How to dress for your body

The world is flooded with so many images of airbrushed celebrities, runway and Instagram models, that we have developed a distorted understanding of beauty. When we look in the mirror, we think of what we should look like instead of what we do look like. We no longer understand or respect our own unique self.

How many times have you tried following a hot Instagram or Pinterest trend, only to find you had to squeeze yourself into a shape that didn't fit you, wear a color that didn't flatter you, or otherwise end up looking ridiculous?

The time has come to pick clothes that suit our bodies, not modify our bodies to suit the clothes. Dressing for your body means understanding your shape, lines, and proportions. Then picking pieces that aesthetically enhance the beauty that is already there.

For example, have you ever seen a woman who looks gorgeous in high fashion, runway clothes? That woman probably had a long lean shape, sharp and bony lines in her body, and long legs relative to her torso. Or what about a woman who looks amazing in a classic Chanel suit? Like Coco Chanel herself, she probably has a petite shape, straight lines in her body, and a short torso relative to her head and neck.

Love your body

To dress for your body, the first thing you must understand is your shape. You might have heard of rectangle, apple, triangle, and pear body shapes, but female bodies actually come in far more shapes and sizes. How wide is your chest relative to your waist relative to your hips? Where in your body do you tend to carry excess weight? These are all relevant questions to ask yourself.

Next, you must understand the concept of line. Everybody has different lines in their body, but you might think of your lines as falling on a continuum between round-sloped-fleshy to angular-sharp-bony. This is also sometimes known as the yin-yang spectrum, with rounder lines being yin and more angular lines being yang. Runway models tend to only have angular, yang lines in their bodies. Women with coke bottle figures tend to only have round, yin lines in their bodies. Most of us fall somewhere in between.

Finally, you should dress for your body's proportions. We can think of our bodies as having three segments: top of the head to the collarbone, collarbone to waist, and waist to feet. Women with a long first segment tend to have a swan-like appearance. Women with a short second segment tend to have a child-like or schoolboy appearance. Women with a long third segment tend to look taller than they actually are and can pull off runway looks, even if they are short in height (Carrie Bradshaw, anyone?).

The best way to understand how shape, line, and proportion determine which clothes flatter you is to snap some photos of yourself in bra and underwear and find photos of celebrities who match your same shape, lines, and proportions. Make sure the celebrity photos are not distorted by tight undergarments or photoshop. Candid beach photos are often effective. Find 10 outfits where the celebrity was ranked "looking her best," then go to a store and try on these outfits. If you look good in them, you've more than likely found a body double who has professional stylists working for them, and therefore for you too.