Sing it with me now… “Propor-tioooooons! Proportions!!” No? How about “If I were a stylist… da da dee dee da da dee dee dee dee dum!” Nothing? (Fiddler on the Roof too obscure? Lord I’m getting old.)
Okay, so yesterday I showed you how I styled a chiffon caftan with a knit pencil skirt, and how that can work for a slightly pear-shaped figure. My tip was to always pair something voluminous with something sleek. Today we’re going to explore that a bit further.
I was talking to a friend yesterday, who said that she had a caftan like mine, but it looks awful on her. Why? Well, it might have something to do with the fact that she’s almost a foot shorter than me. It probably looks like she cut a hole in a bedsheet and stuck her head through it. Taller women can carry off long, kimono-sleeved caftans. If you’re more petite, you’ll probably look much better in the shorter cap-sleeved versions (like the pink one below).
Now, not all of the “X” marks are on awful choices. The navy print harem pants with the aqua top could be cute, if you’re going for a hippie bohemian look. However, the wide short trousers on the left and the skin-tight pink leggings on the right are recipes for disaster on ANY body shape.
The longer caftan on the left really needs a belt to keep it from being shapeless. It’s long enough to be a dress, but if you’re going to wear it over something, it needs to go over LONG trousers, or it will look like your legs are 3 inches long. This is also the one most likely to overwhelm petites.
On the right, it should be clear that one of the pink outfits looks trashy, while the other looks elegant. This one is best for petites (as it’s a smaller caftan but also in one lengthening color). The pink outfit is also best for slim-legged no-waist types. It’s completely wrong for my pear shape, as it will just call attention to the width of my bum and the thickness of my thighs and upper arms.
A final note on caftans: they are great for disguising love handles and bellies, but the fabric must be just loose enough to float over these areas. Any pulling over the area and it will actually call attention to the thing you’re trying to hide. On the other hand, if the fabric is too full, you can end up looking pregnant. Which is a real problem if you’re not. (I remember going shopping 5 days after my daughter was born and a woman walking up to me and saying “You must be just waiting for the baby to drop!” Sigh. I actually had to point out my accompanying newborn and tell her I’d clearly already had the baby.)
Okay, one more lesson! The circle skirt:
One of the biggest mistakes I see women make in styling items like a circle skirt is topping it with something that hides the waist. Circle skirts are classic, elegant, and very flattering on hourglass and pear shapes (and also can create the illusion of curves on boyish shapes). However, it only works if you always keep the waist clearly defined – even with the jacket or coat you wear over it.
Tops must be tucked in, or fitted enough to clearly show the waist. Cardigans must be cropped, very fitted, or can be tucked in, belted, or tied to show the waist. Jackets and coats must be similarly cropped, fitted, or belted at the waist. No one wants to look shapeless!
The outfit on the left would be good for someone with broad shoulders, slim arms, not-too-wide hips, and a short waist. Wearing the top over the skirt lengthens the torso. The version on the right is better for narrow-shouldered pear or hourglass types who are long-waisted. The horizontal stripes and wide neckline of the top broaden the shoulders, and if you have a longer torso, you don’t need to worry about looking too short-waisted in this.
But what about the shoes?? Won’t somebody please think about the shoes?!?!
If you have small feet or little ankles, you could put that red skirt with some crazy strappy espadrilles:
To lengthen the legs, you can wear wedges in red
If you have thicker ankles, you can do slingbacks:
Or red keds would be adorable with it:
In the autumn, boots are excellent with long skirts, and are especially flattering if you have thicker ankles: