Spring has certainly sprung and as any fine filly will tell you, frocking up for Sydney or Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival is fun with a capital ‘F’ – especially if you know what works best for your shape.
Brisbane fashion designer, mum of two and authority on dressing a woman’s body shape, Sacha Drake, says it’s all about identifying your shape and dressing accordingly.
“I am an ‘hourglass with pear tendencies’” laughs Sacha, who is dressed in her stunning ‘Fumetta’ silk kaftan dress when we meet in her Woollahra store in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
“I’ve been in business – and keep loving my business – for over 10 years now because I listen to my customer and come up with design solutions for various problems. It’s all about helping.” says Sacha, whose celebrity fans include Kerri-Anne Kennerly, Deborah Hutton, Georgie Gardner and Jesinta Campbell.
To make flattering choices even easier, Sacha identifies the five most common body shapes – hourglass, column, pear, apple and pregnant – and lists what body shapes her individual garments work best for on all her clothing’s swing tags and online.
Sacha’s Spring Racing Styling Tips for:
Hourglass – typically have curvy bust and hips, narrow waist, medium width shoulders and slim or shapely thighs.
Celebrity inspiration – Scarlett Johansson
- Show off your slender waist! Accentuate your curves and avoid anything too roomy in the waist. If you have a bigger bust, keep your look streamlined with tailored panels and simple silhouettes. A lean pencil skirt or A-Line shape will be flattering.
- ‘Tatum’ fitted cotton dress (above). A streamlined tailored fit which can create shape, perfect for an hourglass figure. The cap sleeve balances out the hip and the v-neckline draws focus up to the face. It’s a classic shape.
- ‘Simone’ cotton wrap dress. Versatile. The broad collar frames the face and draws attention to the face whilst the wrap shape adds structure and the A-line skirt streamlines the hips.
Column – typically have shoulders and hips of same width, thicker waist with flat tummy, small to medium bust, slender legs and arms.
Celebrity inspiration – Nicole Kidman
- Flaunt those lean limbs! Look for styles that can be wrapped or tied to create a waistline. Styles with wider shoulder lines will make your waist appear narrower. Lean pencil skirts or A-line shapes will suit.
- ‘Liza’. You want to show off those long, lean limbs. It’s a high neck with a tie at the back and hangs loosely which you can leave fluid or belt it with our ‘invisible’ belt that creates shape by blousing the dress.
- ‘Lylah’ and ‘Blair’ silk wrap dresses (above). Effortlessly glamorous. A softer style that works well, in either the long or short sleeve. Underneath is a stretchy slip and it works because it is a wrap and very flexible. It fits nicely across the body and the flare of the skirt accommodates any hip.
Pear – typically have narrow shoulders, a neat bust and waist, wider hips and curvaceous thighs, shapely calves.
Celebrity inspiration – Jennifer Lopez
- Show off your slim upper body. Create a wider shoulder-line with sleeve details or bare shoulders to balance out hips. A-Line styles that skim hips and thighs work well. Hem length should be on your knee to show off shapely calves.
- ‘Reuben’ fifties style dress. The structured bodice, flared skirt and easy fit waist with a tie which can be tightened to create shape will work for you. The square neckline works for small or large busts too. If you’re self-conscious about your arms, a shrug, bolero or ballet-wrap style cardigan will work.
- ‘Bennie’ fifties style dress (above). A classic best-seller of ours. A fitted, panelled bodice and square neckline flatters small and large busts. The cap sleeve provides upper-arm coverage and balances your proportion if you have narrow shoulders. The flared skirt hides a larger hip and bottom.
Apple – typically have broad shoulders, a voluptuous bust, a rounded tummy, slim hips and thighs.
Celebrity inspiration – Oprah Winfrey
- Flaunt your cleavage. Choose garments with open necklines to draw the eye to your face. Soft draping and ruching that skims not clings to a fuller tummy is best. Look for clean, tailored lines to streamline your body and show off slim legs.
- ‘Tyler’ one shoulder kaftan dress. One shoulder, asymmetrical shapes are perfect for apples because it draws the eye up to the shoulder, away from the wider bust. It hangs loosely from the bust and shows off the slim leg.
- ‘Venezuela’ stretch shirt dress (above). Streamlined and fitted with a v-neck and a pencil skirt. This creates an hourglass shape by cinching in the waist. It’s especially flattering because it skims over the body and it doesn’t ‘cling’.
Pregnant – typically tummy is most prominent feature. Bust and hip size will vary for the individual.
Celebrity inspiration – Kate Winslet
- Be proud of your bump! Keep a feminine silhouette by creating shape under your bust. Choose open necklines and show off your slim legs to ensure you’re not ‘all tummy’. Soft, stretchy dresses are easy to wear as you grow, plus perfect for post-pregnancy.
- ‘Martina’ jersey dress. You want to be comfortable and it depends how pregnant you are. You also don’t want to invest in a $500 dress! The fluted sleeves, adjustable ties to fit and flatter any bust and fluid, soft jersey that skims the body grows with most pregnant shapes. It’s plain but you can really jazz it up.
Visit Sacha’s online boutique at www.sachadrake.com.au.
Tell us about your spring racing style – do you prefer traditional or more on-trend dresses for the races?
Monique Butterworth is an Australian journalist specialising in news, entertainment, celebrity and lifestyle. With 25 years experience in the media, Monique’s career started at News Limited in Sydney, working on The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and The Daily Mirror newspapers before moving into magazines including New Weekly (now NW magazine), New Idea and Woman’s Day. Monique has worked as a freelance journalist for publications such as NW, OK!, TV Week, Wish (The Australian) and Good Living (Sydney Morning Herald). Monique lives in Sydney with her partner James, their 1-year-old daughter Matilda, James’ teen children Monty, 16 & Ella, 14, their dog Rob Roy, cat Oreo and horse Marty.