Ever wondered how an online style makeover works? Read on to get an answer to the question. Email me for a quote when you are interested in buying a Makeover.


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The Winner of the Online Style Makeover

Di A. was the winner of the color and style makeover New Years giveaway that my blogging friend and color expert Pamela of Style Yourself Confidently had in December. The runner-up who won Pamela’s color book and my style recipe book “How to Dress for Success in Midlife” was Julie R. Congrats, ladies!

Readers, you want to own your own style book? You can buy the book at the respective link.


How Does an Online Style Makeover Work?

First Pamela made a color analysis to determine Di’s color family. Pamela gave Di a full explanation as to how and why to use her colors work with her natural coloring. You can read more about the results of the color analysis and how it works at the link. Then I worked with Di on her style makeover.

Of course, it would be great to show more photos of her style makeover. However, for the benefit of the balance of readers’ interest to get something out of this report about Di’s makeover, I decided to point out and explain what doesn’t work for her pear-shaped petite body – many of my readers are pear-shaped and/or petite.  Di wasn’t supposed to buy the clothes, but just try them on. Therefore, the “makeover” photos can’t be “perfect.” Being a petite she always has to have pants and sleeves shortened. Capris work best on tall women with long legs. More on styling capris at the link.

Di without and with barely there makeup
Di A. before the style makeover left without makeup, right with makeup.


Di’s Personal Style Analysis

After Pamela’s color analysis, I analyzed Di’s primary and secondary style types. You can determine your own primary style type by taking my free style analysis quiz at this link.

Di’s primary style is casual, her secondary type is classic. This means her wardrobe should be a mix of these two styles to reflect her personal style. Di wears a short hair cut that fits very well with her style profile and face shape. Her minimal makeup also suits her personal style.


Key Elements of Casual Style

Casual women’s wardrobe essentials are straight or boot-cut jeans, cargo pants from parachute like rain repellent fabric often with zippers at knee height to turn them into Bermuda, Bermuda shorts, T-shirts, wool sweaters, shirts in small floral or paisley prints, with stripes or plaid pattern or solid, often muted colors. A hoodie sweater with or without zipper in the front, wind breaker jackets in solid color, anoraks and parkas, straight down jacket with or without hood are key in outerwear. Ducks, hiking boots, Birkenstock sandals, and sneakers are favorite footwear.

Beanies, pom-pom hats are winter favorites;  a baseball cap in summer. Sunglasses are aviator or biker style. In cold climate regions, polar fleece is a favorite fabric. Thermal underwear shirts are worn instead of button-down shirts. Favorite hair-styles are pixies, or a pony tail that sticks out thru the adjustment part of the baseball cap in summer. Minimal makeup, if at all.

A backpack often replaces the favorite casual bag, the messenger bag. Jute or Ikea bags are a go-to for grocery shopping. Carry the wallet and/or cell phone in the back pocket of the pants or jean.


Wardrobe Essentials of Classic Style

Pants and skirt suits, straight-cut knee-length summer and winter wool skirts, twinsets, tailored blouses or shirts, cashmere or Merino wool fine-knit sweaters, and cardigans are the basics of the classic woman. Classic accessories are pearl or diamond studs, pearl necklaces, gold bangle, gold medium size watch, silk square or oblong scarves, and may be a wide brim hat. Structured bags like satchels are style elements.

In the classic category, one can distinguish between American Classic, British Classic, corporate style, business casual and Euro Chic Style. Key signatures of all these styles are tailored cuts, and body hugging (read not tight, but also not baggy) turtleneck sweaters. All but corporate style, also have jeans, but their cuts and the weave of the fabric differ.

Items common to American and British Classic are Irish cable knit sweaters, glen check blazers, wool blazers, oxford dress shoes, court pumps. Business casual asks for the same pieces except the cable knit sweater. Trench coats are common in Euro Chic, British classic and business casual as well as corporate style.


Classic British Casual

Key items of British classic are corduroy blazers and pants as well as hat for special occasions. Duffle coats – also known as Montgomery coat, and pea coats are key winter items. Riding boots and pants and golf clothes are among the key pieces.


Di’s Body Type Analysis

It is important to know that the above lists alone fail to let you look your best when they draw attention to your worst features and hide your best feature. Therefore, the next step was a body type analysis.

