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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If you are a woman, a person of color or LGBTIA+ identified and are a part of a start-up company, this is the competition for you. The SoGal Global Pitch Competition is being hosted in over 25 cities and will culminate in a final contest in Silicon Valley as well as a "3-day immersive educational bootcamp." This could be an unprecedented opportunity for you, your business and for the future of entrepreneurial diversification.
We all know how important diversity is for the world and for any business entity. But the statistics need to catch up with these ideals, because diversity isn't just a moral imperative it can also have an impact on the success and efficiency of a business. So if the ethics isn't enough to get you interested, maybe these statistics will.
- Companies in the top quartile for ethnic and racial diversity are 35% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have above-average financial returns
- Bottom quartile companies (in both gender and racial diversity) are less likely to achieve even average returns
- In senior executive teams in the US for every 10% increase in racial and ethnic diversity EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) rose 0.8%
Despite the fact that diversity is good for business, funding as a woman or a minority is incredibly challenging, but this competition could be someone's game-changing opportunity.
SoGal is a global education and empowerment platform focused on diverse investors and entrepreneurs. Their mission is "to close the diversity gap in entrepreneurship and venture capital." A tall order, given that 2.2% of VC funding went to women in 2018. Compounding the gender gap with race shows an even poorer picture: in the past decade only 0.1% (yes, that is a decimal) of funding was allocated to black women.
It is a straight up fact that companies with higher levels of diversity perform better, so why is it so hard for diverse start-ups to get funded? Oh right, racism, sexism, homophobia, implicit biases, inequality, classism... the list goes on, but thankfully that's where SoGal comes in! According to Kelley Elizabeth Henry, director of SoGal, "We're done waiting for these statistics to change; we're taking action to point investment capital toward these diverse-led startups. [...] We will change the future of entrepreneurship."
To enter this competition all you have to do is be a part of a pre-Series A startup (raised less than $3M) and have at least one "woman or diverse" founder. After you apply to pitch, you'll have to be able to make it to one of the "regional round location," which range from the more typical options of New York and Los Angeles to global locations such as Nairobi or Bangalore. And, if you're really playing to win, you better earmark February 28 to March 1 of next year, because that's when the top teams will be in San Francisco duking it out to the very end. And by "duking it out," I mean participating in "curated educational programming," talking to press and getting "facetime in front of top-tier investors." Though not everyone can win, the experience in itself looks to be well-worth the time it takes to fill out an application form and huff it to the nearest large city for the first round.