Showing posts with label dressing your shape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dressing your shape. Show all posts

Size Vs. Shape: Dressing When You're a Size 4 or 24

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

So get ready, because we're talking sizes today. The good news? I have literally everyone covered here:

One mistake I repeatedly see happening is women who dress for their size, rather than their shape. And it makes me sad, because you have these plus-size women who feel like they have to buy clothes that don't really fit just because of sizing issues.

The problem with that is that by wearing clothes that fit your size – but not really your body – can make you look bigger than you are and mean you miss opportunities to show off some of your best features.

The truth is that you shouldn't be dressing for the number on those pants. Like, ever. Instead, whether you're a 4 or a 24, you should be dressing for your SHAPE. And, since we know that getting dressed is all about balance, you can definitely dress according to your bod no matter what size you are.

Even if you're not a sample size mannequin lady, it doesn't mean you can't have great style. Check out below: I've done two outfits for each shape. On the left is the misses size and the right is plus size. It's pretty clear that both look awesome.

Hourglass Shape

Untitled #243

If your boobs and butt are comparable in size, but your waist is small, congrats! You have a killer balanced silhouette and you don't have to do much. No matter what your pants size, it's all about emphasizing your seriously little waist and showing off whatcha got. Pencil skirts are faaaaaaantastic for this, since they're cut to show off curves (and you probably have ah-mazing legs). I like to add a little softness to my pencil skirts, since they're so structured. Add a heel and you're in Jessica Rabbit territory and I hate your perfect body.

Avoid stuff that is shapeless, please.

Big Bust/Inverted Triangle Shape

shape 4

If your bust is larger than your waist and butt, we call you an inverted triangle. Here's the rule of thumb for you: Volume on the bottom, structured on the top. Adding a trouser or bootleg jean helps balance out your top half, while a V helps make your neck look longer, as long as you put your puppies away around the children. I actually have this misses version of this plus-size top and it's uber flattering. Some definition around the waist also helps avoid that whole tent-like top thing that happens because you were blessed with a hefty chest.

The worst thing you can do with big boobs is to go for skinny jeans and big, blous-y tops. They'll make your top half look bigger than it is.

Pear Shape


Hi, friends. I'm pretty pear shaped (I carry weight in my butt, but have a relatively small waist), so I'm right there with you. And while I don't mind that there are rap songs written about backsides like my own, it's possible to look disproportionate when you're smaller up top. My solution? A-line skirts and a cinchy belt to show off a tiny waist and balance out your bottom. Plus A-line skirts are fun. I also love love love wedges for people like me, because they help balance out a generous booty. Sir Mix-A-Lot would be proud.

While it's totally fine to wear a pencil skirt or skinny jeans, balance it out with a more voluminous top and you're good to go. A stronger shoulder is also really flattering, since it builds out your upper body a bit.

Apple Shape


If you carry your weight in your middle, you get to be named after a delicious piece of fruit and my favorite way to convey peanut butter into my mouth: An apple. Because you tend to be a bit rounder in the middle, structured shirts can look awkward and uncomfortable. Instead, I looooove a wrap dress (and wrap shirts) for apple shapes. The wrap can start at the smallest part of your waist and then flow out so you're not left awkwardly adjusting your dress all night. This creates emphasis at your best spot and camouflages a rounder tummy. Ugh, I just said tummy. I just told my husband that I hate grown women who say "I need to use the potty" and now I'm just as bad.

The worst for apple shapes are tight shift-type dresses and waaay too much layering. Keep it simple and choose clothes that already have interest built-in. Also, mid-rise trouser jeans are definitely your friends.

See? Your size doesn't matter so much as your actual body shape. And while I obviously can't cover every single type of body, keeping balance in mind should help you shop -- whether it's in the misses or the plus-size department.

Because really, who the heck cares about your dress size when you look amazing?


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Hey guys --- I'm off and running on my two-week long adventure of tearing my hair out, but since I'll be squeezing into a swimsuit this weekend, I thought this was a good reminder for all of us!


Have I ever told you guys that I'm terrified of birds? No? OK, I'm telling you now. I hate them. There's something about the way they dart around erratically that makes me nervous. I hate any type of insect or animal that is erratic. Moths make me dry heave.

But do you know what's scarier than birds? Trying on swimsuits, amiright? And it's not like I'm the only one. I think the idea of baring your body to the general public makes nearly every woman break into a cold sweat. Want to know why?


Remember when Jessica Biel did this spread for GQ or Maxim or whatever it was, and everyone was like OMG SHE HAS THE PERFECT BODY!?

I do. I believe she started dating Justin Timberlake shortly after this. Considering her claim to fame was "7th Heaven," it's proof that a magazine spread can do amazing things for your career.

ANYWAY. That picture is exactly what's wrong with every other woman on the planet come June. We have to go to stores with terrible lighting and squeeze into swimsuits made for supermodels and then NOT look like supermodels and then contemplate a liquid diet. It's pretty much the worst ever.

