It doesn’t matter if you are svelte or curvy, tall or short, or whether you shop in Primark or Prada – or anything in between – you can look as good as you want to look with your clothes on.
These are a few tips I have learnt over the years:
Know, understand, and accept your body shape
I have a curvy hourglass figure – big boobs, small waist, big hips and ‘shapely’ tum and bum. I’m 5′ 4″ tall.
Through much trial and error, I have learnt that the things that suit me best are dresses and skirts that skim my figure, and show my waist. Best avoided are trousers, and baggy clothes, which can make me look much bigger than I am.
Length wise, hemlines that sit just on the knee are best for me – midi makes me look frumpy, maxi makes me look as though I am a five year old who has raided my mum’s wardrobe, and mini – well, I just don’t have the legs for minis!
You can lose weight and gain weight, but overall you are likely to remain more or less the same body shape (and you have little chance of changing your height). Knowing what is best for my body shape means I can make a beeline for certain items, saving time as well as hassle in the changing room, making shopping a bit less stressful.
Save time and stress by making a beeline for the shops that best suit your shape
I tend to frequent the shops that make clothes that best suit my body shape. Sizes can fluctuate between stores and brands – I might be a comfortable 14 in one shop, yet can barely squeeze in to an 18 in another. I know the size on the label shouldn’t matter, but I much prefer being able to know what is going to fit and flatter me. White Stuff is a particular favourite of mine – their fun prints and feminine cuts perfectly complement my style (it’s worth adding yourself to their mailing list so you can take advantage of the regular sales).
Good old M&S and Next are my go-to places for basics like jeggings, and camisole vests (perfect for layering for warmth and/or a pop of colour, and for modesty under low cut tops and dresses).
Know the style that suits you best…but it’s always worth trying other styles
That said, I’ve tried on dresses that ‘should’ flatter me but the way they are cut makes my hips look huge. I have a couple of tunics that are particular favourites in my wardrobe that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t given them a go – despite being mainly straight in style, the cut makes them flattering for my figure.
It’s a similar story with jeggings. I’d dismissed them thinking they’d never suit me, but they are ideal under tunics and dresses – they’ve barely left my legs all winter!
Find your own style, don’t follow fashion
This point could also be called ‘just because it’s fashionable, it doesn’t mean you have to wear it!’. If a fashion doesn’t suit your shape, you’re not going to feel good in it.
It’s far better to find your own style, something that evolves with you, and is not dictated by the season’s trends. That way, you will probably find you have a few more pennies to spend on a couple of good quality pieces that will last for years and suit many occasions – those items that the magazines talk about as being the ‘basis of your wardrobe’.
My favourite colours are purple, pink, blue, and yellow. I love vibrant shades in preference to dark shades, and wearing brights can really help lift my mood a little.
For years, the received wisdom has been that black is the most slimming colour. I disagree. It is still possible for your all-black outfit to be unflattering if the shape doesn’t suit you – say if it’s too baggy, or too tight.
I would argue that a brightly-coloured garment, perhaps with a print that complements your style, and in a cut that is right for your body shape is infinitely more slimming than black.
It can feel easier to wear something that is unlikely to attract attention if you lack body confidence. I do understand, I’ve been there.
Don’t be frightened of colour and print.
Scarves are a good way to experiment with colour. Scarves are usually inexpensive – I love Ella Bella scarves – there are loads of different prints and colours, and you will get change from a tenner. I swear by scarves the way other women swear by red lipstick, to brighten yourself up and make it look like you’ve made an effort when you’re short on time or just can’t be bothered.
I also love coloured opaque tights, they’re a fab way of brightening up an outfit. When worn with something like a denim skirt, they can be a great way of experimenting with adding a pop of colour to your outfit.
Coloured nail polish and statement necklaces can also add colour – just give it a go!
Well, bras in particular. While a supportive bra is vital for big busted women to help keep your boobs perky, boobs of any size look their best when they are housed in the right size bra.
I had a proper bra fitting for the first time in years a few months ago and was astonished to find I was wearing completely the wrong size. The difference the right size made was incredible – my boobs looked so much perkier, and my waist looked smaller as the result of a wonderful optical illusion.
It’s not just the right size bra that is important, but the right shape, too. Just like clothes, different shapes and different brands flatter and fit different people differently. When I had my fitting, I tried on a range of brands in the same shape, and found that Freya was best for me (they’re great for larger cups because they are supportive while being pretty – no over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders like I had to endure in my youth!).
A good bra can be painful on the purse, so it’s worth shopping around online – they’re often a bit cheaper than in the shops. Once you’ve found a site you like, consider signing up with them so you get notifications of sales so you can get some bargains.
So, here you go – do you have any tips to share?