Swimsuits for Body Shapes

The biggest hurdle in paying attention to body shapes when you are buying a swimsuit is a simple one. It is one or two pieces of skin tight fabric on your body. No fabric too pleat, pad, or arrange to create dimension and line. So….it becomes all visual work – lines draw your eyes and different colors of fabric that divide the body. There is some variation of cut that will emphasis or deemphasize the shape. Lets dive into it.

For The Earth Goddess (aka apple body shape)

Start with a base of black (always good as black appears smaller and further away) and add moving blocks and lines of color on the outer edges

Earth Goddess thirds

You may occasionally be able to find a swimsuit with layers of fabric. Then use the tried and true rule of thirds and divide the torso vertically into thirds.

earth goddess layers

If you just aren’t in the mood for black, go ahead and use a bright color and color block. Just be sure that the center block is long and narrow and draws the eye up rather than across.

earth goddess blocking

There are a couple additional ideas on my Pinterest page Earth Goddess Swimsuits

For the Sassy Gal (aka inverted triangle body shape)

Your goal in selecting a swimsuit is to divide and break up your upper torso and keep the eyes moving all over your body rather than focusing on your bust and shoulders. An easy way to do that is with a halter style neckline.

SassyGal halter

Another neckline that will do the job just as well is the deep v neckline. It does not have to be a deep as this one as long as it emphasizes the deep v.

Sassy Gal deep v

You can also play with color. Use two colors in the suit and keep the darker or more brilliant color on the bottom with a more muted color on the top. This will help balance your torso.



Take a look at a few more on my Pinterest page Sassy Gal Swimsuits

For the Lady of Movement (aka rectangle body shape)

You can have the most fun with swimsuits of all the bodyshapes. They were made for you!

Go all out for suits that tie and wrap you in a multitude of ways!

Lady of Movement all wrapped up

Or select a beautiful cutout that moves in and out, creating an hourglass shape right on your torso.

Lady of Movement Cutout

If you are going for a look with less exposed skin, use visual lines to create that movement around your body.

Lady of Movement Lines

Bikinis will work for you as well. Just keep them very lively and graphic.

Lady of Movement Graphics

There are yet more examples on my Pinterest page Lady of Movement Swimsuits

 For the Lady Dive (aka hourglass body shape)

Keep that hourglass going with the cut of your swimsuit.
Lady of Movement Cutout

Emphasizing the curve of your bust is all that is needed in a skin tight swimsuit to accentuate that hourglass shape.

Lady Diva Sweetheart

For your body shape even the most basic suit will look good. No way to inadvertently hide those curves!

LadyDiva bodycling

Check out my Pinterest page Lady Diva Swimsuits for more ideas.

For the Lady Peacock (aka pear body shape)

Make good use of color blocking in your suit. Remember – draw the world’s attention to your head and shoulders. With no extra material to use – color can do it!

Lady Peacock Color Block

Like with other outfits, look for wide horizontal necklines in your suit. They can be gorgeous on you.

Lady Peacock Wide Neckline

If you want to go with a bikini then do it. Again like everything else, put all the action up top. Grab a bikini with fun extra in the upper piece.

Lady Peacock bikini

Some more fun ideas for swimsuits on my Pinterest page Lady Peacock Swimsuits

More Info

For a better understanding of your body shape visit What is All This About Bodyshapes? on my website IstinaDesign . To determine what your body shape is check out my Find Your Bodyshape. Then over to my Shop that is displayed by bodyshapes!


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Spring Fashion Trends – per Glamour Mag

On The Pulse of the Fashion World

Glamour magazine came out with some fashion trends for this spring. Some I can relate to and totally see this spring. A few left me scratching my head. What you think?


Black and White Dressing

This is a NEW trend?!! And only for spring?!? This is almost a basic in many of our wardrobes. Almost all of us have at least one in our closet and many of us revolve our whole wardrobe around the theme.

Lady of Movements can use the combo to create the movement that makes them look so good. Lady Peacocks can use the combo to highlight their shoulders and bust. An Earth Goddess can use the combo to divide her ensemble into beautiful vertical thirds. A Sassy Gal can use it to add weight to her bottom to offset her bust and shoulders and use it to breakup her torso. The lady Diva revels in it to enhance her hourglass shape.