So the other day I finally decided to man up and go swimsuit shopping. I took my kids, loaded my iPhone with movies and took a deep breath. I've been at the gym at least three or four times a week for the past month, so I figured I wouldn't be too horrified with the results. I headed to the store and surveyed the goods. I chose six and disappeared into the fitting rooms. I put "Megamind" on my phone for the kids and started the process.

And wouldn't you know it? I DIDN'T LOOK LIKE JESSICA BIEL.

Now, let's get something straight. Even Jessica Biel doesn't look like Jessica Biel. That is called Photoshop. But I didn't even look like unphotoshopped Jessica. You know who I looked like? Myself.

Me who has carried and delivered three babies. Me who struggles out of bed at 6:30 am every morning to get to the gym to be tortured during Pilates. Me who never says no to butter on her popcorn. Me who can still do cartwheels on the front lawn, much to my husband's chagrin.

So while I stood there in an ill-lit fitting room with two kids and an armful of swimsuits that would not make me look like a supermodel, I felt my attitude soften toward my body in general. It's never going to look like Jessica Biel's. Ever. She has never had kids and therefore has hours per day to work with a personal trainer. And that's totally fine for her. More power to her! But it doesn't mean that I can mope around and feel sorry for myself because I can only squeeze in an hour per day. (However, I do feel sorry for myself that I'm not dating Justin Timberlake. It's a hard knock life, my friend.)

In fact, it put me in an annoyed mindset. I'm annoyed that women have to constantly feel apologetic that they look like THEMSELVES. "Um, sorry for my big thighs and my weird calves and belly pooch." Yesterday I caught myself complaining to my friend about my ribs. MY RIBS. WHO complains about that? It's so "Mean Girls."

I propose that we all get over our crazy swimsuit phobias. I know it's scary to put on very small pieces of stretchy fabric and not look like a Victoria's Secret model, but who cares? Everyone at the beach/pool/lake is so worried about ensuring that the light hits their abs so you can't see their stretch marks that they don't even notice what you're wearing. Unless you're shlubbing around a pool in a T-shirt and shorts. I always notice that. It's like a lighted sign that says "I HATE MY BODY." With a frowny face. Instead, find a suit that you love and that makes you feel good about yourself and stop apologizing. You look fine and maybe even a little confident. My swimsuit-buying advice? Suck it up and stop sucking it in.

You want to know what I bought? A swimsuit with a ruffled top and gold buttons and hardware. I totally wore it boating, despite the fact that my ribs are weird.

Smoke and Mirrors

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So I was driving around with a friend the other day, and we were discussing how we both needed to get into shape because swimming season is like, next month despite the fact that I live on a flipping mountain and I'm fairly sure it will never stop snowing, ever. Anyway, she made a comment about my being in shape and I almost laughed out loud. I know for a fact that my love of Big Macs and Mini Eggs will never allow me to be one of those intimidating hard-bodied workout types. It's just not me.

Still, I workout and *mostly* eat well, but the rest is all done with clothes. I completely believe in the power of clothes to trick the eye and make me look thinner than I really am. Plus, as a teenager, I had two best friends who were impossibly tiny and I still think of myself as the chubby one. I know I'm not chubby, but teenager stuff like that NEVER goes away. So I obsess over smoke and mirrors to get in shape without having to hit the gym. It's all about the instant gratification, baby!

Want my secrets? Ooookay. But first I will point out that anyone who knows me in real life will now know the jig is up and see that I only fake being in shape. Boo.


When I'm feeling a little chubby 'round the old middle, a scarf is the fastest way to bring the eyes up to the face. Plus, it's long enough that it lengthens out the whole torso so everyone wins. Seriously though, it's also the fastest way to look fashionable without doing anything. I wear a scarf when I'm in a white tee and jeans and don't feel like putting anything else together. Skinny and fashion forward? I'll take it! Just look for gauzey scarves. 10 points if it's the color or this one from because I heart it.

Wide Belts

After my second pregnancy, when my body didn't do the old bounceroo back into shape like the first time around, I took to wearing wider belts a lot of the time. And people would be like "Hey, how'd you get into shape so fast?" But really I'd just tucked it all in. Is that gross? Anyway, a wide belt can really camouflage a larger belly AND create a middle when you lack one. The big trick is to ensure that it isn't too tight. Sausage belts are a pet peeve of mine. Let it hug you, not squeeze you. There's a difference. Ask a boa constrictor. (F21)


I wear dresses all. the time. Not only do they make me feel super feminine, but they make me look skinny, so bonus. It's because dresses create a long, uninterrupted line on your body so you look overall leaner. If you really want to go for full skinny potential, look for an a-line dress like this pretty one from Ruche. Add a little cardigan and how cute and svelte are you?

