Tuesday, 1 July 2014

In Which I Compare Myself to Cameron Diaz and Talk About Belts


My body shape is generally at odds with belts.  While I appear to be a soft  hour glass when dressed in something form fitting, and given my actual measurements ( 40-31-39 ) there is enough difference between waist and hips or waist and bust to just barely qualify as an hourglass according to some people.  When I was younger I had an hourglass shape, but life has conspired to thicken my waist.  Generally I identify more with what is variously called the rectangular, H or banana shape if you wish to stick to the fruit theme, which  I personally don't.  Following the dressing guide lines for the H shape usually works better for me than those for an hourglass, though I draw on the hourglass guidelines somewhat.  I often look best in something tailored but I don't usually look best with a belt at my waist and I am not comfortable in really structured clothing

In this category defying body of mine, which looks best in fitted things but is too tall for the proportions of most ready to wear fitted dresses, I usually need a belt to hold up my jeans. Since those are not on the natural waist I have a good sized collection of hip belts.  Because most of those don't have enough holes to accommodate being worn on my waist and thus cinched in smaller, I also have a collection of waist belts, but I find I don't use them much.  Most of the time, after I apply a waist belt to an outfit I end up taking it off again.  I find that it  at best makes an outfit look no better or makes it look worse, sort of oddly chopped in half, and no doubt leaves a viewer questioning why I would want to draw attention to my waist anyhow.

In deciding that the guidelines for dressing an H shape were more suitable for me than the hourglass guidelines, I have noticed that the H shape also seems to generate a great deal of contradiction not seen with other body shapes.  You can find any number of style gurus saying put a belt on it and create a waist as you can who say leave off the belt and let the eye flow away from the waist you don't have, either up or down. 

I'm basically built like Cameron Diaz but 30 lbs heavier and without the muscles and a slightly larger chest....  So, not much like her at all.  But I use her as my reference when I can find images that aren't photo-shopped much.

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Images of Cameron with a belt are scarce and in this one below I don't think the belt is doing her any favours.  In the front on view it looks fine, adds a bit of pizazz to the look like a piece of jewelry and she has a narrow build so while it isn't really creating a waist it isn't drawing attention to a thick one either...




 Or so I thought until I saw it from this angle.  Now I think it is emphasising a thicker waist and draws the eye right there and distracts from her overall long and lean line.



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I would have been tempted to try a slouchier hip belt with this or no belt at all.  I think there are two ways a waist belt works on this body shape.  One is if you are very slender like Cameron and another is if the garment blouses out a little around the waist belt which creates more of an hourglass illusion. 

There is another factor I have to consider, which is that for me personally, I am not comfortable with a belt at my waist.  I am not sure why, but it is a physical response to a sensation I dislike.  Here is an example of my own experiments in this outfit below.  Other than the sandals, it all looks okay from this angle.  But....

This denim skirt is high waisted which should theoretically be flattering on someone like myself with some height and enough space between bust and hips.  There are enormous belt loops on this skirt so it has to be belted.
With a blousey top, there is enough difference between my waist and bust so that this looks okay, but it doesn't really make my waist look small.  In this outfit my waist looks thicker than normal due to bulk but to make up for that the blouse is making my chest look bigger than normal too.  In other words it's a lesson in how to dress to make yourself look 20lbs heavier.

I rejected this look (and this skirt) because it looked too bulky around my  middle, both with the thick denim fabric, a belt and the fact that my waist is not tiny.  In photos it looks a bit better than what I saw in the mirror but that could be my expert posing. If I stood more sideways to the camera I definitely have that same look that Cameron Diaz has, with the middle looking as thick as everything else.

But in addition to feeling the look was dubious, what I particularly noticed was that I didn't like the feel at my waist.  My waist was all I could think about because I could feel it, thicky and bulky and constricting me. 

So the skirt went into the donation bag.  I couldn't get it off fast enough, which is surely a sign this outfit is not for me!

31 comments:

  1. Sorry about all the comments on your last post, Shawna, and thanks for just selecting one of them! At this end, they all just disappeared - bloody Blogger! Yes, that was swearing in some language which I didn't even know I knew...
    It's a shame the skirt feels so wrong on you as the shape is actually very flattering on your long lean legs. But yes, bulky at the waist, and the blouse is definitely very full so it looks blocky. I wonder what a jersey/knit pencil skirt would look like? No belt loops or even much of a waistband, maybe? (Natalia has some lovely ones.)
    I wouldn't mind having a figure like Cameron Diaz! xxxx

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    1. Cameron is very fit and muscular. Unlike my squishy self-lol. I have a black stretchy belt loop free pencil skirt that works quite well but I generally don't wear it this time of year. I bought a simple pencil skirt pattern meant for jersey knit so I can make myself some in summer fabrics-hahaha if I ever get around to that.Or maybe I should buy some jersey maxis and cut them short. That would be a heckuva lot easier.
      xoxoxo

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    2. Oh and no need to apologise about the extra comments. Thank you for making the effort to get through. I'm sure I've left multiple comments on blogs for the same reason. Damn Blogger!
      xo

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  2. I'm not sure if my eye went directly to your waist because the discussion is on belts, or if because the belt is taking center stage on your outfit. Our generation is of the mindset that we should match our belts and shoes. However, I'm learning that that look isn't necessarily important. I almost feel like a black belt would have blended better with your top and denim.

