Angie’s insightful comment on my post about a coat I made got me thinking.
…the current silhouette is hard to wear on most body types: very bulky fur bodice, no collar, short sleeves, absent structure, black = unflattering. I know you're not after a flattering silhouette…
Taking off my aspiring designers hat for a moment and considering my own personal style, my first thought about this was: true enough. For me, style is far more about creating a visual impression than it is about showing off physical attributes to best advantage. Most of the time the idea is to look dramatic, interesting and a little bit different, and to be honest, looking attractive as a woman is not always very high on my list of priorities.
On reflection though, I realised that this is not the case at all. Whatever the style, be it bold or understated, nobody wants to get it wrong and I need to know what works and doesn’t work for me as much as the next woman. This brings me to what I discovered a little while ago about Kibbe types.
Now, I have a real love-hate relationship with this system. Most of what I've read about it is nonsense, and don’t even get me started on the styling efforts I see around the Internet. But when I first encountered it (via this very forum) a penny dropped for me, I could see exactly where it came from aesthetically and I realised that a lot of what I like to wear is very much in line with that way thinking.
Put simply, the raw material of my physical appearance (dramatic/natural) gives me access to bold, rectangular shapes and oversized, unstructured silhouettes. They happen to look good on me, often a lot better than, say, skinny jeans with classic tailoring, or those fit and flare dresses that are very popular right now, which don’t look good on me at all. In that respect, I could speculate that my aesthetic preferences have been shaped by something I like to wear simply because it suits me.
So my question is, do we think of these shapes as unflattering because they really are unflattering (i.e. not many people can pull them off) or because they don't define the human (female) body in the same way as, say, a tailored jacket or a form-fitting dress? To what extent are our ideas about flattery shaped by contemporary standards of beauty and conventions around getting dressed?
All of this is not to argue with Angie that the coat doesn’t need tweaking (it does) but more to consider what we think of as flattering. Are there things that look great on you that no-one else can wear? Or is there something universally considered flattering that doesn’t suit you at all? Do you ever put an effect you want to create above flattering, or are you always going for JFE?
Ladies, what does flattering mean to you?