Trickster Shoes

Nude pumps are the equivalent to Bridget Jones' scary granny panties in the sense that they create this glorious illusion that is in no way true. While I have fairly long legs, the rest of me is pretty stumpy (seriously, my arms are so short that I can't touch my toes when stretching. It has nothing to do with flexibility, I swear) but when I put on a pair of nude pumps, I suddenly have these crazy long, slender legs and actually look something akin to statuesque. Of course, then I come home and put on my polka-dot cow socks and the illusion is utterly ruined, but I got it for a few hours, right? Look for nude pumps that have an open design. Straps and buckles need not apply. (PiperLime)


Structure can help lock and load your body so you look more put together. Wearing empire waist shirts and loosey goosey pants is all well and good, but when you're having a fat day, forget about it. Stick with button up shirts, blazers and more tailored pieces. And how adorbs is this Buckle blazer. I would be lying if I said I wasn't considering going to the mall and buying it immediately. Tailored clothes like this will shave inches off of your frame (not literally, that would be super dangerous) and nip in your body so you look tinier. Seriously. If I'm wearing a blazer, you can be sure that I binged on Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies the previous night and am making up for it via clothes.

Oh clothes, you never fail me.

A Lesson on Fit and Proportion

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Every time I pick up any women's magazine (I currently receive Glamour, InStyle and for inexplicable reasons Women's Health omg I have a magazine addiction) there's undoubtedly an article about "The Best Jeans for Your Butt!" or "Swimsuits for Your Shape!". In the pages therein you'll find pictures of women dressed poorly before and looking fab after, with the help of better clothes and a virtual army of hair and makeup people.

Yet, every month, the same cover stories. Why? Because no one really *gets* it. Picking out an outfit and dressing yourself need not be a project for Cosmopolitan. Instead, it makes things easier when you realize that all of looking good in your clothes boils down to one thing: PROPORTION.

Now, first off, it should be said that an hourglass shape is the holy grail of body shapes. That's what you're going for. While other shapes are very lovely, an hourglass shape is the most proportionate. An hourglass shape occurs when you have a waist that is smaller than your chest and hips, which are proportionate to each other.

Bummer, right? We don't all have the vampy ladylike body of Marilyn Monroe. BUT!! We can totally fake it. Learn how to balance your proportions, and you'll be able to pick out an outfit and most importantly, work it. Suuuuper easy.

First you'll need to look in the mirror. Or measure yourself. Either way, you need to know your body shape. There's five basic shapes.

Hourglass: We covered this already. Were you even paying attention? If you've got an hourglass shape, you need to do everything in your power to show off that tiny waist. Belts are your best friends, as are wrap dresses and fitted shirts. DON'T put it all on display. You may have a lovely body, but pick one feature to show off. Boobs, legs, waist, whatever. You don't need too small, too tight, too revealing. It's gross.


Pear: A pear shape has a smaller chest and waist with larger hips. I know, I feel for you. This means that to look better, you need to balance the largeness of your badonkadonk with your chest. The best way to do this? Layers! Oh how I love fall because it mans I can bring out delicious jackets and sweaters and blazers again. These will add bulk up top so your body looks balanced. You may want to avoid things that are heavily belted because it will show clear definition where your generous hips begin. Keep the focus up top. Stay away from skinny jeans. It's just not gonna happen. Bootcut for you, baby.


Apple: If you've an apple, your hips and waist are similar in size, and your chest is smaller (darn small chests) Apples need to create a clear definition between what is waist and what is hip, so choose dresses with three distinct parts: bodice, waist, skirt. This will break up your body so it doesn't all come together in the middle. Tummy controlling jeans are your friends, as are empire waists. They'll make your waist look longer without calling attention to trouble areas.


(PS, I could not love a human baby as much as I love this dress)

Inverted Triangle: Got a big rack and a tiny waist and no bum? You are an inverted triangle, my friend! That means you need to do what you can to balance out your top half with the bottom. You need to add volume around your hips with fuller skirts and embellishment. Shirts that end right at the hips can make them look more proportionate as well. Look for jeans with flap pockets to add a little bulk around the bum.


Ruler: Oh, rulers. You are straight up and down with no curves at all. On the plus side? You look so good in skinny jeans. On the down side, you can look boyish if you're not careful. Belt things to create a waist, and look for tops with a clear emphasis or embellishment at the waist. Look for feminine detailing, like frills and sequins that girly up your boyish shape. Stay away from anything too column-like unless you're willing to belt as well. Breaking up your silhouette will fool the eye into thinking your have kickin' curves.


BKE Braided Cardigan Sweater, $48
FULL TILT Lace Rose Womens Tank, $15
AE Women's Skinny Jeans, $50
Black Faux Leather Pointed Toe Knee Hight Boot, $25
Woven Hobo Handbag: Clothing, $47
Peacock Feather Earrings, $13
Double wrap stud & punchout belt Black, 20 GBP

No matter what your shape, as long as you remember that you're always trying to achieve that hourglass shape, it can give you a little more direction in dressing and accessorizing. And it proves that even if you don't have model thin hips and porn star boobs, you can make it work (Is anyone else watching Project Runway? omg I love Tim Gunn.)


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