    For myself, I have to wear a belt or my pants will fall down. I live by them!

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    1. I did try it with a thinner belt, but what I really notice is that the skirt is a sort of thick denim tube and from a dead on side view it makes me really shapeless. I haven't got much bum so in this skirt my waist is thickened and bum flattened. LOL Not a pretty picture. I am working on not matching the belt and shoes. I have some trouble with that-lol-same as with shoes and bag though I'm better at that.
      Anyhow, it's probably more about the skirt than the belt, as Beate points out, it is also bulky at the tummy because of how it does up.
      I think you are right about the black belt being better colour wise though. I tend to pair blue and brown instinctively and also instinctively filled up the large loops. I have to belt my pants too but they are usually below my waist. I don't mind a belt on my hips or a bit below the navel.
      xoxo

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  3. this skirt is in all its tightness totally shapeless. plus bulk at the waistband and flyfront. ugh. and the length is wrong too.
    bravo for giving away.
    i used to have not much waist too. but wearing belts and tight waistbands "trained" my torso to show some waist definition. does not work every day and as i started years ago my belly seem to get swollen - in some kind of cinch allergy. but now i´m over that and satisfied with my waist.
    but thats my very personal thing - i don´t think that every woman has to have an hourglass waist. in my book feminine beauty lies in the whole picture - coloring, proportions, move, expression. when you are happy swaying around in lose tunics and long flowy skirts nobody will ask where your waist is. (and if then it´s someone you should better not know)
    xxxxxxx

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    1. LOL-yes, I wanted to like this skirt, but I agree with all of the things you mention and had the same thoughts about it. Perhaps there is some body it would look good on but it's not me.
      I used to have a tiny 25 inch waist which was actually a pain because pants that fit my hips (which were then 36) usually gaped at the waist. I wore a lot of skirts then but this was when I was in my 20s in the 80s and it was not really in to have hips then so I was very self conscious about my waist hip ratio and tried to downplay it. I longed for a thicker waist. Be careful what you wish for! LOL

      I don't mind being somewhat remotely hourglassy if I'm wearing a fitted dress, if the overall outfit is streamlined. But if there is any bulk to it or it involves a cinched in waist I feel really uncomfortable. I have no idea why that's just how it is.
      I will have to practice my witty comebacks for people rude enough to ask me where my waist is!
      xoxoxoxo

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  4. Enviable figure you have ... and that does work for you to the extent it will work on anyone. I actually like it and it doesn't seem too bulky at the middle, but I see how you might be less than satisfied. What if you wore it with a little thinner black belt and let the blouse poof a little more, with navy or blue flats or sandals? It's the extreme thickness of the belt that looks big to me, not your waist. Hmmm. In theory, so little works for me I cast an extremely jaundiced eye on theories about what I'm supposed to wear. I'm guessing that we can all get away with more than we think we can, but I'm with you on at least making an educated guess!
    Cameron, move over. You got competition in your figure category!

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    1. LOL-yes watch out Cameron your heavier, squishier not blonde and older Canadian competition is going to take over!
      I like your suggestions for restyling the skirt, and I think they would be better than what I did, but I also think much of the fault lies in the skirt itself being sort of thick and shapeless. It gives me a larger looking tummy than I have because the fly area is bulky and it makes my already small bum look totally flat. I have a better short denim skirt so this one can go off to the thrift shop and fool someone else into buying it.
      xoxoxo

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  5. Oh I HATE IT when blogger eats comments, it always does it on my phone and usually when I've typed lots! Interesting discussion! I often have issues with belts and skirts and tops or trousers hence why I wear dresses lots! X

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    1. Blogger is really acting up lately. I've noticed it in my bloglovin' feed too. Suddenly there are posts that are a day old only they weren't there this morning.

      I would wear more dresses if I could. I usually have fit issues. Which is not quite the same as having fits though with the way some dresses fit me I do want to have fits.
      xoxox

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  6. Hey, Shawna! I've been searching for a nice brown belt like that--very nice and great with those sandals! I'm with you...the pics of Cameron (with the belt) don't work so well. Hugs on your week! T. http://tickledpinkwoman.blogspot.com

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    1. Check Target, as I get many of my belts there and I think this one comes from there.
      xoxo

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  7. Yeah, Cameron Diaz looks so huge in that last photo. Ha! She's kind of like a smaller me - not so much an H as a pencil. Except I'm like those thick charcoal pencils. It's true, though, that there seems to be conflicting advice about what an H should do about her waist. I think what you said about the blousy top is a good clue - it's not so much the belt but what is next to it. But any advice counts for nothing if you don't like the feel of something!

