Sunday, March 18, 2018

Authentically You...Role Models...Nigella Lawson...

We've been discussing Role Models this year.
My personal role model is Dita Von Teese, not for her Burlesque talents, but for her inimitable style.
We've also discussed Babe Paley and Adele.
Last week, my friend Suzannah, asked me if I could do a post on Nigella Lawson. She feels that her body type most resembles Nigella's, and wanted some tips on being Nigella-ish.
I was excited to hear this as Nigella is a well known Apple shaped celebrity, so she's a wonderful role model for we Apple shaped ladies. 
As we did with Adele, note at the top of my post, and here below, the transformation that Nigella has gone through since she achieved celebrity status.
She's always been a very attractive woman, but as is the case for us all, she didn't really hit her stride until she had some professional guidance.
I keep saying that the first step in looking your best is to know your body shape.
Above, you can see that earlier in her life, Nigella was focused on being 'fashionable' rather than 'stylishly dressed for body shape'. The pink ensemble in the first picture, although pretty, wasn't really doing that much for her in terms of flattering her shape, and her hair was sort of long and nondescript. A youthful look and pretty at the time, for sure.
In the second pic, she's starting to find her inner glamour puss, and steps out a year or two later in some slenderising black with interesting neck detail. Nice.
Then we see her in this fabulous red wiggle dress. Hair tumbling around her face in a profusion of soft curls, the sweetheart neckline drawing attention to her beautiful complexion and pretty features.
Then back to basic black but with an eye to achieving a figure flattering look for a cold day.

 You see, looking great for your shape, isn't just about wearing figure flattering clothes.
It's about being aware of how a simple hairstyle and touch of makeup draws attention to the features we want to accentuate, whilst playing down the ones we'd prefer ignored.
Above, we see Nigella at her first book signing, looking au naturel and very pretty for it.
But here below, with a whisper of makeup, sparkly earrings, a more open neckline, and a flirtation with hot rollers on her locks, she's an absolute stunner.
Honestly, any of us can do this.

So now Nigellas discovered hot rollers and a neckline that draws attention to her lovely face and hair (and other assets!), and she sets about using that knowledge to her advantage as often as possible.
Here she is on the cover of one of her books.
Open neckline which draws the eye to her face.
Cardigan in a flattering colour creates a slenderising column centre front and covers wobbly upper arms.
Tumbling locks, and a touch of feature enhancing makeup and she's the Nigella we all know and love.

Again, below, the open neckline, a cute cropped cardi to create that all important slimming column-of-colour centre front, and soft curls.
Now just to show how it can all still go dreadfully wrong, see here below, where Nigella has chosen a dress, that according to all the experts, should be an absolute winner for the Apple shaped woman.
But this is a great example of how simple details make a difference.
Nigella looks lovely here, BUT, the shiny fabric, and awkward cut on the neckline, do not do her justice. The shiny satin draws attention to her bustline and not much else. And not in a good way. In fact the dress looks so snug across the bust that it looks like it's the wrong size for her. And the black, just drains her in this dress.
Imagine for a moment, that the neckline on this satin wrap dress was slightly more open, and that the fabric is velvet, not satin, navy blue not black. The effect would be entirely different and far lovelier, yes?
But when Nigella gets it right, she's a star.
I love her in this pretty retro styled dress, with tiny belt...

...continuing that theme with another retro inspired fit and flare style....

....and then returning to the Wiggle dress, which I think is a win for her no matter what the colour...
...basic black.. snorting red...
...or magical shape changing midnight blue...
...they're all stunning.
Two short years ago, I did not dream I could style a wiggle dress to suit me, but here I am now...
I'm no Nigella, but I'm trying folks.
Here are some tips to be more Nigella-ish...
1. Use the magic figure enhancement of shapewear. That stuff has come a long way, and a well fitted (strapless if necessary) bra, and hip and tummy huggers, will give you a more sculpted silhouette.
2. Keep your fit and flare and wiggle dresses just above or just below the knee, especially for we ladies under 165cm (5'3"). You need to show the bottom of your legs to add the illusion of height to your frame.
3. Use open necklines to draw the eye upwards to your lovely face and hair. Sweetheart, open V, square, boat, scooped...they're all great and make the most of your other 'assets'.
4. Use the illusion of sparkle or pearl earrings to keep the attention around your facial features.
5. Use the faithful cardigan or little fitted jackets to create a centre column-of-colour to trick the eye into 'seeing you slim'.
6. Likewise a slightly longer hairstyle, softened with tumbling curls, can be flattering if you can manage and maintain it. Otherwise, use long dangling earrings to slim and frame your face. Having longer hair also gives you the versatility to scoop that hair up and away and enhance your lovely neck and shoulders.
7. Nude shoes with a heel, or nude wedges are your best friend. They add height and give you a long and lean look.
8. If your upper arms, like mine, are no longer sleek and toned, then cardigans, bolero jackets, wisps of chiffon as wraps or features on an evening gown like the gorgeous blue one seen above on Nigella, can all disguise this fault. Wearing chain type bracelets can also draw attention to your dainty wrists and away from upper arms.
9. Be aware that simply changing a neckline, or the length of a chain store dress, can take it from meh to WOW! If you're not much of a seamstress, then a good dressmaker can help.
10. Note also that fabric choice can make or break a look. Satins are not necessarily friendly to Apple shapes. Velvets, crepe, cottons, linen, and especially more structured fabrics like satin brocades can be wonderfully flattering, skimming our curves and maintaining the shape of an outfit. I tell you this from experience!
Here's a satin brocade dress I purchased recently...
... I am the same weight I was a year ago, but when I wear this dress, everyone thinks I've lost ten kilos (22lbs)!
You see the structure of the's very stiffness... helps the dress hold it's shape, rather than moulding to my lumps and bumps. And unlike plain shiny satin, the embroidery on the brocade, disguises a multitude of figure faults. It's brilliant I tell you.
I'm short at 163cms (5'3").
I weigh 84kgs (185lbs).
I am an Australian size 16-18.
I'm wearing wiggle dresses and fit and flare dresses like there's no tomorrow.
You can too.
Do it. Life is short.


  1. You're our domestic goddess and looking just as good as Nigella. That is a lovely photo of you in the pink dress. Your efforts are being well and truly rewarded.
    Janiebabe x

    1. Thankyou always make my

  2. Hi Mimi, I love the floral dress with the dark background. It suits you so much and you look lovely. I have never worn dresses myself, even though I would sometimes like to. Maybe I will give it a go. Your posts are always inspirational and give me plenty of food for thought. Thanks

    1. Dear Del, you are lovely to say so. I hadn't worn a dress in possibly 15 years until now. Don't give up. You just need to find the right dress, and learn how to style it appropriately. I can help! Mimi xxx


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