Saturday, May 3, 2014

My Fashion Friend: The Science of Sexy

Hey everybody! 
The Science of Sexy by Bradley Bayou

I am writing this week's non-nail-related post regarding a book that changed a lot about my self-perception a few years ago.  If you are a fan of the television show What Not to Wear, or fashion advice, or books with really neat pictures, read on...

Four years ago my stepdaughter and I were walking through my favorite cosmetics/perfume/tobacco closeout store.  As we walked past a table of discounted books, the title of one of them caught my eye.  I picked it up and chuckled, "Hey Hannah, here is what you and I need...The Science of Sexy!!"  We chortled heartily, and then I looked closer at the book and recognized the name of the author, Bradley Bayou.  I said, "Hey, I know this guy...he is a designer who has a fashion line on QVC!"  It wasn't a how-to guide on becoming a tramp.  It was a very detailed manual on how to dress for your individual body type!  That was the deciding factor...well, that and the red $4.99 price tag...and I bought the book.

That night Hannah and I looked through the book and discovered is was just a really cool book.  I have never thought of myself to be what you would call "sexy."  I consider myself to be about as sexy as...uh, say...Madeleine Albright.  I don't really want to be called sexy anyway.  I much prefer the term "attractive." I do love to dress well and look the absolute best I can.  But sometimes I find it hard to be optimistic about my wardrobe because I have a truly unfortunate figure. 

I suppose all women feel that way, but I really do.  My lovely Mom and sister are proportioned the way most women are, but I am built like a boxer.  A male boxer.  I have an enormous shoulder span...and I sent in a search party 3 decades ago to find a waistline, and they have yet to return with good news.  And no matter how small I get, I always have fat on me.  I can remember Mom with me in the dressing room once while I tried on a pair of size 6 jeans (that fit)...she looked at me and said, with amazement, "It's really something how you can be so small and have so much fat on you."  And it's true!  So, what does a girl do when she hasn't the funds for total-body liposuction?  Why, she camouflages!  And that is exactly what Mr. Bayou tells you how to do in his wonderful book! :D

The book starts off by saying that even Hollywood celebrities aren't happy with their bodies.  Bradley specializes in dressing celebs in the way that best suits their body types. There are 4 basic body types:  hourglass, triangle, rectangle, and inverted triangle.  Then he gives you a weight, height, and measurement chart to determine what category you fall into and what "fitting room" (Bradley's guidelines for your shape) you need to visit in the book.  Height is broken down into short, average, and tall.  Weight is categorized into slender (petite for short women), medium, full, and plus.  You put all your measurements together and you come up with something like "tall medium inverted triangle." 

When I put mine together, my body type is "average full rectangle."  How very glamorous.  But it was no surprise, because I always knew I looked like a brick.  I am actually borderline medium/full, depending on how many potato chips I've had the week before.
Now, now...it isn't nice to be jealous!
Bradley's ultimate goal is for every body type to look as close to an hourglass as possible...upper half balanced with the lower half...because when you achieve this, you look proportioned and thinner.  That's where the invaluable advice comes in...

A lot of the dressing suggestions are common sense...like if you are heavy on the upper half of your body, you shouldn't wear a ruffled blouse, because the ruffles add to your body and make you look even heavier and more unbalanced.  But a LOT of people just don't have common sense when it comes to dressing, as a trip to Wal-Mart on any given day will prove.  How many times have you seen top-heavy women who wear leggings and look like they're about to tip over?  They make the mistake of thinking, "My legs are small, so I'll show them off."  But they don't understand that wearing something tight or short on their bottom half will only make them seem like they have somebody else's legs on their hefty body. 

Bradley Bayou is such a nice guy though...at the start of every "fitting room" description, he gives you a little pep talk.  My Average Full Rectangle message was the following:


"First and foremost, your blessing is that as a full-sized woman, you have some gorgeous...curves (cough)...you have nice, slim legs in proportion to your body (my legs are one of my good features)...you're one of the few shapes that look great wearing boots (guilty as charged!!)!"
BUT...


"Your curse:  As an average, full rectangle, you lack a defined waist (really?)...your silhouette almost has a slightly male shape (I float like a butterfly, sting like a bee)...you have to be a bit more inventive in creating the optical illusion of hourglass curves."
So Bradley proceeds to instruct me to wear jackets that cinch at the (area where I'm supposed to have a) waistline and skirts made out of stiffer fabric to give me hips.  And THEN, Bradley tells me to shorten my hemline!!  What??  Me, wear a dress that doesn't go past my calves?  I don't want to look like a floozy!  But...I did it.  And I discovered that you can still be modest with a knee-length hemline.  And my particular body type is one of the only ones that can pull off ankle strap shoes!!  YESSSS!!

