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The Secret to Knowing Your Best Waistlines

The Secret to Knowing Your Best Waistlines

The secret to knowing which waistlines look good on you starts with your upper body proportions. Every garment that passes by your waist needs to say hello in the right way. When you shop for tops, jackets, sweaters, skirts and pants, do you ask yourself, “What will this do to my waist?” Knowing if your waist is short, evenly centered, or long tells you what garments work best.

Waist Placement

Balance is the key when choosing the best waistlines for your body. If your natural waist is evenly centered on your body, garments with waistlines should hit you exactly at your natural waist. If your waist is short or long, garments can help balance your waist proportions.

Your mid and low torso are divided by your natural waistline.  Your mid torso is the distance between your armpit to your natural waist and your low torso is the length of your natural waist to your mid-body point, the hinge joint where your hip socket meets your upper leg bone. We are going to compare these lengths to find out if your waist is short, long or evenly centered.

For many years now, pants and jeans have been cut below the natural waistline to what we call the “mid-rise” and “low-rise” lengths. Mid to low-rise pants and drop-waist skirts, dresses, jackets and tops visually lengthen your torso. Today, the high-rise pant is also back in style. High-rise pants and empire waisted dresses, skirts, jackets and tops visually shorten your torso.

Before you measure your upper and lower torsos, find your natural waistline. Tuck your fingers underneath your lowest rib at your side. Then bend your body to the side to feel for your waist. Your natural waistline is between your lowest rib and your belly button.

Grab a carpenter’s tape and put on your workout clothes to do these measurements.

Take a look at the illustrated model to see how she is extending the carpenter’s tape up to her armpit while securing it to the floor with her foot. Rest your armpit lightly at the top of the tape and hold it between your fingers at your natural waistline. Measure the distance between your armpit and natural waistline. This is your mid torso length.

Use your other hand to find your mid-body point and measure the distance between your natural waistline and mid-body point. This is your low torso.

 

 

 

 

If your mid torso is shorter than your low torso, you are short-waisted.

If your mid torso is longer, you are long-waisted.

The model on the left is long-waisted. Her mid torso is three inches longer (10”) than her low torso (7½) inches long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you short-waisted like the first model above or long-waisted like the second model above? You may also have an evenly centered waist like the third model.

1. I am short-waisted: My mid torso is shorter than my low torso. _______

2. I am long-waisted: My mid torso is longer than my low torso. _______

3. I have an evenly centered waist: My mid and low torsos are equal in length. ______

Find your best styles below:

1. SHORT WAIST (mid torso)/LONG RISE (low torso):
To visually lengthen your waistline, wear:

a) Overtops, boxy and long tops
b) Drop-waist tops, jackets, or dresses
c) Sheath dresses with no waist definition
d) Hipster belts
e) Low to mid-rise pants, drop-waist skirts
f) High-necked tops
g) Short necklaces

Avoid:

a) Empire-waist or strapless tops and dresses
b) High-waist pants and skirts
c) Tucking in tops
d) Cropped jackets

2. LONG WAIST (mid torso)/SHORT RISE (low torso):
To visually shorten waist, wear:

a) Tops tucked in
b) High-waist tops, jackets, dresses, skirts, pants
c) Wide belts at or above waist
d) Pockets above waist
e) Cropped tops, sweaters, jackets
f) Low necklines
g) Long necklaces

Avoid:

a) Drop-waist tops, jackets, skirts, dresses, pants
b) Tunics, long tops or jackets
c) Hipster belts

If you want to know more about your proportions and what clothes look best on you, click here for a free 30-minute consultation. I look forward to answering your questions!

 

 

The Secret to Knowing Your Best Styles: Your Body's All-Important Frame

The Secret to Knowing Your Best Styles: Your Body’s All-Important Frame

The secret to knowing what styles look good on you begin with an understanding of your skeletal proportions. It might surprise you to know that your frame, not flesh or muscle, fundamentally defines your shape. The curvy waistline of feminine Yin women is due to her wide pelvic girdle bones. Yang has a straight waist because her hip bones are small.

First you will measure your wrist with a seamstress tape to determine your frame size and then compare the width proportions of your shoulders to your hips and the length dimensions of your torso to your legs with a carpenter’s tape.  Once you know them and understand how to balance your proportions, you’ll probably never buy an ill-fitting garment again unless you have decided upfront it’s worth taking to a tailor.

You can do these measurements by yourself standing in front of a full-length mirror, but it is easier to record your measurements with the help of a friend or partner. Put on your favorite pair of tights or yoga pants and a fitted sports top or bra, turn up the music, grab your favorite beverage and let’s get started!

FRAME SIZE

Living in a culture that applauds size 2 and snubs size 2X, it’s easy to forget that women vary greatly in bone size and frame mass can affect the sizes they wear. If you are large boned and muscular, you have a solid, strong presence and are likely to wear a larger size than a small-boned woman of equal height and weight. Small-boned women appear more diminutive than their large boned sisters.

Size labels are merely a starting point and don’t say much about your body’s structure or how a garment will actually fit. A jacket in your designated size may not fit if the intended waist doesn’t line up with your natural waist or the shoulder seam is too wide or narrow.

To determine whether you are small, medium or large boned write in your height here: ________

Wrap the seamstress tape around the wrist joint between the end of your forearm bones and your hand. Make sure the tape lies directly over the rotating bones of your wrist. Once you have the measurement, use the chart below to find your height and wrist measurement and determine your frame size:

Height Wrist measurement* Frame size
Under 5’4”

 

5½” or less

5½”-6”

6” or more

Small

Medium

Large-

5’4”-5’7” 5¾” or less

5¾”- 6.¼”

6¼” and over

Small

Medium

Large

Over 5’7”

 

6” or less

6”- 6½”

6.½” and over

Small

Medium

Large

Your height: ____________

Your wrist measurement: ______________

Your frame size: _____________

LENGTH PROPORTIONS OF YOUR TORSO AND LEGS

Next, we are going to compare the length of your torso and legs. If they differ in length, fashion can play a big role in making them appear more balanced. Pull out the carpenter’s tape on a hard floor surface and stand on it with the inside of your bare foot lined up to your height and the tape base next to your pinky toe.

The picture above shows a woman who is 5’2½”. The inside of her right foot is standing on 62½”.

Before we do this measurement, locate your mid-body points. Hidden from sight, they are your ball and socket hip joints that connect your legs to your torso. To pinpoint them, first find your Iliac crests; the bony knobs of your pelvic girdle in the front of your body. These knobs are often referred to as your high hips. At the top of your upper leg bones (femur) are your mid-body points.  Bend one knee up towards your chest to feel for this joint. They are a third of the way down your bikini line (not the center of your thighs).

 

 

———–Iliac crest of pelvic girdle (also referred to as the high hip)

———– Bikini line

Mid body point (ball and socket hip joint)                                                                          ———-Femur (upper leg bone)

 

 

Now pick up the carpenter’s tape from the floor and pull it vertically to the top of your head. Anchor the tape between your feet on the floor and hold it at the top of your head with one hand.

Now you are ready to measure the length of your torso. With your free hand, point to the mid body leg hinge point next to the tape and read the measurement. This is your torso length.

 

 

 

How long is your torso? ________

Subtract your torso length from your height to determine your leg length.

