Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Being hip and trendy, wearing the latest fashions and always being in style can feel great – if you’re a fashion model with a stick-thin body wearing a size 2. For the rest of us, fashion is an attainable goal, but is best achieved by putting our own body into the equation. Admit it – we’ve all seen the girl or woman wearing the low-rise, hip-hugging jeans and a short shirt and thought, “I would never show that part of my body!”  Usually, it only takes seeing one stretch-marked or flabby belly to remind us that our own elastic, high waist pants and long stretchy shirts aren’t really that bad.

Luckily, fashion these days is less about a style and more about your style. Today, there are more plus-size models, more designers out there who design styles for typical bodies and more flexibility in style all around. Even better, fashion is ever-changing and very circular, so odds are you’ll look more in style wearing what looks good on you than being the girl with the belly baggage.

Dress to Fit

Chances are, even if you wore a size 2 in high school, you don’t any more. Hips, babies and stress make it less likely that your supermodel body is still as super, and while staying fit and active is always a good choice, beating yourself up for not meeting supermodel standards doesn’t help.

What does? Making sure you wear clothes that fit your body. Don’t worry about the number on the tag – wear the size that fits your body.  That might mean you buy dress pants in one size, jeans in another, and skirts in yet another.  It might even mean two different colors of the same style fit differently. The point is, don’t buy it if it isn’t a good fit.

It’s important to remember when buying clothes (I know what I am talking about; I have an entire closet of clothes I don’t wear ever) to try things on before you buy them. Stand in front of the mirror and critique the way you look. Try sitting down in the pants or skirt to make sure you like it as much when you’re scrunched in the middle as you do when you’re standing up and sucking it in. If you have misgivings in the store, don’t buy.

Less is More

A simple wardrobe of quality items will take you a lot further than a truckload of trendy clothes you can’t wear comfortably. It’s not all about the fit; it’s about personality and attitude, too. Choose items that compliment you.

Make sure you have a good foundation wardrobe: a black dress, a pair of black dress pants, and black flats will pretty much carry you. Spend more on one pair of jeans that fits great and provides the comfort/features you need rather than buying three pairs that all look horrible.

Once you have the basics, you can build your wardrobe with specific, high-quality items that mix and match.  The idea is to buy some high-quality stuff for the long haul and then each year you can supplement and update your wardrobe with trendy items of the season that compliment your body.

Color Counts

While it is important to have some standard blacks, grays and blues, don’t forget color. It can’t be just any color though; you need to choose colors that work for you.  It’s easy to do: stand in front of a mirror in a well-lit room and hold different colors in front of you. You will see dramatic differences depending on what color brings out what features in your face. You’ll soon find colors that are truly complimentary to your skin tone and your eye color – and you’ll find certain colors you absolutely ought never to have in your closet.

By having a basic-color standard wardrobe, the other way you can add color is with accessories. Shoes, purses, jewelry and scarves all add touches to your outfits to make you look put together.

All About You

Unless you are a fashion model and need to wear designer clothing every day to keep up the part, it’s ok to not be trendy. Find styles that work for you. If you have a big stomach, wear longer shirts that compliment your shape. If you have really wide thighs, make sure your pants aren’t to tight across the thighs or wear a nice skirt that smooths out your lines. Great cleavage? Showing it off is fine when you’re out dancing but might not be when you’re in the office with your colleagues.

Choose clothes that make you feel confident and suit your personality. Who knows? You may end up being the trend setter instead of the trend follower.