It is a tried and true fashion statement. How is it NEW FOR SPING??

gingham 2015


I’m so sorry to see this on the fashion runways. It looks like a test garment that I would make for a client to see that the outfit is hanging straight on her and there are no fit problems – while on my way to creating a beautiful custom suit of an entirely different material. There is a place for gingham in fashion – casual blouses, funny pinafores, and the perennial cowboy shirt. In a high style business suit it looks wrinkled and unfinished.

shirtdresses 2015


This is one style I am delighted to see returning this spring. They are very comfortable for our busy lifestyles and let us reconnect to the beautiful weather that is returning (or soon to return for some of you!). Any body shape can find a shirtdress style that enhances their particular shape.

This trend is a great one and spot on for spring.

culottes 2015


This is another great trend for spring but hardly a new one.

Not every body shape can get away with wearing them. They are not the best for Lady Peacocks or Earth Goddesses. You look best with length in your slacks and the lower part of your figure.

What I don’t understand is why they have to pose the models in such clumsy ways to make culottes look klutzy!



Ok! Here is one ‘trend for spring’ that I totally don’t understand!

How is wearing an apron of another color and style over your elegant dress making it more fashionable? This is one style I hope hits the trash can before making it to market.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of the upcoming spring trends? Is there a great one on the cusp that I missed?

Check out my styles at my Shop on Istina Design and find what looks good for your particular Bodyshape.





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Have a Merry Merry Christmas


custom created Griswold Christmas hat

Merry Christmas!

To all my readers – have a very Merry Christmas or Winter holiday! Take some time to appreciate life and indulge yourself!

You are an innately beautiful person and how the world responds to you depends entirely on how you present yourself to the world. Love the world and it will love you back.


Check back with IstinaDesign after the holidays when you are preparing for the new year and deciding how you want to present yourself in the coming months. Check out my BodyShape Calculator to see what BodyShape you are. Then check out the Shop.  I will be offering a 20% discount to all my readers with the code MerryIstina on anything in my Shop.

{If I end up too busy enjoying and celebrating life and don’t have the coupon widget setup on my site by then just email me and let me know that you have ordered something and you have the code and I will do a refund at my end of the discount total.}

Your Own Unique Santa Hat?

If you would like your own custom Santa hat for next year Contact me and I can create your own unique version!

Merry Christmas!!!!

P.S. I will be adding several new garments to the Shop.


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Coats for All Shapes, Body Shapes that is.

5 body shapes and the right coat

Coats for body shapes

Winter is Here!

Winter is here now and most of us are spending a large part of our lives in coats.

Now that you understand your body shape the next question is “What is the best coat for me?”. Here are the five basic shapes and the best coat silhouette each one.

Sassy Gal (aka inverted triangle) Body Shape

Your broad shoulders give you a great natural posture and make coats look great on you. The object is to create more of a curvy silhouette. Choose a fitted and belted jacket. Big flap hip pockets add to the look you are going for. Don’t get carried away with fancy or oversized collars – stay classical. Going with a small check pattern will also draw attention away from the shoulders and add to the overall look you want.

Lady Diva (aka hourglass) Body Shape

You have the shape everyone is going for just don’t lose it in the bulkiness of the coat. Keep the coat a fitted one with a v necked collar. Emphasize the v neck and wear your coat with the collar button open – use a scarf to keep your neck warm. You can sport the hip pockets and wide collar – just as long as the waist is fitted snugly. Don’t chop yourself in half with a tie belt. It will trash your silhouette. If you wear a belt make it a buckled one over a fitted coat.

Earth Goddess (aka apple) Body Shape

If it is warm enough you can still employ the Rule of Thirds and leave your coat open down the front. Otherwise, look for a coat that has a pattern or design going down the center front of the coat (perhaps even around the neck in a shawl collar. Keep the elements simple and steer away from big lapels – a lapel less duster style coat works best on you. Add a long scarf hanging around your neck and traveling down your center front to break up your torso into those thirds. You can sport simple beautifully

Lady Peacock (aka pear) Body Shape

Like everything else in your wardrobe, you along can play with all the unique and different collars and lapels around. The funnel shaped collar is carried off best by you as are huge lapels and double ones. Wear all the scarves in all their unique ways that you want. With all your focus on the face and shoulders just let the coat skim your waist and hips and fall smoothly.

Lady of Movement (aka rectangle) Body Shape

Like the rest of your ensembles, keep it flowing. Your shape handles belted coats the best – letting the material puff out above and below the belting. Add hip pockets and dynamic lapels and you are set. Because you are usually tall for your size the three quarter length coat is best for you and keeps you in proportion.

Above all, buy a coat you love and feel great in! Dress to your likes and not to our shoulds and, above all,  have fun!



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Tis the Season: For that “unique sweater”!

