The Shape of The Dress…

vintage style

I wanted to share with you some lovely pictures

The early 60’s… I know, the Mad Men style was all the rage a few years ago, but fashion (and the show) has since moved on from the early 60’s fitted dresses and pencil skirts. We are looking to a whole new decade for inspiration now… Frankly my dear reader, I don’t care.

Trends may change, but my body type hasn’t… I’ve always been shaped like an hourglass, whatever age or weight I was. The way I see it, clothes exist for the sole purpose of helping me look my very best, and it’s fashion designers’ job to make me shine. Yes, I understand that they may have some personal creative ambitions, maybe they even think their work is some sort of self-expression or art, poor deluded darlings…

fashion quotes

But at the end of the day, if I’m going to spend money on clothes, I expect the said clothes to work for me, and work hard. It’s all about me, me, me…

This is again  one of those ‘lessons’ I learned from my very stylish mother. Shaped more or less the same as me (although slimmer), she never chased trends that didn’t suit her. Fashions and decades changed, but she kept it simple, streamlined and understated. And she always managed to look current and classic at the same time.

style quotes

Know yourself…

Not just your likes and dislikes but also your body shape and proportions. Yes, boxy cuts or long, flowy layers may be trendy, and look fantastic on tall, willowy models, but if you’re not shaped the way they are, chances are you’ll end up looking like Edina from Absolutely Fabulous

So,  if you’re short and curvy, maybe something closer to the body is more flattering. And if you have wide hips and big thighs like me, you might want to steer clear of too short skirts. A hemline that goes to your knees makes your legs look slim and shapely instead of drawing attention to the widest part of your body. Keeping the shape of the dress streamlined not only makes you look slimmer but also more sophisticated.

style quotes

But I don’t like that style…

The shape and proportions of your clothes are the parameters that define what your body can deal with, in terms of looking the best it can. On top of that you put your individual stamp, the ‘look’ you’re after. Streamlined does not necessarily mean just tailored or fitted; you can get the same effect with clothes that have some stretch, too, e.g. wrap dresses, Remember, it’s about the shape of the dress, not how you get that shape…

And let’s not forget that there are certain styles that may appeal to you more than others: I tend to go for classic, but can’t stand boho (on myself, that is: I love it when it suits the wearer’s personality). Streamlined clothes can be sexy and feminine, or tomboyish, or classic, or casual.

It’s a bit like having your hair cut: you have many styles to choose from, some of which work better than others. But you cannot defy genetics: if your hair is unruly and curly, a pixie cut or long, silky strands are just not going to work (this is another thing my mother tried to teach me… believe me, it took some convincing)

I have a 3-post series coming up where I want to explore different looks for a streamlined, tailored dress (same dress, 3 looks), and we’ll start with the first one on Sunday.

Does your body shape determine the way you dress?


Photo credits: the first picture is a newspaper clipping of a beauty pageant my mother won. All other pictures are from my mother’s photo album and were taken during her stint as a model.

For more ‘Style Lessons‘ go to Style Icon

Linking up with:

Throwback Thursday, Fun Fashion Friday, Thursday Fashion Files, Passion4Fashion, A Labour of Fashion

PS: I want to thank DANA for featuring me in her WABISABI  – The Real Beauty Project series. Go check out her fabulous selection of bloggers!


  1. Dana Jo
    26 February 2015 / 2:58 pm

    What a wonderful posting! I love this 60s style and have a lot of pencil skirts and similar dresses like your Mom on the pics. This kind of fashion look very feminine and lovely. In the last years you can find this dresses and skirts even more in the popular shops so you don´t need to search because.. I think.. this fashion trend will never be out of fashion :)have a nice weekendDana 🙂

    • Tiina L
      26 February 2015 / 6:34 pm

      Thanks, Dana! From the purely aesthetic point of view, I love the early 60s style. But I'm a practical person, and clothes have to be comfortable as well as stylish. I refuse to suffer for style (so, no high heels…), so I have to adapt this style to my needs.

