Slim without breaking a sweat
Stylists are magicians. Here Claire McNestry reveals the secret to looking slimmer, younger and on trend without dieting.
Let me start by saying, I don’t wear colour – EVER. It’s just too ‘look at me’, frivolous and feminine. Colour trends tend to go in the ‘not for me’ or ‘the accessories only’ pile (along with sequins, ruffles and florals that look like someone has vomited ‘girlie’ into my wardrobe). The trouble is SS17 is all about pink, florals, ruffles and metallics. So what’s a girl to do?
Don’t get me wrong, I often clock other people looking gorgeously girlie with an attack of the green-eyed monster, but it’s not ME! So I have a uniform: skinny jeans, sweaters, white trainers or a heeled ankle boot. I don’t have to think too hard, everyone gets out of the door on time and I think I look pretty good. But it is BORING!
Am I stuck in a wardrobe rut? Hell yes. I often find myself having toddler-style tantrums getting ready for a night out, wailing that I have nothing to wear – and yet my wardrobes and drawers say otherwise. This normally results in a lot of exasperated huffing from Mr Muddy and the Mudlets diving for cover.
In an attempt to face my fears, I discovered Claire McNestry Personal Styling. Claire’s a Berkshire mum who quit the her City job to pursue her passion for fashion. Now she helps women to become the best version of themselves. Whether you need to edit your wardrobe, a personal styling sesh or, in my case, colour and body shape analysis, Claire’s your gal.
Now before you start rolling your eyes about ‘getting your colours done’ being for women of a certain age in the ’80s, you’re right. Colour Me Beautiful by Carole Jackson spawned an army of analysts declaring you spring, summer, autumn or winter. Well it’s made a comeback and fashion addicts swear by it to supercharge their look.
You’re not going to be told to wear matchy matchy coral skirt suits and pastel scarves. It’s much more individual – identifying the neutrals is as important as the brights. Claire starts by draping layer upon layer of coloured fabrics next to my face to see the effect they have on my skin and eyes. From this Claire can ascertain whether I am ‘warm’ or ‘cool’, what season I fall into and which shades look kick-ass.
I spend most of the time recoiling in horror as pale blues and lurid reds are introduced. But in the end it turns out I’m warm spring. What does that mean? Well navy, green, camel and *ahem* coral are all good – helping me look 10lb lighter and 10 years younger. Holler! Claire assures me I won’t need to chuck out my entire wardrobe. ‘You can still wear the colours your comfortable with [black, navy and grey, in my case], but clever layering and accessories in your palette will make you look and feel amazing.’
The second half of our appointment is dedicated to body shape: hourglass, pear, apple, slender or starwberry. It is this bit that should help me our of my skinny jean rut. I am a typical hourglass. Get me and my Marilyn Monroe curves. So it’s all about showing a little ankle, a little wrist and cinching in my waist. So I’m branching out to try midi skirts, wide-legged pants, brogues and belts. Before I know it I’ll be an Insta influencer. You’re right best not try and run before I (cat)walk.
So in the spirit of sharing. Here are a few pearls of wisdom from Claire in the pursuit of Ab-Fab status. I’m off for a glass (or three) of Bollie while you get stuck in. Follow these tips and you’ll look immediately look slimmer. No gym or surgery required. Whoop!
SLENDER: shoulders, waistline and hips about the same size
You’re straight up and down and may crave curves. You’re best suited to jackets and dresses that cinch in at the waist as this will give the illusion of a waist and instantly make you look curvier. If you wish to add a bust then try high neck tops, fills, ruffles or a pussy bow neck, or try a chunky statement necklace. Most styles suit you but steer clear of baggy clothes as these will drown you. Instead look for clothes that create volume. Steer clear from Spaghetti straps as they will make you appear angular.
PEAR: hips wider than your shoulders and waistline
The most common silhouette and by far the easiest to style. The aim here is to balance out your curvy bottom half by adding volume from the waist upwards. Think bold, bright tops with large lapels, statement sleeves & frills. Accessories will become your best friend, wearing statement jewellery will draw the eye upwards and away from the hips. You can have lots of fun with patterns, shapes and colours. Steer clear of bright colours on your bottom half.
HOURGLASS: hips and shoulders the same width and your waistline’s smaller
This is often referred to as the ideal female body shape, Hourglass body shape is curvy with well proportioned boobs, hips and a nipped-in waist. Look for pieces that flatter your waistline.Show off your neckline in V-neck and scoop necks, look for high-waisted and palazzo trousers, these will empahsise the curve of your hips without making you appear bigger than you are. Invest in a magic waist belt. You will not regret it.
APPLE: shoulders and hips are the same size and your waistline is the same or wider.
You tend to carry your weight around your tummy but have cracking legs and boobs. Look for movement in your clothes and pieces that finish on your hipline. Aim to lenghten your torso but wearing the lower cut neckline. Empire line is a great shape for you and you are best to avoid tops that cling to your middle. Look for hemlines with embellishents, you want to draw the eye down to your legs and master the art of layering. Killer heels are great.
STRAWBERRY: shoulders wider than your waistline and hip line
This is the least comon of the body shapes. You should look at adding structure below the waist. Try to avoid high necks and those that accentuate the bust, no one wants a monoboob! Keep to muted colours on top, less of the paler lighter colours. Draw attention to your cleavage by wearing sweetheart necklines and V-neck. Opt for skirts and dresses that sit above the knee. Show off your best asset.