I spoke to a woman last week, her business was picking up, [she was taking on a new job from a casual work environment to one where she was in front of clients]. She was working her butt off, taking care of her family, and with no time to shop. Her wardrobe was not appropriate for her new executive position, she lacked confidence, AND her body was changing, [sound familiar]?
As we get older, unfortunately our figures shift. You know what I am talking about; extra pounds, bigger waistline, ashy skin and, (dare I say), a wider backside. It's not fun, and body changes can take a toll on our self-confidence, and could lead to uncertainty on how to dress.
So, how do we as women stay confident, empowered, and on trend with our wardrobe, in this ever changing day-to-day?
There are many body variations, however, the styling rules always start with the basics. These important elements (that sometimes go unnoticed) determine which clothes look best for your skeletal frame. When you understand these elements, you will gain clarity about your figure, you will have more confidence dressing for it and, you will be able to find clothes that are more flattering and work appropriate.
The all important body equation: A+B+C= Body Type
A = Body Shape: which includes your body measurements (bust, waist etc) & your height measurement, (petite, average height, tall.)
B = Body Proportions: Torso/Leg ration, Neck length.
C = Body Incidental: Bust size, thicker arms, wide shoulders, bum size, narrow calves, plus a few other features.
Let's Dive Into the Concept a Bit More
A = Body shape defined by the dictionary: The human body shape is a complex phenomenon with sophisticated detail and function. The general shape or figure of a person is defined mainly by the molding of skeletal structures, as well as the distribution of muscles and fat. What??? In a nut shell, body shape is the silhouette from your front view, or the outline of your figure.
B = Body proportions as defined by the dictionary: how lines and shapes divide the space, garment, or outfit into parts. It involves the relationship of one part or space compared to another part or space, compared to the whole garment, and to the body. Basically, we are talking about longer or shorter legs, a longer or shorter waist, rise, décolletage and your neck length. This measurement will tell you where to end your hems – tops, skirts, sleeves, trousers. Also where you may want to add verticals to elongate and highlight body parts.[One important note regarding proportions.The eye subconsciously sees clothing lines as lines of your body. So, wearing clothes with lines that are incorrect for your body proportion tends to create blunt-lines...essentially cutting your body at the wrong place. But when we correctly place those clothing lines and proportions, the lines have a pleasing curve to them, and the eye is drawn to all of our best features.]
C = Body incidentals/Deviations are everything else that determines your overall body type. The other bits and pieces of your frame; a bigger bottom, large busts, fuller upper arms, wide shoulders, saddlebags, wide calves, etc.
Some of us will have a shorter torso and longer leg line and be tall. One may be petite, and wear a size 16, but have a small bust. These factors influence our style decisions, as well as which pieces of clothing look the best on our body. Sound confusing? It's important to understand that this can feel daunting, be patient! I promise you, once you experiment with these concepts, and test out fabrics and silhouettes, you will get it.
I want to talk briefly about my other secret to confidently boost your wardrobe: maintain classic, tailored pieces and add in trendy items carefully.
You may ask yourself: "How do I blend all of these measurement ideals together so I understand how to find clothes?" and "If I am part of several body types, which one takes precedence?" Author Jonathan Alpert, Psychotherapist, executive performance coach, and author of Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days, about 7 simple ways to begin your morning for a healthy productive day. His strategy is simplistic, yet many of us don't pay attention, are to frazzled or don't recognize the benefit. Not only does he talk about visualizing your day, drink water and wake up earlier. He mentions my favorite strategy: maintain a manageable wardrobe.
Start building your closet with essential pieces like: a pencil skirt, flesh color pumps, black pumps, blazers, a leather coat. These are just part of the core essentials that are the base of your wardrobe. Once you have added all necessary items, then add in trendy, sophisticated, perhaps edgy style elements. This will not only save you money, it will give you styling ease and faster morning exits to work.
I love to see the transformations in women! I see changes from trepidation to exhilaration.…their joy as they step in front of the mirror and say, "Wow, I look really good, I never thought I could wear this!"
