5 reasons why fabric is important when it comes to personal styling
Anyone who has ever been to Stylefish fashion courses will know how much I love the word ‘fabric’! It is the difference between feeling right and not quite right in the clothes you choose. Coco Chanel once said “Why take an amazing shape and make it out of a crap fabric?” So true.
Fabric is the the thing that makes hard to wear trends and styles for your body shape doable! A great example I teach in my fashion courses would be in relation to the lady who has a bigger bust or is more conscious of her bust. The rule book would say to go for V necklines and lower necklines in order to break up this area and minimise the bust. However, choose a great fabric (soft that sits close to the body and doesn’t add any unnecessary bulk) and it can work beautifully for this bigger busted client.
For me fabric is important no matter what your size or shape not just for the correct styling but for the correct feeling you get! However, it is true that fabric and it’s structure is more important for women with curves! If that’s you, here are my reasons why aswell as some tips:
Curves need structure to create shape
Flattering a curvy frame requires a combination of structured garments that support the shape of the body and good fitting lines that provide the correct amount of space for the curves to move and be comfortable. The structure of a garment refers to its ability to give the body a certain shape, and comes from both the designer’s fabric choice and style lines. The shape can be both visual and physical. The most extreme example is a corset: good corsets use a combination of steel boning, seam lines and stiff fabrics to mould the body into a specific shape (hence the visual and physical bit). Most of us don’t wear corsets anymore, but we do look for similar qualities in jackets, dresses and tops!
Structured Jackets are a great example
Jackets, blazers and shirts can provide structure when they are usually made from a woven fabric of medium to heavy weight, and have either princess seams or darts to achieve good fit. They can have a peplum or other design details that visually nip in the waist and skim the hips. Where a jacket tends to hold your body in a shape due to it’s coverage, a crisp shirt or blouse provides structure visually with seam lines while draping over trouble areas.
Think of your waist
Most women who have curves feel it in their tummy so in styling I would always advise to think of the fabric around the tummy area. It must feel comfortable, sit at the right point where it is supporting and tummy and helping to create and emphasise the waist. If the fabric does a good job in this area it gives you so much more flexibility in adding different tops etc. Going for a wider waist in trousers and skirts is also a good way to achieve this comfort and support. Less buttons and fuss in some cases on the fabric also adds to the comfort!
Combining structure with softer fabrics work a treat
Think of when you team a structured pair of denim with a soft cardigan or a structured pencil skirt with a blouse in a softer fabric. The body feels happy when we mix soft and more supportive fabrics. It is usually harder to create a look with all soft fabrics (think of fabrics like jersey, silks or satins). All lovely to touch but most women would need to work on getting the underwear really right to feel fully comfortable. A mix of different fabric weights is great for women with curves for this reason.
Think of your wardrobe basics in great fabrics
Do you have a great pair of skinny denim in your wardrobe? A great quality white shirt, smart jacket, little black dress, some great skirts? I mean in good fabrics? If you have these and you love them, feel instantly comfortable in them, your wardrobe will thank you for it. We all want a wardrobe with great basis like these but we also want these items in long lasting, comfortable fabrics. If you have curves my top tip is to spend a bit more to get a better quality to make your life easier!
Feel your way to the best fabrics for you
Get to know the fabrics you have in your current wardrobe that work for you and start with knowing what these are and what they feel like! When shopping the best way to get to know an item is not with your eyes but with your touch! Feel the fabric, it’s weight, it’s depth and it’s structure. Make your decision to bring to the fitting room based both on this and your visual love for it! In my fashion courses, this is on of the first lessons I teach when we work the shop floor. Feel first!