Style Analysis for Ruth

posted in: Style advice | 7

I have previously tried to do a colour analysis virtually but found it very hard. I thought I would try an online style analysis for Ruth. I know Ruth through Artisans’ Square, where she is very active and engaged. Like me, she enjoys  the Sewing with a Plan contests. Hello Ruth!

Here is Ruth’s ambition:

“I would like to nudge my sewing more in the direction of fabulous things I want to wear rather than easy things that are quick to sew.”

Ruth Critchley
Hello Ruth!


Ruth works in IT, lives in a lovely home in the North of England and is in her early 40s. She has generously allowed me to use some photographs from her own blog so we can attempt a virtual style analysis. Today I will analyse Ruth’s figure. I will provide specific advice tomorrow.

Ruth tells me her best features are:

  • pink lips/smile
  • striking blue-green eyes
  • hands/wrists/lower arms
  • curve at the back waist out to the fuller hip
  • round derriere
  • good shoulders
  • wavy brown hair

Here is another set from SWAP 2012.

As you will have seen by now Ruth is a very accomplished seamstress.  She loves putting together a coordinated wardrobe and she likes some fairly dramatic flourishes. She wants her clothes to be comfortable and wearable but she is not afraid of bold colour or experimentation.

So let’s see if we can carry out a style analysis, virtually.  I have had relied on photos on Ruth’s website, and she has given me a few measurements. I offer this up this “virtual analysis” as something which may be of interest and hopefully fun. For myself I was interested to see how much could be done without meeting the person in the flesh. However, this approach will never be as accurate or full as a proper two-hour consultation with a trained style advisor. If you want to know what styles would suit you best, and really go through everything in detail from swimsuits to sunglasses, please consult a trained professional (me, or someone from First Impressions).

Wardrobe personality

I have covered the wardrobe personalities here. So let’s start by trying to determine which suits Ruth the best? What do you think?

  • Classic
  • Dramatic
  • Romantic
  • Natural
  • Gamine

Ruth, having read lots of style books, put herself down as a Natural, with Dramatic qualities.

Now I don’t think Ruth is a Natural. Ruth loves clothes and has a strong commitment to looking her best, although comfort is high on her list of requirements. A true Natural doesn’t really care what they wear and will feel comfortable in hiking gear or jeans and a sloppy sweater. What Ruth definitely is not, is a Romantic – she actively dislikes bows, hearts, frills and flounces. So overall I think Ruth is a fairly conservative and Classic dresser who is looking for some Drama in her wardrobe – she is keen to wear jewellery, hats and colour – but as she notes within a professional environment it needs to be done really well to avoid looking a bit OTT.

Body shape

As Ruth notes above she has a definite curve at her lower back and a fullish derriere. But she has a fairly straight look from the front. So I think her body shape is semi-straight. Ruth’s shoulders don’t slope and have a squarish outline. However they are rounded forward, and her head is also set a little forward and this combined with a slight curve at the upper back makes her spine appear to have a definite S shape. Her lower back goes in – a classic “sway back”. I would say that Ruth’s shoulders are very slightly wider than her hips, which is pretty ideal, and makes her figure look balanced.

Ruth’s has a shapely, but relatively modest, bust.

Women with a semi-straight silhouette tend to gain weight across all areas meaning it can be hard to disguise weight gain.  Ruth is most concerned about having too much bulk at the waistline and plans to address this. Certainly the use of a belt or a tie in the hollow of the waist can make the slightly fuller tummy appear slimmer.

Ruth has a good, round bottom and longish legs that means she looks great in trousers. Trousers are probably her best look. They can be formal and tailored for work, jeans or casual styles for the weekends. Here are a well-fitting pair she made earlier  from a Burda pattern.

Hand made Burda trousers
Ruth in Burda pants

Overall with the semi-straight silhouette Ruth should go for slightly fitted styles avoiding the extremes of either the straight or shaped figure. I will elaborate this in my next post.

Face shape

Ruth’s face shape is fairly round with quite a lot of curves – for example her shaped lip line, and her cheeks and chin have a definite curve to them. This is not an angular face, although her jaw is squarish, but it is as wide as it is long. Consequently the longer, looser hair styles with a side parting are much more flattering than the pulled back look with a straight fringe.


Ruth is a UK s14-16, and  5′ 5″ tall. So she will suit medium to large-scale patterns. She has already worked this out for herself, and as you can see from the pictures above, Ruth choses wider belts, larger prints and jewellery.


In terms of proportions Ruth has nice long legs, with a relatively short upper body. When we choose clothes that make us appear to be “in proportion” we need to get the horizontals in the right place to help create a balanced figure. And in order to appear taller and slimmer we want to avoid the horizontal lines in our outfits cutting across our body at it’s widest point.

Ruth often chooses a long jacket over a long skirt. While this look is OK for her proportions a longer top or jacket over a short skirt will be more flattering. The two looks she wants to avoid are a short top over a short skirt, or a short top over long skirt/trousers. For the same reason she should usually wear her tops out over her skirt or trousers, rather than tucked in at the waist.


Well that is what I observe and deduce from a few measurements.

I will produce some suggestions on the style and fashion looks that should work well for Ruth tomorrow. This will help her identify the “fabulous things” she wants to make for herself.

Any thoughts from anyone else?

7 Responses

  1. Jay

    From the photographs my favourite look is the charcoal grey or black dress top row right with the wide red belt. I think the fitted top to this dress, balanced by the calf length skirt work well.

  2. Stephanie

    Not only does Ruth convey that she is an accomplished seamstress, but she seems like a fun person, too. I love her hair. I also like the looks in the dresses in the top row of her SWAP 2012 and especially like the culotte-length pants in the top row. I am having a difficult time discerning her colouring exactly from the photos (I know it’s described, but I can’t get a feeling of what other colours would be nice on her). I can definitely imagine a nice shift dress on Ruth, finishing at about the knee, to show off her legs! I wonder if a softly draping neckline with more of a boat shape would be nice on Ruth.

  3. Jennifer

    Ooops, I saw the finished post before this one. Nice project, and I love the way you work together to get her figure and style all “figured out”. She is lucky to have long legs!

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