Retro Rerun: Dressing to Suit Your Figure

| Jan 30, 2017
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Roberta Angela Dee

By Roberta Angela Dee

Don’t worry about what size you take or how much you weigh. The shape of your body is more important to how you look in your clothes than the number on the label.

Are you petite but heavy, pear-shaped, or big and tall? Defining your body’s silhouette is the first step in helping to develop your own sense of style. No matter what your shape, or what shape it’s in, you can enhance your figure and balance your proportions with the right wardrobe.

Generally, large-framed women look better in loose-fitting styles. Smaller-boned women look better in neat-fitting clothes.

Unlike most smaller women, tall women can hold their own in strong patterns and textures. Wearing clothes that fit and flatter will help you to look and feel terrific, even if you’re not a perfect 10.

To determine your basic shape, take an honest look at your physique in a full length mirror while you’re wearing a leotard or bathing suit. Then adapt the following advice to make the most of the assets you have.

Spot Checks for All Shapes:

Large bust: Show off your décolletage with V-necks and open collars but keep to semi fitted, fluid styles that don’t bind. Wear a properly fitted bra.

Short neck: Keep hair off the neck. Doing so will add length. Choose small earrings and necklaces that hang below the collarbone; and oblong scarves rather than ascots. Try V or scoop necklines.

Protruding tummy: Try a softly draped skirt, not one cut on the bias. Narrow pants with a front or side closure are a smooth base over which to layer a tunic.

Thick calves, ankles: Choose low-vamp shoes with medium heels. Ankle boots are a great problem solver, especially when teamed with a long, flowing skirt.

Big and Tall Gals:

Valerie Mackie, merchandise manager for clothing retailer Tall Girl (she’s almost six feet tall herself) cautions against buying clothes that are too big in order to get extra length. “More than those with petite frames, big and tall women must buy the best quality they can afford in order to get the generous cut they need.”

Simplicity is key in dressing this body type: frills and furbelows should give way to elegant, uncluttered designs, which are the most flattering to this silhouette.

Tall Girl recommends that accessories for big and bold body types be on a larger scale. An eye-catching belt is one great option. But if your bust is ample, a narrow belt may be your best bet. Mackie also points out that tall women can take more liberties mixing prints and colors since they don’t need to be concerned about emphasizing vertical lines.

Flowing mid-calf-length skirts compliment a large, angular frame, as does layering, but avoid heavy or bulky pieces. A tall woman’s best revenge is that she has what it takes to show off a pair of cuffed trousers with the style and panache of Katharine Hepburn.

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Category: Style, Transgender Fashion


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