How long are your legs? _________

At 5’4” (64”), the model’s torso (33½”) is three inches longer than her legs (30½”).

 

1.                           2.                          3.

How do your measurements stack up?

1. My legs are longer than my torso ______

2. My torso is longer than my legs ______

3. My torso and legs are the same length ______

THE STYLE SECRET OF BALANCE

The Stellar Beauty Style System uses the Yin/Yang concept of balance to create harmony in your body’s proportions. Your body wants to feel balanced in the way you dress the same way it seeks health balance. It lets you know when you are off balance when you eat too much sugar or don’t get enough sleep.

Fashion can do wonders to create visually pleasing harmony and balance in your proportions. You can balance your shoulder and hip widths, torso and leg lengths and even center your waistline with clothes and accessories. You get to decide. Showing contrast in your proportions can be fun too and is always more dramatic.

Here are the basic principles to balancing your proportions:

  1. Break up long proportions to balance with short body lengths. Long legs look balanced with a short torso in bordered skirts, cropped pants and ankle strap shoes.
  2. Elongate short proportions to balance with long body lengths. Short legs look balanced with a long torso in high waisted, full-length pants.

1. SHORT TORSO/LONG LEGS:
To visually lengthen torso, break up leg length by wearing:

a) Cropped or cuffed pants
b) Bordered or print skirts and pants
c) Patterned hosiery
d) Shoes with ankle straps, statement shoes, flat shoes

Other torso lengthening tips:

a) Tunic tops, long tops, high necked tops
b) Long jackets worn with shorts, skirts or skinny pants
c) Long sleeves

Avoid:

a) High-waist pants
b) Full pants and skirts
c) Tucking in tops
d) Spike heels

2. SHORT LEGS/LONG TORSO:
To visually lengthen legs, wear:

a) Full-length, flared or boot-cut solid color pants or jeans
b) Match shoes and hosiery to skirt, pants or dress
c) High-waist pants, skirts
d) Shoes with heels, shoes with open vamp or pointy toes
e) Empire-waist dresses, tops
f) Short jackets

Other torso shortening tips:

a) Low necklines
b) Low hanging necklaces
c) ¾ sleeves

Avoid:

a) Tunic tops, long tops & jackets
b) Drop-waist tops, jackets, dresses, skirts
c) Cropped pants
d) Ankle-strap and completely flat shoes
e) Bordered or print skirts, pants

Tune in next week to learn how to balance the length proportions of your waist and width proportions of your shoulders and hips.

Want to know more about how you can dress to balance your proportions? Click here for a free 30-minute consultation.

How to Shop for Pre-Owned Luxury Garments: The Save Money, Waste Less Win-Win Exchange

How to Shop for Pre-Owned Luxury Garments: The Save Money, Waste Less Win-Win Exchange

Pre-owned luxury retail is a win-win exchange for both buyer and seller and is here to stay. If you haven’t bought a consigned luxury garment before, it’s time to check it out. You can own and wear a $6,000 Chanel jacket that’s made to last a lifetime after it’s been worn for the first several years by someone else at a fraction of the price. I have two Chanel jackets I purchased for just over $300! With exceptional online consignment retail sites like TheRealReal.com, you don’t have to sweat or worry about quality or authenticity of a pre-owned garment.

Buying pre-owned luxury garments is trickier than purchasing new ones. There is much more to be aware of and the devil is in the details. But once you know what to look for, the rewards are worth it! Here are the five most important things to know for successfully shopping online for pre-owned luxury wear:

5 STEPS TO SUCCESS

1. Know Your Most Important Measurements

The best online fashion retailers, whether full price or consignment, give you ALL the details you need to make an informed purchase. In addition to size, which is the most general categorization, they list the garment’s measurements, the model’s height and the size she is wearing. This gives you a better idea of how something will look on your body and is especially important if you don’t fit in clothes right off the rack (most women don’t!) or have the same body as the model. Garments shown on a mannequin or by themselves are less helpful, and if measurements aren’t listed, you have little way of knowing how they will fit on your body.

Do you know what styles look best on you? The more you know, the easier it will be to find your happy clothes. How do you fit into normal sizes on the top and the bottom? Are regular pants and sleeves normally too long or too short on you? Where does your waistline measure up on regular sizes?

As a petite, I often buy “cropped” pants to avoid alteration expenses, but, in all honesty, I only fit into petite pants. Consignment retailers carry very few petite sizes, so I don’t use these sites to shop for pants. Another disadvantage of consignment sites is there are very few plus sizes available.

But, all this good info won’t help you if you don’t know your own measurements.

The most important measurement to know for jackets and tops is your shoulder width as well as your bust and waist measurements. Measured from behind the neck, shoulder width is the distance between the top of both shoulders. To get this measurement right, put on a top or jacket with inset sleeves that line up perfectly with your shoulders and measure from shoulder seam to shoulder seam.  Shoulder seams in or up require a sleeve adjustment and are the most expensive alterations to do.

If shoulder seams and sleeves are too wide, the bodice won’t fit. When you lift your arms, the whole jacket will go up too. If they are too narrow, the armhole and upper sleeve will be too tight. When you measure your bust and waist, make sure the tape is horizontally parallel to the floor. Get someone to help you to ensure correct measurements. Allow a thumb width space to insure comfort and ease, especially in third layer garments like sweaters, jackets and coats.

For pants and skirts, the widest part of your lower torso needs the most consideration. If you have full, round hips, often the waist will need to be taken in.

Length measurements are just as important as width measurements. Do you look better in jackets that stop at your high hip or mid-thigh? These are things you need to know to find the right garments. For tops (if you don’t tuck them in) and jackets, measure from the side of your neck down your back to the length that works best for you. As a petite, my best jacket length is around 20 inches. Regular sizes are often too long for me from the top of the shoulder to my armpit and my tailor has to take up the shoulders.

2. Employ a Tailor

Misfits ruin what would normally be a perfect look, and this goes for any garment you buy – new or consigned. Rolling up sleeves or rolling down waistbands because they are far too long or big makes you look like you are a kid in your grandmother’s clothes and certainly adds bulk.  Pull lines across the back or bust are just as bad and turn a cute garment into an uncomfortable one and who wants that!

Simple alterations like hemlines or darting are easily done at your local dry cleaner. Hire a reputable tailor to do more complicated reshaping like moving shoulder seams or tapering pants. When a garment fits perfectly it belongs on your body and shifts the focus to you.

3. The “Go Up” Principle

Think of consignment retail not as a way to buy the cheapest stuff – you can do that at Target or Dress Barn – but as an opportunity to own a beautiful garment or handbag you would or could not buy at full price. The more expensive a garment is at full retail, the more exquisite and long-lasting the quality.

Top-level designers, gorgeous fabrics and quality workmanship all go in to a luxury garment. Compared to throw-away clothes that fall out of shape the second you wash them or pill into fuzzy duds, a better-quality garment is a better investment. I don’t know about you, but the idea of throw-away garments makes me feel nauseous for the waste they incur and landfill garbage they fill.

4. Know the Fabric Type and Age of Consignment Garments

Pictures tell you a lot, but you also need to know what fabrics work best for you. I live in California and rarely need heavy wools. I’m also extremely sensitive to wool (even cashmere), so most sweaters are out for me.

