Guest Author - Vicky Talbot
2007 has become the summer of clashing trends. Don’t think it’s acceptable to invest in just one hot colour. Your ever expanding wardrobe should contain bright blocking, monochrome and spacey metallics. You won’t get way with owning just one style of pant either – you should be wearing high-waisted, skinny, chinos and wide leg. And that staple summer dress? Make sure you get a 60’s micro mini and floor-sweeping maxi this season – they’re both an absolutely must.
Yet where some supposedly clashing trends can actually work well together, no two summer styles have ever so controversially battled it out for pole position as the voluminous smock trend and Body-Con.
When floatly kaftans, spacious baby doll dresses and the staple smock top hit the high streets this season, we all let out a sigh of relief. The pressing need to get slim for summer no longer seemed so urgent with all these lovely flowing tops and dresses to hide underneath. This free-spirited, bohemian look is perfect for summer – it’s cool and comfortable, perfect for hot summer days and warm, balmy evenings. So why has there been a shift in favour from the comfort-smock to the highly groomed, figure-skimming Body-Con trend?
As cosy as that forgiving bubble-hem dress or chiffon shirt feels, as cute and girly as it looks, it just isn’t sexy. It doesn’t ooze sex appeal, sass or attitude like a pair of stiletto heels, tight pencil skirt and spray-on scoop top. Smocks don’t just disguise our bodies, they completely envelope them in excess fabric, hiding our curves or, in some cases, enhancing them further (big-busted ladies will be nodding in agreement with me here).
If you hate the smothering smock trend, Body-Con could be for you. Originating from the body-beautiful 80’s to early 90’s fashion era, Body-Con focuses on clothes and accessories that highlight curves, enhance femininity and ooze sexuality. Paying style homage to notable 80’s Body-Con designers such as Versace and Leger, modern designers Christopher Kane and Preen have brought back the “second skin” look utilising patent fabrics and parading revealing bandage dresses down the catwalk.
The styling that defines this trend fiercely exudes power and confidence. There’s certainly no denying that slipping on (or squeezing into) a tight skirt or figure-hugging dress makes us feel strong, attractive and ultra-glamorous. It needn’t be a trend reserved for svelte super models either – by choosing the right fabrics, accessories and styles, almost anyone can wear the Body-Con trend with complete confidence.
Moving away from the floaty fabrics, shapeless shifts and voluminous smock structures, Body-Con is about sculpting curves, choosing slick shapes and sophisticated styling. The simplest style to look for to create a sexy hourglass silhouette without adding pounds, is the pencil skirt and colour top combination. Look for a very plain, black pencil or tube skirt but always try before your buy. Pencil skirts can look completely different on different people, largely because of the different fabrics used – a great slimming fabric to look for is thick, lined cotton, preferably containing a small percentage of stretch to help skim the curves (or you may suffer from restricted movement – Body-Con is all about confidence so you don’t want to end up walking like an ironing board).
High-waisted skirts are great for this look adding smooth contours to your shape. Always tuck your tops and fitted shirts into the skirt and if this doesn’t look right, add a thick waist belt to break the join between skirt and top. This will not only create a beautifully cinched waist, it will also draw attention to your midriff and brand new hourglass shape, giving the impression of a slimmer, sexier figure with curves in all the right places.
The top should be a bright block colour. Choose something plain and fitted in a deep scarlet or cobalt blue – scoop necks work well as do interesting asymmetric necks, giving your outfit modern edge and steering yourself away from the saucy secretary look.
To do Body-Con casually, choose striking black or white skinny jeans teamed with a camisole or vest, but remember to tuck in to create an instant high-waist effect – your reliable hipster jeans just won’t work with this trend. For the finishing touches choose your accessories carefully. Oversize bags are out, tiny clutches are in, preferably in slick patent. Minimise your jewellery and be daring with your makeup, think deep red lipstick with a slick of gloss for a true Body-Con finish.