Fashion is so exciting right now, the diversity of styles is so great, there is something for everyone! We have all felt the isolation when fashion doesn’t jibe with our tastes or the feeling like it isn’t made to fit us. Fashion may even at times make us feel bad about ourselves. But who says it has to! In our last Table Talk we discussed athleisure and its influences, not only in trends but how women shop. We talked a lot about where women get education in style and what is “appropriate”. The important thing in fashion is that we each find what speaks to us and use it to present ourselves in the best ways. When we feel better about ourselves, we can go out and do better! In the end, we hypothesized that women are maybe getting sick of wearing shapewear, feeling as though they have to pour themselves into compression-like-things to get the “ideal figure”.
So, naturally, we segwayed into body image. With the impressive imagery of fashion all around us, there can be such a misunderstanding of what is “fit”, and worse, a miseducation of what is body diversity.
We want to look, feel and experience fashion so it shows off the best of us. Let us ask you, have you learned to love all your curves and all your edges? Let’s jump right in to our Jophiel Table Talk, after all, it is a fashionable confabulation!
Leah: “Do you think women are hoping to adopt a current fashion look and follow a trend without ever learning how to embrace and style for their own figure? I know I see something and want it, but sometimes don’t know how to make it my own.”
Nancy: “I feel you are correct, women see a look and love it. I think it’s about figuring out how you can make that trend work for you, which is where we come into play. I don’t think many women know how to do that, while a few are very in tune to what works and what doesn’t, a lot of these women don’t realize not every trend is for them but a lot of trends can still be adapted to their body.”
Cassie: “I agree with that. We see on Instagram an idealized shape, wearing body-conscious styles that flatter their figures. While this style is super cute on some figures, not everyone takes into consideration that our body shapes differ. For individuals who want that look, they need to modify it and create something that flatters their figure.”
Nancy: “I think the bulk of that is youth, because I was there once too. You see something and if that is what everyone is wearing you just jump in and you wear it. No matter how good or bad, you don’t distinguish that you don’t look good in it. I myself have done it. I worked for someone who was teeny tiny and for the first year I loved everything she wore. I would buy the same thing she would, and I would feel like an idiot. Eventually you figure those things out, with age, in most cases, comes the knowledge of some of the things you can and can’t do.”
Julie: “I think one of the large things that plays into that is how fashion is driven down. It starts out so well made to begin with, how trends develop, the construction of how it’s going to look can be done really well. By the time it gets down to sale-driven, department stores, which thrive on deals, the trend is not going to be made well. It doesn’t wash well, so it won’t wear well long-term and often no one is putting it together for the customer. This is where style advice is nonexistent.”
Leah: “That goes along with what role as a stylist we play. Nancy, as you were saying with age we start to learn about ourselves and how to adopt a trend. I know I have observed that any customer who has had to get things altered, like myself, we will always look at something and know what we need to do to make it flatter the figure. If someone has never learned how to see where to make those little tweeks, they may find themselves completely lost on what to do.”
Nancy: “They just know I can’t do that but I want that look, how can I achieve it. That is where they need us, unless they have hours to stand in front of a mirror trying this, that and the other.”
Cassie: “I feel like there are those women who know their body, know what style they want and are not very open to alterations. We all have an image in our heads of how things should fit. We can have a mindset of "this is how I have always done it, this is what I can wear." When in all actuality, our bodies change and our style needs to change with it.”
Leah: “How often do you think someone looks in the mirror and sees what is trending and feels beautiful, versus what is styled perfectly for them and feels beautiful?”
Julie: “Probably a smaller percentage of the second.”
Leah: “I wonder if we feel ourselves affirmed when we feel part of a group. We identify with, and thus begin to reflect, the style of women we surround ourselves by. But then I wonder if we never learn how to feel in our own skin and learn how things should fit us, not our friends.”