Consignment items can be tricky if the age of the garment isn’t listed. You don’t know when it was purchased, who wore it and how much it was worn. It may look good, but if it’s been worn a ton, there comes a point where fabrics just don’t perform anymore. They lose their hand and drapability. I bought a Jill Sander flared skirt in a nylon blend and instead of the flares standing out, they flopped over. It could be that the skirt suffered from too much dry cleaning.

Then there is the smell factor. Did the previous wearer love perfume? Was she around smokers?  All this to say that you can return consigned items unless they are on final sale. Make sure the consignment site lists the condition of the garment. TheRealReal.com has a scale that goes from pristine, excellent, very good to good. It also tells you if there is any staining, snags or worn areas.

The better the garment, the older it can be. One of my Chanel jackets is from the 2000 Cruise collection. It is a cotton weave with a beautiful silk lining and probably wasn’t worn over and over. Consignment sites are also terrific for ball gowns and evening wear that may have been worn just a few times.

5. Use the Phone Apps and Check the Editor’s Picks to Track Your Favorites and be Alerted to New Items

You probably have figured out that TheRealReal.com is my favorite online store. The daily 7:00 am and 4:00 pm new listings come in a huge volume with everything from baby clothes to Rolex watches. TheRealReal is the mother of all luxury resale sites with over 600 employees in multiple locations across the United States that receive and ship products worldwide and today is valued at about 300 million.

Here are some of the benefits:

1. FEEDS: Once you become a member (it’s free) you can create your own feed with TheRealReal phone app that specifies your sizes, preferred colors, designers and styles. You can also have as many feeds as you want.

2. OBSESSIONS: If you aren’t ready to buy, you can “heart” the items you love and watch them for extra discounts. Things move quickly on TheRealReal, but don’t let that rush you if you aren’t sure. I always save items I like on my obsessions page and leave them there after I purchase them.

3. EDITOR’S PICKS: Hand-picked every day by members of TheRealReal team, it is essentially a curation of what is new and relevant in fashion as well as items that have unique details to them. Think the latest, most coveted styles from top designers at every price point.

4. FIRST LOOK: If you want to grab up the best of the best, you can pay an extra $10 a month to preview new items a day before they are available to everyone else.

There is another reason I support TheRealReal and it has to do with founder Julie Wainwright. She built TheRealReal out of her own garage in 2011 (just like Steve Jobs). In the eyes of many, including me, Julie is an e-commerce rock star who experienced both success and colossal failure during the Silicon Valley dotcom boom and downturn and learned from her mistakes to make TheRealReal the incredible success it is today.

When she took over Pets.com, partnering with Amazon, it gained amazing exposure in 2000 garnering the best Superbowl commercial with the famous Pet.com dog sock puppet. But it’s weak foundation and lack of independent market research resulted in the failure of Pets.com with a loss of 300 million in investment capital and it was labelled as one of the greatest dot-com disasters in history.

I tell this story because Julie is an inspiration to all women. The same day she closed down Pets.com and let go of several hundred employees, her husband also filed for divorce.  After being labeled a pariah in Silicon Valley and a few excruciatingly painful years, Julie bounced back with the belief her dream job wasn’t going to happen unless she created it herself, and after many attempts to secure funding, she eventually found it with a woman. Julie is a living example of how belief in oneself can push through any failure!

Listed here are other online consignment sites:

Vestiaire Collective
Material Wrld
ThredUp
Poshmark
Depop
Resee
Tradesy

Have questions? E-mail me at linda@lindabuckman.com. I’d love to hear from you!

Beauty or Beast: Who's Running Your Show?

Beauty or Beast: Who’s Running Your Show?

Who preps you to get ready for the day, Beauty or Beast? When you look in the mirror at your chosen outfit and finished makeup do you feel encouraged and happy or downtrodden and criticized? The Beauty in you embraces you and the Beast in your head puts you down. Who do you choose to believe? It is an important decision because what you believe about yourself is who you are.

If you believe you aren’t beautiful, or your body is flawed, you might appear beautiful to others, but you will never feel confident in your own skin.

I mean NEVER.

Feeling confident in your body opens the gate to having the life you desire in your work and your relationships. Feeling at home in your body makes it possible to achieve your goals and dreams.

But, believing your body is flawed gives your power away. It holds you back from becoming the woman you want to be. This deeply-held “I’m not beautiful” motto has spread down from generations of mothers to their daughters, secretly holding women back from fully and happily living their lives.

But the TRUTH is…

Your beauty never went away. You weren’t born being critical of your body. You learned it, and at some point, you became vulnerable to the judgments of others and stopped believing in your beauty. You stopped appreciating what your body could do and started worrying more about how it looked. If you are like most women, you have a laundry list of criticisms about your body. Saying “I am beautiful” is near impossible without your brain reminding you what’s wrong with your looks.

This mental resistance to your beauty is THE BEAST.

WHY WE DON’T FEEL BEAUTIFUL

The problem didn’t start with you. Dictated by commercialism at the expense of your body esteem, society’s ultra-thin beauty standard is unachievable for most women. Consumer companies want you to feel vulnerable, so they invest millions in getting you to believe you need their products to become more “ideal” as a woman.

The ultra-thin ideal is so deeply buried in women’s minds that “I feel fat” means, “I hate my body.” Being skinny can be a full-time ambition of women. Skinny is equated with health, success, beauty, popularity, and happiness and interpreted as an expression of confidence, togetherness and self-control. “Fat” people (everyone who isn’t a skinny) are still suspected of being lazy, unintelligent, lacking in self-control, weak-willed, sloppy and the least likely to succeed.

So, to keep up with cultural demands, your body must be a constant project of improvement. Your body requires hours of work and lots of money to make it beautiful. You must lose weight, change your nose or bust size, lift your face, firm up, and sweat for hours in the gym to make it beautiful. What you gain from striving to have the perfect body, you lose in intimate connection with it. The more separated you feel from your body, the less confident you feel.

But, here’s the thing:

The idea that we should strive as women to achieve beauty dictated by society is as dated as a phone book. It has nothing to do with real beauty.

THE NEW PARADIGM OF STELLAR BEAUTY

Twentieth century beauty standards are undergoing a serious makeover. It’s no longer Ok to narrowly define beauty as an exclusive commodity. A new era of Stellar Beauty has begun, and it celebrates the fantastic diversity of the female form. It’s not about being thinner, fitter or younger looking. What matters most in defining who is beautiful today is the woman who is confident in her own skin.

“Well,” you ask,” How do I get that confidence?”

There is only one way to feel confident in your body and it doesn’t require hours of sweat equity or gobs of money. It’s a simple choice to love your body like a faithful friend. Close friends know each others’ faults and love each other anyway.

If you embrace your body’s so-called flaws with acceptance and support, you automatically become more confident in yourself and it shows! People will experience you being natural and authentic, and nothing is more beautiful than that!  Having Stellar Beauty is far more powerful and effective than having society’s “perfect” body. With it, you are more joyful. You radiate energy that lifts and inspire others to be at ease with themselves.

OUTING THE BEAST

The first step to reclaiming your Stellar Beauty is “outing” your BEAST – the negative body image chatter floating around in your head. The Beast is a critical voice that bullies you into thinking you aren’t beautiful. The Beast builds her platform of persuasion on thousands of digitally enhanced media images put before your eyes. The Beast whispers things like “You are too fat to be beautiful.” “You look like a fool compared to her.” Etc., etc., etc.

