Red Carpet Confidence

By Dawn Fitch-Mitchell

Tips to finding the best fits for your body type for black-tie events

Supplier diversity professionals can be inspirational, transformational and dedicated change agents. Sometimes, they are viewed by their colleagues as someone to hide from because they enforce unpopular policies and processes. Most times, people forget that they are caring individuals with personality, a personal brand and style.

This year’s Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair theme, “Discover the Difference” is fitting because the women’s business enterprises (WBEs), corporate members and WBENC educational approach are all different. As a corporate member, with beauty, brand and style training, I appreciate people’s differences from a personality, body type, leadership style and sales approach. While WBENC has grown the schedule of events, evolving our fashion approach only seemed natural. Whether you’re an award winner, platinum sponsor or single ticket attendee, I’d bet my next check that your black-tie attire needs to be on point.

During the conference week, attendees only see clients. However, on that final night, people see style. Don’t be stressed, as the goal is to educate you on body types, gown fits and tuxedo tricks to showcase your personal brand. For this information to be of value, you must be willing to experiment. Meaning, sometimes you don’t know what really flatters you and what you really like until you push fear away and try a variety of styles that make you feel comfortable.

Comfort and confidence takes careful consideration of the body parts you love about yourself and the fit of the clothing. Before you go shopping, know your body type and the proper formal wear fit most flattering for you. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to shell out a few extra dollars for a tailor to make your look much more captivating.

Best fits for women

The considerations of a woman’s body include petite, large chest, broad shoulders, muscular thighs and body shapes, including boyish/H, pear, apple, plus and hourglass.

Petite/short individuals generally seek to add height to their body. Petite women should seek the perfect, tea length gown.

The large chest woman’s goal is to balance the body, top to bottom. Purchase an A-line cut bottom, a deep v-neck, a bandeau top or corset as they tend to lock things in place.

For the muscular body, broad shoulders will find that a halter top or poplin dress will draw the eye to the hips. To show off athletic legs, a high slit and a drop dress, which is short to long will leave a lasting impression.

Fit is key! Body types ultimately drive fashion choices for both men and women. Five body types for women are boyish/H, pear, apple, plus and hourglass. To check your body type, go to

Boyish/H shaped female bodies should avoid the typical waist-clinching dress and opt for color blocking and a drop waist.

Pear-shaped bodies carry their weight in the hips, therefore fitted tops, corsets, v-shapes at the waist and flared bottoms are suggested.

Apple-shaped bodies carry weight at the top. Flatter your figure with an empire waist fit just under the cleavage and an A-line bottom with flowing material.

Plus-size bodies have unlimited options and need to choose the body part they want to flatter or hide. Busty and bold, use a sleeve or empire waist. For small bust lines, add illusion embroidery, sequins or appliqué.

Hourglass-shaped women want a mermaid style, which is fitted in all the key places—top, middle and hips.

Best fits for men

The six body types for men are short, triangle, inverted triangle, square, trapezoid and oval and they need to apply fashion rules to achieve a dapper style. To check your body type, go to: advice/how-to-dress-for-your-bodyshape-men/.

Triangle-shaped male bodies can be challenging and proportion is the goal; a patterned blazer with a solid pant, fitted waist jackets, single breasted suits and patterns only visible at chest work best.

Shorter men should wear a solid color from top to bottom, avoid cuffs and fancy pant prints as this cuts off height at the waist and ankle.

Inverted triangle male bodies want to show off their muscles. Most flattering decisions should include horizontal stripes, slim fit shirts, high v-neck t-shirts and straightlegged pants. To avoid tightness in the groin area, look for a larger drop measurement between the waistband and crotch seam.

Square-shaped men’s bodies should consider clothing to widen the shoulders, such as singlebreasted jackets, horizontal stripes or prints to add dimension. Ensure you have a tailor tighten the waist, layering with a sweatier or scarf will bulk up the top.

The trapezoid describes the athletic male who should sport slim and fitted clothes. Vertical stripes add height and if you feel the need to add more personality, choose a funky-colored pocket square.

Oval-shaped men’s bodies, often called stocky, have a wider torso. Balance the body shape with solid colors and a loosely belted pant; suspenders hold out and smooth the front of the stomach. Also, consider a wider collared shirt and dark single breasted, slightly tapered jacket.

There are three final tips for men and women to consider in order to have red-carpet confidence.

Men will ensure a polished gala night look if they do the following:

Your shirt sleeve measures at ¼ to ½ inch showing below your jacket sleeve,

The length of the jacket falls between your wrist and the middle of your thumb and covers your bottom. To find your waist, measure three finger lengths between your belly button and belt.

The hem of your pants must avoid that baggy ankle look.

Women will prepare for their best gala night with these beauty hacks.

Carry safety pins to tighten baggy waistlines or repair hems.

Use Spanx to smooth the figure by flattening the tummy, obliques and saddlebags.

Pack anti-chafe balm to prevent rubbing of the thighs.

Now you are ready to slay your black-tie brand!

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