No matter how much effort is put into the selection of an outfit to suit our figure type, no matter how well groomed we are, no matter how much money we spend on our appearance – it can all be destroyed instantly through poor posture. How many of us check ourselves in the mirror – standing tall, brilliant smile etc. then step through the door and instantly slouch? (Do you think those girls with huge muffin tops actually know they look like that?)
Sometimes a tendency to poor posture is inherited – look at your mother / grandmother. Poor posture can also be caused by lack of muscle tone due to insufficient exercise as we were growing. There can also be psychological causes – unhappy childhood (trying to make yourself invisible, small, not drawing attention to yourself) or as a response to breasts which become too big too quickly or are not dealt with adequately through a supportive bra as they grow.
Whatever the reason, some of us are left with rounded shoulders, a tendency to thrust our head forward and possibly a humpy back to some degree. Nothing is more ageing than this posture.
Imagine a string…
There are ways we can try to correct our posture:
See a reputable physiotherapist for appropriate exercises
Have plenty of full length mirrors around your home in order to maintain an awareness of your posture.
Develop and awareness of your breathing and link it in your mind with walking tall.
The old trick of imagining a cord from the crown of your head pulling you up straight.
In the meantime:
There are some hairstyles which are best avoided and some points to remember when choosing clothes:
How to dress to cover for bad posture
Avoid tops which follow your contours too closely at the back – much more flattering to choose a straight drop or just slight shaping at the waist.
Shoulder pads go in and out of fashion of course, and the mega shoulders of the 80’s happily only remain as a distant memory for those of us old enough to have worn them! But slight padding on the shoulders can help to visually correct poor posture. (If you make your own clothes a good tip is to set the shoulder pad back about 1cm – 1.5cm from the intended position – this gives the impression that you are carrying your shoulders correctly).
If you feel that you carry your head thrust forward – be aware that visually this shortens your neck – so avoid high necklines, go instead for deep v’s or scooped necklines which give the illustion of a longer neck. Avoid collars for the same reason, they clutter the space your neck needs for itself. (see our post on short necks here)
Avoid chokers – a pendant on a chain is more flattering.
Tailored clothing helps to disguise poor posture, making us appear smarter – but of course tailored clothing is not appropriate for every climate – experiment with light padding in summer jackets and knitwear. When we feel we look smart we are more inclined to walk tall.
By manipulating the silhouette and profile of your head can also help to disguise poor posture. We cannot change our skull shape literally, but it is possible to change the appearance by being creative with our hair.
Try to create volume at your crown and at the back of your head – through back brushing or experimenting with the numerous gadgets available to create buns, chignons and French Pleats. Even a simple healthy swinging ponytail helps!
How to wear your hair to compensate for poor posture
Dresssense is essentially a guide to dressing for the figure we have right now. Some aspects of our shape + proportion we can do nothing to change – but, looking around, how many of us would clearly benefit from losing a few kilos?
We have all tried various regimes and diets suggested by manufacturers and magazines – some with a little success sometimes.
The truth is – we can all lose weight if we really want to – without paying a cent. We have to fully accept the responsibility ourselves.
So here it is:
The Last Piece of the Puzzle
Okay girls – we all know what we should and shouldn’t eat, we all know we have to exercise – we all know we should drink more water -
SO WHAT IS GOING WRONG?
WHY AREN’T WE LOSING THOSE EXTRA KILOS?
The answer is simple – we have developed bad habits which are sabotaging our efforts – EVERY DAY!
The Ten Deadly Habits
Imaginary “calorie cancellation”
Be honest with yourself – be aware of everything which passes your lips. There are no free calories – even that chip from someone else’s plate!
Learn to distinguish real hunger from ‘fancying something to eat’. Teach yourself to enjoy the sensation of hunger!
Portion size - we are generally smaller than men and therefore require fewer calories – keep this in mind when dishing up!
Breakfast - sorry, but it is essential.
It takes three weeks at most to learn to enjoy it. (Women who skip breakfast but on weight more readily – FACT.)
Concentrate - eat only when you can pay full attention to your food - no mindless chewing in front of the TV or cinema screen!
Eat slowly - give yourself time to enjoy every mouthful and chew well (and give your stomach time to send a message to your brain to tell it when you have had enough!)
Beware of cheese - very high in calories and as we know, very tasty – choose lean protein instead.
Eating out - the more we eat out the less nutritious our diet becomes – FACT.
Soft Drinks - they are all either full of sugar or chemicals, neither of which we need – train your palate to enjoy plain water and green tea or herbal teas, or pure fruit juice diluted with water.
Alcohol - Sorry – this is a habit most of us have come to enjoy – but if we value our health, looks and waistline, one drink a day is the only safe allowance – two for special occasions!
IT MAKES SENSE TO BECOME AWARE OF THESE SLY LITTLE HABITS -
Few of us are physically perfect – most of us (even top models) are aware of some perceived figure fault preventing us from being totally comfortable with our appearance.
One common shortcoming which affects the way we look and feel is the short neck. We are confronted by images of swan necked models and actresses every day, which might discourage us from trying to combat this particular problem.
However, there are several ways to minimise the appearance of a short neck. Good posture can help – but choosing the right neckline, accessories and hairstyle can work wonders.
To give the illusion of a longer neck it makes sense to not cover it with collars or chunky jewellery – so avoid polo and turtle necklines and heavy chokers – select collarless jackets.
Seek out deep v-shaped necklines which open up the neckline, allowing the eye to perceive a more elongated & elegant neck. Your hairstyle can also affect the appearance of a short neck. If your hair is long and touches your shoulders, your neck disappears altogether. A hairstyle which leaves space to allow your neck to show will help to give a more flattering appearance. If you prefer your hair long then experiment with ways of wearing it up and you will be surprised what a difference it can make.
While chunky neckwear is not to be advised, fine necklaces are OK as are moderately dangly earrings……