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Burgundy t-shirt + white dress (t-shirt is over dress) + gold belt + heels. Swap the dress for jeans and tennis shoes when you leave work.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Floral dress (safety pin the slit shut so it’s not so risqué) + jacket + heels. Unpin skirt and add gold belt at waist for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) Burgundy t-shirt + jeans + tennis shoes.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Off the shoulder top + denim skirt + sandals.

 

Want more ideas for an hourglass shaped capsule collection? This e-book shows you how to choose the top 20 items every one should own, which versions you should wear for your body shape, and outfit ideas for work and play. Read more about it here! 

 

The Big Take-Away:

You literally have the shape that *everyone* wants. 

Long story short, don’t hide it! Make sure your outfits show off just how glorious your body is!

 

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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How to dress a RECTANGLE shape

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Rectangle shaped bodies have been called many other things over the years including ‘athletic shaped’ and ‘boy body shaped’. I don’t have a problem with the athletic shape thing, but boy body??? What is the difference between the body of a boy and a girl (literally, pre-pubescent they look pretty much the same). Although, to be fair, I also wouldn’t want to have a ‘girl shaped body’. That’s weird. So, let’s just call it rectangle and stick with that.

*rant over*

Now it’s time for me to tell you how great a rectangle body is. Did I just see an eye roll? Pull yourself together woman, I’m serious. You know why? Because rectangles can pretty much wear anything.

Let me explain. Rectangles are usually thinner and straight up and down. In other words, there are less curves to deal with. You know want that results in? The perfect frame to showcase clothing.

Have you ever wondered why 99.9% runway models (except Naomi Campbell who is an inverted triangle) are rectangles? It’s because it’s easier to put clothes on a rectangle than any other body shape. They look good in pretty much anything.

You know that friend who can wear a sack and look great? She’s probably a rectangle. Or has a ton of self confidence (which outranks any fashion rule btw).

 

Keep reading to find out:

  • What a Rectangle shape actually is (pssst, if you’re not sure, check out this post and take our quiz!)
  • Celebrity Rectangle examples
  • What to wear 
  • What NOT to wear
  • Sample Capsule Wardrobe

 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links. I use affiliate links in the form of clothing suggestions in order to help you best discover (and locate!) clothing that will work best for your body shape. If you click on the affiliate links, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. Thank you for supporting us, so we can continue to give you quality content. ~LF

You’re a Rectangle If…

You know you’re a Rectangle shape because you have these two attributes:

  1. Your bust and hips are pretty much equal widths
  2. Your waist is pretty much the same width as your bust/hips (or within an inch or two)

 

If you’re still confused about your shape, check out my original blog post on shapes (and how to dress any shape no matter if you fall neatly into a category or not)

 

Celebrity Rectangles:

Celebrity rectangles are all over the place because they are so easy to dress.

 

See the source image

You see where Gwyneth Paltrow’s dress starts to flare out? Well, her body just keeps going straight down from there. The flared dress gives the illusion of a waist (by making her hips more pronounced). 

 

See the source image

Natalie Portman uses color blocking to give the illusion of a defined waist. 

 

See the source imageSee the source image

You thought Kate had the perfect hourglass shape? Not so! It’s all a trick. See the picture on the right? She didn’t just grow curves once she became royal (she just got a stylist). 

The Main Idea:

In the original blog post about DRESSING YOUR SHAPE, I talked about my easy secret to always knowing what will look good on you regardless of shape. The secret is to always wear clothing that make you look like an hourglass. If you missed the post, you can read it here.

Essentially, dressing for your shape is all about using clothing, jewelry, and other accessories as an optical illusion to make us appear a certain way.

The optical illusion is formed when we distract the viewer away from one part of our body and attract their eyes to a different part.

In the image below, you can see that her hips and chest fill out the hourglass, but the waist area does not come in. This means that we have to use an optical illusion to give her a defined waist. I call this: creating a fake waist.

Rectangles, you can get away with pretty much anything, sartorially speaking. With that said, your best looking and most attractive outfits are going to include the optical illusion of a waist.

Keep reading to discover how to create a fake waist.