The BEAST is a first-class bummer. She makes you believe what isn’t true.

But today, we are going to throw a wrench into those beliefs.  I’m going to help you dust off these criticisms and find out what’s really behind your Beast. Have a pen and paper ready to write on and stand in front of your full-length mirror.

THE UNDERWEAR EXPERIMENT

  1. Strip down to your skivvies and take a good look at yourself. Say out loud:
                                                  I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BODY!
  2. Listen for the first reaction from the Beast and write down the exact words she says. (They may be phrases you have heard in the media, direct criticisms from a parent or other influencers in your life, or arguments against your beauty you have created in your mind).
  3. Say “I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BODY” a second time and listen for the first thing your Beast says. Write it down.
  4. Repeat and rinse as many times as you need until the Beast has exhausted her argument of why your body isn’t beautiful.
    Note: I have had clients say it a dozen times before the Beast is finished, so go ahead and repeat it as many times as you need. Once you finish, big congratulations are in order! You have “outed” the Beast. She can’t slink around in the background of your mind any longer.
  5. Your next step is to role play as the lawyer of your own defense and investigate each statement for the bottom line truth.
  6. As you read each one of the Beast’s claims, ask yourself two questions:
    1. Where did this statement from/who said this?
    2. What’s the real truth about this?

WINNING AGAINST THE BEAST

Here is a Beast favorite from childhood that may still carry a sting for you:

BEAST: You are a big, fat pig!

TRUTH: First of all, pigs have the perfect bodies for what they do, namely give back to humanity. Secondly, I’m a woman.

CASE CLOSED!

This one is an excuse not to care for self:

BEAST: You don’t deserve to look good in clothes until you lose weight!

TRUTH: First of all, who says I don’t deserve it? Is someone else the boss of me? I decide what clothes to buy and wear – nobody else. My worth isn’t measured by my weight, but by the kind of woman I am and I’m damn well worth looking and feeling good in my clothes.

ARGUMENT WON!

You can win against every Beastly thought with this method and I’m here to help you!

If you want to turn around the negative thoughts you have about your body, I have a new group course to help you called “Friend Your Body to Look Divine” and because this is my first training, you can participate in it for a fantastic price.

 

My Story of Yin and Yang: Lipstick Mountain Girl

My Story of Yin and Yang: Lipstick Mountain Girl

The Yin and Yang of your body, face and temperament were set at birth and your hormones did the rest of the work. The kind of hormones you produced (estrogen or testosterone) prenatally and at puberty shaped you to be a True Tomboy or a Girly Girl, or, as in my case, a mix of both. I had both girly and boyish sides to me that fought over who I was supposed to be and how I should behave. Had I known about the Feminine Yin/Masculine Yang principle then, I would not have felt so conflicted and unwilling to embrace the “real” me. Here’s my story:

I was born in Colorado to an outdoorsy father and strong mother who ran an old school “Yang” household and we were expected to fit into the family activities and not complain. We had opinionated discussions around the dinner table, but there wasn’t room to talk about feelings or the deeper meanings of things. I was the designated artistic child and being artistic came with a healthy dose of tender sensitivity.

Nothing tells my family story better than the annual family Christmas card photo shoot.

When my parents suddenly announced it was time to sit in front of Dad’s Rolleicord camera, I had little time to prepare. At fifteen, I was in my bedroom frantically diving through a pile of clothes trying to decide what to wear. I chose gray high-waisted flannel trousers, a pale blue and lavender seersucker blouse (tucked in Katherine Hepburn style), long wavy locks and a touch of lavender eye shadow. I still had to curl my hair and eyelashes before making myself presentable.

They were all waiting on me. My sister Barbara and brothers Barry and Bruce were ready ten minutes ago. “Linda!” my mom said, “Get in here now!”

Girly Girl

My family still teases me over the need to look pretty for pictures. But I felt happiest when I was creating something and trying my design ideas on myself seemed like the natural thing to do. If I had known back then I would become a professional personal stylist, I would have more fully appreciated my eye for design.

I realized looking artistically different from other girls felt right and having a sewing wizard for a mom let me explore my style with the luxury of custom fit. I picked out fabrics and patterns and mom worked her magic. Our final collaboration was my senior prom dress. A dramatic departure from the Laura Ashley floral garb all the girls were wearing, mine was a blue silk halter dress with a tiny bit of lace at the neckline. To complete my unique look, I painted my fingernails blue.

I also had great empathy and compassion for any suffering creature and tears flowed easily. “You are just too sensitive,” my mother would say. I hated getting in trouble for fear I would be scolded, criticized or disciplined. I so wanted to please others that I practiced being a good little girly-girl. My petite stature and dainty facial features naturally conveyed the delicate side of my nature, but there was a different part of me – my tough, tomboy side that thought my sensitivity was a curse. If only I didn’t cry when I saw a hurt bird or take my family’s sassy sarcasm so personally.

Luckily for me, my athletic body helped me survive familial bantering and find my inner warrior. I enthusiastically participated in the sporting activities we did together from skiing and rock climbing to backpacking through river valleys, up aspen and pine forests to the high alpine tundra and mountain peaks above. For someone who had to create a different outfit for school every day, I had no problem wearing the same pair of pants for a week straight while backpacking in the wild Rocky Mountains.

Rough and Tumble Tomboy

Sports brought out a completely different side of me. When my father put a tennis racket in my hand and clicked me into a pair of skis, the tomboy in me came out with a vengeance. But, of course, it took some coaxing to get me started. I cried all the way to my first tennis lesson when “forced” to substitute for my older sister who had broken her leg.

As it turned out, I became a very competitive, fierce little athlete. I LOVED the thrill of smashing the tennis ball across the court and charging down a ski racecourse. I LOVED the feeling of my heart pounding in my chest as I exerted my breath and I LOVED the connection I felt to my muscles when I challenged them to “Go!”  Naturally coordinated, I learned sports quickly – always intent on improving my abilities. My broad shouldered, small-hipped body didn’t change much at puberty and I had no trouble putting on muscle. The adrenaline rush of athletics hooked me too as I dared myself to go further and faster.

Marathon running became an athletic passion that not only satisfied the competitive side of me, it saved me from falling into a deep depression after my brother Barry tragically died in an oilrig accident. Completing 26.2 miles in my first marathon race empowered and energized me. During this difficult time of grief, I told myself, “If your body can push forward, so can your life,” and “If your feet can cross the finish line, you can walk through any situation.” Alone on the trail I often cried, and as my feet touched Earth, Mother Nature grounded my pain. By the end of a run, the weight of a heavy heart and fog of creeping negative thoughts magically lifted.

Through my athletic abilities, I started to recognize my determination, strength and courage. It was as if my body was trying to connect me with my inner warrior, the masculine part of me that was direct, competitive and wanted to make a difference in the world. I think that’s why I enjoyed playing with boys because I didn’t have to be sweet. I could push, dare, challenge and compete with them without worrying if I was behaving too “strongly.” In all other relationships – parents, teachers and other girls, I shut down my warrior side.

