Tag Archives: straight shape

Ask Fashion Sensei: Prom Conundrum

Reader Valentina Asks Fashion Sensei To Help Her Find A Prom Dress

Q: I am 6′1″ – but not proportionate. I’m a size four at the bust and eight everywhere else, my legs are very long but my torso is proportionately smaller, my arms are long and gangly (making it hard to find shirts) and to top it off my lack of curves leaves my hips with these unflattering bumps that look like love handles but are really just a result of absolutely no shape in my hip region.

The main problem is that my body line is completely straight (36-34-36). I’m trying to look for a prom dress flattering to my figure but all the information leads me to believe that form fitting dresses look good on tall women. This is not the case for me as I’m very bony and shapeless. Finding clothes that fit are hard enough without trying to find FLATTERING clothes that fit. Help me please?

A:  Thanks for the question Valentina!  High School is a trying period for everyone, but finding the right dress for such a special occasion like prom can be very frustrating if you are not an “average” size.

Rather than focus on figure variations that you aren’t happy about, let’s concentrate on your best features.

Being tall opens up all sorts of possibilities that your petite counterparts envy—namely your size.

When looking for your dress I would recommend some of the following features:

  • A sweetheart bodice-  It’s a heart shape top to the dress that will compliment your bust, with out being revealing.
  • A bodice with embellishment-  When you have a small bust adding details like bows or ruffles adds proportion to your lower half.
  • A full skirt-  The “party” dress is really popular this season and was worn by Taylor Swift in a recent spread she did for InStyle magazine.  What’s great about this kind of skirt is that Here is an example with a sweet heart bodice like the one I mentioned above.  Add a pop of color to this look with one of the seasons hottest colors- fuchsia.

(Click on images for shopping information.)

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  • Bridal Shop– If you are looking for a full length gown, consider going to a bridal shop.  These dresses are typically altered, so they are longer than a full length dress that you would buy at a department store.  I had a client two years ago who wanted a full length gown for Homecoming and she was 5’10.  We hit the jackpot when we went to the local David’s Bridal where this dress below is from.



  • One-Shoulder/Print/Gloves– The dress below is also one that I would recommend to you because it incorporates one of springs’ popular trends—the one shoulder look.  Further, it has a print that will create a focal point on the dress, rather than your body.  The flare at the bottom creates fantastic proportion that will compliment you too.  You mentioned your arms earlier and I think the gloves worn with this dress would be especially appealing on you as well.



Prom Dress Don’ts

Here are some general don’ts for young women to consider while shopping for prom.

Don’t go for the revealing, backless or cutout look.  It just looks cheap—not fashionable at all.

Don’t buy really thin satin dresses.  You can see your underwear through them—and you better be wearing them!

Which brings me to the next don’t.  Don’t forget to wear a bra.  Many times young ladies think that they don’t need to wear a bra—you do.  Extra support is always good and when you bend over, I would much rather someone see your bra than your bare bosom.

Don’t get caught up in finding the most expensive, ultra trendy dress.  Instead, find a basic dress that you can add some really incredible accessories to.  Belts are REALLY in right now, so if you find a black dress, pair it with a bright belt and matching shoes.

Don’t over match.  With the example above, I suggested to match only two accessories.  You don’t need a matching bag, shoes, earrings, etc.


Valentina I hope this information helps!  Be sure to send me a picture of you at prom.  I would love to see what you decide on.

If you have a question that you would like Fashion Sensei to answer, go to the “Ask Fashion Sensei” tab and leave me a question.  I may even use it for a featured Fashion Lesson!

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Filed under Fashion Lesson, fit, straight shape, Tall

Fashion Lesson: #23 Fall Cardigans For Your Shape

One of the most versatile trends this fall is the cardigan.  No matter your shape or size, there’s something out there for you.

For today’s Fashion Lesson, we will explore examples for the Apple, Pear, Hourglass, Straight figures, and several other variations.

These sweaters are so versatile, they will flatter a wide variety shapes.  It’s all in the details.

The first sweater would look nice on an Hourglass figure.  As I have discussed in prior Fashion Lessons, a belted waist helps to accentuate the lovely curves of an Hourglass shape. I recommend you lose the monochromatic belt, and pair it with a skinny animal print one instead. 

Bows are really hot this season and if you have a small bust, the bow on this blouse would add a little volume to that area to enhance your figure.

Apples and Straight Figures, you could pull of this look as well.  All that you need to do is ditch the belt. 

If you have a large bust, I encourage you to find a different blouse.  The bow will only make you look more ample.  You want to keep the V neck line of this sweater to draw the eye down and break up the area.

You could wear a the same sort of shirt that is illustrated below with a long necklace.

(Click on images for shopping information.)

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I love the shock of color with this cardigan.  This is really the sort of sweater that would look good on any shape.  Due to its hip length, it will not draw too much attention to a Pear’s thighs as if she were to wear the gray example above.  I also think the shirt and tie is a really cute combination.


