I love to shop. When I’m not shopping, I’m thinking about shopping, or reading about shopping. I consume fashion magazines with a barely controlled hunger: three square mags a day with snack glossies in between. I can’t get enough of what’s hot and what’s not and I’m always looking for ways to incorporate the latest looks into my wardrobe. Note that I said incorporate the latest looks—I’ve learned from experience (though I’ve destroyed all the photographic evidence!) that shopping the trends can send you into fashion-victim land, especially when you’ve got curves. The good news is that you can be curvy and trendy. The bad news? You just need to rein it in a little, ladies!
There are some trends, like super-short miniskirts or super-skinny jeans that don’t look so super on everyone. It’s so important to know yourself—to know what suits you and what doesn’t suit you—before you shop for anything, especially trends. You can still play with what’s out there and have fun experimenting with new styles and adding touches of trends, but don’t try to force (literally!) a fashion item into your wardrobe just because you’ve seen it on the runways and in the magazines. You’ll never see me in skinny-leg or thong-baring jeans because I know they just don’t look—or feel—good on me.
Take a long look in the mirror. You are a beautiful woman, and knowing yourself is the first step toward being yourself, fashionably and otherwise.
Look at your favorite items of clothing, the ones you feel you look best in. Think about the shapes of the items people compliment you most on. Enlist an honest friend or family member to help you ascertain what really suits you. Having a few classic pieces and shapes that suit is the secret to a solid wardrobe, regardless of your size. Once you know your foundation pieces and shapes, you can be flexible to incorporating—yes, note again “incorporating”—the trends.
Keep It Symmetrical
When considering which trends work for you, look at the proportions of the garments and of your body. Gauchos, Capri’s Bermuda shorts, and voluminous longer skirts are big for bottoms right now, but these styles need to be balanced by the rest of your outfit, or you’ll get lost in your look. Pair full shapes from the waist down with form fitting tops from waist up. Then add a colorful ‘40s platform shoe or some natural wedge heels to create a longer line for your frame.
One Trend at a Time
If you’re wearing an A-line skirt, a wider belt, chunky plastic bangles or cuffs, and beaded long earrings all together, you might want to consider taking one thing off before you walk out the door. All those trends just end up canceling each other out. We can’t see the trees for the forest!
There are so many fantastic and fashionable resources for full-figured females. Did you know that stores and sites like Macys, Saks, and Old Navy all have designer lines that size up? I love that Old Navy sizes up to a size 20 in missy for those of us who do not need as much ease in the waist or through the hips and shoulder. I love shopping Lafayette 148, Lauren/Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein Sportswear, and Michael by Michael Kors. Lane Bryant is also a solid style destination for the larger lady who loves to shop.
Dresses: You might be tempted by all the fabulous Spring and Summer dresses out there and feeling the need to add a dress to your wardrobe—I know I am. A-line or wrap styles are very flattering for the fuller figure. My first go-to for a great dress is Zaftique or Kiyonna.
Pants: When looking at pants, know that a higher rise in the rear keeps your behind covered and contours voluptuous curves without bulges and gaps at the waist. A flared leg trouser balances any extra width “up top” and if you have extra bootie going on back there, make sure that jean pockets sit correctly and are not adding extra bulk. Check out Cennev for a variety of styles. For an easy evening look, pair an embellished short jacket with a pair of Nordstrom’s fluid silk wide leg trousers to make a hip statement in style.
Jackets: Pairing a fantastic cropped jacket with pants will result in “the new suit” for the season. Check the I.N.C. collection at Macy’s or go for a white cropped jacket at Fashion to Figure.
Don’t be Shy!
When in doubt, ask for help. Most women don’t realize that a knowledgeable salesperson will be enormously helpful in identifying trends that suit you. If you don’t feel comfortable wearing those low-rise jeans, speak up. A good salesperson will work with you to find medium or even high-rise styles, which happen to be very trendy right now. You can also contact Association of Image Consultants International for a list of image consultants across the country.
Never miss a “Learning Curves” column again. Just click on the author’s name at the top of the story, then select “Be notified when writer publishes” at the top of the page. We’ll send you an email as soon as a new column is published.
Related Story: Learning Curves: Breaking the “Big Girl” Rules