1920s Jeanne Lanvin ad by Georges Lepape
I always say that there are no rules in fashion. Fashion is here to make everyday existence more fun. It’s certainly not here to intimidate or discourage, or — even worse — leave us with a body image complex and self-loathing. When magazines (and I’m sure I’ve been guilty of it a couple of times) try to tell us what swimsuit shape looks the best for our body types and what the best lipstick shade is for our skin colour, they are generalizing. Too many vague rules. Fashion, like all art forms, is an individual experience and what works for one might not work for another. It’s as simple as that.
Never get discouraged by the size label. In my closet, I have everything from a size 2 (which I’m not) to a size 10 (which I’m also not) and some of these are from the same designer label. Buy what fits regardless of the size. It’s simple: each garment is unique so treat it as that. Also, tailors are wonderful.
The term “body type” is open to interpretation.
Don’t feel limited to a certain silhouette because of your body type. I have so many girlfriends that claim, “Oh, I can’t wear that because I’m too top heavy.” Don’t deny something you love because you assume that you can’t pull it off. If you love it, you might be pleasantly surprised. For example, I have chunky thighs, but guess what: I actually look pretty great in skinny jeans and short shorts.
One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.
Embrace vintage shopping. Honestly, you can find 95% of current trends (fashion is cyclical) in consignment and thrift stores. If scouring Salvation Army seems like a daunting task, head to your local independently owned and curated vintage/consignment destination: there is at least one great store in every major Canadian city.
Sometimes less is more but sometimes more is more.
Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Build a wardrobe of shoes, bags, scarves and baubles. They will help make that t-shirt and jean ensemble into something so much more.
Makeup is meant to enhance, not hide.
So, have fun with your makeup. Trust me, you can wear the same thing every day of the week but change up your lipstick colour daily and you’ll look completely fresh. And that old tired rule of “strong lips or strong eyes” is total rubbish. The other day I wore bright green eye shadow with wine coloured lips. Guess what? It worked. Of course, please don’t go Joan Cusack circa Working Girl on me.
PS. For those that asked for a look into my personal style in the recent survey, I’ll be incorporating some tidbits here and there.