Friday, April 16, 2010

Quest for the Disney Look: Flattering My Shape

If you have been keeping up with other CP blogs or the Facebook group, then you know that a lot of participants are talking about, freaking out about, and researching the Disney Look, particularly the business attire which is required when not "in costume".  The phrase even seems to be inspiring dread in some, although these folks look pretty excited!

So inevitably I needed to buckle down and think seriously about what professional attire I will wear while in Orlando.  Business attire is required when I attend Traditions (basically the WDW College Program orientation), if I take classes during my program, and possibly for other CP-related occasions.  It will be especially useful during networking opportunities.  Now I won't bother you with the entire list of Disney Look guidelines, so if you would like to learn more about what is required then click here.  In this post, I will be specifically be focusing on the Non-Costumed Guidelines for Women.  Sorry male readers, but this information probably won't apply to you! ;-)

Now since this blog is about yours truly, my search for appropriate professional clothing will be covered here.  In this first post, I am examining what clothing I can find that will best flatter my body shape.  Not only does my clothing need to be appropriate, it needs to be appropriate for me.  The sharpest or cutest outfit in the world can still look bad if it's not right for your body.  As someone who has not spent lots of time shopping for business or business casual clothes in the past, I feel very much like a blank slate.

The best way I can describe my shape is that it is a combination of pear-shaped and hourglass-shaped.  My bust/shoulder area is only slightly slimmer than my hips when going by measurements, which counts as pear-shaped.  But my waist is tiny and noticeable, which leans towards the hourglass and divides my body very clearly into upper and lower halves.  I'm also pretty... blessed in the hips/butt/thighs area (thanks, genetics!) so that typically stands out in comparison to the rest of me and can make finding the right clothes a bit of a struggle.  Like a dress can fit very well in my upper body, but cling way too much to my lower half.  Or it is just right in the lower section, but loose around my bust.  At a little less than 5'4", I also qualify as petite.

So I've scoured the internet for a while and gathered a pretty good list of tips for me to find figure-appropriate clothing, specifically business or business casual attire.  These aren't rules by any means, just some guidelines to help me find outfits in which I feel confident and professional.

  • Avoid styles that hide your shape, like trapeze dresses
  • But look for something that flows gracefully, draping over your curves rather than creating a tent affect
  • Always go for something that shows off your waist
  • Because manufacturers often cut clothing for women with a rectangle or even triangle shape, consider separates in order to get a customized fit
  • Wrap dresses work well for showing off your waistline without over-emphasizing the bust or hips.
  • Do not be afraid to have a dress altered to fit you correctly.  But remember that it is much easier to have clothing taken in than let out.
  • If you are wearing a long dress, try to get a hemline that falls to the floor.  Avoid a dress that stops at the ankle.
  • Dresses that fall too high above the knee will call attention to the widest part of your leg.  And dresses that fall too far below the knee give a dowdy appearance and do nothing to slenderize.  Try to look for hemlines that are close to your knees.
  • For skirts, an A-line cut might be best or a straight skirt.  But make sure that the fit is just right, not too tight or too loose.
  • For shorter women, a skirt with a hemline just above, just below, or right on the knee is best.  Avoid mini-skirts unless you have very slender legs.  A skirt that ends too low on the calf will make your legs like short and wide.
  • If you would like to wear boots with a skirt, try to avoid any gap between the top of the boot and the bottom of the skirt (ideally, the boot extends up underneath the skirt).  This will keep your legs from looking stumpy.
  • Women with large hips should avoid pleated or gathered skirts, as these will call attention to this area.
  • Pencil skirts can be very flattering, with or without a jacket.  Just make sure not to wear one that fits too tightly, or this will over-emphasize your hips/butt/thighs.
  • When looking for pants, pay attention to color.  For petite women with hourglass figures, dark colors are an ideal choice.
  • Less than ideal choices would be pants with plaid, print designs, low-rise waistlines, or pleats.
  • Avoid belting your pants at the hip.
  • Straight leg or bootcut pants could work well on your figure, but legs with slight flare at the bottom will help balance out your legs (especially for women who have larger thighs but a skinny calf/ankle area).  Try on different types and see what you are most comfortable with.
  • Vertical lines, such as on pinstripes, are a good choice.
  • Learn to love the V-neckline, U-neckline, and Sweetheart neckline.  If you are petite, they will help add height to your figure.  They are also flattering for the shoulders and bust.
  • Look for fitted styles rather than straight, shapeless cuts which could hide your waistline
  • The choice to wear sleeves or sleeveless tops is up to you; take into consideration climate, personal preference, and how comfortable you are showing off your arms.  But sleeveless tops that are too tight could emphasize that your bust is smaller.
  • Try not to pick tops that over-emphasize the bust or shoulders, because these could make you look top heavy (examples would be large ruffles, puffy sleeves, and thick shoulder pads).  But some shoulder emphasis is fine to give you a balanced look.  And make sure that the shoulder areas are fitted well, or else your shoulder line will have a very sloppy look.
  • Avoid tops that are too long and end at the widest part of your hips.
  • Also try to stay away from too many patterns with horizontal lines.  These can often gift you a wider appearance.
  • If you are petite, be careful with frilly details.
  • For petite women who want to maintain the look of a defined waist, a semi-fitted or close-fitted style is best to follow the body's natural curves
  • As with tops, avoid straight cuts in the waistline and go for a closer fit
  • Avoid shoulder pads, but pay attention to shape so as to appear balanced
  • Look for styles that do not hit at or below the hip
  • Try out single-breasted jackets to avoid appearing too bulky.  The goal is to balance your upper body with your lower body, not over-emphasize your top half.
  • Look for jackets with a V-neck opening.
Now as I said, these aren't set in stone or anything.  I'm perfectly willing to try various styles and looks, but it helps to have a general idea of what will or won't look particularly flattering on me.  Something that you thought would look horrible could end up looking great!  Then there's always that piece of clothing that you thought would be perfect, and then you tried it on and hated it.  So open minds all around!

I already found a couple of items in my closet that will work, and I purchased a few pieces this week (everyone was having a sale!).  But I'll leave those for a later post. :)  Take care!


Kristin said...

LOVE the post! I'm 5'2" I definitely like these tips. I can't wait to start looking for clothes, lol!

Corri said...

This is really great. I'm 5 ft with the same shape as you it its great to get tips like this

Anna said...

I'm so glad that you both enjoyed them! Happy shopping! :-D

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