Julie: “One of the best examples are those women who get tunnel vision. They actually, in most cases, realize what works better on them, however they get personally stuck and won’t move forward into something fresh. They don’t follow what anybody else tells them or what their peers are moving into. When we think flattery is one dimensional and still try to show off our body shape – we don’t move forward in fashion.”
Nancy: “I had a client who I was discussing this with, we talked about how freeing it is at that age when we look at fashion with appreciation and love it. Recognizing that it would be better on a younger body such as a niece, daughter, or granddaughter. That we have done that, had our day in short skirts and such, and be happy with what is now suitable for our current body. That our window of things has shifted over. The window does narrow down but in some ways it makes it all so much easier. We have more select options, that doesn’t mean you need to wear all black like I do. Silhouettes narrow and we can instantly discount that if miniskirts come back-in that’s great, I will love seeing Leah’s legs in them, or Cassie’s legs in them but I won’t do that for me. So I will focus in on the skirts of a certain length.”
Julie: “The word you just used “focus”, that’s the word I was just thinking. It’s not that the window is narrower, but it becomes focused. I think using that word is less limiting as a stylist. “Let’s focus on what looks good on you” is a more empowering way of styling. I have a client who sizes up in cardigans because she understands that there is a hang to it. She understands by doing so she will get that drape and look which she is after with the extra length and fit. That ease she is looking for, and she can carry it because she has great posture. I like how she knows this and is not offended by what the size is. That’s where we all still have to grow, like you said in the beginning, we see it on this ideal body, the ideal size is a 4. If we get so focused on the fact that we are not a 4 we will actually never buy the right size for ourselves.”
Leah: “There is a level of maturity, call it growth or sophistication, that comes with customers you are describing. As a stylist there is that journey you have carried her through to get to that.”
Nancy: “I think we need to learn to embrace maturity and know that it’s okay. Accept it already. Sometimes when mothers and daughters shop I see that daughters want their mothers to dress a certain way. Never in my life have I looked at my mother and thought we should be wearing the same cuts and styles. She is my mother and we aren’t ever at the same place in life. I think women need to own up to the fact that they are at that place in life and appreciate their daughters view but own their body and place in life. Stick to what they know to be appropriate for them at their time.”
Julie: “I agree.”
Nancy: “Sometimes when we are still developing that relationship with a client it’s helpful to have a friend with her. We can have a piece on a client, it can look great but her best friend can say, “Hey that’s not her, she doesn’t have that personality.” In the end if the client isn’t going to wear it and feel like themselves in it they shouldn’t buy it. We want to create a personal wardrobe for each client, one that reflects them.”
Leah: “That goes back to that echo chamber, we want to have some affirmation from those around us or those we aspire to be like. We are friends, which means we have similar likes in something, meaning it’s natural to want the same style swag as your friends because you are attracted to similar things. However, at some point we have to recognize that there are two different bodies and we’re not always going to mirror each other.”
Kate: “I don’t think it’s that women strive to dress like their friends, personally my friends and I have very different styles. I think it’s the validation that we seek from our friends, it’s that trust that comes with friends knowing they have your back and will be honest.”
Leah: “I would say I agree with that in some ways. However, some of the friends that we trust are equally ignorant of fashion and fit.”
Julie: “We are a lot of women’s validation, they trust us regardless if they get a compliment from a friend. They have moved on from that point of wanting validation from their friends and family, they seek it in us, and let's face it, if you are dressed great everyday - the compliments will stop, because it is expected of you."
Leah: “I think it goes back to the maturity thing. I think it’s interesting to see, at least from where I am sitting, that it resonates so differently for every women.”
Jan: “I personally seek validation in this circle, I know my body and what I can and can’t wear at this age and stage in my life.”
Leah: “I think the two words that stick out to me from this talk are affirmation and validation, and where you get them.”
Julie: “Nice talk ladies.”
At Jophiel, we believe in making fashion fun by taking out the guesswork. Does it fit? Does this flatter or look old? Oh, we’ll tell you. Stay tuned for the next installment of our Jophiel Table Talk to experience head-to-toe dressing without the complex.