Lipstick Mountain Girl

My extreme girly Yin and tomboyish Yang traits confused me and at times caught others off guard. There was the sensitive, delicate, artistic, petite Linda and there was the direct, outspoken, competitive, muscular Linda. Which one was I – decidedly feminine or one of the boys?  These contrary parts of myself constantly questioned each other leaving my brain in a sea of doubt.

Leaving Colorado for California after college graduation and a six-year stint as a school teacher allowed me to spread my wings and explore the benefits of my intuitive, more spiritually-inclined self.  I slowly started to appreciate how fortunate and fun it was to embrace both worlds. Being both gutsy and strong and sensitive and compassionate is what makes me whole today just like Yin and Yang complete the circle of wholeness and balance.

I am a Lipstick Mountain Girl. I no longer curse my sensitivity or eye for beauty. Taking risks in adventure sports satisfies the daredevil in me.  When I began my career in design, my signature style emerged as a clear combination of feminine and masculine pieces and I learned how to wear clothes that balance my proportions and bring out the inner me. Feminine, full skirts are one of my favorite things to wear, but they are always balanced with something more masculine like chunky boots or a moto jacket.

How about you? Would you like to find out your Yin/Yang qualities for your body, face and inner temperament? Would you like to know what’s behind the style of clothes you love? Take this 4-part, fun Stellar Beauty Yin/Yang quiz and find out!

I am also available to answer questions about your wardrobe. Click here for your free 30-minute consultation.

Style Secrets of the Inner You: Know Yourself to Adorn Yourself

Style Secrets of the Inner You: Know Yourself to Adorn Yourself

If I asked you to tell me how you express the inner you with what you wear, what would you say? Don’t worry if you aren’t clear about how to express who you are with fashion. It takes time to develop your personal style and special skills to update it as you change with time.

True personal style has a strong element of who you are on the inside visibly expressed on the outside.

What you wear shows how well you know yourself. Common fashion words I hear from new clients at the beginning of our work together is that they want to be chic, sophisticated, elegant or casual. Well, to put it like Daniel Day Lewis’ character in the movie Phantom Thread who said, “What the hell does chic mean anyway?” These words don’t carry enough distinction to create your own sense of style, so where do you start?

Let’s begin simply by thinking about the inner you and your temperament in one of two ways, either as Feminine Yin or Masculine Yang, and then we will get more nuanced with your style definition. Temperament is your natural disposition; the way you automatically respond to the world around you. In the last two weeks, you learned how to see your body and face through the new lens of opposites Curvy Feminine Yin and Straight-lined Masculine Yang. If you didn’t have the chance to analyze your body or face, click here.

Female temperaments are just as diverse as our physical characteristics and the fashion designs we enjoy from delicate feminine designs to tough masculine styles. Your unique feminine Yin/masculine Yang levels add intrigue, wonderful complexity and depth to who you are and what you wear. There are women like you and opposite to you all over the world. Such is the spice of life!

Is the inner you more Feminine Yin or Masculine Yang?

The feminine Yin temperament is receptive, collaborative, and motivated by intuitive feelings. Yin’s association with the moonlit sky and quiet shades of night represents her “nocturnal” vision; the ability to see what is unseen by others. She can read between the lines and understand the subtle details and deeper meanings of life. Yin energy is absorbing, thoughtful, and all encompassing.

Yins want to merge with their environment and find a meaningful place in it.  Yins teach that we are all a valued part of community and excel at nourishing relationships. As receptors of life, they ask us to look inside ourselves for answers and consider how our actions affect others. They are highly sensitive to their surroundings and need to understand their relationship to it; its tastes, temperatures, light ambience, and sounds. Yins are great at doing exploratory and imaginative things.

The Yang temperament is action-oriented, competitive and individualized. Masculine Yang energy represents the rigors of daytime and the energy to work, develop and succeed by doing. Yang energy is bright, alert and focused. Yangs distinguish themselves in their environment and make their own mark.

Yangs are outwardly driven; the go first, go quickly or go with a plan types who no matter how they do it are moving energy outward to the world in goal-oriented ways. Yangs are natural doers, planners and problem solvers and have high impact on their environment. They teach us to stand on our own and are great at directive, performance and transformative oriented things. Yangs cherish free will and the freedom to do what pleases them.

You may definitely fall to one side or the other or feel the inner you is both Yin and Yang. All of us, including men, carry these opposite energies inside us but the key here is to find out where you feel the most natural. Your inner temperament can also change as you change, but the essence of who you are remains intact from birth.

I created a fun and quick visual quiz to help you decide if your temperament, body and face are more Yin or Yang. The temperament part of the quiz has two sections. First, you start with how you were as a young girl and then move on to who you are now.

Here you see my gorgeous granddaughter Anya dressed in “Tomboy” Yang and “Girly Girl” outfits.

Style Secrets of the Inner You: Know Yourself to Adorn Yourself

In the Tomboy Yang look, Anya is wearing clothes that a boy could also wear (aside from the chunky necklace). The jean jacket and camouflage t-shirt are great examples of Yang clothes.

In the Girly Yin look, Anya is wearing a floral skirt and flowy top reserved for “girls only” (how fun it is to have so many choices!).

Below is the girlhood temperament part of the quiz. The list has 13 qualities for each side. Check either the Yang or Yin box for each quality. A score of 7 or more on either side you were more Yang or Yin when you were a girl. Be sure you take the whole quiz after you read this article to find out what I call your Yin/Yang style quotient.

TOMBOY YANG GIRLY YIN
1.   Daredevil 1.   Scaredy cat
2.   Run, jump, climb 2.   Read, think, feel
3.   Sporty games 3.   Imaginary games
4.   Resilient, tough 4.   Sensitive, tender
5.   Family protector 5.   Family helper
6.   Kept feelings inside 6.   Show hurt feelings
7.   Compete to win 7.   Team player
8.   Active, assertive 8.   Receptive, patient
9.   Dressed in a jiff 9.   Dressed to express
10.   Practical 10.   Intuitive
11.   Loud and proud 11.   Sing and dance
12.   Problem solver 12.   Mood detector
13.   Morning girl, eat and sleep regularly 13.   Wake up slow, picky about food and sleep
   
7-13 checks is Yang

YES! I was mostly TOMBOY YANG!

7-13 checks is Yin

YES! I was mostly GIRLY YIN!

The next step in the quiz is to analyze your temperament as a woman using the same general 13 qualities but worded specifically for life as an adult. You will be able to tell if your temperament has changed or stayed the same.

So, what does it mean for your personal style to be an inner Yin or Yang?

Let’s go back to the description of your personal style. Common words like chic, sophisticated, elegant and casual can be used to describe anyone and fit with both Yin or Yang style, so let’s get specific and have fun with a more nuanced description of your inner temperament. Here are just a few words that describe Yin and Yang.

Masculine Yang style words (pushing energy out):

 

Feminine Yin style words (drawing energy in):

 

Structured, resilient, tough, badass, powerful, bold, cool, collected, spirited, determined, contained, armored, forceful, strong, dynamic, assertive, energetic, grounded, unstoppable, driven, hard-edged, warrior-like, tribal, exotic, dramatic, compelling, rigorous, bright, focused, direct, awe-inspiring, edgy, clever, savvy, polished, sharp, smart, vivid, snappy, sassy, vital, capable, orderly, practical, disciplined, solid, purposeful, stately, passionate, thrilling Yummy, luscious, soft, delectable, delightful, fanciful, intricate, charming, open, alluring, mysterious, sensual, friendly, delicate, peaceful, lovely, intriguing, quiet, subtle, thoughtful, pretty, imaginative, sensuous, harmonious, light, creative, effervescent, luminous, receptive, inviting, refined, fluid, flowy, serene, curvaliscious, romantic, unpretentious, cuddly, warm, approachable, resplendent, gentle, nuanced, graceful, dreamy, ethereal, sparkling

The end goal is to pick 4 essential words that make you feel complete and ensure they are represented in every outfit.