Did you know you have to consider your primary, and secondary style for personal style?

Di is a petite (5 ft 4″, 1.63 m) with her torso being a bit longer than her lower body (30″, ~076 m inseam). Her horizontal body type is pear shape. Di has small ankles and a pretty oval face – best features. She should highlight these features. More on how to dress when you are petite.


The Styling Goals

For this body type a major goal is to create horizontal balance between here small shoulders as compared to her hips and vertical balance between her upper and lower torso. The first means distraction from her hips. She can achieve this by putting the darker colors of her natural color palette on the bottom. Furthermore, she should wear the lighter and fashion colors of her palette at the top. Also vertical lines are “slimming’, because they give the illusion of height.

She would need to wear a 4 inch (10 cm) heel to balance her vertical body type. Unfortunately, she can’t wear heels at the moment.


What Di and Pear-Shaped Women Shouldn’t Wear

By all means, she should stay away from ankles straps as they shorten her legs. Di, like all pear-shape women, also should stay away from Dirndl style or full skirts. They are for banana shape.

In the photo below, Di shows how unflattering straight skirts are for a pear-shape body type. I am thankful she agreed to demonstrating this for my readers. The straight cut showcases the real width of the hips. Because of the stiffness of the denim fabric the skirt looks like a solid column. The high waist emphasizes the horizontal disbalance between the lower and upper torso. The skirt is way too long for her petite frame making her look heavier than she actually is. The skirt’s hemline hits her calves at the widest point.


Attention: A horizontal line at your widest point is never flattering.


Advice: A pear-shaped petite woman shouldn’t wear high-waisted straight or pencil skirts.


what a pear-shaped petite woman with long legs/short torso shouldn't wear
Di taking a selfie in a fitting room to show off that a straight midi skirt fails to look flattering on her. The skirt gives away the width of her hips.  See her slim nice ankles and wrists. She should feature them. The 3/4 sleeve length is a great way to do so. 3/8 length sleeves also do the trick.


The jacket (photo below) is not in Di’s favor because its pockets draw the attention to the hips. That’s not where she needs it. Di should go for an A-line style jacket with pockets at the breast or non-visible pockets that are hidden in the darts between the back and front part of the jacket. I would suggest that a tailor takes the pockets off, if possible.


#stylemakeover Di's full body before photo
Di in her before full body photo. The relaxes cut quilted jacket fits great with her personal style. However, the pockets at the hips and the classic casual messenger bag turn her body balance to bottom heavy. The jeans would be more flattering when they would be tailored.


Tip: No sewn-on pockets at the hips for pear-shaped women. They are for hipless rectangular shaped gals.


Best Cuts for Di’s Pear-Shape Body and Casual Classic Style

With respect to tops or dresses Di is best off wearing tops with something catchy not lower than her breast level and/or at the shoulders to distract from her hips. This upward shift of focal point can be a color block her fashion colors or some cute/cool detail like a print, embroidery, embellishments, ruffle, and sequins. Breast pockets, big collars or a pattern are great options to try.


real woman trying out new clothes for a style makeover
Di in the fitting room trying out clothes. This top’s vertical lines draw the eyes up. Being petite means that the length of the sleeves and pants have to be tailored.


On her first trip, to try on clothes that meet her personal style, Di sent the above photo made by her daughter. I love this look with the pink shirt on her. The look makes her look tall and she looks much slimmer than in the “before photo.” Its because of the vertical lines of the pink blouse. See how nicely the folds draw the eye outside and up and give the illusion of her upper body part being in balance with her lower body. Great job!

The sleeves are about an inch or two too long. If Di were to buy the top, she will have to have them shortened. The pants will probably have the right length with 4 inch wedge heels. They must be shortened otherwise.

Tip: Have a tailor on speed dial when you are petite.

Saving tip: When buying in a department store ask whether they have a free tailoring service.

More tips for petite women.


Drawing Attention to Her Best Features

What Are the Best Pants for Pear-Shape?

An inseam of 30 inch on a 5 ft 4 (1.63 m) body height means Di’s legs are relative short compared to her body height.


