Monday, January 25, 2010

Do You Want to FOoooOF?

I want to write a book review for a book called "Flatter Your Figure" by Jan Larkey, but I don't remember exactly how to write one. Or maybe I wanted to write a book "report" instead of a review, but I'm not sure what the difference is....

Well, whatever. I am going to tell you a little about the book, and what I think of it. How's that?

Here's the book:

Flatter Your Figure

This is actually a sort of workbook, with lots of drawings, where you are led to measure and evaluate each part of your body and decide if you are long-waisted or short-waisted, or long-legged or short-legged, or round-shouldered or square-shouldered, etc. This is "FOoooOF-ing," as the author calls it, or "Figuring Out Our Figures."

Then you decide if you have a Major figure problem (which needs camouflaging) or a Minor figure problem (which needs the attention drawn away from) or No figure problem (which may be an asset that needs accentuating.) You look these things up on a little chart where you find a number to use in the rest of the book, where the author has several pages of illustrations of over 200 style elements (collars, necklines, sleeve lengths, shoulder lines, hemlines, etc), each one coded by number. Using your number, you can soon find out which styles are flattering for you and which ones are anathema.

Things I liked:

1) She differentiated between "figure" problems and "fit" problems, which simply means that if you can't find something to fit you, it may not be your problem, it may be the fault of the clothing manufacturer. With this in mind, people probably had fewer "figure problems" when they had all their clothing custom made by a tailor!

2) She also pointed out that you may have neither of those problems, you may have a "mother/other" problem, where you have been criticized enough on your clothing choices and your body that you perceive a problem when there really is none.

Things I didn't like:

1) In spite of the emphasis on accepting your body for what it is, the whole book was still written from the perspective of problems, and how to solve them. Why is it that our bodies are full of problems? Who decided these body shapes are a problem?

2) While there were explanations of, say, why line is so important (vertical=slimming, horizontal=widening) the explanations didn't go far enough. I was left asking "Why?"

3) Some of the discussions of problems and solutions were dated. That is, the author promoted broad shoulders and narrow hips as a universal ideal, when, in fact, that was the style Look of the Eighties.

4) Some of the style options that my little code number told me were flattering, are not flattering on me.

My conclusion is that this book is a good first step if you know nothing about style and you need help defining your shape. My first reading of the book I felt I had hit gold. And then the shine faded because I felt the book didn't go far enough to answer my questions about how to dress well.

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