I was not born with a good sense of style, so at 27, I began looking for online courses that could shed some light on why the trendy cropped pants threw my proportions off and why Instagramable pastels made me look sick, not chic.
If you follow me on Insta, you know that I finished different style courses (yes, not just one) this year to find the answers. Hopefully, you’ve noticed how I upped my styling game because a lot of effort went into decluttering my closet and building a proper capsule wardrobe.
Anyway. Where are you on your styling journey? I learned a whole bunch of stuff about myself, and in this blog post, I share my learnings regarding my vertical and horizontal proportions, which colors flatter me the most, and where I fall in style typology.
Every section is accompanied by a brief analysis of my before and after photos.
Let’s dive in:
Proportions: what cuts make me look my best
Oh how I hate the hourglass-based classification, which divides us into geometrical figures, but that’s the world we live in and the rules we have to play by.
The Hourglass body type is considered balanced and hence standard by many brands, but it doesn’t imply that there’s anything wrong with other body types.
However, the fashion industry makes it harder to dress for those who don’t fall into the standard category. You know, when jeans fit well in the hips but are too tight or too loose in the waist? A stylist (and a good course written by one) helps us choose the best silhouettes for our unique features—without compromising comfort.
Style Fundamentals helped me figure out my proportions, so now I know precisely which cuts work best for me.
Regarding my Horizontal Body Shape, I took measurements underneath the bust, over the widest point of my hips, and in three other areas, and found out that I’m somewhere between Hourglass and Triangle.
My Vertical Body Shape is Balanced.
And based on the six Facial Shapes, mine is Oval.
So what does it all mean?
It means that now I know which clothes can highlight my Hourglass-ish figure, what garments can alter it (and that’s okay because we dictate the rules!), and why large glasses or tall hats make my face look like a melon.
Below is a visual example of how different two cute outfits make me look:
It isn’t a bad outfit, but it’s the one that doesn’t compliment my figure. The silhouette is unbalanced and not in a cool way. The top volume is too large compared to the bottom, and the colors deliver too much contrast (more on that soon).
To make it work, the top would have to be shorter or longer, like a dress, and the shoes would have to be heavier to balance the shirt. I also think this outfit would look better if both pieces were dark or light.
This is a well-balanced look. The shirt and the trousers are of the same volume. Unlike in the previous case, the materials are of similar thickness and move similarly, too.
It might not be visible, but the shirt is ecru, not white, and the trousers are navy, not black. These items are less contrasting than the classic white and black combo, and it works better with my not-so-contrasting features.
Ever since I was a kid, everyone told me to wear red and orange because "you have dark eyes and your hair is brown." No, mom! The stylists' method when dressing their clients is based on skin undertone, not color, and the contrast our unique features create.
According to Style Fundamentals, my contrast is Medium High, which means that total pastel looks wash me out, and so do very bright colors. I'm somewhere in the middle. As for my skin undertone, I want to insist that I'm Neutral, but a professional once analyzed me and insisted I'm Warm.
So there we go. My mom was partially right.
Let's dig into another before and after, after taking the course:
Introducing the power coat that I wore on the days when I felt like hiding in a hole but needed to get shit done. Now, it is important to mention that red can be both Cold and Warm. A little bit of training, and anyone can see the difference in the shades.
This coat is Cold — there's a blue undertone in it. If it were on a Warmer side, orangy, it would bring light to my face instead of stealing it. Another 'error' is the striped top. It is High Contrast and would look much better on someone with darker hair or paler skin.
Green can also be Cold or Warm. This olive shade is Warm and brings attention to my face instead of making me look tired and blah like in the case with the red coat. The cardigan is neither too dark nor too light and corresponds well to my 'mediumness.'
Another detail worth mentioning is my golden hoops and the cardigan's buttons. Both are Warm too and don't clash with my features and the olive shade of green. If I were Cold, I would have opted for emerald green and combined it with silver jewelry. See what I'm doing here?
