Style 101: How to Dress to Minimize Pesky Body Hang-ups
This is the second post in the STYLE 101 series. Next week: How to fix wardrobe mistakes that make your clothes look cheap. Check out the first post HERE.
Body hang-ups. We all got ‘em. Even if we have generally healthy self-esteem, we can get stuck on the “problem areas” on our bodies that just don’t feel attractive. Let me be very clear: I don’t think curves or any part of our beautiful, God-crafted bodies are inherently problematic. As a petite girl with curves, I fully embrace the natural curves of the female body.
But as a female, I also understand that there are parts of our bodies that we may be overly conscious about because they seem larger or wider than the rest of our body. I also understand that having a large bust/behind/thighs can make it difficult to dress modestly all the time.
As I was writing this post, it hit me: The problem isn’t so much our bodies as it is a lack of understanding of how to dress extremely curvaceous parts of our body so that aren’t accentuated. Sometimes our clothes inadvertently draw attention to the areas we aren’t so keen on showing.
But I don’t want you, my beautiful sister, to get hung up on those parts of your bodies you’re not proud of. I want you to be proud of the body God has given you (and to also spend less time worrying about body issues and more time focusing on good, productive thoughts). So here are some easy-to-implement tips for dressing to minimize those pesky body hang-ups.
Here’s a principle that will work with virtually ALL of these problems areas: if you want to deemphasize the negative, emphasize your positive…or simply wear dark colors on the “problem” areas and wear accents, fun colors or patterns on the other areas of your body.
– Here’s a quick lesson on lines: Vertical lines typically make things look taller and leaner. Horizontal lines typically make things appear wider. You typically don’t want to horizontal lines to be placed at the widest part of your body that you’re most insecure about. That’s why you should be wary of wearing tops with hems that land at the middle of your thigh and should instead wear bottoms with vertical, lengthening details like pleats, side zippers, or moderate vertical stripes.
Another critical lesson is balance. If you think your thighs are wide, balance out the silhouette of your leg by wearing pants (i.e., flares and boot cut jeans) that will create slim, lengthening lines down your thighs and create volume around the lower legs (which will draw your eye away from your thighs). Or, you can go for the oldest trick in the (fashion) book, wear dark jeans or pants to instantly minimize your thighs.
If flares aren’t your thing, simply wear heels with an A-length skirt to instantly elongate and slim your lower body. The A-line silhouette will glide past your thighs and highlight you waist instead (if you tuck in your top).
One thing to keep in mind (I keep coming back to this concept): LINES. Pay attention to where the lines on your sleeve end. That ¾ sleeve may look fantastic on your arms, but it draws subtle attention to your waist. Since you’re body isn’t made a of isolated parts, pay attention to ALL the lines created by your clothing and make sure they: 1) flow with your natural body lines and 2) are cohesive and form a figure faltering fit for your WHOLE body.
It was difficult for me to list this as a “problem area” since *everyone* seems to be trying to achieve a larger behind these days (thanks, Kim K…). However, I know it can difficult to dress modestly when you have a healthy sized bum. Almost every kind of pant can seem too tight.
You likely experience the “gape” when wear pants because your waist is significantly smaller than your derriere. I’d recommend buying pants a size up and then having the waist taken in by an experienced tailor.
The wide waistband trick is another strategy involving, you guessed it, lines. The horizontal line from the waistband (as long it isn’t a super obvious line) will actually cut your derriere into smaller parts,thereby making it seem smaller.
I always hesitate to say, “don’t ever wear x, y, or z” because I’ve personally found you can make all types of clothing work for your body once you know how to dress it (case in point: me with my very hourglass body wearing a drop waist dress ). But I must say, it’s VERY difficult to pull off a pencil skirt and most pairs of skinny jeans when you have a large behind (that is, without drawing excessive attention to your behind).
First things first, get a good bra with good support. You need a bra that isn’t too big – you can tell when the straps start falling down – and not too small – you can tell when your, erm, girls are hoisted up so much that they’re falling out of the bra cup. A good foundation is critical to looking put together when you’re well-endowed in this area. It also prevents you from feeling overly uncomfortable or conscious about your bust.
You can draw attention away from your bust by: 1) Wearing clothes with details at your shoulders or below your waist, or 2) wearing darker colors up top and prints and other colors on other parts of your body (e.g., a dark blue skirt with a thin striped maxi skirt). Another tried and true method for covering your girls: Buying a black, white or flesh-colored cami to wear underneath your shirts that you’re worried may stretch out too much and accidentally expose cleavage.
Wearing gaping, ill-fitting shirts is a major fashion faux-pas that will actually draw attention TO your bosom.
Stay away from shirts that create a lot of mass above your chest – like turtlenecks and boat neck tops. Instead wear moderate scoop neck and square neck shirts because they will lengthen your neck and broaden your shoulders.
I hope you found these tips helpful! If you have your own tips for properly dressing your “problem” areas, let me know in the comments below!
Linking up with: More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express // Style to Inspire // Manic Mondays //Mix It Mondays // Pink Sole // Still Being Molly // Turning Heads Tuesday // Style Elixir // Garay Treasures // Pleated Poppy //Because Shanna Said So //Stylish Housewife // The Wednesday Pants // Style Me Wednesday // Happiness at Mid Life // The Red Closet Diary // Mix Match Fashion // Thursday Fashion Files // High Latitude Style //Friday Favorites // Birdie Shoots // Pumps and Pushups // Because Shanna Said So // Favorite Fashion Friday
Wow, so thorough! My only problem area I would say is that I have a little bit of a poochy belly lol But it’s usually not a problem unless I’m trying to wear a shirt that’s really form-fitting, like a tee from Aeropostale or something(I’ve learned to stay away from those!)
Duh! How could I forgot the tummy (especially since that’s one of my “problem” areas)?! Thanks for your comment, Elizabeth. I’m gonna add a section about that. I agree, it isn’t typically an issue (another good thing about modest dress!), but one great silhouette for that problem is peplum (but not the super form fitting peplum).
I love peplums! And they definitely help 🙂
I’m so glad I found your blog! This post was very informative and helpful! Thanks!
Thanks, Margaret! So glad you found this post helpful!
I got a good laugh from your ‘large derriere’ point–it’s so true that everyone wants a bigger one these days! In fact, my complaint would predictably be that my bum is too small haha.
???????????? Thanks, Alecz! And don’t even fret about your bum. It’s refreshing to meet women who AREN’T trying to overly exaggerate their bums. Side note: I’m upset I didn’t use “bum” more often in the post…
This is an awesome post! I’m loving this series so far, and can’t wait to see more!
I’m so, so happy to read that, Alex! Thank you for following!
I love these posts. Thank you.
I am a 36, 26, 36, so I don’t really have any problem areas. Other than my feet, I am 5’3 and wear a ten. I have to be careful that shoes fit well and don’t lengthen my feet.
One thing I would like to add is girls with very large calves do not look good in mid calf length skirts or capris.
Dressing properly in all points is too often neglected and I am so happy you are addressing the problem.
Elizabeth> Elizabeth M
Excellent point, Elizabeth! I should actually add that this post because that’s a common fit issue I see. Thank you so much for checking out these posts and leaving your wisdom in a comment. As for your one “problem area”, I say got off quite easy! I imagine you avoid pointy toe shoes (aka the shoes I wear to lengthen my feet)? 🙂
I’m lucky! My dress fit with my body like a donut hahahah