Nikki’s Inbox: Dress Up Those Curves!

I am an 18 year old girl, and I’m going to be enlisted in the army soon. I love to wear girly stuff, such as dresses and skirts, but my problem is that I am overweight. Even though it looks amazing in the photo, the article of clothing fits me, but it doesn’t at the same time if you understand. So I have resorted to trainers, and baggy clothing. Everyone assumes that I don’t care about what I am wearing, but I do. It’s just that nothing looks good on me. Do you have any style options that will look good on a pudgy, large breasted girl, and will show a sense of style along with a girlish flair?

Kineret/18, Israel

Dearest Kineret (Such a beautiful name!), thank you for writing to me. If you’re a long-time reader of my column, you’re probably aware that I’m constantly campaigning for people to avoid oversized clothes because the truth is, they doesn’t really flatter any body type at all. I’ve talked about how to dress for a curvy figure before, so you might want to read those, too. But before you decide to really overhaul your closet, ask yourself these questions first:

What do you think are your body’s best assets? I can confidently tell you that an hourglass shape isn’t the end all and be all of beauty. Striking eyes, a long neck or limbs, or a winning smile can also work in your favor. Once you’ve figured out your best physical traits, you can show them off better.

Do you know your body’s exact measurements? This is something I always remind my readers. Whether you go shopping in actual shops or online, knowing your exact measurements is already winning half the battle. So know thyself better first, donate the oversized, unflattering clothing second, shop third!

A great bra is a great foundation
Whether your bust is big or small, your girls deserve a bra that fits. Wearing the right kind of bra makes a huge difference in how your entire outfit looks and fits. The best way to find out your correct size is to go to a proper bra store where bra fitters can personally help you figure out what style and size is best for you. While some women want an extra boost up top, some big-chested women may opt for minimizer bras for both comfort and health reasons. Ask a bra fitter for a recommendation because a good bra is a life-changing experience!

Draped and structured is better than baggy
Instead of wearing oversized clothing all the time, opt for pieces that define your shape better. Structured pieces like A-line dresses and skirts have a distinctive shape that flatters any body type, but most especially curvy women like you. The same goes for blouses and shirts, especially those that are nipped at the waist and have darts on the bodice, as these details help contour your figure.

Softer fabrics like cotton or knit jersey are better than heavy, clingy knits or super stretchy pieces as they have a hint of stretch but still skim over your curves gracefully instead of bunching in unwanted places. The resulting draped effect definitely looks more flattering especially when aided by a good bra and shapewear, if you choose to wear that. Wrap-front tops and dresses naturally create folds that serve to camouflage.

Create sleek lines and angles
Balance your curvy proportions with streamlined cuts. A V-neck or square neckline visually elongates your neck and shows off a hint of cleavage. An A-line skirt that hits at the knee (and not below) balances wide shoulders while showing a slimmer waist and legs. You can add a wide belt or an obi belt as a fancier option to draw attention to your waist, because you do have a waist! Oh, and a quick way to look slimmer if you’re bottom-heavy is to go for a light-colored top and darker-colored bottom. Mock two-piece dresses make this easy!

Aim for subtlety in prints, details and patterns
Smaller patterns and prints help maintain visual interest in your outfit while helping to avoid overwhelming your figure. You’re a girly girl, Kineret, so do maintain feminine details in your outfits as long as they’re well placed. Dainty ruffles along the placket of a shirt or subtle lace trim at the cuffs are good examples of this. Avoid any radically sized details on your clothing or accessories, like a wide collar or a super tiny handbag. The obvious differences in size will make you look bigger.

My last piece of advice for you, my dear, is to love yourself. It won’t happen overnight; rather, it’ll grow little by little. Once you’re more comfortable with your body and more confident about what suits it best, you’ll no longer say “nothing looks good on me.”


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