I know it's not a popular modern concept to suggest that you may never be able to afford that yacht (or modest house in the neighbourhood of your choice). That you may never have a child, despite it being your greatest goal. That you may face frightening illness someday. That you might be the person with the metabolism that just will not let go of that final 20 pounds.
It's heavy, I realize. But I going somewhere with this.
In the face of all the things you can't necessarily control, there is one thing you can nab everytime. It's as simple as addition and as elegant as complex geometry.
You can dress like a movie star, trust me - in 99% of circumstances (I know there's always an exception) - even if you are low on funds, 20 pounds above your desired weight, saddened by life's challenges, hateful of your workplace, confused because (no matter how hard you try) your abs are still not rock hard etc.
Here's what you do:
Wear the right size.
- Take your measurements. I know, it's like heresy, but embrace the fear and do it anyway. What you will learn is that each of your various body parts has a certain circumference, measured in inches or centimetres. It's not rocket science. And it's not that scary when you consider that the numbers are simply a means of determining the right size of clothing to purchase or to make or have made.
- Take a tape measure shopping with you. You don't have to look like a freak in the showroom. Bring some stuff that should fit into the change room and measure while you test for stretch (which will impact the measurement somewhat unknowably). Then try it on. If everything you grabbed was too small (or big), because you're basing your choices on some imaginary mental image of your shape, no problem. Go a size up or down and try again.
- Make sure anything you buy is returnable. Show your new wares to a really well-dressed friend and ask him or her to give you an honest opinion of fit (not style). If you get a polite but negative response, take the goods in question back to the store and try yet another size - or forgo the item altogether if it's just not cut right for you.
- This is where having tons of cash helps, though isn't a prerequisite. Understand that if you don't have money you need either a really good eye or a lot of time and probably a combo of both. Looking good takes time. You know that already. I mean, to point 1 above, you'll probably spend 2 hours in one store searching on fit - on numerous occasions. So what's a few days hunting down the right fit at a price you can afford. Note: As many will advise, thrifting and vintage will be your ticket to good fabric at the right price. If you don't like pre-owned, you'll have to get lucky or save your bucks. Or you could learn to sew. But that's a long-term strategy. Seriously.
- Good fabric has nice drape predicated on gauge and its suitability for the garment it's been used to make. In general, medium-weight, slightly stretchy fabrics skim many bodies attractively. They can be synthetic, natural or a mix of both. I suggest you hang out at a fabric store one afternoon and walk around feeling the bolts. Or you can touch everything, everywhere. That's what I do. No piece at Club Monaco/Holt Renfrew/Ca Va de Soi escapes my touch. If you think the fabric looks dicey, it probably does.
- If you don't really "get" your proportions, it's a mere accident when you find something that looks right. Of course, paying attention to that first, accidental item is key to locating other - and similar - shapes that fit on purpose. You can read a lot of style books that will tell you if you have a short waist or relatively long arms. Or you could try on a zillion styles and learn what works as you go along. Once your eye acclimates, you'll know exactly what to pick up (and what to leave) every time.
- You are a fingerprint. No other person, save maybe your mother or sister, will have anywhere near the same shape and proportions as you. The way weight settles on you is bound to be different than the way it settles on me. We can share the same body measurements and still not suit the same items. The combination of shape and drape with your frame is utterly unique. That's why you have to keep trying stuff on in order to know what works.
- This is the substance of whole decades of psychotherapy for some, but this basic rule applies: To change your attitude about your body you need to change your brain chemistry. You can do that with drugs or exercise or sex other mood altering behaviours. Find one that works.
- Not to harp, but yoga is particularly useful in achieving this goal. Many studies show that people who do yoga experience greater body awareness which leads to the adoption of habits that make them healthier in the long run. Yoga's main influence is on the endocrine system - neurotransmitters and hormones. When those are in balance, one is grounded emotionally and body shape and skin tone are optimal. The action of asana (poses) is to stabilize the skeleton and lengthen muscles. This reinforces symmetry - a healthful quality that greatly assists in the elegant wearing of clothing.
- If you don't feel it, neither will we. The basis of attractiveness is recognizing what you bring to the table. Which is, in itself, based on gratitude. You may not possess Elle MacPherson's body - but the one you have enjoys the pleasures of this life. It mobilizes you and it heals you when you're sick - not to mention it's the image you project. Regular and organized movement will make you aware of your body's awesome achievements. Be confident and you will look confident. Which is always attractive.