I wish every department store would have a BASIC clothing department that would organize clothing by body shape. BASIC would offer all the basic wardrobe items: T-shirts, tank tops, blouses, tunics, pants, skirts, and dresses that would come in a variety of cuts, shapes, and lengths to fit different figures. BASIC would offer clothing only in three neutral colors: white, grey, and black to simplify the fitting process both for manufacturers and shoppers. BASIC would be the department where all women start their wardrobe shopping.
Most times I find shopping for clothing in stores, especially in department stores, to be exhausting and frustrating. Despite the wide variety of clothing that comes in many colors and shapes, it is still hard to find the exact thing that I need or something that fits me right. Because I know my style and what to look for, I find that shopping online is easier and efficient for me. I love using tools, such as Shopstyle, that allow me to narrow my search based on item, color, price, etc. Unfortunately I am not familiar with any online clothing shopping tool that allows shoppers to search for a specific cut or body shape.
During my search for my own personal style and working with a personal stylist I learned two basic principles:
1. Identify the right cuts that flatter your body shape and stick to them. Here are some of the things I learned in the matter: A-line skirts and dresses are more flattering and comfortable for curvy women. Pencil skirts are better for women with leaner shape. Wide waistbands make pants and skirts sit better on a curvy hip and helps to keep the belly flat. For women with a pear shape, wearing straight leg pants helps to disguise the wide thighs, while wearing fitted jackets and blouses accentuates the narrow waist. A boxy jacket better suits women with rectangular figure. To break the round shape of the belly a T-shirt should end in the middle of the belly (about 2”/5cm below the belly button) and pants should sit in the middle of the belly (about 2”/5cm bellow the belly button). A ¾ sleeve length is great to hide out-of-shape biceps. A scoop neck and round neck make an oval face look longer, while V-neck, square neck, and boat neck compliment it.
2. Build your basic wardrobe from good quality neutral colors: white, grey and black. For many years I refused to buy clothing with these three ‘boring’ colors. The problem was that without any neutral item my ability to use my colorful clothing was limited. I look at clothing in neutral colors as a clean canvas that frees me to use any other color to paint it. A colorful sweater, scarf, purse, or shoes can compliment any neutral color clothing. This way it’s also easy to transfer the look with minimum effort and budget.
These two lessons bring me back to my BASIC clothing department idea, where clothing would be grouped by body shape fitting. I have a vision of a space that is designed like an old fancy department store with a lush carpet, big chandelier, comfortable padded chairs, spacious racks, big wood framed mirrors and black and white photos of old fashion icons and movie stars such as Ingrid Bergman with her wide hips, Marilyn Monroe with her curvy figure, Audrey Hepburn with her petite body, Katharine Hepburn with her stringy shape. I believe it will have a positive message for young and old women to accept their unique body and respect it. BASIC should scream CLASSY! Any store that respects women is classy and every woman that respects herself and her unique figure is classy. It would be great if the clothing will be locally made, from good quality natural fabrics and have brilliant cuts that will solve any woman’s body issue. It would be ideal if stores will make sure that prices will be reasonable, not too expensive but also not too cheap (quality costs!). In my opinion BASIC will be the most popular department that will also help to increase sales in other departments that sell colorful items.