I was never really the kid that was very up to date with fashion. I knew what *looked* good, but I rarely went shopping; times were tough growing up. When I finally got a piece of something I liked, it was out of style! A lot of my clothes are from my freshmen year of high school (sometimes even before). I’m 19 now. To make matters more complicated, I’m very short (4’11), apple-shaped and currently losing a lot of weight! How can I build up a very classic, elegant wardrobe? It seems really hard.
S.D., 19/Ohio, USA
Dear S.D., as someone who grew up wearing hand-me-downs from three older siblings, I can empathize. It really does suck when we can’t get the things we want and think we deserve, and have to work double-hard to get them. And then only to discover – like you did – that what we thought was still trendy is now passé.
But hold steadfast to your goal, darling. I’m here to help you achieve it!
Give Attention to Your Assets
This is a fact and I envy many of my apple-shaped friends who are naturally blessed in that region. When it comes to necklines, nothing flatters a great bust more than V-necks, scoopnecks and plunging necklines. No, you don’t have to show “everything” and you can wear a nice, lacy camisole underneath or even a cute bandeau. Strapless tops and dresses also ensure the attention is on your décolletage and upward, and less on your belly and hips where most apple shapes have the heft. Structured pieces like shirts and dresses with darts and princess seams always conveniently make you look more proportional. Avoid clingy, stretchy fabrics because these have a tendency to hug your most generous bits.
Go to Great Lengths for Your Legs
Another asset I envy about apple-shaped ladies is that they always have great legs. A few of my friends are of the same height as you, S.D., and some are even shorter but that doesn’t stop them from displaying those legs proudly. They confidently rock mini skirts, mermaid and hanky hem skirts with their platform and stiletto pumps, wedges and low gladiator sandals. But they definitely steer clear of UGGs, kitten heels and knee-high boots.
So do take a leaf (or a few leaves as the case may be) from my friends’ books and rock a cute mini sweater dress with a V-neck while it’s winter. Opt for sheer or patterned tights, or a solid-colored pair that makes a bold statement versus your dress, and finish with ankle boots instead of mid-calf ones. A-line skirts and dresses will definitely work with your figure, especially ones that are bias-cut.
It’s All in the Details
I hope you know that you can still rock pants and jeans even if you’re petite and apple-shaped, S.D. You just have to pay attention to the cut and length of your trousers. Flared and boot-cut styles are guaranteed to look great on you. The wider hem on these visually balances your upper half. Please do have your pants and jeans altered to the correct inseam for your height because ugly bunching around the ankles is not acceptable.
If you have a nice pert bum, good for you! But if not, get pants with embellished back pockets – just make sure the pockets sit right on your bum cheeks and don’t sag lower. If you have big hips, you’ll find that jeans have nicer front pockets than regular trousers. Diagonally cut pockets tend to gape at our widest point which is usually the hip area and definitely not flattering. For shorts, heck, wear them as short as you’d like – as long as they don’t have the pocket lining showing below the hem like most denim shorts these days. Again, this is to make sure there is no visual barrier to your legs.
Think Thin for Outerwear
The last thing you want is to add more bulk when you’re already very generously endowed in most areas. So for outerwear like coats, jackets and cardigans, skip the very bulky and chunky knits, super thick turtleneck collars and cowl necks. Follow the necklines I suggested above and opt for single-breasted fronts as much as possible.
For some cardigans, you can rock an open-front style and these are a particular favorite of mine because they look classy but casual at the same time. Just make sure they fall past your hips or at least skim the top of your thighs. Resist the temptation to buy those super oversized and lengthy cardigans because they won’t do you any favors.
We are our own worst enemies and when you’re trying to make huge changes for yourself, it will never be easy. There will always be a lot of questions, confusion as well as constant trial and error. But in the end, you will know yourself better than anyone and that’s what counts.
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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