Nikki’s Inbox: “I Have Stretch Marks”

Ask Nikki!

Hi Nikki,

I have been a fan of your fashion advice for a long time. I recently moved to Singapore and the weather is very hot in here. I don’t have confidence to bare my skin as I have stretch marks on my knees, plus I’m a pear-shaped woman. Please help me.

Sarang, 21/Singapore


Thank you for being one of my loyal readers, Sarang! I commiserate with you as I know how unbearably hot the weather in Singapore can be. If it’s any consolation, temperatures here in Hong Kong are also hitting anywhere from the mid to the high 30s which is really insane!

Just because you’re pear-shaped doesn’t mean you have to be stuck with dowdy, unflattering clothing, darling. Au contraire! However, I must emphasize again how important it is to give me a little more information about yourself so I can give you better fashion recommendations.

Natural is better
Natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal for summer because these two are skin-friendly and really comfy to wear. While it’s hard to find 100% natural fabrics off the rack or online, go for at least an 80% cotton or linen composition to ensure that your skin is able to breathe. And while linen has a tendency to wrinkle easily, I find that it adds to the very laidback look of summer. A long- or quarter-sleeved blouse in linen still works because of the breezy factor, and looks great when paired with simple trousers, shorts or a skirt.

Go for illusion and cutouts
If you’re shy about baring skin on your upper body, that’s perfectly fine. An easy workaround is to go for tops with illusion details – see-through fabric like mesh, tulle or organza – on the sleeves, yoke or bodice. They give the appearance of showing skin but still keep you covered.

Another option is to go for cutaway-style tops. Cutout shoulders and sleeves are the most common. They usually expose your upper arms or shoulders while maintaining a conventional style. The effect can be flirtatious but subdued, and perfectly on-trend with the summer season.

Maximize your options
Last week, I gave advice to Sabrine who was also conscious about her legs, too. If you’re also petite like her, then midi skirts may also look great on you, Sarang. They’re usually anywhere from knee-length to mid-calf, and may just give you the coverage you need for your stretch marks. If you’re taller, maxi dresses and skirts may also be flattering. Make sure to wear a belt at your natural waist so that your shape is better defined.

Cropped is cool
Denim can be quite uncomfortable when temps are really high. So if you want to skip the usual jeans, may I suggest trying the gaucho pants or capri pants? Gaucho pants are the shorter, mid-calf version of the wide-leg pants, and capri pants also have the same length. But they’re usually made of lighter fabrics and definitely not denim, which makes them easier and more comfortable to wear. Both look great with flats and sandals, and you can pair them with hip-length tops for daytime elegance.

One last piece of advice: don’t be ashamed of your stretch marks. Our skin is the largest organ of the body and we’re all still growing and changing in many different ways. I don’t think of stretch marks as a sign of imperfection because having them doesn’t mean you lost the battle. Think of it as your battle scars and wear it as a sign of self-confidence and acceptance.

Here’s to a more confident you, darling!

Nikki

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!

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