Dealing With Those Figure Flaws
monthly column devoted to helping women and men
be their best and most confident in any situation.
Topics include dress, body language, attitude and
Victoria Seitz, PhD
have figure flaws just as much as women. Here are some
tips to accenting your strengths and minimizing those
you're short and want to appear taller:
- Purchase suits with vertical pin or chalk stripes
and/or three button suits.
- Avoid plaid, tweed, and double breasted jackets, which
add width rather than height.
you want to minimize your height:
- Emphasize horizontal lines in suits and shirts.
- Try plaid patterns and double-breasted jackets.
- Consider a jacket in one color and trousers in a contrasting
color, I.e. navy jacket and gray trousers.
you want to appear slimmer:
- Choose dark-colored and/or pin and chalk striped
- Double-breasted suits with closely spaced buttons
- Choose trim sweaters with set-in sleeves and V-necklines
- Avoid bulky sweaters, unstructured jackets, and items
with lots of horizontal lines and extra details such as pant
pockets down the leg.
you want to appear heavier:
- Consider tweeds, glen plaids (banker plaids), scotch,
tartan, or madras, plaids, corduroy, wool flannel (for winter),
and linen and cotton (for summer)· Introduce pleated pants,
bulky sweaters, warmer, brighter colors, and whites to your
- Consider double-breasted jackets, square-shoulder,
European-cut, and double-vented suit styles.
- Avoid fabrics that cling to the skin, like lightweight
silks and nylon shirts.
- Consider padded shoulders in suits, shirts, and sweaters.
- Emphasize horizontal stripes in sweaters and shirts.
your shoulders are wider than your hips:
- Consider double-pleated pants.
- Wear pants in colors lighter than your shirt, or
in heavier fabrics like corduroy, denim, linen, wool flannel,
- Jackets with patch pockets also add width to the
your hips are the same or wider than your shoulders:
- Emphasize the shoulders and chest.
- Choose bulky sweaters, shirts with epaulets and heavier
shirt fabrics like pinpoint oxford cloth, heavy cottons, and
- Choose shirts with a lot of details, shirts with
horizontal stripes, or two-toned shirts with a lighter color
in the yoke area.
- Avoid pleated pants in favor of plain, emphasizing
dark colors like navy, charcoal gray, charcoal brown, olive
your legs are short:
- Avoid cuffed pants.
- Choose pants with vertical lines, such as corduroy
or pin or chalk stripes.
- Hem pants so that there's only a slight break in
the pant front.
- Three-button suits also add the illusion of length.
your legs are long:
- Wear cuffed pants.
- Purchase suit jackets that are slightly longer than
usual, with one or tow button closings.
- Choose contrasting colors for shirts and pants.
your shoulders are extremely sloped:
- Choose jackets with padding.
- Avoid raglan sleeves in sweaters and shirts, rather
choose set-in sleeves and jacket lapels that point upward.
- Avoid unstructured jackets altogether.
your shoulders are square:
- Consider raglan sleeve sweaters.
- Avoid extremes in lapel width.
- Choose unstructured jackets or suits with natural
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Seitz, PhD is a professor of Marketing at California State
University, San Bernardino and is author of Your Executive
Image, AdamsMedia, Inc, 2000 and Power Dressing, DonJon
Publishing, 1991. In addition to teaching, Dr. Seitz was a fashion
coordinator for Burdines, Florida and in retail management for
Saks Fifth Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. Clients of Dr. Seitz have included
Abbott Laboratories, Northern Telecom, Texas Instruments, Yellow
Freight Systems, Sally Beauty Company, the United States Armed
Forces, Travellife magazine, YWCA and Accountants Overload, in
addition to law firms, hotels, newspapers, universities, banks,
credit unions, national and local community and professional organizations
To learn more about Dr. Seitz please visit her website at www.cbpa.csusb.edu/vseitz.
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