My recommendations for my body type

So for the past four years, my wardrobe has been made up of dresses and skirts that flare out to give me some upper-body balance.  I really love them too, because they are devastatingly cute.  But I will admit to every so often wearing things that don't necessarily go with my body type...I have a purple dress with a straight skirt that really looks rotten on me, but hey, I love that dress. 

Bradley Bayou also gives advice on choosing your accessories for your body type, which is also very helpful.  For example, if you're like me and have no neck, you shouldn't wear large beads if you don't want to look like your head is resting on your chest...after all, my last name isn't Addams.

I was going to post before and after pictures, but guess what?  I hate taking pictures so badly that I can't find any full-body shots!  Oops!!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I highly recommend The Science of Sexy by Bradley Bayou to all women out there.  It has been a wonderful find for me and (Short Medium Hourglass) Mom and my (Average Full Triangle) sister.  You can get this fabulous asset to your wardrobe on Amazon.  Now you, too, can be scientifically sexy!  :D

As always, thanks for stopping by, and have a lovely day! <3

12 comments:

  1. What a interesting post to read on.

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  2. Great post! I'm a HUGE fan of What Not To Wear (so bummed that they ended it). You nailed it on Walmart & Leggings. Snap! ;)

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    1. Thanks Kelly! :) I know, right? So many people just DON'T CARE. And it's NOT THAT HARD!!?? Ugh.

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  3. Hi Melissa - what a great post, I could not stop hollering over the scenarios you described! Struggling with Body Shape is a global phenomenon and the frustration over how unfortunate one can look in a certain style. I hear you about the waistline and the neck - have the same issues and wearing anything coming with Volume on the upper half turns me into Sponge Bob, so for me your post was not only fun but informative and reassuring at the same time!!! Have a lovely Sunday <3

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    1. LOLOL!! Spongebob?? You?? It's strange though...I have upper body volume, but I'm pretty flat-chested. I actually like this, because it gives me the opportunity to elongate my neck by wearing V-necks, yet not show cleavage (because I don't have any, LOLOL!!). I mean, nobody wants to see that stuff at the office, or church, or grocery shopping...you know? :/

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  4. "But a LOT of people just don't have common sense when it comes to dressing, as a trip to Wal-Mart on any given day will prove." BWAHAHAHAHAAHA ROFL

    I am definitely checking this book out on Amazon! It sounds quite helpful!

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    1. Oh, you will love it!! Trust me. I was always pretty good as dressing myself, but I needed a little extra nudge to start wearing belts, LOL... :)

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  5. Ahh, I've been excited to really dig into this post since I first saw it. Great first foray into new beauty territory, Mo ♥ Here's my take-- tastefully wear what you want. I used to enjoy watching What Not To Wear, and while there certainly are those who could benefit from a helping hand, I always felt like they sort of quashed any individualism their subjects had (and some of them already had fun and unique styles). As for me, there are certain things that I go ahead and wear, though I know I "shouldn't", like ankle strap shoes, lol. I've always wished I had thin, delicate little ankles and my incessant working out gives the illusion of such (sort of) but it's still not my best look, much like the skinny pants and jeans I insist on wearing. I'm not supposed to wear jewel- or boatnecks, either, but I still do. One thing I've stayed relatively clear of is the pencil skirt. I've neither the thin hips or the leg length to do one justice and it saddens me, lol. Anyhoo... Great writeup and I'm headed over to amazon to potentially find out what a disaster area I really am, lol.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. <3 I see what you're saying about individualism. But my vanity always wins out...heck, I can put my individual stamp on anything, but it's gotta look good!! :P And I'm a real trouper, too. As I type this, I'm eating my lunch while wearing a corset. Yep, you read that right...waistline (area) looked a tad too juicy this morning for my liking. By the way, you can't eat a whole lot for lunch while wearing a corset. And it's funny you mentioned necklines...did you know that the V-neck is the universal neckline? Anybody can wear it. I'm a fan of anything that gives the illusion of a neck. :D I will wear a pencil skirt on occasion, but with a non-bulky jacket/sweater on top and boots on the bottom for balance. Ahhhh...smoke and mirrors...

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  6. This was a deliciously fun and funny post to read, I have to say. I actually read it when you first posted, but am happy to have the time to make a proper reply now. I totally agree that everyone can look amazing, if they just find the right styles and cuts to wear that fit and flatter their body type. I also found out recently that tailoring can make all the difference. It's actually not that expense and a few adjustments on an off-the-rack item can make it look like something fantastic. :) Yay to this book for pointing you on the path to looking fab and feeling confident. :)

    ~ Yun

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    1. :) I was actually a good dresser before...there were just a few things of which I needed some convincing, LOL. :D I'm not built well and very self-conscious of how I look at different angles, so once I see myself in 360 panoramic vision and I look okay, I'll feel better about the overall look. You're right about tailoring, too. I'm fortunate enough that my Mom can hem or cut inches off anything I buy (I'm short) and take up my sleeves if I need it. :)

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