ISABEL SPEARMAN WHY IT WORKS
No two figures are the same, which can make buying off-the-peg workwear tricky. But it’s worth persevering for the perfect fit
I’ve just moved into a more corporate sector with a narrower dress code, mostly suits. I’ve never thought they flatter my figure – is there a knack to finding one that will?
How to dress for your body shape is a conversation
I have all the time with friends, clients and brands that I work with. It’s important to understand your own shape so that you can buy clothes that fit well; I can’t tell you how many times my clients see themselves in an entirely different way from how I (or other people) see them.
Often their style has not moved on since having children or even across decades, so they’re still struggling to dress for the shape they used to be.
Or, they spend too much time focusing on hiding their bad bits, and not enough on making the most of their good bits. And everyone has good bits! Clothes play a vital role in communication before we even open our mouths, and a too-tight dress or a badly-fitting jacket can undermine an interview, presentation or speech. Remember to take a good look at yourself and your wardrobe every so often – starting now. Has your body changed recently, and if so, where? What outfits do you feel good in? Don’t obsess about dress sizes: every brand sizes slightly differently (I range from an 8-14 depending on the shop). I have a client who is so obsessed with wearing a size 10 that I had to start cutting the labels out – she looks so much better (and slimmer) in a 12. While you’re getting started, don’t be afraid to take everything
into the changing room, as things look so different off the hanger. And don’t be put off by the need for minor alterations, either, as they’re inexpensively made with the help of a good tailor. Everyone’s shape is different, but here are some basic rules to use as a starting point.
To emphasise a trim waist, add a belt to pull in floaty dresses, or tuck tops into A-line skirts, which will then skim nicely over your bum and thighs.
For a large bust, a fantastic trouser suit will draw attention away from your top half, give shape around the waist, and elongate legs.
If you’re self-conscious of your tummy, layer looser tops and jackets over slim trousers that show off your legs. Long, tall figures that want to create some curves should embrace peplum tops with pencil skirts.
To flatter and elongate legs, try wide-leg trousers or an ankle-skimming maxi skirt. To ask Isabel Spearman your workwear questions, email isabel.spearman @telegraph.co.uk or follow her on Instagram @isabelspearman
Edie dress, £159 (hobbs.co.uk)
Leather belt, £75 (thefoldlondon.com) Pinstripe blazer, £89.99; and wide-leg trousers, £39.99 (zara.com) Cotton trousers, £35 (oasis-stores.com)
Wool check pencil skirt, £110 (jaeger.co.uk)
Jacquard peplum top, £155 (libbylondon.com)