Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cherchez La Femme!

Bonjour à toutes!

Listen up everyone! We are all beautiful! I ask you to always remember this even if you take nothing else on board from this column.

We all have some great features as well as having a few not-so-great features. And as you’ve heard from me before, there are as many ways to accent the areas you love and as there are to mask the ones you are not so fond of.

If you’re a model, putting on two pounds is a definite no-no.  In real life, however, our weight fluctuates within a couple of pounds and that is just a reality. That said, there is a plateau that we should strive to never cross. It’s your choice and thus your responsibility to set the bar to a realistic level that is easy to attain and maintain.

Of course we must eat healthily and exercise daily but we can also let our wardrobe do a little of the hard work for us. We already know that colors and fit can accentuate our best features and/or help conceal our flaws. Since dark colors are slimming, why not use navy, black, brown and charcoal to camouflage our not-so-great features?

Fortunately, slimming undergarments today are not what they used to be. Slimmers and shapers now are comfortable to wear and will mask our pesky bumps and bulges. There are even tops and dresses lined with hidden power-mesh control panels that instantly smooth and sculpt the body.

Avoid shiny and highly textured fabrics, as they make one look bulky. Also avoid tight clothes. As I have preached many times before, clothes must fit properly. Unfortunately women panic about the number on their garments. Would you buy shoes a size smaller just to suit your vanity? Of course not! If you are a bit round, the good news is that plus-size clothing has become chic and trendy as the average American woman now wears a size 14.  The bad news is that haute couture houses like Chanel don’t design clothes over size 12. But if you can afford the price tag of such high-flying designers, then why not consider custom-made pieces that would be unique, flattering and suit your body perfectly?
If you are a little wide in the thighs, don’t worry. Just balance your silhouette by accentuating your shoulders. Go for a dress that is fitted through the waist while skimming over your less loved lower half. If your shoulders are narrower than your hips opt for a boat-neck top as this will balance out the shoulders and the hips.  A small shoulder pad would not hurt either.

If you are among the women who have broad shoulders, I consider you very fortunate, as I believe they are extremely attractive. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise! Focus on those beautiful shoulders by wearing asymmetrical necklines. However, you must stay away from shoulder pads or puffy sleeves. And if you also have great firm upper arms, halter-tops should be at the top of your list for summer, as well as V-necks or wrap-style dresses.
If you have a smaller bust, chances are that most trends look great on you already. But there are those of us who could use a little extra volume in that area. There are many ways to enhance un petit buste by cheating just a little. Visit a lingerie specialist in any department store or better yet, support your local lingerie retailer. Embellishments, pleats or ruffles in the bust area are your best friends. Accentuate your waist by wearing a belt. This will not only emphasize a small waist but also highlight the added details at the top of the garment. And if you are long-waisted, wear wide belts.

Even with a daily regimen of biceps and triceps toning, beautiful youthful upper arms are rare once we get older. The good thing is that we can at least hide those floppy upper arms–one of my clients calls them “Kimono Arms” which I find very funny and descriptive–unlike our hands or face that we can’t exactly cover up. I can hear you say: “But Michele, look at those gorgeous sleeveless dresses all around us.” You’re right. But my answer to this is, “Wear them with a lovely light cardigan or a cropped jacket. And when in the privacy of your own space flaunt the sleeveless dress, but remember to grab that cardigan when in company.” Don’t think you can’t be sexy if you cover your upper arms. Look for ballet tops with three-quarter sleeves and a low décolleté in the back.
A la prochaine!


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