Di trying out a classic casual shirt
Di trying out a blue striped top. She nicely accessorized the top with a necklace and an layer top underneath. Since she is petite, the shirt has to be shortened about 6-8 inch (15-20 cm) with respect to the length (depending on whether she will wear heels or not) and the sleeves need to be shortened about an inch (2-3 cm) to get the proportions right. See how she already look healthy just due to the right color and how her body looks taller and hips seem to be in better balance with respect to her upper body. I love this top on her. Once the tailor has done their job Di looks stylish, pulled together, and polished, while being comfortable and relaxed. Exactly, her personal style.


In theory, tea-length or cropped pants (capris) would be great to feature Di’s slim ankles. However, for a pear-shape petite, tea-length skirts or dresses may be drowning when not worn with high heels. Capris always give the illusion of shorter legs. Therefore, they are not working in favor for her vertical body balance. More on how to chose your pants.


Best Skirts, Tops, and Dresses for Pear-Shape

In the initial interview on clothes/style preferences, Di said she never wears skirts. In deed, she is right that straight skirts don’t work in her favor. However, her slim ankles are a great feature she should draw attention to. In skirts, dresses and tops, Di should look for A-line. An A-line dress emphasizes the upper body while slimming wide hips. This means A-line works in favor for pear-shaped bodies.

An A-line tunic does the same trick. An A-line skirt in a soft flowing fabric distracts the eye from the hips to the flowing movement of the hem and let’s the hips seem to be smaller. The trick is the upper part of the skirt is smaller than the lower part.

Skirt and dresses can work in her favor because they hide where her legs start. Therefore, she can create the illusion of a vertically balanced body even without heels with a skirt. In her case, an A-line skirt with flowy fabric just hitting at the knee or above the knee would be best. Fortunately, this skirt length works well with flats.

Tip: When you have great ankles or legs make them a great focal point by wearing skirts and dresses.

Since she is petite, it is best for her to have her skirts hit just above the knee, halfway on the knee (Italian length) or just below the knee.

Style advice: Picking the slimmest point of the knee is best for a flattering look with skirts and dresses.

Dresses and tops with defined shoulders are particularly flattering for her pear-body shape. Epaulets and military style shoulder embellishment as well as small shoulder pads are doing the trick. They also work with Di’s casual classic style. A print just around the shoulders and neck, i.e. the upper part of a top or dress are great to create body balance.


Which Shoes To Wear

Since Di had surgery, high heels are off limit. Today’s pants are often not hemmed and they are often cut for a 36″ inseam (like in the photo above) so. The intent of the manufacturers is that everyone can have them adjusted to their perfect length and their favorite/typical heel height. The photo shows that Di has to have these pants tailored.


Shopping tip: When shopping for pants wear the shoes you intent to wear with them for best adjustment of the hem length.


style makeover of a real woman with pear-shape body
This top illustrates the idea of creating body balance. The light block of color on the upper part of the top and its boat-neck give the illusion of wider shoulders, while the darker color on the bottom draw in. The outfit well plays with Di’s personal style. However, to make this outfit work for her, the sleeves and legs of the pants have to be shortened to fit Di’s petite body. The top also needs a different bra than Di was wearing on her try-on trip to the store. If she were to buy this outfit I would recommend also to wear slimmies or other shape-wear underneath and add black loafers (may be with horse-bite accent) or lace-up oxford-style dress shoes. I also would recommend to insert small, light shoulder pads for further improvement of the body balance. Some heritage brooches pined to the white block on one side are a great way to accessorize the look.



Current Best Trends for Pear-shaped Gals

In general, the current brooch trend is great for Di. She can pin several pieces high up between her neck and shoulder to turn the focus up towards her pretty face, and away from her hips. More on how to accessorize with brooches.


Note when you are having a short torso you may enjoy reading how to create balance when you are short-waisted.



Wear the Right Outfit Every Time

Sad that you didn’t win the color and style makeover? Don’t be. Email me, for availability of an online style makeover.

Interested in a color makeover? Head over to Pamela’s blog to buy an Online Color Analysis.

Alternatively, you can use my free online 12 season color quiz to determine your best color palette.


P.S. Stay tuned or better, play it safely by  subscribing to my email list so you won’t miss the next styling tips.


Photos if not stated otherwise by Di or her daugther

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