Part of my wardrobe intervention package (my name not hers) from StyleCat Wendy Russell back in April was a book “The Science of SexyDress to fit Your Unique Figure with the Style System that Works for Every Shape and Size” by Bradley Bayou.  We reviewed key elements of the book together and she helped take my measurements to find my individual body type.  Then she left it for me to read.   I found some great tips and info so I thought I’d share more here. 

Bradley Bayou is a couture fashion designer to many celebrities. He was creative director at Halston from 2003 through 2005.  He launched a ready-to-wear line at QVC in 2006 that is an affordable accessible line in sizes 4 to 26.  And he is the fashion guru for oprah.com.

Bradley designs for women of all sizes, shapes and ages. The celebrities pictured in his book are some of my favourite FF 40+ ladies, like Queen Latifah, Oprah, Salma Hayek, Debra Messing, Geena Davis, Halle Berry and Chandra Wilson (joining the FF40 club this August).  One of his first customers when he took over Halston was Queen Latifah, this seems to have been a turning point in his career to designing for real women and not just the fashion ideal.

I found a LOT of interesting tidbits to share in Bradley’s book.  The first part of his book is good general advice on how to balance your figure, with the second focusing on individual body types.  So I’m going to share some tips today and then discuss the advice for my particular body type later in the week.

The book includes 10 “Dresy Sexy” Commandments for all Women:

  1. Thou Shalt Choose the Right Undergarments – This includes bra, panties and control garments!  This is a "no-brainer" that so many of us (including me) under value.
  2. Thou shalt choose the highest quality fabrics thou can afford – His theory here is that lower quality pants will wear out faster giving you a high ratio of cost per wear.  A high quality item will last longer and in the long run save you money (I’ll print his 7-Step Garment Quality Check list in a later post).
  3. Thou shalt not force your figure into every style – His words are best for this one… “All styles do not work for all women. In fact, certain style will never look good on you. Period.”   I guess this means I have to suck it and up and realize that I should never wear shiny, charmeuse slip dresses.
  4. Thou shalt use your skin to your advantage – We are each born with a fantastic accessory and that is our skin. Unique to each of us, we often forget to use that peak of flesh strategically to draw the eye toward our best assets.  He isn’t advising us to start dressing like a young pop star, but just to think about how we use our skin to make ourselves look our best. 
  5. Thou shalt not buy big-ticket trendy items – Here Bradley actually gives us some questions to ask ourselves before we pull out our credit card.    Thinking about making a wallet sized version of the questions. For example, round 1 asks two questions. If either is answered no then he says to “stop here.”    (1) Does this style mirror my personality?  Does it fit in the world of clothes I already own and wear?  (2) Does this trend that everyone thinks is so fabulous actually suit my body (e.g: does it highlight my best parts and hide my worst?)  He also asks you to check the seams, linings, zipper and detailing to see if it looks well made.  All good questions, which your enabling girlfriends, may not ask.
  6.  Thou shalt select skinny fabrics and cuts – “Not all fabrics are created to make your body look the same.”  This one takes some learning about fabrics and which add weight and those that subtract in both good and bad places.  “Generally speaking, fabrics with a stiff texture of heavyweight or shiny surface will add bulk or undue attention to that area… On the other hand, fabrics that gently flow and drape over your body create more of a vertical line, drawing the eye up and down.  This makes you seem slimmer.”  
  7.  Thou shalt ignore clothing tags – the fit is the thing.  Nobody sees what size you are wearing. They see how awesome your clothes look on you.    
  8. Thou shalt hail accessories – As my regular readers know I already subscribe to this commandment… perhaps a bit addictively so. 
  9. The prints and accessories must be in scale with the body – the example here is the large purse that overwhelms a small woman making her look even smaller… and vice versa.
  10. Thou shalt wear the V-neck shape – it looks good on every woman.

More to come later in the week. You can follow Bradley on twitter.   

BTW the book is now on sale at Chapters.   The hardcover is $9.99 online. 

Queen Latifah Photo source