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Model Vs. Average Woman - The Fashion Code

IN THE SAME DESIGNER SHIRT!

Did you know the average American woman is a size 14 and 5’4” tall?

Yes, you heard that right, size 14.
So it’s no surprise the clothes we see on models never quite look the same on us regular sized gals. On the left, we see a fashion model (size 2) in a $230 designer shirt.
On the right, we see the exact same shirt on a plus size model, who is the approximate size of the “average” American woman, size 14.

Extra fabric equals extra girth

The wafer-thin model appears effortlessly chic in this blouse and ready for an elegant pool party, while our average sized gal looks like she’s wrapped in a down comforter and ready for a marathon night of Netflix binge-watching. The model on the left is so skinny, that the extra swaths of fabric in this shirt help give her a few well-needed curves, but on Miss Average American Gal all that extra material makes her look twice her size -not to mention decidedly less stylish than her slender neighbor.

Why does the woman on the right look larger and less stylish in the exact same shirt? It’s because very few of us have the same proportions as the Average fashion model, who is 5’10” and a size 2. Therefore, most of us aren’t going to look the same in clothing as the uber thin and super tall. So we need to ask ourselves… why do we base our clothing purchases on someone who looks nothing like us???

And it’s not just about being thin. If you’re vertically challenged the fashion curve (pun intended) gets exponentially more difficult. For instance, a size 6 may have won the skinny lottery but if she’s not as tall as an NBA player, good luck wearing so many of today’s trendy designs, like the one above. Now before you throw your favorite Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale purchase back in the bag and go into hiding with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, read on…

…the solution is actually quite easy once you know The Fashion Code Secrets on how to dress for your proportions. The first Secret- and this works on EVERYONE is… oversized clothing makes you look just that, oversized.

Even fashion models look better in more tailored, form-fitting clothing, as you can see below. More importantly, the “Average American Woman” (below right) looks sizes smaller and vastly more stylish in fitted (but NOT tight) clothing.

Oversized clothing is the average gal’s style kryptonite. (And by average we mean anyone who isn’t a supermodel.) It’s almost impossible to look good in voluminous garb -unless you’re rail thin.

Dress Slimmer

The easiest way to look slimmer is to dress slimmer. Put your clothes on a diet, not you. As stylists we have seen this time and time again – by trimming off the extra fabric that so many of us like to hide under – you can instantly appear sizes smaller. This is true for ALL women, sizes 8-18 and beyond. Get ready for compliments. You’re welcome.

Btw, the average plus size model is 5’8” tall and size 8-14. Yes. We said Plus Size. Sigh.
Alright, maybe it is time to break out the Ben & Jerry’s.

But seriously, isn’t it time we give ourselves a break and stop trying to squeeze ourselves into clothing that isn’t made for us? It’s not about diets and or being able to wear single digit sizes, it’s simply about knowing The Secrets to what makes us look great – whatever our shape or size.

XoXo,

Ruth

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This week’s secret to “Dressing Like a European” is….drumroll please…… LESS IS MORE. What does that mean exactly in relation to your wardrobe? Well, if the phrase “a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear” rings any bells, read on…..

As we mentioned last week, due to much smaller closet space, Europeans tend to have a lot less clothing than their North American friends. In contrast, most of us stateside have turned shopping into an Olympic event where our “over-fed” closets fight the battle of the bulge every day, bursting with clothing we never wear. You know which pieces we’re talking about. The ones taking up not only physical space in your closet, but huge amounts of emotional space as well. Those “unchosen” items  practically speak to you as you decide what to wear each morning. “I’m your skinny jeans which you definitely WON’T be wearing after last nights binge!”, “You’ve spent a lot of money on me but you never wear me!”, “Why do I still have my tags on?”, “Someday I’ll fit so you can’t give me away”, and on and on.

By the time we find our daily uniform- which might not be the most stylin’ thing in our wardrobe, we’re just happy to close the door on the whole thing and get the heck out of fashion dodge- that is, until tomorrow when we’ll have to face the music once again. Of course tomorrow we will start our diet and everything will miraculously look like its “supposed” to. All those unruly pieces will straighten up and start acting like the perfect outfits you always intended them to be…..maybe. And we hear Arnold Schwarzenegger is being considered as a possible presidential candidate….

