Don’t let size be an excuse not to look fabulous!
One of my favorite sayings is “Style has no size.” The “average” American woman today is size 14. So, I’m above average! I won’t lie and say I’m comfortable at this size, but I will not let “size” be an excuse not to look fabulous! Make no mistake, it is not an easy task. It does take more time, energy and commitment to dress my size 16 body than it did when I was a size 10 (for those three days. Lol.)
To make this more complicated, I am a regular or “Missy” size 16, not “Women’s” or plus-size 16. What’s the difference? Where I can shop and how the clothes fit! It would actually be easier for me to gain 10 more pounds so I could shop in the Women’s department and buy size 16W or 1Xs. Curvy style bloggers refer to women in my size category as “inbetweenies” — in between true Missy sizes and not quite Plus.
This post is dedicated to all inbetweenies and plus-size ladies who want to look fabulous at any size. I have compiled my tried and true style tips and secrets just for you.
No matter what your size, fit is key. For women size 14+ this can be more challenging, but not impossible. A tailor will be your best friend. (I sound like a broken record when I say that, but it’s true.) Don’t make the mistake of wearing over-sized or baggy clothes thinking it will hide the curves. In reality, it just adds pounds.
This effect is also compounded by the fact that the cut of plus-size clothing can be shapeless. It drives me crazy that clothing manufacturers think that once you wear a certain size you lose your waist entirely. Okay, so we may have less of a waist, but we need that definition even more. So, if a garment fits you in the shoulders and bust have the waist nipped in by the tailor to create a waist.
On the flip-side, clothes that are too tight not only look bad (and put you in a bad mood all day), but will also make you look heavier. Going up a size will actually make you look slimmer.
Understand your body-type
Not all plus-size women share the same body-type. (Something clothing manufacturers are just now catching on to!) By understanding what areas you’d like to accentuate versus those you’d prefer to minimize, you can achieve your desired look. Do you carry your weight up top (i.e., are you blessed with cups runneth over?) around the middle, or in the hips and derriere? Your goal is to achieve an “hourglass shape” by balancing your top half (waist to shoulders) and your bottom half (waist to hips.) and defining your waist. Through the use of clothing, cut and color, we try to create the illusion of an hourglass shape where one may not exist naturally.
Keep these simple rules in mind when trying to create balance.
To accentuate the positive use:
- Light/bright colors in your clothing or accessories.
- Large/bold patterns
- Textured fabrics
- Shiny fabrics
- Embellishment, ruffles and other details
- Show some skin. For example, a strong vertical V neckline is great for elongating the neck area and drawing attention to the face.
To minimize or de-emphasize use:
- Dark-color clothing. Black is not the only color to work. Any dark color or a monochromatic head-to-toe look will make you appear slimmer.
- Small/muted/no pattern.
- Smooth fabric.
- Matte finish.
To look slimmer and taller overall, create a strong vertical line by the cut or pattern of the clothing or strategically use color-blocking. Of course, one of the easiest ways to look taller and slimmer is good posture. Stand up straight!
Accessories are a girl’s best friend
I find that when the number on the scale goes up, so does the number of shoes, jewelry, scarves and handbags in my closet! Accessories always fit. Let’s face it, we may have fewer clothing options, so accessories are great way to add personality and variety to our wardrobe. Unlike our petite sisters, we can wear our accessories big and bold. When it comes to necklaces, make sure the length is long enough so it is comfortable. I find the standard 16″ necklace too short for me. So, I either add a necklace extender (available at QVC.com) or look for necklaces at least 18″ long. Long necklaces also help create a long vertical line. However, if you are busty, long necklaces will accentuate that fact.
Create a uniform
As a kid, I hated my school uniform. The only two detentions I received at school were for dress code violations where I tried to personalize my look…a little too far. I am not suggesting you wear the same thing every day, but that you identify the style that works best for you and build your wardrobe around these silhouettes. For example, your casual look could be a pair of dark wash jeans, a v-neck tee shirt, a structured, one-button blazer, scarf and booties. Wash and repeat. Create your go-to uniforms for the various roles or occasions in your life.
Plan your wardrobe purchases to get the most “mix-and match” options and avoid buying one-off pieces unless they coordinate with other items in your closet. If you find jeans or pants that look great on you and fit, buy more than one pair or a pair in a different color. Be aware of the different lines or cuts of clothing certain retailers offer and how they fit on you so you can make buy decisions easier the next time. This is particularly important if you are ordering on-line (a must for inbetweenies looking for size 16s or 18s and plus-size options).
It’s no secret that designers and retailers do not have consistent sizing, so don’t obsess about the size on the tag. Especially for inbetweenies, don’t limit yourself to just the Missy department. Cross-shop in the Women’s department as well. (And vice-versa.)
Wow! This post got a lot longer than I expected. So, I’ll continue next month with my favorite places on WHERE to shop for great size 14+ options and the key items that you need in your closet. Of course, you don’t have to do this alone! Please contact me if I can guide you through this process.