How many times have you gone shopping and bought a dress because of the beautiful design, just to realise when you get home it looks nothing like it did on the mannequin in store? How many times have we based our fashion choices on the current trends without considering if it will actually suit our body type? We’ve all taken the easy way out at some point by simply purchasing an oversized dress that is comfortable, too big and hides the shape of our body. Some may say that these issues may only be relevant to Western women, but Muslim women also experience “shopping tragedies” possibly even on a larger scale than others! Muslim women has to spend more money to find items that is appropriately covered and sometimes we have to compromise on style to do so- but maybe there is a solution to be fashionable, modest and comfortable in what you are wearing? The fashion, media and advertising industries are very prominent in the lives of women; television advertisments use persuasive techniques to appeal to consumers’ sense of purchasing behaviour. Not only that, but human behaviour as well! This influence may be either positive or negative. If you cannot fit into an extra-small t-shirt, the first thought that comes to mind is that you should be on a diet and this message is negative and wrong. That’s why it is important to understand our bodies to be able to recognize which product is suitable for us and which is not. Here’s a brief ‘handbook‘ on the physical shapes of every woman that each of us should bear in mind before shopping:
Pear-shaped woman: the lower part of the body is more pronounced that the upper with wide hips and narrow shoulders. So ladies, for you the 50’s are back! Your “must haves” are flared dresses, high waisted skirts and wide-leg pants! To emphisize the upper body – a long trench with epaullettes is your final nécessaire! Keep in mind: always wear darker items on the lower body and lighter on the upper one.
The upside-down triangle woman: She is the opposite of the pear-shaped woman, and it might be considered as the “perfect” shape, having slim hips and slim legs. Yet, this kind of woman has a lot of difficulties in finding the right dress, due to her androgynous shoulders. If you are confused about the right colors to wear, remember that the upperbody must be darker than the lower and to help draw the attention away from the top you can use a soft chiffon hijab with a monochromatic chemise. The tube-shaped woman: The fashion world is focused on her, thin, modest breast, slim legs and long arms, she seems perfect for every kind of dress. If you recognize yourself in this shape, add to your “must haves” pleated skirts, long jumpers and A-line dresses. As a hijabi woman, you don’t have many problems in covering your shape, so be creative with stripes and colors!
The hourglass-shaped woman: You may immediately think of Sofia Loren, and if so, you are right. She is the classical curvy woman, with shoulders as broad as the hips and a slim waist. She is not so different from the pear-shaped type, but it could be really hard for her to find modest dresses in today’s fashion industry. Long cardigans, maxi skirts and dresses are your daily life allies. Always choose flared clothes, to make the waist appear smaller but never the hips. Choose the fantasy you prefer, but absolutely avoid horizontal stripes!
The apple-shaped woman: The last shape is bigger around the stomach, with slim hips and legs. A long and dark abaya could be a solution, but if you want to be more creative, try experimenting with long hoodies or kaftans, low-waist pants and A-line skirts. Pleated dresses should be avoided. No matter what shape your body is, God made you beautiful so be proud of your shape and enjoy your shopping!