I regret not having old hard drives with me because I would love to show you how my style has evolved over the years. In my early teen years, there was an emo-phase and then ska style with its skinny jeans, pins, and a pair of Converse sneakers that said 'fuck you.' Yep.
In high school, I attempted to be glamorous and what I thought sexy was. Stilettos, minis, large jewelry, and other stuff I can wear now only if you pay me.
After graduating, I turned into a conflicting mix of a techno party enthusiast by night and a classy business lady by day. Those were my crazy years working as a corporate flight attendant.
In 2018 when I started blogging, I was 24 and still had no idea what my style was. Frankly, I didn't know who I was anymore. It was a year after I moved abroad, I didn't work for the first time since I was 16, and I was in a healthy, loving relationship, which felt odd after dating the baddies.
So yes, it is true that style is about psychology, not our features. It is the outside shell reflecting what we have on the inside. When the two are not aligned, we don't appear authentic to the world, and the opportunities fly by, IMO.
I don't believe there's a formula to finding your style (only a path of trial and error), but there are main styles that one can build on and adapt to her needs and preferences.
Based on the Style Fundamentals' approach, I'm The Minimalist (surprise, surprise). There are six more style typologies, and usually, we have some elements of one or another in addition to our primary style.
I own some statement pieces that add a creative touch to my wardrobe, which makes me… The Eclectic Minimalist?
Below is another comparison. The looks are similar, and both can be considered minimalist. Despite some differences, it is about how I felt wearing each of these outfits. Authenticity and all, remember?
This outfit was part of the Show Off Your Closet challenge I co-created and co-hosted in June 2020. It was a turning point on my blogging journey. Not because the challenge was a success, but because I was so burned out that I changed the way I played. After the challenge, I took a long break, started posting only what and when I wanted, allowed myself to leave some comments and messages unanswered, promised only to wear what made me feel ME, and swore to stop working for free.
How is it related to this outfit, I hear you ask?
Just like I settled for less when collaborating with brands and often forced myself to post and engage with people when I had no time or energy, I settled for less wearing this look.
This skirt is actually a dress. It is sleeveless, and the bottom has a lot of volume, making my Hourglass figure look unbalanced. It is too tight in the chest. The color is not complimenting my features. It is too romantic, and I prefer casual style. You can't see, but I wore heels that day, even though I had nowhere to go #DidItForTheGram
Although it looked okay, I was not comfortable. This outfit did not reflect how I felt that day, and it wasn't my style.
I wore this outfit two months into recovering from the burnout I mentioned under the previous photo. I was on vacation in a coastal town and had just begun taking pictures again and posting. I felt relaxed, recharged, and most importantly, I stopped pretending to be someone else. This outfit reflects how I felt, and it represents well the aesthetic I like overall.
That day I was dining out with my partner, and I wanted to look put together while still being comfortable. I went for clean lines and a relaxed silhouette instead of a structured look (although some days I love it!). The colors are Warm and earthy, with a hint of olive to compliment my skin. My hair isn't styled, and it's part of the game too. I added the crossbody with golden detail to make it look more appropriate for dining out. It balances out an outfit that otherwise would be too casual.
I keep to myself the promise to only wear what makes me comfortable and what reflects who I am. This is what defines my style today: no trends, no fuss, no meticulous grooming, easy to mix and match and dress up or down with accessories.
Does it translate, I wonder?
It's your turn!
Boy I talked a lot today! Was my analysis as interesting for you as I hoped? If you are a natural and everything you throw on yourself looks fantastic—teach me. And if you overthink your fashion choices and struggle to look effortlessly cool, Style Fundamentals can be a great help.
I invite you to join this online course so that you can pinpoint exactly why something feels off and how you can fix it by balancing out the proportions, choosing the right colors, and staying true to your style!
It is time to stop adapting yourself to clothes and make your clothes adapt to you!