Case study: Pippa Middleton

Pippa Middleton, younger sister to Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, shot to fame when she somewhat stole the limelight from her sister at her very own wedding. Whilst the papers were buzzing about her shapely derriere and gorgeous dress, noone noticed the fact that Pippa [just like her sister Kate in fact], has a slightly long torso and shorter legs. [Keep that in mind ladies :)]

Pippa has since become a regular occurrence in magazines, she is celebrated for her taste and beauty and her outfits get photographed and commented on. Her style has evolved a great deal, and through trial and error, she has perfected several 'uniforms' that suit her figure well -- very useful for anyone looking for inspiration to dress a similar - at 1.66 quite petite, long torsoed, athletic, with muscular calves and almost no hips - body type. Being a lover of fashion, Pippa also keeps experimenting with making new trends and styles work for her, also useful to watch and learn from.

Let's have a look then, shall we:

Pippa's style is feminine and classic/chic. She wears both skirts and trousers, usually in straightforward, no-nonsense styles; tends to go for 'sensible', walkable shoes; and is never over the top.

She is a working girl, and is often snapped on her way to or from the office. She most often wears a skirt or dress, often with a blazer. She tends to couple these with either ballerina flats or ankle boots/boots. Her dresses/skirts are usually above the knee, fluid, worn with a belt or nipped in blazer, and her preferred way to carry a bag is in her hand. Looking at these pictures, you would not imagine Pippa has any difficulties getting dressed in the morning:

Yet, the following images reveal that not everything looks amazing on her. Her gym clothes make her short legs obvious, and neither the clingy long top nor the baggy ankle boots- skinny jeans-too long coat combo or cropped jeans do anything for her figure. In fact, in the last image, you can clearly see the difference longer, bootcut jeans coupled with a roomier top make on her sister Kate's very similar [if taller] frame:

Trousers can work on her - her slim hips and trim thighs help - but they look much better if worn with loose tops and heels, or if balanced with heavy layers on the top [although the last outfit, whilst she just about pulls it off, is nowhere near really flattering for her shape, partly due to the choice of shoes].

But Pippa is well aware that dresses and skirts are her forte and this is what she tends to go for most of the time. Emphasize the waist is her mantra, and she picks her styles accordingly, or uses belts, embellishments and cropped jackets to achieve this. [Again, note the shorter lengths and low-held bags.]

The one thing Pippa needs to watch when choosing short dresses is to avoid high necks as they clearly do not work - not even the second dress where the design breaks up the neckline. She looks much better in lower [scoop or V] necklines, as seen previously:

High waisted skirts - which use the same principle as the belted dresses - are my favourite look on her; but beware, there is such as thing as too high [that last outfit is very disproportionate]:

Midi skirts are not Pippa's thing - note the below mishaps in the first column: not her ideal length. As the second column shows, going a little longer makes a huge difference: she can pull off long hemlines very well [and yes, I had to put in that dress...]:

Sticking to fluid lines is what works best for Pippa; shapeless, too loose designs and overly flaring skirts make her look disproportionate again, as the below show:

Another lesson to learn from Pippa concerns coats. Just like with dresses, she looks best in coats that highlight the waist but do not flare out too much and are neither too long nor too short. Compare the two columns to see the difference - isn't the first set much better?

Finally, although Pippa has clearly mastered what works for her when it comes to clothes, her footwear preferences still leave some room for improvement. Too high or loose ankle boots often fail to work even for her slim figure and the same applies to flat boots - they may work with short hemlines but not with everything.

I am leaving you with a few of Pippa's particularly well picked outfits for an ultimate fashion inspiration. The scoop neck dress and the stripe dress worn with low-strapped shoes are simple but amazingly flattering; the two long dresses are fit for royalty [pun intended :)]; and the wonderfully cut coats are worth swooning over. Well done Pippa!