Of course, one would think that having more clothing in your closet would make life easier by giving you a lot more options, but paradoxically the opposite is true. Getting dressed can be completely overwhelming when you have  10 jackets, 25 tops, 15 pants,12 belts and 30 pairs of shoes to choose from. This is where those savvy girls from the old sod can teach us a thing or two. While we take great joy in collecting masses of stuff, well-dressed Europeans do not.

European gals tend to spend more money on quality, timeless pieces on a shopping trip and aren’t simply looking to fill up their carts with piles of average clothing that will be here today and gone tomorrow. They know that one great jacket is far better than four so-so blazers. Try the following exercise: add up what you’ve spent on every single item of clothing in your closet you don’t wear.  You will probably be amazed at the dollar amount.  Even if Costco or Target are your fashion boutiques of choice, most women will find that for the same money they spent on their unworn discount impulse buys, they could have gone to a high end department store and instead gotten one or two great pieces that would have taken them out of park and put them into fashion drive. Don’t get us wrong, every woman loves a fashion bargain -but the well heeled European woman makes sure it’s not just a great deal, but a valuable addition to her wardrobe as well.

This is exactly what our chic friends from the Old World do- they go straight to a good store selling quality products and pick ONE item they LOVE and use it in their wardrobe for years. Some might think this doesn’t sound like a very exciting way to shop (without the adrenaline high one gets in ripping thru racks and racks of sales) but they know that there is simply no substitute for the thrill they get from walking to their closet, easily picking out a great outfit and effortlessly looking like a million bucks.– And no matter which side of the pond you live on, isn’t that all that any of us wants when getting dressed each morning?

xoxo, Ruth

Fashion Code Fall StyleThe L.A. Times reported that comfort dressing this Fall doesn’t just mean wearing sweatsuits anymore.

Their “Tactile Sensation”  article featured some possible options to replace your “Juicy Couture”. Among the suggestions was this Oscar de la Renta ”fuzzy-wuzzy shaggy white tunic”.

New sweatsuit?

Tactile sensation?

Looks more like the model got dressed in a dark closet. A mop closet to be exact….

The perfect finishing touches (not shown) were rumored to include wooden peg leg pants and a beautiful burgundy plastic bucket/purse which set off the jewelry perfectly. Of course, one could always get some housework done in these “alternative sweats”… and she definitely gets extra points for finding a great multi-tasking outfit.  -Not to mention easy care.  Here’s one haute couture outfit you can even throw in with your rags. In fact its recommended.

As you might have expected, there have been complaints that the necklace and $3000 crocodile belt don’t usually make it thru the spin cycle.  But its all in the name of fashion – and if the models on the runway are wearing “The Oscar Mop” shouldn’t we?

No. Some trends require a fashion intervention and this one is no exception. Time for a reality check in the world of high fashion – where this modern day Swiffer-version of the “Emperor’s New Clothes” needs to be tossed in the dust bin.

Just because something comes off a Paris runway and is touted by the fashion powers that be its important not to lose your head (or mop top as it may be). Save your money and your time– unless of course you’ve got a lot of housework to do…

Jessica Simpson is arguably one of the most beautiful women in the world. So when she got blasted by the media for gaining weight we felt for her! The saddest part about this supposed “weight gain” is that she was a size 6-8 at her “heaviest”. Thatʼs most women’s goal size!  What a lot of people, including Jessica, donʼt realize is that though she’s gained a few pounds, itʼs the clothing styles she is choosing that are making her look so much heavier- not her dress size.

”YES – some clothing does make us look larger than life – otherwise we wouldnʼt torture our significant others with the age-old question, “Honey, does this make me look fat?

Weʼve all been there… we put on some trendy outfit thinking we look awesome… only to see a picture of ourselves later that left us saying, “What the heck was I thinking?”  Unlike Jessica, we arenʼt slammed in the tabloids for our innocent mistakes.

Most clothing is made for anorectic models and mannequins whose proportions donʼt resemble the average gal in any way shape or form. So what looks good on them (i.e. the green caftan to the left) wonʼt be what looks good on the rest of us. One of our Fashion Code mantras is “Extra Fabric = Extra Girth” ALWAYS!

Jessica did what most of us do when we’ve put on a few pounds – she covered it up with over-sized clothing. Through no fault of her own, she now looks like a small tent with pleating. Of course, doing an about face and wearing clothing which was way too tight for her (see photo on the right) and not sync with her body’s proportions made her look even heavier….