 

What to Wear:

Remember the main idea here: we need to equally add volume to the top and bottom of the body to make the waist seem smaller (and more defined). (Psst. click here to discover the top 20 items every rectangle needs in their closet)

Here are several other cheats (aka: sneaky ways) to defining a waist:

  • Use color. Just make sure the color change happens at your fake waist (like the picture of Natalie Portman above).
  • Use gathering or ruching. This can make it look like you have a waist.
  • Use seaming. Seaming is where two pieces of fabric come together. Creative seaming (like in the last jacket shown) can make you look more curvy than you are.
  • Use a belt. Sometimes it helps to visually draw a line across your fake waist (the smallest part of your torso, remember??) using a belt.

Here is what to wear (and how to fake a waist), when it comes to different types of clothing:

    • Tops/Blouses: Choose shirts that make your top half seem bigger (thus making your waist smaller). You don’t necessarily need volume to do this. You can simply choose a boatneck, square, or wide V-neck neckline.

    • Blazers/Jackets: You can wear any jacket that you want as long as 1) your waist is defined in some manner and 2) any volume on the top of the jacket (puffy sleeves) is evened out at the bottom of the jacket (peplum) or with the pant/skirt (flowy skirt) choice.

    • Skirts: Just like the tops, you don’t want the skirt to overpower the outfit. The skirt should even out what’s going on up top. High waisted and A-line skirts are your best choice.

    • Pants: Keep your proportions equal. Bigger top means bigger pants…just don’t forget to wear a belt or make sure the shirt/pants are fitted at the waist. Any rise of pants works for you as long as you don’t neglect the waist!

    • Dresses: When looking for dresses, it’s all about the middle detail around your ‘fake waist’ (surprise, surprise, right???) Color blocked dresses, ruched (gathered) waist dresses, fit and flare dresses, and wrap dresses are all perfect for your shape.

  • Accessories: Belts are your friends. A good rule of thumb, is to choose belts that are compatible with your size. If you are a bigger build, choose wider belts. If you’re a smaller build, choose skinnier belts. This keeps the belt from overwhelming or underwhelming you. You can wear any jewelry that you want. Woohoo!
  • Purses: Take your pick of purses except for cross body bags.

What NOT to Wear:

  • Tops/Blouses: Anything baggy where your waist isn’t accentuated. (Like the baggy shirt and low rise skirt shown below)
  • Blazers/Jackets: Avoid jackets and blazers, like traditional pea coats, that are straight up and down with no seams or detailing around the waist. They will make you look like boxes. (Exception: if the boxy jackets end above your waist or if you belt them)
  • Skirts: Avoid skirts that are much more voluminous than your top. (Think: tank top with peasant skirt)
  • Pants: None! Go crazy!
  • Dresses: Almost nothing.
  • Accessories: Avoid belts that don’t fit your body size!
  • Purses: Cross body bags that cut your body in half and take away from your fake waist are bad.

Sample Rectangle Capsule Wardrobe:

A capsule wardrobe is a small collection of clothing where each piece can be worn with every other piece to make a maximum number of outfits. Below, we have put together a capsule collection for a Rectangle with classic style.

You’ll notice that I tried not to pull anything over $200 to keep this wardrobe budget friendly!

Ps. Don’t forget to look under the collection to see how to put these pieces together for a week’s worth of activities!

Here are just a few combinations you can make for an entire week’s worth of activities.

Monday: (work) Dress + blazer + belt (over blazer at waist) + heels.

Tuesday: (work, then school meeting) Button up shirt (tucked in) + skirt + earrings + black flats.

Wednesday: (work) Black bodysuit + crème pants + blazer + heels.

Thursday: (work, volunteering) Dress + belt + black flats.

Friday: (work, after work dinner date) Black bodysuit + skirt + jacket + earrings + heels. Take off jacket for date.

Saturday: (playground with kids) White top (tucked in) + black pants + Soludos mules.

Sunday: (baseball game, book club) Button up shirt (untucked) + crème pants + belt (over shirt at waist) + black flats.

 

Want to know the basics EVERY woman should have in their wardrobe (plus outfit ideas on how to put them together?) Just click here to find out!

 

The Big Take-Away:

Just because you don’t have a defined waist, doesn’t mean it should stop you from being a complete bad a$$ (I mean, did you see my celebrity rectangles above!?!?!) Focus on creating that fake waist and then accent the heck out of it! 

Or…ignore all the rules and go fashionista on the world (Natalie Portman is really good at that if you need examples) 😉

And most, importantly, you’re gorgeous. Never forget that. 

xoxo, Leslie 

 

PS. Now that you know the rules, you can break them. 😉

 

 

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