I’ve lost count of how many times my parents must have called me out on my slouchy posture as a child. In fact, my dad still asks me to sit straight (if and when he catches me lazing away on the couch). While I may have hated this when I was younger, I’m immensely grateful to them now – after all, having the correct posture can do wonders for your confidence, your personality, and most importantly, your health!
The strict, shoulders-back military position might be something we all conformed to in front of our parents and teachers, but let’s admit it, the minute we were alone, we all went back to the spine-injuring slump. It’s quite unfortunate that many girls and women turn to this posture to camouflage their large bust or tall height, however what they actually end up conveying to the world is that they are insecure and awkward. On the other hand, the well-positioned shoulder proudly tells everyone that you’re a confident, secure individual – not a weak pushover.
Obviously, the age-old “put your shoulders back” rule isn’t very helpful, so what exactly should one do to fix their posture? I came across a few tips by the man who always knows how to “make it work”, why Tim Gunn of course! The pointers I found in his book are so relevant for day-to-day life that I couldn’t resist the idea of sharing them with you all! Here goes:
1. You can sail through life with a limber body if you simply focus on remembering one simple rule – pull your shoulders away from your ears so your collarbone can be as open as possible, without thrusting your chest forward. You don’t need to beat yourself up about pinning your shoulder blades back and together.
2. There is a book called “Your Carriage, Madam” by Janet Lane, which was published in 1934. Ms. Lane suggested that good posture requires the proper alignment of the pelvis. One way to do this is by imagining that you are slipping between two tables at a crowded restaurant. Your instinct would immediately make you tuck your bottom under and draw your navel into the spine – the proper position for your pelvis. This slight pelvic tilt known as the “bistro position” resembles the popular “scooped” position of pilates, which not only keeps your bottom from jutting out, but also flattens your stomach. The best part is when you sit in this posture, your backbone comes in contact with the chair, thus automatically bringing your shoulders to relax and your head to rest lightly on your neck – a boon for those who work long hours at a desk job!
3. Waddling like a platypus can be extremely detrimental to your health. This is something we all do unknowingly, especially when we’re wearing flip-flops, as that’s when our feet feel free and escape their appropriate parallel position. You must be wondering how can there be a wrong or right way to walk. Before I confuse you any further, let me break it down for you. Try this exercise: stand up and lift your leg from the thigh, NOT from the hip. Now notice what position you find yourself in. Are you leaning forward? Do you look crooked or slouched? Focus on bringing your raised shoulders and popping hips back into line. Do this in front of a mirror so you know what you’re doing! Once you have examined yourself, take a few steps with your pelvis in the bistro position, shoulders relaxed, feet parallel, and head perfectly balanced on the neck. Sometimes, heads have a habit of drifting forward before the rest of your body – keep a check on that and bring yours back in line.
4. Another thing to remember is watching your walk in flip-flops and heels. As mentioned in the previous point, flip-flops can make you waddle and do very unflattering things to your hips. Be on the safe side and get those feet in line.
Coming to high heels, it’s generally better to avoid taking huge strides in them. As Tim Gunn says, “Wearing high heels comes with responsibility”. Running in stilettos will not help your calf muscles or give you the desired curves that come from wearing heels. Instead, carry a pair of ballet flats or slip-on sneakers in your bag and change into your gorgeous heels once you reach your destination.
Mastering the perfect posture isn’t impossible – it does require patience though. One way to do this is to evaluate your posture whenever you check the time. Do a quick once-over: Shoulders down? Collarbone wide? Pelvis slightly tucked? You won’t even realise when it will become second nature! At the end of the day, style is never just about clothes, it’s about the way you carry yourself and move through the world!
For more quality tips and tricks, I suggest you grab a copy of the book “A Guide to Quality, Taste & Style” by Tim Gunn. Keep a pencil in hand while reading this one; trust me, you’ll want to underline key points!