Written by: Ilka Harrigan
Originally published by The COCO Magazine
It’s Good to be You
The thing that makes a garden beautiful is the individuality of each flower, from its color, shape, size to its height and most of all its confidence. I know you have flipped through the pages of a magazine from time to time and wondered what tips and tricks celebrities use to look their best, well the cat is out the bag, and simply dressing for your body type makes all the difference. “What is my body type?” You may ask. Well wonder no more; your body type is the best one there is; learning how to dress for your body type and embracing your unique features is the first step to looking and feeling your best, the key is to become familiar with and accept your proportions. Appreciating your body does not mean that everything about you is Barbie perfect; it simply means that you have made a decision to embrace your body.
No matter your body shape, wearing baggy clothing can be unattractive when it does not accentuate your figure, in fact it cries out no effort but if you must wear one baggy item be sure to create a balance by wearing a form fitting item. For example pair a peasant blouse with a skinny jeans and heels for an elongated look.
If you’ve got the legs that would put Mocko Jumbies to shame by all means show them off! Draw attention to your legs with shorts or a mini skirt and stylish heels. For a more conservative look invest in textured/patterned leggings, allow the leggings to be the main focus of your wardrobe by keeping the rest of your outfit simple.
With curvy women like Beyonce, Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah at the forefront these days, it may be hard to keep up sometimes. Remember to pay close attention to the fit of your clothing, buy tops that emphasize your narrow waist or curvy bust but stay away from shirts that tend to create the delusion of extra volume; consider belted tops or wrap-styled tops. Avoid pants with belts, pockets and details around the hips and rear to be sure that you do not ruin the balance of your curves, also consider dark jeans that allow you to appear slimmer.
Women sometimes we feel bloated or bulky and it is perfectly fine, or you may not have reached your five pound weight loss goal in time for that event, it has happened to all of us. If you are interested in dressing slimmer be sure to address undergarments. If you select the right undergarments they can shave pounds off of your frame mainly by addressing your posture. To streamline your silhouette use graphic pieces in moderation; vertical prints lengthens and slims your figure while small repetitive prints distract the eye and minimizes any bulges. Many women share a misconception that once uncomfortable with their body it is best to use tons of fabric to cover it up. Instead of doing that it is best to highlight your favorite features, start with pieces that work well on your figure and tweak as needed.
Another problem area that we are all familiar with is the arms. Yes working with models and photographers has opened my eyes to the arm issue, no matter your shape or weight we all suffer from this problem from time to time. Firstly it is important to be conscious of the placement of your arms, arms that lay flat against the side may appear thicker as opposed to when on the hips or holding your purse away from your body. To disguise less-than-toned arms wear non fitted three-quarter-length sleeves, ensure that your sleeves end at least 2inches before or after your elbow for a slim look. Wearing a distraction piece like a large statement necklace that creates a “V” effect across the chest draws the eyes away from the arms and to the center of your body. While these tips and tricks may help for the short time it is best to focus on your arms when you hit the gym so that they gradually become slimmer.
Remember before revamping your wardrobe and getting dress for that spectacular event or day out with friends it is important to know and understand your body, what looks great on it and what does not. Do not rely on what is in trend but what is the best style for you; we all have different body types although there may appear to be similarities our body like our finger prints are unique in every sense. Your waist lengths and sizes, lengths of the legs and arms, size of your chest and shape of your buttocks as well as the thickness of your legs and thighs are all important to consider when getting dress to highlight your favorite features.
Written by Ilka Harrigan
Originally published by The COCO Magazine
I’ve wanted to take a solo trip for a long time; I believe I was inspired by Beyonce Knowles with her year off from work spent travelling around the world. Maybe my year won’t be exactly like Beyonce’s but I’ve incorporated a few days of travel from time to time in my busy schedule.
Taking a trip can be very healing but travelling solo can be a form of meditation with a triple delight of anticipation, moments and memories; it is less stressful, a time for introspection, relaxation and self-discovery. It allows for freedom and total control of a few days in your life.
I found myself sitting at the window seat and anticipating the completion of an eight hour trip; it was my iPod, a few books and I. It was a chance to get away from the norm, and have some alone time to reflect; I was heading to the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla. I spent most if not all my mornings walking through a garden of tropical flowers and my afternoons sitting on the rocks while watching the waves dance. The independence of planning and vacationing alone allowed me to experience my vacation just the way I wanted to. I made a conscious choice to take random trips in between semesters. I was a full time student, a designer and worked part time; I found that these relaxing trips helped to rejuvenate me and they always ended with me feeling like I was ready to take on the world.
It is reality that we are sometimes overwhelmed by the daily stresses of life. It is important that we create a balance in life and dedicate some time out of each year to self-exploration and relaxation; surprisingly enough a large number of full time employees do not take annual vacations. This means that the average full time employee works approximately 260-262 days out of a year; the remaining days are weekends and holidays that we use to catch up on work, sleep, errands and thinking about creating fun experiences. According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive for JetBlue Airways, 57 percent of Americans will end the year without using their vacation days. Of those 57 percent the majority will allow 75 percent of the vacation they earned to go to waste. Escaping the stresses of daily living can have a beneficial effect on our overall well being, careers as well as personal and social lives.
You might argue that you can use your vacation days and spend that time at home which is true but be mindful that where you spend your time influences your state of mind. I’m sure you can identify with this once you realize that you can relax only in some rooms, or places. Escaping to a place of relaxation can evoke creativity and promote productivity by allowing us to reconnect with ourselves. Subconsciously we live to please others, well guess what you don’t have to worry much about that when travelling alone; this sounds intense but there won’t be a group of people debating on where to go first, and what to eat. Pleasing yourself first is not a selfish concept, it is only after you have tended to your wants and needs can you address the needs and wants of others. Take the challenge and give yourself a break this year, you’ll thank me later.