Christmas dressing

Tis the season to wear those garments in your closet that celebrate the season – that snowman sweater, those holly berry earring, or that snowflake headband. And we should – life is to be enjoyed and they are fun. Having said that, when putting together an ensemble with one of these garments restraint is best.


Editing your ensemble will turn it from a caricature seen in the comic strips to a fun loving lively ensemble celebrating the season. That fancy word from the world of designers and wardrobe consultants means simply looking at the entire ensemble and selecting and using dramatic elements with a gentle hand – not overdoing it. If you wear that snowman sweater then leave off the holly berry earrings and the snowflake headband. If you want to wear the holly berry earrings then accompany them with the snowflake headband but not the sweater.

Editing will heighten the effect

Editing, or the use of restraint will actually heighten the effect of your statement piece and give the ensemble more pizzazz that using all the elements would. This is true for all the body shapes what ever they are. Too much is NOT a good thing.

To learn more about body shapes check out some of my other blogs on my website, Istina Design.

Enjoy the season. Live life with gusto. Make a statement in your clothes with a well defined and edited zing.


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Halloween Costumes? No Sweat!!





I thought I would take a break from fashion advice to delve into something seasonal – Halloween. After taking a short trip down memory lane and the costumes we came up with when my kids were young, I took a look around the current supply of costumes generally available. As usual, they are all the same with little imagination and very one dimensional. Lets liven up life.

With a sewing machine and the most basic of sewing experience just about any costumes for small children is incredibly easy. With Halloween right around the corner, I, of course, got asked and decided to take a fun break to fulfill the costume request of a young family member. Thought it would be fun to put this DIY project in the blog.


Temporary Use

Remember, this costumes are for temporary use, doesn’t have to be perfect to create the desired effect, and only needs the most basic of fitting. (I used 2 measurements to create the requested costume.). And the thrill of a child of having such a fantasy fulfilled where they can dive into a world of their imagination makes the time constructing the costume seem insignificant. It will become a fond memory for both of you.

With the massive amounts of information available on the Internet now, it has never been easier to get ideas and how-to help from the elaborate to the most basic. If you can’t seem to find something within your skill set just keep browsing.

Two Truths

Certain truths apply to whatever creature your little one wants to be.
1st-Felt is the fabric of choice. Anything that needs any amount of body (firmness) and doesn’t need to float or flutter can be made of felt. It is easy to sew.It does NOT need to be hemmed. It does NOT ravel. It can be stitched with seams showing or not. (If seams are on the outside, just trim the felt to an 1/8” outside the seam).
2nd-Simple is best. As long as the costume has the major feature of the creature – in my case, gaping red mouth and white shark teeth – it will be more than sufficient for little ones.


So when my grandson decided after Shark Week that he absolutely HAD to be a shark for Halloween, I took to the net.

After hunting for about 30 minutes and wandering through dozens of DIY solutions here is the pattern and directions I settled on:



Substituting grey felt for the grey “material” gave the costume much more body and durability.

Red felt for the mouth.

white felt for the teeth completed my purchase.



Construction – Mistakes are the Greatest Discoveries!

Biggest hurdle in the construction was making, turning and stuffing the fins. Even those don’t have to be accurate just a good resemblance. Just don’t overstuff.

Before stitching the sides together I glued on the red mouth and cut and glued teeth to the ‘face’ of the shark.

I did do some additional measuring to see what size to make the oval for the face opening. Before actually cutting it out of the costume, I cut it out of a piece of paper to be sure it was the right size. I started small and kept trimming until it was large enough. Even then it came out a little large. I was upset by the he wasn’t. He quickly discovered he could wear it with his head and one arm through the too large opening and become a kid being eaten by a shark. Small mistake turned into a big plus!!

The directions called for making a pillow to strap to his head to make the point of the shark sit higher than his head. That seemed rough for an nine year old to manage so I changed the pattern and made a ‘mouth’ attached to the top of the face opening and creating a pocket for his head. Problem solved. His head fit right into the pocket and the shark stood tall.

Eyes glued on – no way. Purchased eyes worked better and were put on days later.

Have Fun

The entire costume cost a grand total of $20 and took me a Sunday afternoon to make. Give yourself plenty of time – even a number of days and above all – HAVE FUN. Perfection is an adult ailment. The love of a child for his or hers heart’s desire is a blessing to the world.


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Trunk Shows

To avoid the major markup that retail stores have to impose on clothing to cover the cost of retail I am using a different way to get my clothing to you - in home trunk shows. Invite a few of your [...]

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