This sweater would compliment a busty Apple shape woman.  The deep V will draw the eye down, and the band around the hips will add proportion to a full bust.


Here is another example of a universally flattering casual sweater.  The dolman sleeve on this cardigan would also suit a woman with full arms.  You could even layer this combination one more time with a pop of color from the long sleeve tee that would enhance your complexion.


Honestly, I could have written this whole post based on the cardigan page on Anthropologie.com.  This lovely example would become an Hourglass, Straight or Pear figure. 

Especially important to a Straight figure, this sweater creates an hourglass shape with the peplum at the hips.

One other interesting point to note.  Do you see how the wide set buttons draw the eye outward, broadening the the shoulders?  Now look at the close set buttons on the lower body of the cardigan.  They help create the focal point for a smaller waist.

This is very important if you are a Pear with narrow shoulders.  You want embellishments that create a broad shoulder to put your upper body in proportion to you lower body.

Remember that when you are out shopping.  Wider set buttons, make certain areas look larger and closer set buttons make the area look smaller.


I really fancy this swing sweater for an Apple shape paired with the the blouse below.  The ruffle on the blouse helps to lengthen a Short Waist and add proportion at the same time.

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A cardigan post would not be complete without a cashmere argyle sweater.  Universally flattering, you can wear it with a pair of jeans or dress it up with an equally universally flattering A-Line skirt.  Don’t you just love that cute little belt?



This is my Wild Card pick.  I like the very unusual, almost Medusa looking design around the neck.  When I first saw it, I thought it would be a good choice for a small bust because all that detailing adds volume and draws the eye in that direction rather than focus on your cup size. 

Reader Heba asked for some advice earlier about examples for a small bust, hence the extra examples this week.

I felt the bell sleeves on the blouse would be a good choice for this sweater and would look great together with a pair of pants like the ones pictured for a business casual outfit at the office.    

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Finally, I am a big fan of polka dots and I thought this sweater vest would be really fun under this bright red cardigan. 

You can tone it down if you are not interested in a “LOOK AT ME!” sort of image.  It could also be worn under a blazer or over a white blouse similar to the one above for a less conspicuous appearance.

If you are a Pear or Hourglass shape, consider buttoning up the sweater and wearing a skinny black belt with it to accentuate your little waist.

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I hope these tips help.  If you have a suggestion for a future Fashion Lesson topic, be sure to leave me a comment!

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Filed under Apple Shape, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, fit, High Waist, Hourglass Shape, Large Bust, Metro Detroit, narrow shoulders, Pear Shape, personal shopper, Short Waist, Small Bust, straight shape

Fashion Lesson #21: Picks For Your Shape at NY Fashion Week S/S 2009

Now that Fashion Week in New York is wrapping up, I thought it would be interesting to use some of the pieces from the shows and match them to a respective body type.  So for this Fashion Lesson, let’s all pretend that we have well toned and fit bodies for our corresponding body shape category.  After all, Fashion Week doles out a liberal dose of fantasy, so why not just pretend?

(click on images for source and designer information)


The main objective for the Apple shape is to camouflage the tummy without sacrificing a feminine shape.  Pockets on the hips also helps to make the waist appear smaller.  I do not endorse the knee high nylons with this look from G-Star, but the jacket really appeals to me.

I also chose the gray and orange ombre dress for the figure flattering drape and the beautiful illusion of a dress on fire.  The flesh toned dress to the left of this photo is a great example of creating a proportioned body shape with beadwork.  In addition, I like it for an Apple Shape because of the V-neck.  Many Apple shaped women have a large bust and need to break up the voluminous appearance of their bust.

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With a straight figure, you want to create an hourglass shape.  The examples below do just that.  One easy way of doing this is to add a belt to your coat or sweater this season.

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One of the most envied body shapes on the spectrum, the job of the Hourglass is to show off those amazing curves!  Be sure to choose a garment that defines your waist, but is not too tight everywhere else, unless you look like the model in the Hervé Léger by Max Azria dress.






The Pear woman shares some of the traits of an hourglass, but she needs to make sure that her shoulders are well defined to balance out her hips.  I know the Oscar de la Renta outfit is a repeat for me, but I think it is a lovely example for a pear shaped woman.  The top enhances the waist, adds definition to the shoulders with the geometric piping and the pants are nice and loose at the hips without sacrificing a feminine shape.






If you have any suggestions for future Fashion Lessons, be sure to write me or leave a comment!

Photo Source: Style.com

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Filed under Apple Shape, Fashion, fashion blogger, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Week, Metro Detroit, New York City, Pear Shape, personal shopper, runway, straight shape, Trends

Fashion Lesson #12 Petite Tubular Shape

A few weeks back reader Stacy left me the below comment on Fashion Lesson #4 Petite Proportion:

This was helpful. True, cuffs on trousers are not the best and tailoring is a must if you don’t want to look like you were playing dress-up with someone else’s clothes. Looking younger than I am is a double whammy, I am baby faced as well as teeny…tee-shirts are never a good look for me, unless I want to look like I am still in High school. However, I am looking for some guidance about buying summer dresses and swimwear for someone 5′0, with a tube type shape (i.e. no waist), and something to cover up upper arms too.

