Being taller than average and having size 10 shoulders on a size 14 ~ 18 body (depends where you are measuring) makes it pretty much impossible to wear many styles. If you can't go into a store and try on different styles- just to see how they look - you don't have much information. My dimensions are outside the norm for fitted jackets or dresses, so I had no experience wearing them.
How did I learn what proportions work for my body?
It took persistence to unravel the mysteries of my own body proportions. Getting a good fit is hard enough, but it's only half of the puzzle. The garments also need flattering silhouettes.
I've been to fitting workshops, taken some lessons and read online, but the breakthrough came when I discovered Bernina My Label pattern-making software. Finally I had basic styles that FIT me. I proceeded to sew all kinds of things that I had never bought in stores.
I had some hits and some misses. I realized that I had no clue as to what really looked good on me until I sewed it up and wore it for a while. And I was tired of putting forth all that effort to learn that half of my ideas were not flattering at all. I needed to understand which silhouettes would work and which ones to skip. I am talking about where to hem the skirt - where to add the ruffles - that sort of thing.
This realization led me to have an image consulation with Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style. (Search through her labels to find her many informative posts about body proportions)
I sent photos, measurements and answers to a thoughtful questionnaire. Imogen provided me with a detailed, personalized style analysis. To say that one is a pear or an apple is just too simplistic to help most people. She gave me way more insights than just body proportions. She talked about textures, colors, prints, and types of fabrics.
Here is some of what I learned from a personalized consultation with a pro:
My style consultation was in October 2009 and I have been very happy with Imogen's advice, new haircut included. There are lots of styles that will never work for me, but who cares? I won't be sewing any more hip-length tunics, for example. They end at my widest point, creating an unbalanced effect.
Now I know what I should focus on.
I have a top and some pants sewn over the last few days, so I'll get posts up with examples of how I used her advice in my choices.
*happy seeking! We all want to know what works, don't we?!*