Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Style Tips for Trapezoids

Or, Learn to Love Your Curves Corners

You've likely seen articles in fashion magazines that discuss strategies for dressing your particular body contour to its most flattering effect.

These articles often categorize women's body dimensions into geometric shapes, such as the triangle, inverted triangle, rectangle, etc.

This is all well and good until you stand in front of the mirror in your drawers and realize that you're not quite a triangle...nor do you resemble a true rectangle (unless you are willing to spend most of your waking hours hunched over with your ear touching your shoulder, in which case only 50% of your bitchin' new earrings are ever going to see daylight).

Where, then, is the non-standard-shaped woman to turn for crucial fashion advice?


The LJKGW Guide to Advanced Fashion Geometry

The good news: This handy reference guide is sure to talk you down from any shape-related fashion precipice.

The bad news: There will be a quiz every Thursday.

Here we go!

Scalene Triangle

Let's hear it for asymmetry! After all, how many of us can say that all three of our sides are the same length? Not many. That's why it's essential to understand the fashion equation of the scalene triangle. The scalene is crying out to be accessorized. (Can you hear it?) Just look at that alluring point sticking out on the side and I know you'll be thinking what I'm thinking. That's right: bolo tie. Add to that a flowy canvas peasant skirt and denim shrug and you will be rocking all three (uneven) sides of awesome.


Two words: Clogs + Poncho. Just don't make the obvious mistake of pairing a webbed nylon belt with your quadrilateral figure because that only cuts your profile in half quarters thirds whatever pieces. No, the svelte sway of the poncho combined with the woodland whimsy of the clog will have tastemakers across town nodding with approval (and a tinge of envy) at the sly way you have showcased your quadrilateral chops.


Let's face it: no one pulls off a pantsuit like the rhombus-shaped woman. Whether it's comfy with sassy winged collars for a day of pumpkin-picking, or embellished with chic sailor buttons for brunch at the dog track, the rhombus/pantsuit combination is simply unbeatable. (Note: If you're thinking of doing anything like knotting a scarf at your throat, forget it. Rhomboidal women can't do jaunty. Just trust us on this.)

Irregular Pentagon

As you may know, the key to fashion is accentuating certain features while strategically drawing focus away from others. This is why the skilled, irregular-pentagon-shaped fashionista will always be seen wearing leg warmers - but only argyle ones. Add to that a knit cap or other form of stretchy head wrap and you've got yourself a stealth fashion package that will have observers scratching their heads for hours afterward wondering what exactly they did see when they ran into you at the hot dog rental stand.


The nonagon-shaped woman has an advantage over other women in that she can shop for clothes not only among the traditional clothing racks, but also in the table linens department. This comes in especially handy during the holiday season, when the variety of embellished table cloths on display present a chic alternative to the played-out Christmas sweater. During the rest of the year, the nonagon woman can rely on timeless pieces such as the Members Only jacket and quilted opera cape.


Ever fashion-forward, the trapezoid-shaped female most effectively pushes the envelope of style with a bold combination of scented felt hats and vibrantly patterned culottes. Only the most informed, however, understand the need for elbow-length fingerless gloves to take their look to the next level. Of course, one may not always have these particular items handy, in which case you should just wear jeans and a t-shirt. But no jorts!

We hope you find The LJKGW Guide to Fashion Geometry indispensable as you move through the style seasons to come. (Be advised that we will be adding new shapes to the Guide as soon as we learn them and depending on whether we get into Honors Geometry next semester.)

Last week, an essay of mine was published on Salon.com for the first time. Although my original title was "Old School," it can be found there in the "Real Families" section under "Hell Is Other People's Children." As promised, the Salon.com commenter community has proven itself to be quite, um...spirited. You gotta love the Internet, right?

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read it and [gulp] put in their two cents as well.


Pseudo said...

Hmmm. What if I'm a quadralateral, but I don't like clogs OR ponchos?

Cheryl said...

Damn! I can't find my shape anywhere. Not only that, the title is misleading. Where the hell are the trapeze style tips? I'm practicing my double flip dismount and I need something to finish it off with a flourish.

Alexandra said...

I'm a rhombus!!!

I'm so happy to know that finally, there is a reason why I look like stretched out silly putty in pictures..

I've been dressing as a trapezoid when I'm actually a rhombus.

Oh, Anna Lefler, you just give and give and give.

P.S. Oh, yeah, the comments at salon.com: worth the click over.

HOLY MACKEREL, people! It's just a post!! A HUMOR post by a HUMOR blogger.

Pearl said...

I'm going to stick to fruit, where I have been recognized as a bit of a pear for quite some time.

And your article? I read it and ENJOYED it. The comments? One of the reasons I've never submitted to Salon. Well, that and the fear of rejection.

Salon has really, really changed...


larainydays said...

I haven't read the Salon piece yet, but congrats. Thanks for dressing my angles, they have been sadly neglected.

Ann Imig said...

Rhomboidal women can't do jaunty. Just trust us on this.

Anna, the blogosphere has sorely missed you.

Intangible Hearts said...

I think I'm failing at this type of math!

janerowena said...

I knew there was a name for my shape! I think I'm a trapezoid. Well, for today, anyhow. There are some very weird fashions out ther at the moment. I'm all for people trying to find their own style, but do they have to wear everyone else's at the same time?

I think you touched a few nerves with your article, but I agree with you whole-heartedly. I have been thanked for my children's good behaviour. That is rather sad, don't you think? Grateful restaurant owners thankful for a pair of happy children who don't feel the need to see if they can trip up a waitress for entertainment.

BugginWord said...

So now we can't start saying things like, "From this angle, that skirt is very acute on you?"

SherilinR said...

i like that i've now gotten confirmation from you that i can wear tablecloths as clothing. thank you.

When Pigs Fly said...

I like the one that looks like an off kilter coffin. Now I can't remember which shape that was. This is all too confusing for me. But, I did falter terribly in geometry and trig in high school. I'll try not to mix and match the culottes and clogs.

HermanTurnip said...

Why am I suddenly reminded of an old Howie Mandel standup bit?

“Everyone’s getting into shape now, so I figured I’d get into shape too. And the shape I’ve chosen is a triangle.”

Howie *with* hair > Howie *without* hair

Erin said...

Hillary Clinton really embraces her rhombus dimensions. I was so terrible at geometry which explains my catastrophic wardrobe. Algebra, though, I brought some calculator heat.