By Brian Maynor
Wrapping up our series on body shapes, the Oval and Diamond are two unique shapes that have different goals and challenges from the other four.
The Oval and Diamond are the two body shapes where your upper and lower bodies are narrow and your stomach is the widest part of your body. The difference between the two is where your stomach sits and the width of your hips. If you have narrow hips and your stomach is low and round you are an Oval, while if your hips are wider than your upper body and your stomach is high and tight you are a Diamond.
Often times people look at these as the plus size shapes, but that isn’t the case. As we’ve talked about you can be plus size in any shape, just like you can be an Oval or Diamond without being plus sized or big and tall.
Here are two looks and tips for working with a wide midsection that may not make it invisible, but will certainly help make it less prominent, which is the goal:
1. The tops. While fitted clothing is always best, Ovals and Diamonds can also benefit from loose, draped tops, just like the Rectangle. The only difference is the Rectangle is trying to create curves and volume while the Oval and Diamond are balancing them. The key for both is widening your shoulder line.
- Ladies if you opt for wrap tops, infinity tops or loose blouses make sure the shoulders are straight across or there is some focus on that area like a wide V-neck or boat neck collar. After it drapes your torso the bottom is going to be key. If you are a Diamond a banded bottom can work because of your high stomach, but if you are Oval, a banded bottom will only accentuate your low stomach and wide midsection
- The same rule about V-necks works for men too. Plus you should gravitate toward solid colors instead of all-over prints. Color blocking like with this sweater may seem subtle, but has a huge impact on drawing out your shoulder line. Understanding oxfords and polos are not ideal styles because they narrow your neck and shoulders, sometimes they are unavoidable. Just remember to try and keep the opening as wide as possible, and if you wear a tie, keep it medium width. Skinny ties will make your midsection look wider and wide ties are dated.
2. The bottoms. Generally speaking, Ovals and Diamonds can have shapely legs; they are just smaller than your upper body. For this reason avoid short-shorts. Walking on toothpicks is not a good look. Instead choose longer shorts that have full legs. The idea is to fill out and lengthen your lower half so it looks stable and proportional.
- When it comes to pants you actually get the best of both worlds. Straight leg and classic cuts will fill out your hips and lower body, while cropped or tailor-fit pants that taper slightly at the knee will balance out your hips.
3. The Accessories. Typically my recommendation is go big or go home. Large, drop earrings will help fill in your shoulder line, while long necklaces give some vertical movement and detail to the outfit. When it comes to sunglasses, if you have a round, full face, add some angles with square or rectangle frames.
Dressing for Ovals and Diamonds may focus on camouflaging their midsections, but that is also one of the most common styling questions I get asked. Sometimes the best way to downplay one area is to simply emphasize another one.
If you remember just one thing from this series I hope it is this: looking good and feeling great are not dependent upon your body shape or size. You can and should look and feel great at every size and shape. The key is finding the pieces that work with you not against you, because looking good makes us feel great.
Click here or on the images below to learn more about the outfit.
I am always curious to hear some of your weekend wardrobe dilemmas and challenges. Please send your comments and questions to [email protected]. Also find each of these storyboards at http://brianmaynor.polyvore.com with links to purchase each item.
About Brian Maynor
Brian Maynor has built a reputation as one of the leading style coaches in the Southeast and is quickly expanding his eponymous company, BRIAN MAYNOR and his FIND, FLATTER & FLAUNT line of image consulting services. A professional with a fresh, upbeat and down-to-earth personality and boundless creative energy, he works frequently with with local celebrities; Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations; modeling agencies; fashion designers; production companies; record labels; media and individuals. A regular contributor to various fashion blogs and online communities, Brian Maynor is one of the most trusted and recognized style experts in the region, utilizing his education and training as a broadcast journalist to serve as a style lecturer, emcee, and commentator for over a decade. He has appeared at fashion shows, expos, and charity fundraisers, as well as events with big brands like Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Chico’s and Macy’s. His approach is innovative, creative and fashion-forward, balancing fresh, modern styles with classic pieces to keep one’s look grounded. To learn more, visit http://www.brianmaynor.com.
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