The most important style question you need to know the answer to

Love to wear clothes that flatter you and make you feel great? There’s one important question you need to know the answer to! Stylist Marie-Anne Lecoeur reveals what it is.

The question I get asked the most in my work as a personal style consultant, and from viewers on my YouTube Channel is:

“What is the most important style consideration to take into account when creating any outfit?”

The answer to this question is very easy. And it’s much more important to know than what is ‘in’ this season, or which brands to go for. Because, to create truly inspirational outfits that flatter you – you need to know this. And what is it? It’s to know your body shape.

There are five main body shapes

In authentic French Chic there are five main body shapes:

  1. Apple.
  2. Pear.
  3. Rectangle.
  4. Inverted triangle.
  5. Hourglass.

And knowing which you are is important. Here’s why.

Style is an art form, just like any other creative endeavour. And, like any creative endeavour, it demands that you know your subject and your materials before you start.

Why? Because, just as in art, and as any artist will tell you, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. So planning is important.

Ask any artist what they think of BEFORE they create a masterpiece and they will tell you that they consider the subject, because the subject dictates the format of the painting – the shape, size and orientation of the canvas.

A landscape demands a painting in a horizontal format, whereas a portrait is better in a vertical orientation. Why? Because there are certain rules in art.

The rule of thirds

One of the chief rules is the rule of thirds. The focal point of a painting is not randomly placed but consciously designed to occur at one of the four intersection points of lines drawn at thirds along the length and height of the canvas.

And why is this important? Because design matters in art.

Why does design matter? Because on the canvas, the artist uses the design elements of shape, size, line, direction, texture, value and colour, along with the principles of contrast, dominance, unity, repetition, alternation, harmony, gradation and balance to lead the eye through the painting, to dwell here and pass over there to create a masterpiece to best represent the subject on the canvas.

My point in all this? Subject matters because it dictates the format of the canvas. And the format of the canvas matters because conscious design is important.

Now back to you and your outfit

When it comes to fashion, you are the subject: your body shape is the format and the canvas upon which you have to create your outfit.

Using conscious design/style principles, you aim to create an outfit to reflect you as the subject and one that has all the elements and principles of design mentioned above, along with those relevant to style, that is truly a work of art.

Within the format – your body shape – you create areas of interest and lead the eye where you want it to go, or to avoid, and you create a harmonious whole leading to a wonderful outfit that flatters your body shape.

So you see, if you know the subject of your outfit – you – and you know the format of your canvas – your body shape – your chances of creating/designing a great outfit that flatters your body shape are significantly increased AND you will definitely have learned something about the art of style!

So, know your body shape above all, to create great outfits.

If you don’t know your body shape, my free ecourse Shape Up! is just the thing for you.

Marie-Anne Lecoeur is a French Personal Style Consultant, living in France. She gives consultations via Skype. 

Specialising in authentic French Chic, Marie-Anne has written two No 1 Best Selling style books available on Amazon. She regularly gives free styling tips on her Youtube channel and is a member of the Federation of Image Professionals International.

Photo by Tamara Bellis