Finding the right outfit to wear when you’re a plus-sized beauty can be a bit of a challenge at times. You want to look good and celebrate your shape, whether you’re planning on losing weight, or whether you believe you’re fine just as you are. But the messages that you receive from magazines regarding how to dress your curves are sometimes conflicting: Don’t wear stripes! Wear vertical stripes! Avoid color! Embrace color! It can all feel very overwhelming, and leave you in a muddled heap at the bottom of your closet.
Check out the tips below to cut through the noise and figure out what it takes to show off your best assets and to make every day your own personal runway.
There’s no need to look like you’re always in mourning. Yes, everyone knows that black is slimming, and that it can draw the eye in as opposed to out, streamlining your silhouette, but if you wear it every single day of the year, even you’ll start to feel a bit depressed. Don’t be afraid of color! If you’re bottom heavy, play with darker colors for your slacks and skirts like gray, navy, and dark green, to lengthen and slim the lower half of your silhouette. Top your outfit off with textures infused with brighter colors like pinks, oranges or pale greens. Allow the dark colors to slim the areas that need it, and let the brighter colors to act like peacock plume and show off your assets.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it
Celebrate your best assets. If you’re proud of your bosom, wear tops that accentuate those curves. You can wear a pretty V-neck blouse that draws attention to your cleavage without throwing it out on the table. You don’t want vulgar, you want vivacious. Classy, not trashy. If you’ve got a tiny waist, belt it up to show it off. By the same token, don’t wear things that don’t fit well, or that make you the target of ridicule. There’s a fine line between confidence and hubris.
Before you recoil in horror at the thought, many women endowed with curves are stunned at what a simple, wide belt can do to slim them down and show off the goods. Many women think that a wide belt will cut them in half, and will choose to wear a shirt that falls straight up and down. The problem with that is that many plus sized shirts and dresses make you look bigger when you where them “as is.” There’s no real shape to them, and you end up looking like you’re wearing a well-designed bed sheet. A wide, belt wrapped around the waist draws the eye in, accentuating a tiny waist if you have one, and making a tiny waist if you don’t. Pair it with a pair of funky leggings and some knee-high boots, and no one will be able to get a word in because your fab outfit will be doing all the talking.
Wear the right sized bra!
This is CRITICAL for the plus-sized woman, especially if she’s top heavy. And it’s not just because the wrong size bra looks absolutely horrible and makes you look like you have a giant Tootsie Roll strapped across your chest. It’s because the wrong sized bra can make it impossible to fit certain tops and dresses. You’ve probably noticed that with certain bras, you can button up your favorite top while with other bras, you can’t get it past your belly button. It’s all due to the way your girls are held in place. It’s totally worth it going to a specialty lingerie shop and having your chest measured so that number one, you’re comfortable and not giving yourself early breast sag, and number two, so that your tops and dresses look flawless.
Speaking of undergarments…
Invest in a couple of good quality support garments. Erase those images of Grandma’s giant tan girdle from your mind because there’s a whole new world out there in the support garment game. They’re known by many names, including compression garments, body shapers, shapewear, etc. The one thing they all have in common is that they are intended to help slim and shape your tummy, hips, thighs, behind, or entire body. These garments, from companies like Ardyss and Spanx, function by holding in (compressing) the problem areas of your body to help you fit into your clothes better. When you wear that sexy, black jersey dress, you won’t have to worry about the potbelly that you’re still working on eliminating, poking through the fabric.
Shed the oversized clothing
It may feel completely freeing to wear wide, loose-flowing clothing. Your thinking is that you’re hiding your lumps and bumps while being able to walk freely and unrestricted. You probably even get these large, flowing outfits in pretty colors, right? A fuchsia or a bright orange? Yes? Well, stop it. It’s not working. Shapeless, oversized, cloak-like clothing makes you look like you’re wearing a tablecloth or a sheet. Of course you feel great because nothing’s “holding you down” but you actually end up looking larger. And while we’re on the subject, buying clothes in a size larger than you are doesn’t make you look slimmer. It has the same effect as the muumuu, and just makes you look larger. It’s not fitted anywhere on your body so it hangs loose.
Find clothing that drapes your body correctly by following the line of your curves, gently laying against them. These garments follow the lines of your body instead of creating a wide, shapeless silhouette.