How, you ask?

As a signature stylist, I translate who you are on the inside and outside into your personal, authentic fashion story. To find out more about how to express who you are in what you wear, click here for your free 30-minute consultation!

Post your comments below and let me know how you like to dress to express!

The New Lens to See Your Body and Define Your Style

The New Lens to See Your Body and Define Your Style

Do you see your body in comparison to society’s “ideal?” I’d be happily surprised if you don’t. As a personal style therapist, I’m the first to admit that the beauty, style and fashion industries have set unattainable standards for body size, shape, skin, facial features and hair that excludes the majority of women.

I’ll bet like many women today, you are tired of putting your body down for not being included. You want to feel vibrant and happy in your own skin regardless of your differences to society’s ideal. I created a new lens through which to see your body and express your personal style and it puts all women on a level playing field. In other words, you have a place here that is equally important as other women, even society’s exalted favorite.

This new view filters through the universal concept of Yin and Yang as it gives equal regard to opposite types of women’s bodies and the clothes they wear from the most masculine look and feel to the most feminine of types. It obliterates the old standards of beauty and gives equal play to full curves and sculpted angles.

I created a fun quiz to help you see your body from this wonderful Yin/Yang perspective.

As the symbol shows, balance and wholeness (the circle) are derived by these opposites and this applies to your body, face, temperament and fashion style. There are women all around the world who are similar and opposite to you and it’s supposed to be this way!

Chinese medicine also defines the human body using Yin and Yang opposites.

The Yin parts of the body are the front half (bust, internal organs) and the lower half (hips, legs, pelvic girdle) of the body. If your body is Yin, you carry your power in your hips and pelvic girdle. Often, Yin women have soft and diminutive shoulders relative to their hips.

The Yang areas of the body are the backside and upper half of the body. If you have a Yang body, you carry your power in your back, shoulders and arms. Often, Yang women have small hips relative to their shoulders.

The following chart shows in (very) simple terms what it means for your traits to be either Feminine Yin or Masculine Yang or a combination of both.

  FEMININE YIN MASCULINE YANG
Body traits Soft, Curved, Round and Full lines & shapes Sculpted, Straight, Angled and Thin lines & shapes
Face traits Soft, Curved, Round and Full shapes Sculpted, Straight, Angled and Thin shapes
Temperament traits Receptive, Inclusive, Creative Assertive, Independent, Structured
Fashion style Feminine, Soft, Flowy, Sensual Masculine, Menswear, Structured, Sturdy

Fashion gives you a fantastic broad spectrum of styles to express how you feel about being a woman, what aspect of femininity you connect with and feels right to you.

From hardcore menswear like black moto jackets and lug-soled Doc Martins to the most delicate, floaty dresses and kitten heels, the clothes that match your inner and outer traits will always feel authentic and look the best on you.

A ruffled, formfitting blouse is typically loved by women with strong Feminine Yin characteristics. Women who love menswear are more likely to be Masculine Yang.

THE STELLAR BEAUTY YIN/YANG CIRCLE

 

Here you see my “dressed up” version of the Yin/Yang symbol. It demonstrates the look and feel of masculine and feminine lines. The outfits you see in the circle have similar design patterns as the nature scenes behind them.

MASCULINE YANG/THE CRISP SHIRT, STRAIGHT PANTS

Yang bodylines and facial characteristics are like the sculpted, cliff ridges proudly standing in the sun. Yang energy is clearly stated in a structured, assertive and independent way. If you have a linear Yang body and temperament, you will look great in a straight, crisp shirt and straight pants.

FEMININE YIN/THE SOFT BLOUSE, SKIRT

If you are feminine Yin, your bodylines are curved like the lush rolling hills shown. The Yin temperament is illuminated like the moon, creative, inclusive and receptive. If both your outer and inner selves are Yin, you will look and feel lovely in a soft, feminine blouse and flowy skirt.

So, let’s take a closer look at your traits and establish what I call your Yin/Yang style formula:

Take this fun quiz to find out what clothes work best for you.

The quiz has four parts and starts with your inner temperament. You will first look at how you were as a young girl, then move on to your inner temperament as a woman. Then you will be directed to check the body and face traits that match yours. There are four possible outcomes for your style formula:

All 3-0 Yin (face, body and temperament are Yin)

All 3-0 Yang (face, body and temperament are Yang)

2 to 1 Yin (2 out of 3 are Yin and 1 quality is Yang)

2 to 1 Yang (2 out of 3 are Yang and 1 quality is Yang)

Once you know your Yin/Yang style formula the fun really begins when you select clothing and accessory items to match it. At the end of the quiz you will find fashion examples for each of the four outcomes.

Here are just a few fashion elements to play with and combine to create looks that work great for you.

FEMININE YIN FASHION                      MASCULINE YANG FASHION

FEMININE YIN FASHION   

Shoes: High heels, delicate sling backs, open toe pumps, pretty kitten heels, ballet flats

Skirts: Fluid or flared skirts that move when you walk

Tops: Silky, flowy blouses with intricate details like ruffles, ruching, gathers, lace and embroidery. Formfitting tops with open or deep necklines

Jackets: Formfitting, carved in at the waist, peplum flair

Purses: Soft leather, round shapes clutch and shoulder straps

Jewelry: Delicate, small scale, curved shapes, sparkly

MASCULINE YANG FASHION 

Shoes: Men’s style loafers, oxfords, brogues, sneakers, flats, boots, chunky sandals

Skirts: Rarely wear skirts; prefer pants, jeans, cargo, menswear plaid trousers, track pants

Tops: Menswear style shirts, Henley, baseball and graphic t-shirts, structured, boxy, straight and diagonal lines

Jackets: Menswear blazer, bomber, motorcycle, military styles

Purses: Hard leather, square shapes, messenger, backpack

Jewelry: Bold, large scale, geometric shapes, earthy materials

Take the Stellar Beauty Yin/Yang quiz and post your comments below.

Would you like to talk to Linda about your results? Click here for your free 30-minute consultation.

The Style Secrets of Your Face: Necklines, Collars, Jewelry and More

The Style Secrets of Your Face: Necklines, Collars, Jewelry and More

Your eyes are the window to your soul and your face is the window to your style. When you understand your face from an artistic point of view, shopping for a top, scarf, necklace or pair of earrings is a cinch. What do you think about when shopping for one of these things? I’m sure price is part of your decision, but before you even look at the price, the two essential questions you need to say “Yes” to are:

  1. Do I Love It?
  2. Does it Love My Face?

Loving a fashion piece worn near your face means you are drawn to it and it makes your heart sing. You put it on and it feels really good. You find yourself saying “This is so me!” Finding the perfect garment or accessory not only empowers you, it can put you in a happy space for days!

