Hi Nikki. I first want to say that I’ve been reading your blog for a year and I’ve finally decided to send you my questions. I’m 18, with a wavy top build (my bust is 34E UK size), slightly chubby in the legs and stomach and 5’1 in height. I’ve recently finished college and am now starting to discover what I like to wear and what suits me best. I like to wear skinny jeans constantly but I want to get out of the habit. I’m too scared of showing my skin as I have eczema on my legs. I want to start showing my legs but I’m unsure how to go about it. I also want to wear more dresses and skirts but I don’t know how to style them, having a large bust! I’m size 8/10 here in the UK. Please help!
Sabrine, 18/United Kingdom
Congratulations on finishing college, Sabrine! Give yourself many pats on the back because you’ve hit that milestone, and you’re really getting to know yourself better.
Getting out of skinny jeans
I’m sure you’ve heard of having a “comfort zone,” and in your case, it’s wearing skinny jeans. It’s not a bad thing but you’re right – sometimes it can hold you back from trying something new and better for yourself. Why not try jogger pants, a.k.a. peg trousers for a change? It started last year but it’s still a great look to wear this summer and even in autumn. Unlike skinny jeans which are really tight, jogger pants are roomy (but not baggy or very loose) at the thighs and subtly taper towards the ankle, which will be great for a petite body type like yours. A lot of peg trousers are also elasticized at the cuffs, yet look like your favorite jeans so I think it’s a great compromise.
Add structure to your outfit
If you have a bigger bust size, drapey, loose and most especially oversized clothing is a no-no. As you’re curvy, you want to add angles to look better proportioned. Structured tops such as collared shirts and blouses are designed with darts and princess seams to give it more shape. A lot of these pieces also look inherently elegant and smart when paired with almost anything. Aside from the usual classic button-downs, look into wrap-front blouses as well as these are suitable for the more well-endowed. And you don’t have to settle for plain colors, okay? Choose small prints and patterns, and look for details like metal tipping at the collar, epaulettes or nice metallic buttons for an upscale look.
It’s your skin and your body
I’m not a dermatologist, Sabine, so I can only recommend that you follow your doctor’s advice about how to treat your eczema. However, I do understand how having a skin condition like that can make you feel very self-conscious. Don’t let it stop you. Don’t let it define and dictate who and what you are as a person.
For the more practical aspects, I encourage you to wear midi-length skirts and dresses which usually hit the knee or mid-calf. Try the skirt version first to get a feel for the length, and whether it covers the areas of your legs that you want. The great thing about most midi skirts is that they come in an A-line silhouette, the wider hem visually balancing a bigger upper body. Once you’re used to skirts, you can add midi dresses to the mix!
If the ideal length for you still shows some areas you’d rather conceal, here’s an easy solution: printed tights! They will help add a layer of coverage to your legs. They’re all the rage right now and got lots of cute designs to choose from. The tights are sheer and light enough to be worn even in summer and will go well with the skirt for a very ladylike vibe. Don’t forget to wear shoes with a little bit of heel to give it a classy finish.
You’re not the first person to write about being self-conscious about your body. Some also have eczema, others have scars, and many think that being curvy, pencil-shaped or having an athletic build is a bad thing. It is not. Bodies come in different sizes, shapes, colors and textures, and these are what make us unique from each other.
Chin up and embrace this new, grown-up you!
P.S. Dear readers, if you have style questions, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body, your tastes or personality. Unless you include a photo (link only please) of your clothes or of yourself (with your approval to post), I can’t answer anything that only includes height, weight or skin tone. Thank you!