It all starts with knowing your body, the shape, the proportions, and having the essential pieces in your wardrobe. Now is the time for your breakthrough style moment! Your ease of getting dressed in the morning, true confidence in front of your clients, and say goodbye to your fashion frustrations! It's as easy as ABC...
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We are living in a time when women are rising to new heights which means they are regularly being confronted with the fear of being "too much". For women in business this is pervasive and costly.
A few ways women can be perceived as "too much" are:
Speaking up about their successes and achievements.
Sharing one too many photos of their cute kids.
Telling one too many people about that date night.
Looking a little too good in that swimsuit.
These can lead to being publicly attacked on social media or privately slandered which in turn leads to women dimming their light and walking on egg shells in hopes of avoiding conflict and judgement.
The minute a woman feels it's unsafe to shine she will begin to overthink, worry, and fear how she shows up in the world.
Forgetting to announce the book is done and the interview is live.
Choosing to focus on what's still on the to-do list rather than what's been checked off.
Many female entrepreneurs are subconsciously altering their behavior in an attempt to not attract too much attention to themselves, rather than focusing on allowing authenticity and magnetism to attract their ideal clients and community.
Women are afraid of being criticized, ostracized, and abandoned by other women for simply being who they are. This leads to quite the quantum when being who you are is simplest way to accelerate the growth of your business.
New research shows men are far more comfortable with self promotion than women are. Researchers found that men rate their own performance 33 percent higher than equally performing women. What we know is that self promotion pays off and this is where women are missing the boat.
The world needs more women to step into leadership roles and no longer be intimidated about creating six and seven figure careers.
Here are five ways to release the fear of being "too much":
1. Approve of yourself.
While it feels good to receive outside validation it will never be enough if you don't first appreciate yourself. The key to having a healthy support system is to make sure you are part of it. Being your biggest critic is what your mother's generation did. It's now time to be your biggest cheerleader. Becoming aware of self talk will reveal what belief is ready to be re-wired. Create a simply mantra that affirms how incredible capable you are.
2. Connect deeply to those you serve.
One powerful way to shift out of people pleasing behavior is to get clear on who actually matters to the wellbeing and success of your life and business. Leadership is not about being the most popular, instead it's a decision to be brave for those who can't be. Take a few minutes each day to visualize and meditate on those your business serves and supports. See your future clients moving toward you every time you choose to stand in your power and use your authentic voice.
3. Remember the legacy you wish to leave.
Having your life purpose and legacy in writing is one of the most transformational exercises you can do. Reading this often will keep you focused on what matters. Knowing what you wish to leave in the hearts of those you love most is incredibly grounding. You didn't come here to keep your mouth shut, dilute your truth, or dim your light-you came here to make a difference.
4. Forgive those who have been unsupportive in the past.
The past has a way of informing the future in a negative way when there is unresolved pain. Take a few minutes to get quiet and ask yourself who you have unforgiveness towards or maybe their name came to mind as you read this article. Listening to a forgiveness meditation or writing a letter to the person you are ready to forgive are both simple and effective ways to process and heal.
5. Be part a community of bright, successful women.
Meaningful relationships with others who have similar aspirations is what will keep you out of isolation and playing small. These connections can happen in a networking group, online community or a local Meetup. Thriving in every area of life is depend on you knowing where you belong and being celebrated there. Don't wait to be invited, go actively seek out people and places that support your dreams and desires.
6. Accept you can have it all.
Women have been fed a lie for generations that says, you can have love or money. Decide you can have it all and allow it to flow to you. You can have a successful career and an amazing mother. You can balance motherhood and loving marriage. Don't let anyone write the rules for you. This is the time to create the life you desire on your terms.
7. Celebrate everything!
The fastest way to leave the haters in the dust is to celebrate everything! At the end of each day lay in bed and recall the best moments. At the end of each week, publicly acknowledge and celebrate what's good in your life. Once a month, have a celebration dinner and share it with those who have helped you in the journey. If there's something good happening, talk about it with everyone who will listen!
May you be a woman who chooses to shine so that others may be reminded of all they can be and do.