If you identify as a column or ruler shape, this post is for you! I interviewed Sara Watson from the blog Live Love Sara to find out how her shape plays a role in what she wears, which retailers work well for her shape, and ask her what advice she would give to someone with a similar shape who is struggling with their style. I've been following Sara for years now, and I love how she styles her shape; playing with proportions and volume to create shape - so much so that she features in my online course Style Your Shape!
This is a great read, bursting with tips and advice, so grab a cuppa, scroll down, and soak up her style wisdom!
Before we start, tell us a little about yourself
I’m always terrible at answering these questions. Alright, I am Sara, I am turning 41 next month. I have been married 16 years, and have two daughters, ages 15 and 9. For the last 11 years I have been homeschooling. Back when I started people would look at me weird. Now that they have been forced to do it they finally get it so I don’t have to explain to people anymore what it entails 😉 I officially started my blog about 7 years ago, but unofficially it began when my youngest was a baby and I was suffering from minor PPD. It is going to sound depressing but I started on Polyvore (when it existed) and built capsule wardrobes as a form of escapism. Literally with the thought process of “if I could run away now, what would I bring with me?” See. Depressing. I found that I had a knack for it and people started to contact me about them. From that my blog was born.
Let's chat about your personal style. How has it evolved and what inspires you?
My style has made some weird changes over the years. I was really confident with myself and my clothes in my teens and early 20s. I had just turned 25 when I had my first child and it sent me into an identity tailspin. I wasn’t sure how to both be a mom and fashionable, almost like they were an oxymoron. I felt like I was supposed to start dressing like a mom (whatever that entailed). I don’t think I even truly knew. It lasted for a few years where I bumbled around, I didn’t even start to feel like myself again until I hit 30. Even then it was a slow progression because during that time we were severely struggling financially. I think that might have been the pivotal moment of everything. It forced me to really look at my wardrobe and learn how to make it as versatile as possible.
I have always loved thrift shopping but that time period made me hone my skills and really embrace what was out there in the second hand market. It was a tough time, but a lot of growth happened in both my personal life as well as style. Thrifting and second hand shopping are like second nature to me now, and I often have a thrifted piece or two mixed in each day.
I recently started searching for and investing in preloved designer pieces which started when I bought myself a second-hand Chanel purse for my 40th (That I put on layaway and paid over several months). Although I find myself looking for shoes more often than purses. A great pair of shoes can elevate the most basic outfit. As for inspiration I tend to get inspired by pieces versus people. I’ll find an amazing piece and then mentally start planning entire wardrobes around it. It’s fun, exciting, and has shown a creative part of me that I never knew existed. I am a very left brain, analytical, facts type of person. Creativity has never been my strong suit so it was new territory, and I still struggle with the creativity aspect today.
Does your shape play a role in the pieces you choose to wear? Can you tell us a bit about that?
I’m supposed to say yes, right? I can’t say yes 100%, but that is probably because I am the ruler or banana shape which is supposed to be the easiest one to dress…which I am certain is why I don’t put tons of thought into it.
I am aware of styles that aren’t as flattering on me. Like a tight fitting dress is a general no. I don’t need to emphasize the lack of curves. I need something that skims my shape or has volume. I am also 5’3” which is something that I take into consideration as well. I can’t shop at petites because my arms and legs tend to be too long, but regular sizing often needs to be shortened (pants at least).
I haven’t been happier since cropped jeans came into style. They hit me perfectly without needing alterations which makes life a whole lot easier. Something else that I noticed recently, so I don’t know if it is intentional but l find that I don’t often do head to toe fitted. I will either have a fitted bottom and more volume on top, or fitted top, and looser/slouchy bottom.
What advice would you give to someone who has a similar shape to you and is struggling with their style?
