Nikki’s Inbox: Going for a Girly Grunge-Emo Look

Hello Nikki! I’m Janna and I love reading your blog and it’s so nice that you take time to answer people’s questions. I’m currently in school and I feel like I’m wearing the same thing every day. On top of that I’m quite heavy (130 Ibs.) at 5’5. My bust, waist, and hip sizes are 32-28-36. I have broad shoulders, fat upper arms, and no waist. I’ve been trying to lose weight but I just don’t have time to exercise because of school. Because of this, my confidence has been on a steep decline. I struggle to decide what to wear because I want to cover up my body while still feeling attractive. I just end up wearing the same thing every day: a baggy shirt to cover my arms and torso, skinny jeans, and combat boots. Of course, I add things to spice up my outfit, but I still feel like a sack of potatoes. My style right now is kind of half-grunge, half-emo (I really like my aesthetic), but I often end up with a very masculine style and I would love to look more girly, while still retaining my darker vibe and feeling sexy at the same time. I would love to learn how to dress slimmer. Also, if you have some tips on losing weight, I would greatly appreciate it.

Janna, 17/Michigan, USA


Hey there, Janna. For a minute there, I seriously thought you were my cousin who also has very similar problems. Let me tell you what I told her and what I’ve always emphasized here for years: Baggy clothes make you look bigger. Sure, it may hide your “fat arms” but what about the rest of you that’s worth showing off? Don’t keep them under wraps, too!

Batwing and Peplum Tops

I think you need a new mirror, dear, because contrary to what you think, you do have a waist. Everybody does. While there’s only a 4-inch difference between your bust and hips, there’s an EIGHT-inch difference between your waist and hips.

Now that you know you have a waist, show it off! Choose a batwing top that tapers down to the waist. Why? Because this style hides your broad shoulders and arms but shows off those 28 inches. If you’re afraid of showing some skin, wear a thinner, longer layer underneath like a tank top or camisole in a tonal or contrast color. Your other option is the peplum top, which should do the job perfectly since it should taper at your natural waist before flaring out again. Both styles are more girly, definitely not baggy and look great with skinny jeans or leggings.

Inset Skirts with Leggings and Paperbag Waists

Your jeans must get a lot of wear and tear if that’s your outfit most of the time. Alternate them with a few A-line skirts with inset leggings, a K-fashion staple and a great addition to your grunge/emo aesthetic since distressed leggings and jeans are a hallmark of those trends. Even better, add a touch of class by opting for a plaid or faux leather skirt, instead of your usual skinny jeans. Either one will add both textural and color play to your outfit without much effort.

To expand your choice of bottoms further, look into high-waist or paperbag-waist skirts and shorts as well. As you can probably guess from the name, these have a wider waistband and usually come with a self-tie belt. They look best with tucked-in tops and that’s how you can discreetly display your waistline. And guess what? All these look awesome with your combat boots, as well as loafers and platforms.

Slipdresses and Babydoll Dresses

If you want a little throwback your way, Janna, 90s grunge isn’t complete without babydoll dresses, spaghetti-strap dresses and slipdresses. You can look up the movie “Reality Bites” and check out Winona Ryder (Yes, of “Stranger Things” fame).

While slipdresses and babydoll dresses may seem impossible to wear in winter, you can use them as layering pieces over slightly longer sweater dresses. Layering is an inherent part of the grunge and emo trend, and is definitely required for winter dressing so you can kill two birds with one stone! Lacy slipdresses and a floral or plaid motif will definitely expand the visual palette of your school outfits. Just make sure you don’t pair them with loose-fitting sweater dresses. Go for a more fitted silhouette because, girl, don’t forget that you have curves!

Lastly, finish your look with tights — patterned or plain — plus your choice of accessories like hats, scarves and baubles. Most of all, always punctuate each day with a genuine smile and increasing self-confidence. Lots of luck to you, Janna, and send me updates!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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