I promised Stacy that I would address the figure variation of being not only petite but more of a straight shape as well. 

Although a double-edge sword, the fact that she has a youthful appearance is something that we all would love.  However when your peers in the working world or clients think you look the same age as Miley Cyrus, you have a bit of a problem. 



If your youthful glow is working against you, it’s important to convey a sophisticated manner.  As mentioned in Fashion Lesson #4 you must shop in the petite section.  Big baggy clothes as you said, can make you look like you are playing dress up.  Stores like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor/Loft and major department stores carry petite sizes that will project a more mature image.

(click on images for shopping information)



Stay away from the Junior section if your goal is to look older.  Avoid stores like Urban Outfitter or American Apparel.  I personally love these stores and have featured their collections in past posts, but unless you are just hangin’ with friends, take your business elsewhere.



As a petite, I also recommend wearing heels to add a little height.  When I was in High School, my best friend’s mom was a petite woman and was never without her heels.  I mean never.  She was known to wear a pair of sky high wedge sandals when cleaning the house. 

Now it’s ridiculous to go that far. Everyone should be able to wear flats, but on those occasions that you want people to take you seriously, kick it with some fantastic heels. 

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Now let’s address the second part of Stacy’s question the Tubular or Straight figure.  If you are lacking JLo curves, there are a few tricks that will make a straight woman look a little more curvy.


This wrap dress from Ann Taylor does a great job of defining a waist with the tie and the A line adds some fullness making your waist look smaller than your hips.  (I’m not a huge fan of the hat with this dress, but that just my personal aesthetic.)  Further, be sure to add a punch of color to this ensemble.  The black color block shoes above would look great with this and a colorful bracelet or necklace will make it look less like you are on your way to a funeral.


Not to belabor the point, but this dress from Banana Republic would be another terrific option.  The dress is a little longer, so be sure to wear high heels in a neutral shade to visually extend the length of your legs.


Here’s a shorter option from BCBG.



If the object is to give the appearance of curves, don’t pick a dress that will only make your figure look more shapeless, like this dress.  Do you see how the line across the chest and the lower stripe on the pockets create a box?  This will only make your figure look boxier.  Who would this dress be good for?  My guess would be a short waist woman.  The high stripe contrasted with the low stripe on the pockets gives the illusion of more area.




If you want to look like you have a little junk in your trunk, this suit jacket with the peplum flounce in the back adds a little curve to the rear view.  It also comes in at the waist and out at the hips creating definition.  The other thing that I love about this suit aside from the sleeves being scrunched up and the collar raised (very 80’s chic), is the fact that the trousers are pinstripe.  This will add a little length to your leg.  The only downside of this suit is that because of the cuff, I would prefer that the length were a little longer.

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When thinking about shorts this summer, traditional rules are that petites wear mid thigh or shorter shorts.  I did however feel like you could break the rules with these cropped pants and here’s why.  First, they are flesh tone.  If you pair them with a flesh tone cork wedge and a darker top like the one illustrated, the line of the leg is much longer.  If you have a darker skin tone this particular style comes in many shades that could compliment your complexion.


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You mentioned that you wanted to keep your upper arms covered, so here is another option for the top from J.Crew.  The small print will not be overwhelming for your size and will add a focal point to your upper half leaving your legs to look long and lean.


Finally, you asked about swimwear.  Now this is really tough.  Primarily because I have never seen you, so I can only go by a generalization.  I chose cuts based on a slender figure, only because that is the general impression I got when I read your message.  But, I will include some other options for you straight gals who want to suck it in a little more.


In general you will want to look for something with a little flair to it if you are looking for something beyond a typical bikini.

This suit has a cute little skirt.  You may also notice that the model in this picture has a bit of a straight figure herself.  Also, the V neck for the to draws the eye down unlike the Don’t example I will discuss in a little bit.


I love this little suit from Juicy Couture.  The top adds a little visual interest and like the peplum suit earlier, a little flair.



Stay away from the boyshort cut.  If you look at this example with the same model, the horizontal line in the top and the bottom only make her look even more square.


It’s a bit of a stretch I know because most of us would love to have her body and really she could carry off just about anything (I’m sure that’s why J.Crew hired her).


This might be another sexy option.  No matter how small your breasts are, just hoist them up and push them out a little bit like the model in this picture.


If you are concerned about your midsection, the ruching on this suit also helps camouflage any imperfections.


Stacy, I really hope this advice helps.  I was a little out of my comfort zone on the swim suits, but I hope you find something that might make sense.

As always, if you have any questions that you would like a Fashion Lesson on, feel free to leave a comment.

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Filed under Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, personal shopper, petite, Small Bust, straight shape, Style, Trends