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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Creating Your Unique Style

For so long shopping as a plus size woman was a struggle. Trying to create a “unique style” was impossible when size and selection was limited. Desperate times created a desperate motto; “If it fits, and it isn’t an elastic waist, buy it!”

Using that motto, I made a number of bad clothing decisions so then I thought if I only wear black and use funky accessories to “jazz up” my outfit I will have style success. That didn’t work because I really missed having colour and pattern in my wardrobe. Plus wearing all black during a hot humid summer in Ontario – not good!

Now in 2010, plus size woman of any size have so many more clothing options thanks to online stores and cross-border shopping/shipping. Remember the days when we literally had 3 stores to shop in, now just on my website I have 60+ stores that offer plus size clothing.

With this wide open market we CAN begin to create our own individual style, but how do you start? Not too long ago on the Oprah Show, Rita Wilson (wife of Tom Hanks) was invited to do some amazing viewer makeovers and also to discuss how to create an individual style. Here are some of her suggestions which I have tried to expand on:

How would you like to be described?
Get introspective and write down how you would like to be described. Would it be creative, funky, elegant, classy, eclectic, bohemian, professional, trendy, casual, or sexy - the list goes on and on. Decide what you would like your own unique combination to be.

Choose clothes that are “You”.
Now when you go shopping keep your list handy and start to choose clothes and accessories that fit these descriptive words. For example a grey business suit; creative- not really but professional, yes. For a creative look try mixing patterns and colours. Is your style sexy – then your clothes will probably be more form fitting then say someone going for a bohemian style.

Collect photos.
When you are looking through magazines tear out photos of people or clothing that you really like. Think about how you would describe the look? What are elements from this photograph that you can incorporate into your style? As a plus size woman I often find outfits in magazines that I love but obviously wouldn’t fit into. Instead of getting discouraged and thinking there is no way that would work on my body, I will critique the image and figure out what I like about it and why. Then I try to recreate “my” look using the elements I like and what works best for me and my body.

Emphasize your best asset.
Take a good honest look at your body and decide what body part you are most proud of – then show it off! Is it your legs – wear more skirts, is it your face – layer your necklaces to bring attention up to your neck and face.

If you focus on emphasizing your best assets, you spend less energy and effort trying to hide the bits of your body you don’t like, by default these bits fade into the background.

After going through this exercise you will find your shopping experiences will be much more focused, productive and rewarding. You will be shopping with a vision and a strong understanding of what your clothes say about you.

If you are interested here is a link to Rita Wilson’s Style Handbook.

I would love to hear what your unique style is and how you achieve it! (just post a comment)

Happy Shopping!

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