As someone who loves fashion and style, and who also has a lifestyle blog, I love sharing my outfits with online friends who have the same appreciation as I do for an #OOTD. That said, I’m by no means a model and I’ve always wished for a narrower figure – but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let my body hang-ups ruin my fun.
Over the years I’ve learned what suits me and what I like – plenty of structure, plenty of black, and plenty of light fabrics in summer time (although – along with some floral print and pops of colour – still plenty of black). To avoid looking like a sack of tatties, I know silhouettes that skim my body work best, and that even though my boobs are big I actually don’t like a v-neck, despite what the Gok Wans of the world say. I’m slowly getting over the skinny jean and enjoying culottes and flared denim, while a slim leg trouser will still do the trick for work with a pretty blouse or fine knit. I like flared skirts and dresses as much as I like pencil shapes, but I usually go for a mid-length, just below the knee. A quality coat or blazer, a great handbag and decent shoes with low-key jewellery are my preferred finishing touches.
But to feel good enough to share a photo on the internet? I don’t love my body by any means (I do, but I don’t, more on that later perhaps), but by learning which poses work best for me and discovering which little tricks flatter my best bits (and disguise my not-so-best bits) I feel confident enough to share my photos with you. So, in case you too have similar insecurities but love fashion, here’s what I do anytime I’m posing for an Instagram outfit of the day or blog post.
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1.To smile or not to smile?
Right now, I look a fright with my mouth open and with my mouth closed thanks to these braces (blog post coming next week). I’m coming round to the idea of smiling with my mouth open in public, but in photos? Not yet. And even before braces I’d smile with my mouth closed for pictures because I was self-conscious of my teeth. But let’s be honest, what’s more attractive than an open-mouthed, toothy smile? They bring out crinkly, sparkly eyes and they’re infectious. So I’d say smile with your mouth open, if you’re comfortable, because I find I tend to look a bit snooty or smug in my closed-mouth smiles. (But you’ll have to wait another year to see anything different I’m afraid…)
2.Highlight the waist
Putting a hand on the natural part of your waist draws the eye inwards to create a curve in the middle of the body. As we all know, it also slims the upper arm which is a hell of a lot easier than lifting weights or doing planks every day. The hand-on-the-waist is both a flattering way to stand and gives you something to do with your hands which is often a posing-for-photos dilemma.
3.Consider the legs
I have short legs, thick thighs and wide hips so, for me, this is the trickiest part to get right. One false move and the cankles are out in full force! I tend to pop a hip but drop one arm down to cover the widest inch or two, thus slimming the thigh ever so slightly. The other leg is either a) presented to the side, knee bent, allowing some space between the thighs to give a streamlined illusion, or b) crossed over the other at the ankle. Whichever way I stand, the second leg is always slightly pushed forwards, toe pointed to elongate, but always with that arm down by the popped hip. Another good stance is to put one leg behind you, hips turned forward, with the other leg pointed forward. (VB has mastered this.)
4.Make the most of pockets
If you have pockets, use them! There’s nothing cooler than hands nonchalantly tucked into pockets, especially if it’s a dress, skirt or jumpsuit. I love skirts with pockets, so comfy and, again, it’s something to do with one’s hands. The same rules apply to the legs (no.3). The only time I leave legs in the natural standing position is if I have both hands in pockets, and this tactic works particularly well with leather jackets and sunglasses. (A good way to create this look without pockets is to link your thumbs into your waist band and raise your shoulders ever so slightly to elongate the body).
5.Embrace your surroundings
If you’re inside, take advantage of great interior design or the simplicity of a plain wall (just don’t stand too close to it). If there’s seating, use it, if there’s a bar, lean on it, etc, etc. If you’re ordered coffee, or wine for that matter, then drink it or swirl it! Before you start, check out your environment and then incorporate it into your photo – it’ll mean you’re distracted from the camera.
The best tip I can give you is to relax. Don’t worry so much! In reality, most of us hate having our photo taken but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Try to forget the camera is there – photos in which you seem natural and happy always turn out better than if you’re anxious. Relax – you might even enjoy yourself.
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Images: Kris Miller.
Location: Forgan’s Broughty Ferry.