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    1. LOL-she should be ashamed of herself walking around all huge like that! Ha indeed! You know I was not saying she is huge. ;-) Advice is meant to be ignored just as rules are meant to be broken, right? I find that most of the time I don't belt my waist but on the rare occasion I do and I couldn't really say what makes it work sometimes and not others but sometimes it either doesn't improve the look or actually makes it worse. Or maybe I'm just a rebel and saying yuck foo to the hourglass shape.
      xoxo

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  8. I know about not liking waist belts. I have a physical reaction like Beate and it gets all swollen and windy. IBS I think. I have yet to train it like Beate!
    I have no idea what shape or fruit I am. Probably a cucumber or something! Straight up and down, no bust, lots of waist and no hips! Yum, yum!
    Funny how small changes in design and fabric makes such a difference.
    I'll have to find a celebrity to follow, good idea :-) XO

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    1. Having ditched gluten from my diet I no longer have any swollen and windy problems but I still don't really lke the feel of something tight on my waist. It started with pregnancy. I began wearing loose and larger clothing in the first month I was pregnant because I couldn't stand the feel of anything on my middle. I haven't been pregnant in 20 years but I still have that issue.

      I like your suggestion of cucumber-lol. I'll have some cream cheese with mine. Celebrities have had someone else help them learn how to dress their best, so it can be useful to find one or two with a similar body shape and see how they dress it. I don't wear gowns much (never) so I don't look at the red carpet styles. LOL
      xoxo

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  9. The high waisted skirt makes your legs look extra long, but you have long legs already so you don't really need the extra help.

    I think you could have gone with a smaller belt maybe. That blouse manages to look bulky, more like a tucked sweater almost.

    Basically I have no advice. LOL Call it day-after-Canada-Day-I'm-too-tired-to-be-coherant.

    Helpful right? ; )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. LOL-Suzanne I will take you tired an incoherent and we won't worry about any advice. It's actually the denim of the skirt that is bulky. The blouse is sheer and very light. A smaller belt doesn't look much different because nothing gets rid of the bulk of the denim. If I turn sideways I look very thick. I actually resorted to the wider belt to try to squish in the denim. LOL
      xoxo Happy Day after Canada Day!

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  10. I have a very similar body type. I am straight up and down, with no hips to speak of. Sad. I sometimes dream of having an hourglass figure. But you're right. If I try adding a belt, I just look thicker around the middle and it does me no favors!

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    1. I don't look straight up and down in something really figure hugging, but as soon as there is any sort of bulk to my clothing my waist gets lost. I don't think I aspire to an hourglass, I just aspire to not looking like a thick tube. I'd take thin tube.
      xoxo

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  11. I sympathize. It's hard to dress nice with certain body-types. My shape is cylindrical (40-40-40) so, believe it or not, you have more curves than I do. Belts look good on me only if they're large and, honestly, only from the front. From the side (as you observe), they draw attention to my big waist.

    But enough about me. Your observations about yourself are grounded and I see what you're trying to accomplish. Good luck with that.

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    1. Yes, I can see how you would get what I'm saying. I didn't show a side view photo and I should have because that would really get my point across. We could share clothes given our measurements! LOL Want to be my sister?
      xoxo

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  12. Isn't it interesting how sometimes are preferences and what is "supposed" to work for us are in contrast?
    That being said, I am not sure what the rules are for my body type, but when it comes to belts if I do wear them I do so on my hips (which are narrow in relation to the rest of my body).

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    1. That makes sense to me actually, as the belt would add visual interest to your hips and bulk them up a bit which you can afford to do. You are very slender.
      xo

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  13. I think that you look cute in it, but it is always in the end, your choice! I was told that I should wear wrap-style dresses, so that my boobs would look bigger (I am a pear!), but I despise that style on me!

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    1. I think a wrap dress is an older woman look. I can see how you would feel it looks all wrong on you. You look cute in the clothes you wear and the outfits you make so I think you've got dressing your body all figured out.
      xo

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  14. I actually think it looks quite good on you ... but if it's not comfortable then it's a no go in my book. I hardly ever wear a belt on my waist. I short waisted ... heck I'm just short ... and a belted waist makes it so much more obvious. I'd keep the skirt ... but always wear my tops out and not tucked in.
    xx

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    1. Trust me it looks terrible from the side view. I forgot to take a picture of that. I did consider keeping it though, just as you said, for wearing with shirts over it and not tucked in. I decided I didn't want to keep a piece that was limited like that. I have another denim skirt that seems to be the best option. I've whittled my denim collection down to one skirt.

      My mum is tall with really long legs but short waisted and she doesn't emphasise her waist either. It rather fascinates me all the different sizes and shapes that bodies come in.
      xoxo

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  15. Shawna isn't it funny how everyone else including myself think otherwise? You look well put together however we all want to feel comfortable and no matter what others say, if its not okay with you, then its just not okay. As for Cameron, she's definitely got one big competition here. After all you are your own professional stylist and you are killing it big time. xoxo.

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    1. LOL Elsie you will just have to trust me. I have almost no bum so look like a shapeless tube from a side view. The skirt is good in theory but just a bit off in it's design. I have a better one, though it's a bit shorter so it's taking me some practice wearing it.
      My stylist is definitely less expensive than Cameron's! But then my income is definitely smaller. LOL
      xoxox

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