Nikki, I need your help REAL bad. I’ve been wanting to update my style for a while now. I’ve been stuck in a high school rut, and I want to look more grown up. I love a modern, cute style, but I also love video games and books.
Here’s my problem: I’m a big girl. I’m 36-30-40 (in inches), 5’6. I’ve gained a lot of weight over the last few years because of depression and a bad relationship. My shoulders are pretty big too (about 20 inches from shoulder to shoulder), and it’s sort of embarrassing to see in the mirror. You could say I got a lot of the worst parts of my family’s genetics lol.
I always worry that I’m not putting forth the right impression because of what I wear; that my clothes don’t show the parts of me that I love. I love my hips, waist and bust, but I feel like everything I have just makes me look huge, especially below the waist. My closet is full of tight T-shirts and boot-cut jeans, nice shirts with cap sleeves. My parents and I are going on vacation to Florida in April to Harry Potter World and I REALLY want to look good, if possible.
Thank you so much for your time, Nikki. I’d really appreciate your opinion.
Dear Taylor, I see the numbers and the words “big shoulders,” “big girl,” “worst parts” and “huge.” So let me just tell you: STOP. Stop thinking it’s bad to be big and curvy, to have 20-inch shoulders (mine are the same), to have very visible hips and big thighs. There’s nothing wrong with those, and absolutely nothing wrong with your body.
Don’t Confuse “Tight” with “Fitted”
You said you wear a lot of tight T-shirts but do you know the difference between “fitted” and “tight?” Fitted means the fabric is close to your body but it isn’t constricting. A well-fitted garment allows you to move easily and naturally. Raise your arms to see whether the T-shirt is comfy enough to move in or liable to rip at the seams. Bend and twist to see if it rides up and shows all the places that should never see the light of day. Tight clothing always makes you feel uncomfortable and unnatural. You’re always tugging, pulling or stretching it, or it bunches up in the worst places (like your waistline or belly), or leaves unsightly marks on the skin because it’s just way too tight.
Vertical as well as horizontal body dimensions determines your clothing size and how well garments fit.
Necklines and Sleeve Lengths
As someone who also has broad shoulders, I’m really very particular about necklines and sleeve lengths. If you have wide shoulders, you can visually narrow that area by wearing tops with V-necklines or a modest scoopneck if you’re a little self-conscious. Showcase that neckline by wearing a gorgeous statement necklace or choker instead of covering it up. Instead of cap sleeves which emphasize your shoulders more, go for elbow-length sleeves or 3/4 sleeves which I find to be more versatile. You can simply shorten the length by rolling them up. Longer sleeves also make you look more put together than cap sleeves.
Your ABCs: A-Line, Boyfriend & Boot-Cut
Okay so I cheated a bit on the “Boot-Cut.” 🙂 But these three styles are proven to be curve-friendly and thus should be staples in your closet, Taylor dear. You simply can’t go wrong with a knee-length A-line skirt, even if you pair it with a plain white T-shirt or with a frilly blouse. Boyfriend jeans convey casual cool and look great with flats, oxfords, ankle boots and sneakers. Boot-cut jeans are one of my favorites because they hug the curves in all the right places (hello, booty!) and the slight flare at the hem balances wide hips. Dress them up a bit with some low heels for starters and you’re instantly a showstopper. You can never go wrong with these.
Now for some outfit suggestions!
Relaxed Chic: Button-Down Shirt + Tank/Cami + Boyfriend Jeans
I’m pretty sure you wear a variation of this already so this is going to be easy. Layer a small-patterned button-down (no oversized plaids please) over a colored tank top or lace-trim cami. Team with boyfriend jeans with the cuffs rolled up. The pattern, color and lace trim serve as visual accents so you’re guaranteed not to look plain. You can unbutton the shirt or take it off if you feel too warm, but you’ll still look cute because of the cami and tank so no ratty/holey tanks please. You wear any kind of footwear you want with these – sneakers, sandals, or lace-up boots.
Feminine Flirty: A-Line Skirt + T-Shirt/Blouse/Tank Top + Cardigan or Jacket
Another simple combo. To keep things interesting, make sure one of your pieces – either top or bottoms – has a print or design. So if you’re wearing a plain tee, opt for a printed skirt and vice versa. A knit cardi or denim jacket is a more stylish option than a plain hoodie or hooded sweatshirt. Finish with your choice of footwear.
Girlishly Boyish: Denim Shorts + Blouse/Button-Down + Jacket
This is probably the most comfy among my three outfit suggestions, Taylor. But comfy doesn’t have to mean sloppy. You can choose to wear a check (small pattern only) shirt or a floral blouse with a pair of denim shorts. I find that mid-thigh is an acceptable length – not too skimpy or too long to make you feel uncomfortable – and again, just roll them up if you wish. The blouse or lightweight button shirt serves as an elegant counterpoint to the ruggedness of denim. So it’ll still look cute and stylish even if you wear these with flats, sandals or Chucks.
I hope this vacation and desire for a new style will jumpstart the new Taylor – more self-confident, self-aware and accepting. Have fun!
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 photo (link only please) of yourself or your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!