Since it is an easier body shape to style, it’s easy to get sucked into impulse buying because a lot of things we can buy straight off the rack and it will work on us. But you don’t want a closet full of items that work just “okay” on you. You want pieces that make you feel your best when you wear them. If I try it on something and don’t instantly smile, feel excited, or have a wow factor I tend to not buy it because it will probably just sit in my closet in favour for the items that do make me feel that way. I also make myself think of at least 4 ways that I can wear that piece before I buy it. I want a wardrobe that works hard for me, no one hit wonders allowed.
Struggling with style is hard. It is such a confidence killer and when your confidence is down it makes trying to fix it even more difficult. I would start small:
- Maybe build yourself a mini capsule built only of the items that make you feel good.
- Take note of people whose style you admire, or looks that you want to try to copy. I use Pinterest for that. I build look-books for inspiration when I am feeling in a rut. Sometimes it gives me a new way to wear things that I haven’t thought of before.
- A closet clear out can also make you feel less overwhelmed. Then I add in a new piece or two that excites me and that will work as a wardrobe refresher to make me look forward to getting dressed again.
*If you have a similar shape to Sara and want to know what clothes work best for your shape, check out my Simple Guide To Dressing Your Shape. It will show you exactly which clothes are the most and least flattering for your shape, so you can confidently shop for clothes that look good on you!*
"You want pieces that make you feel your best when you wear them. If I try something on and don’t instantly smile, feel excited, or have a wow factor I tend to not buy it because it will probably just sit in my closet in favour for the items that do make me feel that way."
How do you put your outfits together?
Trial and error. Sometimes what is in my head looks a lot better than it does in real time. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to find different ways to wear what I have. You will often see me wear the same items for a couple of days straight but worn in completely different ways.
For me posting on Instagram also helps me to refer back to what works and what doesn’t. I can scroll through and see if I have worn that exact outfit before and if I have, I try to change it up a bit for a new look.
My closet is quite small compared to many you see on Instagram but it works for me. I don’t think I would have to be as creative with dressing each day if I had a huge walk in with tons of clothes.
What's the most versatile piece in your closet?
This is a hard one. My leather jacket is one of my main pieces that I will throw over anything and everything. I also follow the motto of when in doubt throw a blazer over it. I love the versatility of a great oversized blazer. My vintage 1960s RayBans which I thrifted for $20 are my most worn accessory.
Do you have any favorite retailers or brands that you feel work really well for your shape?
My shape is easy to shop for so I don’t have any particular retailers strictly for shape purposes. Although Levis Wedgie straights work well on my butt 🙂 I think they work well on a lot of butts though which is why they have been around so long.
Like I said, I love second hand shopping. To me finding a great vintage piece is like striking gold. I am a firm believer that you can find a jewel of a piece just about anywhere if you look for it, even fast fashion retailers. It’s all about patience while you are shopping. If you don’t have time to go through the racks thoroughly then don’t. Go back when you do have the time to spend otherwise you’ll just end up disappointed.
I also tend to avoid the sales, so I don’t get sucked into the rush of impulse shopping when I panic over someone else buying something instead of me. Those are purchases I tend to regret every single time.
And lastly - Where can we find you online?
My blog is livelovesara.com where I post at least 3x a week. It’s usually a summary of what I have been wearing lately, a capsule wardrobe of some kind, and things that I find on the internet. Occasionally I’ll put together a How to Wear it post where I will take a piece and style it multiple ways. My instagram is @livelovesarablog that gives my daily outfits, Facebook is livelovesara and is where I announce new blog posts. You can also follow me on Pinterest (sarawatsonim) if you want a collection of things and outfits that inspire me.
Want to recreate Sara's look?
So there you have it! I hope you found some gems to takeaway from our interview! Make sure you follow her social's for lots more outfit inspiration 👇
Sara’s blog shares her obsessive determination to build herself the perfect wardrobe. She logs my daily outfits in her ‘What I Wore posts (and Instagram). Each week she answers packing light requests via her ‘Packing Light Series’. And weekends are for Weekly Reads and Finds, where she shares any good articles, and sales/shopping finds she has come across that week.
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