But…the perfect garment is much more than your feelings about it. You may love a scarf, top or pair of earrings, but if it doesn’t enhance your face, you are settling for far less than you could have.

Knowing and wearing what makes your face go “wow” means others will notice you in a good way. They may even smile and say, “Wow, you look great!” This is a far cry from people saying, “I like your necklace” or “that’s a cool top,” which means what you are wearing is stealing your show. If you want people to see you, your neckline, collar, and what you wear at your neck or ears needs to resonate with the shape, line patterns and tones of your face, eyes and hair.

I know what you are thinking…“I can’t find anything I love that much, let alone expect to find something that really works for my face.”

You are right in one way. Finding a “love” isn’t always easy, especially with so many options out there. Maybe you haven’t been dazzled by anything in a long time because you don’t know where to look or what to look for. This is a big part of why so many women hate to shop.  They walk away from stores feeling frustrated with nothing to show for their hard work.

When I shop for clients, I use multiple resources and can pick one piece in a corner of a store to work with something else in the other corner. But even with 20 years’ experience as a personal stylist, I sometimes have to do some serious digging to find the right thing. Believe me, I feel you.

But, here is the GOOD NEWS!

The more you know about what works for the shape, line patterns and coloring of your face, the easier it will be to find the perfect love.

Here is what you get in my style and wardrobe consultation that makes it easy to select the best jewelry, necklines, collars and scarves:

  1. Your facial shape.
  2. The line patterns and scale of your facial features.
  3. The textural quality of your skin and hair.
  4. The undertone of your skin.
  5. The contrast and intensity levels of your skin, hair and eyes.

“HOLY SMOKES!” you say. “All that?” Yes, and more, but for now, the important thing for you to remember is that our eyes love to see pattern.

You can enhance and bring out your face by repeating its line patterns and shapes in your necklines, collars and jewelry. Adding more of the same shapes and lines creates resonance with and supports your face in a harmonious way. By contrast, if you wear the opposite shape like a round earring next to a square face, it doesn’t relate back to your face and can easily steal attention away from it.

Take a look at these two faces:

The Style Secrets of Your Face: Necklines, Collars, Jewelry and More

YANG FACE

YIN FACE

  • Chiseled contours
  • Rounded contours
  • Square, rectangle, triangle shape
  • Round or oval shape
  • Square, flat forehead
  • Round forehead
  • Straight or angled brows
  • Rounded brows
  • Straight, sculpted nose
  • Soft, rounded nose tip
  • Prominent cheekbones
  • Round, full cheeks
  • Straight or angled eyes
  • Rounded eyes
  • Angled jawline
  • Curved jawline
  • Straight, firm mouth
  • Soft, full mouth
5 or more is Yang

Yes! My face is more Yang

5 or more is Yin

Yes! My face is more Yin

The face on the left is Masculine Yang and composed of strong straight and angled lines. She has a face like a faceted gem stone. Her visibly high cheekbones, angled jawline, straight flat forehead and straight nose create the flat and angled planes of her face.

The face on the right is Feminine Yin. Her face is composed of all curved lines with no visible bony protrusions. Her round forehead, eyebrows, nose tip, cheeks and full lips flow together in a sensational curved line pattern.

Count the number of Yang features you have and the number of Yin features you have. Is your face composed of more angles or curves? You may have some of each and that’s perfectly fine.

So, what the heck does all this mean?

Your best necklines and collars resonate with the shape of your jawline, chin and cheeks.

Your best earrings and necklaces resonate with either your face shape or the shapes of your facial features.

(You also need to consider the length and width proportions of your face and neck to choose the right length and width of your accessories and necklines, but that’s another article for another day!).

The YANG FACE LOVES straight and angled lines, squares, rectangles, and triangles.

Jewelry – repeat the shape of face and facial features                                                                                  Modern, edgy, avant-garde, hard angles, geometric shapes (squares, triangles, rectangles), faceted diamonds and gem stones.

Prints – (in scarves and tops) repeat the shape of face and facial features                                      Modern, edgy, avant-garde, vertical and horizontal stripes, plaids, geometric shapes, arrows, chevron, crisscross lines.

Necklines – repeat shape of jawline, chin, cheeks
V-neck, straight (boat) neck, one shoulder, squared neck, mock neck, crew neck.

Collars and Lapels – repeat shape of jawline, chin, cheeks                                                                    Pointed, notched.

The YIN FACE LOVES curved lines, dots, oval, circles.

Jewelry – repeat the shape of face and facial features                                                                                  Circular lines, scroll, feather, floral, teardrop patterns, round beads, pearls, round chain link necklaces.

Prints – repeat the shape of face and facial features                                                                                      Floral, vines, scroll, paisley, feather, teardrop, dots, circles.

Necklines – repeat shape of jawline, chin, cheeks                                                                                      Scoop, deep scoop, sweetheart, jewel, bateau, ruffled, gathered, keyhole.

Collars and lapels – repeat shape of jawline, chin, cheeks                                                                    Mandarin, round, peter pan, shawl

If you have questions about the artistic design of your face, click here for a 30-minute free consultation or you can e-mail me directly at linda@lindabuckman.com. I would love to hear from you!

The Good, the Bad and Who Says? The Power of Words We Use to Describe Our Bodies

The Good, the Bad and Who Says? The Power of Words We Use to Describe Our Bodies

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. This phrase could not be more false when it comes to how we look. The first time we heard a “bad” word about our bodies we were crushed and many of us today still describe our bodies the same way. From the moment a family member, classmate or media commentary judged our bodies as “unacceptable,” we entered the world of narrow beauty standards and body shame.

A friend of mine told me a story about her daughter when she was nine. She wrote a long list of all the things she hated about her body from the top of her head to her toes with specific reasons why they were bad. Her self-criticisms came from a pre-determined set of physical qualities she defined as good.

Good and desirable vs. bad and ugly. What’s your list? What words do you use to describe the shape of your body parts?  Did you ever wish you could change some part of your body? I did. I wanted long legs so badly I only wore heels for a long time to compensate for my “bad” short legs.

Most women in the 20th century wanted one thing for their bodies. The compliment they most wanted to hear was:

“Oh, you are so thin! Look at you, you look great!”

Yes, thin has ruled supreme as the label to be. We have “weighted” this word with so much importance it has ruled our emotions from joy if we are thin to great sadness if we aren’t.

But who decided thin is in or fit is it?  Was it the people who marketed the phrase “You can’t be too rich or thin?” Thin bodies were the only ones we saw in the media for most of the 20th century and now the emphasis in society is to be in “good shape,” with toned arms and legs. We see this sinewy, strong, athletic tour de force in ads everywhere. This presents a real predicament for women who don’t have an athletic body type.

But the thing is…thin is just a word and so is fat. They are harmless adjectives used to describe many things, not just our bodies. The problem is the connotations associated with these words that make them “good” or “bad.”  Here are some examples:

THE CULTURAL BEAUTY GOOD AND BAD LIST

Full Flat Thick Thin Broad Small
Full lips are good Flat tummy is good Thick hair is good Thin arms are good Broad shoulders are good Small ankles are good
Full calves are bad Flat bottom is bad Thick thighs are bad Thin nose is bad Broad hips are bad Small chest is bad

Some women are turning this ridiculous division of good and bad upside down and claiming normally considered negative body traits as positive. Taking back these words mean they are taking back their bodies and empowering their souls.