  2. Suzanne Carillo
    26 February 2015 / 5:26 pm

    How cool are these photos of your Mother! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree : ) I loved this and have posted to my FB and Twitter. It is funny because I have a draft for a post where I wrote almost the exact same thing as you. I wrote that the designers aren't designing some "artistic interpretation of some cerebral BS" they're designing clothes that I need to like and wear. For me me me! And they need to suit me and my body. Not their personal artistic ambitions. If they want to do that they need to go into creating costumes. Now though since you wrote this so eloquently I think I'll trash my draft. bisousSuzanne

    • Tiina L
      26 February 2015 / 6:31 pm

      Oh no, don't trash your draft! we need to get that message out there, and the more people write about it, the better. I think it's high time designers starts listening to people who actually buy clothes…

  3. A Labour of Life
    27 February 2015 / 4:27 am

    what a great post, thanks for sharing. Link up on my blog if you would like to come join us

    • Tiina L
      27 February 2015 / 3:43 pm

      Thanks for the invitation. I would be happy to link up.

  4. Jill James
    27 February 2015 / 9:02 am

    Now we all know where your wonderful sense of style comes from.As someone with a pear shaped figure and definately not tall and leggy, I know where you are coming from,some seasons I am sure everything is designed for sticks.Over time most of us learn to seek out what works and what doesn,t,well most of the time.

    • Tiina L
      27 February 2015 / 3:59 pm

      Yes,my mother has certainly influenced my style a lot (but I'm way more eccentric than she was). I agree, we do learn to look for what makes us look our best. If only that was always available…

  5. Dawn Lucy
    27 February 2015 / 5:10 pm

    Fit and flare is my dress shape of choice! You'll never see this pear trying to rock a sheath (stylish though they may be!) Thanks so much for linking up with FUN FASHION FRIDAY & hope to see you back next week!OXOXDawn Lucy

    • Tiina L
      1 March 2015 / 4:51 pm

      It is so great to just pick up a dress and know that it's just the right shape and will look fantastic, isn't it? If only designers understood that women come in all shapes and sizes, and we all need dresses that suit our shape, every season…

  6. Rebecca Harasym
    27 February 2015 / 8:04 pm

    What a fantastic post and great tips on how to look your best! Coco Chanel sure had some fantastic fashion quotes!

    • Tiina L
      1 March 2015 / 4:54 pm

      Thanks, Rebecca! yes, Coco Chanel had some great fashion ideas and insights, and the good thing is we can still benefit from them, even if we're not the 'Chanel shape'…

  7. Mrs C
    28 February 2015 / 7:14 pm

    I used to have a problem with dressing my body type. I used to be a 'babe' back in my 20s ( hard to see that now but yes, I was) I was slim, could eat a train and still didn't gain a pound, and looked good in almost anything! With time I grew sideway, boobs and bum and lost the proportion I used to have but I kept choosing clothes the way I used to, the same style and all. I remember I used to love turtle neck and I was able to pull it off perfectly but now, I would look heavy top, short and stumpy and it took me a while to understand that I had to say adios to some style of clothing. I still have to be cautious now but getting better. I think clean lines as in less frill is the best way to dress. Clean lines always spell elegant and look expensive. Your mom was a babe, Tiina, an elegant one 🙂

    • Tiina L
      1 March 2015 / 5:03 pm

      I know what you mean: in my 20s (and 30s) I could eat anything and I was skinny… but I always had a small waist and wide hips. So it hasn't been a huge adjustment as I get older; I'm the same shape, there's just more of me, everywhere… And so now my dresses are just longer, but my clothes still need to have a defined waistline.

  8. Alice Warren
    2 March 2015 / 5:43 am

    This is such a great post! I love these sayings and look forward to your series. Thank you for joining TBT Fashion link up and hope to see you next week.

    • Tiina L
      2 March 2015 / 8:30 am

      Thanks, Alice!

  9. dan
    2 March 2015 / 8:14 am

    Beautiful post!The shape of a dress shoud follow the shape of the woman who is going to wear it, and, as there are so many woman's types … there must be many kind of dresses! So a girl, a lady, or simply a woman, can always feel wonderful wearing it!

    • Tiina L
      2 March 2015 / 8:31 am

      Thanks, Dan. Yes, we come in many shapes and sizes, and therefore we need many shapes of dresses…

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