Wardrobe Architect Week 4: Building Silhouettes

Building silhouettes to create balance is a point of intersection between the Wardrobe Architect series and Amy Herzog’s Fit to Flatter philosophy. Amy acknowledges that a proportional shape, where the top and bottom of the torso are the same width and are separated by a narrower waist, is often held up as an ideal, and then explains how the three basic body types—top-heavy, bottom-heavy, and proportional—can use clothing, particularly sweaters, to create or emphasize the appearance of proportionality. For instance, you can’t change how broad your hips are (because bones and stuff), but you can balance out wider hips with horizontal elements at the neckline of a sweater, creating visual weight to balance your overall shape. Of course, if a proportional figure is not your ideal, you can use all of the recommendations she makes to achieve other looks too.

Sarai, in the Wardrobe Architect series, takes things one step further and brings in the idea of balance in terms of length and snugness. This is actually an idea I had seen before, in a dressing room ad of all places: to create interest and balance between top and bottom, consider wearing a fitted shirt with flowing pants, or a billowy shirt with tight pants.

Since these are ideas that I’ve been exposed to before, it was less difficult to come up with silhouettes that I like than it was to come up with styles that I like. Here are a few of my favorites:

Skinny pants + drapey button-down shirt + drapey cardigan (for cool days/too much AC) + wedges


This is a favorite of mine for work three seasons out of the year. For casual Fridays or a weekend look, I’ll swap out the pants and shoes.

Skinny jeans + drapey button-down shirt + drapey cardigan (for cool days/too much AC) + ballet flats


During the late fall, winter, and early spring, I live in jeans and sweaters.

Bootcut jeans + pullover or cardigan-over-cami + heeled boots


My lounge clothes, which I put on pretty much the minute I come in the door after work and any weekend where I’m not leaving the apartment, is pretty simple.

Leggings + t-shirt


Unfortunately, both of my pairs of leggings have holes in them and I live in one super-soft t-shirt, so I’d really like to make myself some new, comfy, and slightly more stylish lounge wear before my current uniform is reduced to rags.

Right now I don’t have much in terms of skirts or dresses, which is another problem I’d like to remedy. When it comes time to fill those gaps, I’m currently gravitating toward these looks.

Cami dress + cardigan


Fitted knit dress + pumps


Knit dress with fitted bodice and flared skirt


I realize now that I didn’t spend a lot of time on shoes. I think it’s because I find it really difficult to strike a balance between comfort and style when it comes to shoes. Flat sandals have been hugely popular the last few summers, and they’d go great with my skinny jeans + drapey tops silhouette, but I can’t understand how people walk around in them for more than an hour without their feet aching from the lack of support or cushioning. On the flip side, my sister loves deck shoes because they’re so comfy, but every pair I’ve tried on make my feet look and feel like huge shapeless lumps.

What are your favorite silhouettes to wear? Do they vary a lot based on the seasons? Do you have a recommendation for shoes that a both cute and wearable?

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