How I plan outfits for occassions: I share my tried & tested method - 3 body shape myths busted: Forget what you think you know, here are the facts! - How my brand new Online Program can help you to take back control & reignite your love of dressing!

Breeda O' Connell

I love the new energy & sense of possibility that comes with each new month!

In this week's BOC Style edition:

  • How I plan outfits for occassions - I share my tried & tested method

  • 3 body shape myths busted! Forget what you think you know, here are the facts!

How I plan my outfits for Occasions!

A little bit of forethought and asking yourself a few key questions can really help to narrow your focus so you end up with an outfit that you are really content with & excited to wear!

The following are the types of things you need to consider before you go headlong into online trawling & ordering:

  • What is the event & what is the tone of that event – e.g., is it a more formal church wedding following by a hotel reception with full sit-down meal; or a more relaxed Christening with finger food & drinks at the home of a family member

  • This will guide you in whether you chose a dress or trousers & top combo for example, or if you go with a dress either way, the style, fit, and pattern of the dress you chose will all depend on how formal or relaxed you want the dress to look & feel

  • How formal or relaxed the event is will also impact how you accessorise your outfit and how you style your hair & makeup -the same dress can look & feel very different based on how it is styled. For example, pairing a floral semi-fitted midi dress with your hair tied back in a sleek bun, paired with a bright lip, winged eyeliner, drop earrings, strappy heals and a neat clutch has a very different feel to the same dress styled with your hair worn down in relaxed waves, a nude lip colour, shoulder bag and block heeled mid height sandals.

  • The style & location of the event will also heavily impact your choice of footwear and whether or not you’re going to be outside for long periods of time. If you’re going to be in a garden for example, then wedges over stilettos is an obvious choice, and the style of dress may need to change of it’s to be worn with a blazer as a key part of the outfit

  • When you spend some time picturing the event in your head & imagining yourself there, you should get a clear idea of how you want to look, and what will & will not work well in that setting

  • You will now have a lot more focus when searching for the various elements of the outfit

  • Start with the key piece – the dress or jumpsuit, or maybe a statement pair of printed trousers is the key element of the outfit – start with this then work logically around it

  • I would look to shoes next, followed by bag & then jewellery. If you intend to wear a headpiece, I would look for that in tandem with searching for shoes

  • Always bear in mind overall balance in the outfit as you put it together, as well as your body scale and the scale of the accessories you choose

  • Be careful as to the parts of the body you are drawing attention to, and always be lead by your body shape in choosing the most flattering fit

  • Try to stay close to your core style personality so you wear the outfit, not the other way round

  • In terms of matching shoes & bags, and choosing jewellery, it comes down to Style Personality. A dramatic or creative style personality may never dream of matching accessories and may relish clashing prints & colours

  • But some element of ‘outfit linking’ will always look chic & put together

  • Make sure to chose the correct underwear & shapewear if necessary

  • Chose colours that are in harmony with your own colour palette if you don’t want them to overwhelm you

  • Give yourself plenty of time as even with all this focus & clarity, it can take a little trial & error for all the elements to come together just right

3 body shape myths busted! Forget what you think you know, here are the facts!

Myth 1: ‘I need to lose weight first so I can be at my best body shape’

  • Your horizontal body shape – that is your shoulders-waist-hips ratio – is based on your skeletal frame & bone structure

  • Your body shape is your body shape irrespective of weight, it would take SIGNIFICANT weight changes to alter your shape in any way, and this is only true for a certain body shape

  • Your guidelines will NOT change with weight gain or loss

Myth 2: ‘A straight body shape is flat’

  • With horizontal body shape, there are 2 main categories straight body shapes & curved body shapes

  • Basically, straight body shapes follow a more or less straight line from shoulders, through the waist, to the hips; while curved body shapes follow a curved line down through the body

  • However, we sometimes think of having curves as having a defined bust of a more shapely bum, and clients can misunderstand a ‘straight body’ categorisation to mean they have a ‘flat’ body, without shape

  • A ‘straight body’ simply means your body follows a relatively straight body line  - for example, the rectangle is a straight body shape, and women with this body shape often have a medium to large bust and a nicely shaped bum

Myth 3: The best way to create the illusion of a waist when I don’t have a naturally defined waist, is to add a belt

  • In reality, you cannot ‘pull in’ a straight body shape, and if you try to ‘force’ this with a belt, instead of creating a waist, you will just cut the torso in two visually

  • Instead, aim to achieve what you think a belt will achieve with other methods

  • Essentially, what you are trying to create is the OUT – IN – OUT body line of a curved shape with a waist (where the shoulders are OUT, the waist goes IN, and the hips go OUT)

  • Wrap styles are a fantastic tool in doing this, as is rouching, or any twist/knot detail on the front of tops and dresses. It creates the illusion of a curve where the natural waist would be, but do not go around the circumference of the body in the way that a belt does

  • A similar effect can be achieved by knotting a shirt, worn over an underneath layer

  • If you do choose to where belts, go for low contrast – choose a belt in the same or tonal colour as you outfit; and be mindful of the size of the belt – wide belts will shorten the waist & make the torso look even more ‘boxy’. A narrow belt, in the same colour as what you’re wearing it with, will do less damage