My gorgeous friend Chelsea is the strongest woman I know and she’s a kick-ass firefighter in San Francisco. Tall, broad, flexible and well-rounded, she is no shrinking violet! Chelsea is proud of her body and it shows. She loves being big and strong. I watched her do 30-pound barbell rows for two minutes straight standing on one foot and I said to myself, “I gotta try that!” She is an inspiration.

Last week she wore a t-shirt that said Thick Thighs Save Lives

The Good, the Bad and Who Says? The Power of Words We Use to Describe Our Bodies

Chelsea erased the negative connotations of her thick thighs by claiming them as an asset. Then there is her smile and those bright eyes. They communicate joy and send the message that she is 100% A-Okay being herself and living in her own skin.

More women are taking the word “fat” back as a simple word to describe their bodies, just like the words tall and short describe the way we look.

Blogger Gia @thesassytruth isn’t afraid of the word fat anymore. For her, it’s merely a word she uses to describe her body not herself. “Being fat to me means that I have self-love, self-acceptance, that I have a positive outlook for my curvaceous, large framed body that carries my mind and soul. Being fat to me means that I am confident in myself, it means that I’ve shed the ideals of what society tells me I need to look like as a woman.”

Let’s rephrase our body descriptions together and empower each other to feel confident in our bodies. Here are a few I made up:

Flat Bottoms Have Thicker Pockets

Thin Nose, Sharp Mind

Broad Hips Seduce Ships

Round Waist, Healthy Mind

I would love to hear your reframed phrases! Share in the comments section and with all your sisters of the female race.

If you would like to talk to me in person, click here for a free 30-minute consultation.

Top Five Things Really Worth Trying for Fall

Top Five Things Really Worth Trying for Fall

I admit, I don’t jump on fashion trends. I wait to see how designers interpret them. I think about how a trend affects what women need, what would make them feel powerful and confident, and what they want to express about themselves. I am also a petite and it takes awhile for petite, tall and plus size designers to jump on the trend wagon. (I know this is a pain, but don’t they say good things take time?).

This fall’s clothing candidates are a wonderful mix of menswear adaptations and feminine pieces for you to express your own Feminine/Masculine balance. You can discover your Feminine Yin/Masculine Yang style formula by taking this quiz.

I picked five fall pieces that have been growing in importance and versatility for women but may not yet have made it into your closet. For me, they have a purpose beyond just being a fad and are certain to stick around for years to come:

  1. JUMPSUIT
  2. TOPS THAT LAYER UNDER SLEEVELESS PIECES
  3. CROPPED PLAID PANTS
  4. FITTED OVER-THE-ANKLE BOOTIES
  5. BELT BAG

1. The Jumpsuit

Why I like it:

Like the ever-popular simple dress, the jumpsuit is a single easy piece with multiple levels of formality. Jumpsuits range from sportswear casual to dressy and can be worn with everything from sneakers to high heels. Jumpsuits take away the problem of bulk at the waist you get from tucking tops into pants and skirts. You’ll find a great range of silhouettes and sleeve lengths from loose and long-sleeved to fitted and off-the-shoulder.

I just bought my first jumpsuit in many years and I challenged myself to find one that could go from casual to work to a stylish event. Be on the lookout for pictures of me wearing it three different ways!

The most masculine yang jumpsuits are overalls and the “car-mechanic” look. Check out this khaki one by Etienne Marcel. The most feminine jumpsuits are silky, flowy and floral. Check out this fluid beauty from dRA. There is a jumpsuit for every body type.  Here is a stretch- jersey wide leg from Venus for the curvy body and narrow-legged, straight cut style for tomboy hips.

When trying on a jumpsuit, the most important thing to get right is the rise measurement, waist placement and fabric. If the garment’s intended waist doesn’t line up where it’s supposed to be on your body, the proportions will be off.

Avoid heavy, non-stretch fabrics unless you don’t mind the weight and steer clear of fabrics that are so sheer and lightweight that you worry about panty lines. Look for natural fibers mixed with man-made like rayon with cotton or linen.

2. Tops That Layer Under Sleeveless Pieces

Why I like them:

Talking about jumpsuits leads us right to our next must-have – tops that can be layered underneath sleeveless pieces.  The right top worn under a simple sheath dress, favorite sleeveless top, or jumpsuit can do wonders for the woman who wants to cover her arms or extend the wearable life of a favorite sleeveless garment. Tops with high cut-armholes work best. You can play with fitted yoga tops, t-shirts and blouses in your closet to come up with the right look. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Short leather shift dress with turtleneck, opaque hosiery and boots (classic Audrey Hepburn).
  2. Super cropped stretch-tops like this one from Lovers + Friends to cover arms and minimize bulk under a floral dress or jumpsuit.
  3. Double layer a tank or short-sleeved t-shirt over pretty blouse for a casual look with jeans.

3. Cropped Plaid Pants

Why I like them:

There is something about designs created only for women made in traditional menswear fabrics that makes women feel empowered. This fall’s strictly feminine cropped pants in suiting plaids does the trick.

The message behind cropped plaid pants could be something like this: “I’m not only strong like a man, I do things my way, and a woman’s way is better.” ? Did you know that cropped (capris) and cigarette pant styles were created for those rebellious women in the 1950’s (pants weren’t considered appropriate for going out back then) who were tired of wearing men’s pleated trousers?

I like cropped plaid pants best with blocked heeled over-the-ankle boots, but they also look great with sneakers, flats and oxfords, kitten heels and strappy high heels.

Here are a few to look at:

  1. 5 pocket cropped jean with racer stripe from Mother.
  2. Glenn track pants from Pam & Gela.
  3. Lena Houndstooth Plaid Cropped Pants from Elie Tahari.
  4. Farrow Button-Detail Plaid Pants from Veronica Beard.

4. Fitted Over-The-Ankle Booties

Why I like them:

I love the versatility of higher ankle boots worn under cropped pants or a long skirt. Lighter weight than knee high boots, over-the-ankles can be worn year-round. They also provide a seamless color from ankle to garment which is especially wonderful for women with shorts legs.

  1. Elon sock boots from Dolce Vita.
  2. Sabriyya booties from Joie.
  3. Joplin suede ankle boots from Saint Laurent.

5. Belt Bag

Why I like it:

The convenience of a hands-free purse when you are on the run in the modern world speaks for itself. Belt bags have come a long way since the nylon fanny pack! There are so many stylish options you may never go back to a handle, clutch or shoulder strap bag (unless you carry around lots and lots of stuff).

Think of the times when you wish you had both hands free like being at a social event meeting new people with a drink in one hand and purse in another. Or, when you are chasing after your little one in the grocery store. Or how about when you are travelling and need to keep your belongings safe. Look for belt bags that can also be worn as a cross-body bag for maximum versatility.

My favorite this year is this soft leather Gucci belt bag. I also love this Balenciaga souvenir small belt bag. For a cute, casual zipped bag, try this color-blocked one from Isabel Marant.

Be sure to watch for photos of me in my new jumpsuit (I listen to my own advice!). Starting Friday, you will see the first of three looks I styled for a special summer event, a fall work outfit and a casual weekend fun look.

Please add your comments below and happy fall shopping! I’m available to chat in person here.

 

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