The Blue Dress: Reflections on Shape and Silhouette

The Blue Dress: Reflections on Shape and Silhouette


In September, I wrote about wearing colour and shared pictures of my pink Lilli Jahilo dress. However, I never got around to posting about the other dress from her Art collection that I own, as the office wear series took a while to get through. But I’m not letting those pictures go to waste! (The First Law of Blogging.)

Despite its beautiful blue colour, this dress is all about the silhouette for me. I’ve said before that I find colour easy to wear as long as the shade is right (I honestly wear everything from grey to yellow and emerald green to brown); adventurous shapes can be much more difficult for me. I gravitate towards simple, form-fitting cuts, although I’ve become more relaxed over the years when it comes to clothes – both literally and metaphorically.

While most people recognise the transformative power of colour, I think the relevance of shape is often underestimated. This is a mistake. First of all, where things are fitted and where voluminous has a huge impact on what will look flattering on your body type. Sometimes it isn’t obvious. I know relatively well what looks decent on me, but was recently surprised by this ERDEM x HM ball gown that worked much better than I expected.

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But the study of shape is not just a practical matter, it’s also essential for any serious style observer. Changes in silhouette are often these bigger shifts in fashion that take years, rather than one season. I personally find these meta-trends very interesting and they are crucial if you want to look relevant, but are not interested in shopping like a crazy person.

Take the jeans, for example: it seemed like the reign of The Skinny will never end, but now it’s been about a looser fit for several years already. The hemlines have climbed down from mini to midi and our upper halves are almost always more voluminous than the lower ones: think of all those slouchy knits, oversized blazers and masculine coats. The silhouette often determines whether something will look current to the eye or not. You can wear an item that is nominally in fashion (a trouser suit, for example), but it only feels fresh if the shape is right – which at the moment means large and double-breasted.

My dress here obviously isn’t a trend piece. If anything, the cut reads as rather old-fashioned – this tends to happen with elegant things these days. It is, however, a perfect example for illustrating how much impact the shape of a garment can have. It is unusual and arresting and impossible to ignore. The only other woman I’ve seen wearing it is the President of Estonia…

Dress by Lilli Jahilo, shoes by Prada, pictures by Agnes Mägi/Liina Jasmin, hair Keete Viira, make-up Grete Madisson.

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