So whats a girl to do when she’s gained a few but doesn’t want the world to know?

Choosing clothing that fits your body’s shape is always the best bet.  Clothes that are too tight will make you look like a sausage casing and actually magnify any excess weight. In contrast, and as we stated above, oversized clothing creates extra bulk, and therefore the illusion, of extra pounds. So, if you are a few pounds over your goal weight, shoot for something that is neither too tight or too loose in a great mid weight fabric (not a flimsy t-shirt stretch) – with no added bulk to mess things up. That means, no pleating or big body-squishing belts, and no tent-like trendy oversized shirts. Also, run like the wind when a sales girl tells you high-waisted jeans are back – especially with patch pockets slapped across the front of the thigh and stomach. Placing extra fabric across what most women consider one of their “problem” areas makes all but the ultra-thin look sizes larger.

Let the paparazzi put their zoom lens on – Jessica got her figure back!  And it all happened with a change of clothes that were neither too tight or too loose but fit her figure perfectly.

That’s life, we gain a few, we lose a few – especially after 30. And when our metabolisms go looking for greener pastures its usually time to re-think our wardrobes so we can continue on being the beautiful woman we are- at any weight.  Happy be-lated birthday Jessica! You Rock!

Before the Fashion Code

Itʼs really no wonder that most of our closets are stuffed with a whole lot of “nothing to wear” when we realize that weʼve been basing our fashion purchases on what models are wearing in the magazines, store catalogs, and on TV. Consider this – the average American woman is a size 14 and only 5ʼ4”, and the average model is a size O and 6 feet tall!!

Thatʼs right, the average model is 7 sizes smaller and 8 inches taller than the average American gal….Yet we see things on a model and think it will look the same on us…but it just isnʼt so.

That doesn’t mean tall skinny girls get to have all the fashion fun.   The Fashion Code has cracked the code to looking sleek and chic for any woman – regardless of her size, shape or age.  Itʼs all about knowing how to play up your assets and camouflaging the rest using fashionʼs best kept secret.

What makes us different than every other fashion blog out there is that weʼre the first to use an actual “science” for beauty thatʼs been around since fig leaves were in fashion. In fact, itʼs been used by everyone from Da Vinci to Valentino and for good reason – Thereʼs an actual science behind what our minds recognize as “beautiful” – who knew?

If you’re starting to have flashbacks to your high school science class, don’t worry. This is not a blog about relativity. Itʼs all about making your butt look smaller – and thatʼs a class I definitely donʼt want to skip.

To show you how all this works check out the following photos…

Before and After The Fashion Code

Notice how just a few simple changes in our modelʼs accessories and the length of her cardigan make her look like sheʼs spent a month with her own private coach from “The Born Loser”? She also looks just as stylish as the model wearing the exact same outfit as her (in the photo at the beginning of this blog).  See, didnʼt we tell you there was light at the end of the tunnel? (and not that horrible fluorescent fitting room light either).

Sheʼs dropped 15 pounds and 15 years off her look by simply knowing the secret to dressing for her body and not a modelʼs in a magazine. Itʼs amazing how something as simple as an Ug-ly boot can really turn your legs into tree stumps or a family sized purse can make your thighs look like theyʼve doubled in size.

Everyday, millions of American women  fall prey to these unflattering trends when they head to the mall. They figure if its the latest, it must be the greatest. Hundreds or thousands of dollars later they still have a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear!  So, we think itʼs high time to share some style tools and rules that allow us to look great regardless of what we ate last night or which gene pool we were born into.

We aren’t anti-fashion. In fact, weʼre the biggest fashionistas youʼll meet and we wonʼt hesitate to wrestle you to the floor for those sample sale Jimmy Choos to prove it. But as fashion stylists weʼve found that the biggest style killer is not dressing in your bodyʼs own unique proportions – so knowing which trends and styles to avoid is key to looking like the style maven we know you are.

Think of us as your own personal stylists who are here to help you start shopping smart and learn the simple science of style. Donʼt worry. No pen-pack required. Weʼve figured it all out so you donʼt have to. Which will leave you more time to ponder the more liberating “problem” of deciding which great outfit to choose from in your closet full of everything you love to wear.

We look forward to adding you to our exceptional group of “friends and fashionistas” at The Fashion Code blog – where youʼll discover whatʼs real in the world of fashion and how to make it all work for you.

xo, Ruth