As a beautiful big woman, you are fortunate in so many ways. OK, so you probably can’t wear the outrageous catwalk styles that make waves at events like London Fashion Week. But on the other hand nor can most people. Let’s face it, couture fashion often looks pretty silly, so you’re not missing out on much. And you actually have proper curves, something that many a skinny girl envies.
If you’re less than confident in your fashion choices because of your size, it’s time to celebrate your advantages. It’s time to gird those loins and stand out from the crowd. Are you bold enough?
Lucy’s story – Too scared to wear colour
My freind Lucy is a big girl, a plus size diva with wonderful curves, massive hair and a personality to match. The thing is, she refuses to wear anything except black. In fact since I met her 7 years ago, she has constantly worn black, layer after layer of shapeless black clothing, one on top of the other, and it didn’t do her any favours.
The thing is, layering yourself in black drapes doesn’t help you hide. It makes you stand out, and not in a good way. It isn’t uncommon. I know a good few plus size ladies who stick religiously to black and navy blue even though it makes them look larger than ever, and shapeless too.
Georgie’s story – Shapeless clothes don’t flatter a curved figure
Another plus size friend, Georgie, used to insist on wearing long, boxy jackets with straight leg trousers, and avoided skirts altogether because she felt that wearing any kind of fitted clothing would make her look bigger. But her fashion choices actually made her look the shape of a house brick, giving her a chunky, stubby, rectangular silhouette.
Like Lucy, Georgie has the most wonderful curves. And when, like Lucy, she plucked up the courage to change her style, the difference was awe inspiring.
Making life-enhancing changes
Last year both of my plus sized friends encountered life-changing situations. I don’t want to go into details, it’s private, but the things that happened to them made them both re-evaluate their lives, change their priorities and ultimately reflect those changes in their way of dressing, in their fashion choices.
The first huge step they took together involved making a joint appointment with a colour specialist, someone who evaluates your skin tone and natural hair colour and suggests the most flattering colours to wear, as regards make-up as well as clothing. By all accounts she was brilliant, and Georgie and Lucy emerged an hour or so later with the knowledge needed to choose colourful clothing and cosmetics that would enhance their looks, not detract from them.
The next step involved choosing clothes in the right style for their body shapes. Lucy’s drab black layers and Georgie’s boxy, shapeless items were replaced with fitted, nipped in and flared items that showed off and enhanced their curves. Endless droopy layers of black gave way to vibrant scarlets, pinks and oranges, vividly patterned fitted frocks and wickedly flattering pencil skirts. Funky patterned tights, stunning accessories and pretty heels completed the picture. I just wish I could show you the photos. They’re both very private people and didn’t want to be showcased… but you get my drift!
17 cool tips for dressing to kill as a plus size woman
So you want to take a leaf out of Ashley Graham’s book? Or showcase your curves like my friends Lucy and Georgie? Or follow the lead of actor Kirstie Alley, models Johanna Dray and Crystal Renn, Queen Latifah, Jill Scott, Rosenna Barr, Kirsten Vangness and Whitney Thompson? Here are some tips to help you accentuate those magical curves instead of hiding them away.
- Invest in good quality, properly-fitted underwear so your clothes always sit beautifully
- Find out how to dress your particular body shape
- Know that wearing big jewellery gives your look lots of flattering, appropriately-scaled detail
- Outsize prints can look amazing
- Make sure everything you buy fits really well
- Put style before fashion
- Go for serious tailoring
- Fit ‘n’ flare dresses suit absolutely everyone
- Vertical prints can help you look in better proportion
- Wide belts are the business for highlighting a curvy waist or adding a waist where there isn’t one
- Downplaying the most prominent areas of your body can help you achieve a good balance. On the other hand making them stand out can help you look even curvier – it’s up to you which you go for
- Heels help deliver a slimmer outline if that’s what you want
- Deep necklines and shorter skirts help create a slimmer silhouette
- Treat ‘shapewear’ and ‘bodycon’ with caution – it can easily give you strange lumps and bumps where there aren’t any!
- Don’t just assume you’re a certain size. Sizes vary widely – always try things on
- Know that knee-highs and thigh-highs elongate your legs
- Always wear clothes that make you feel great
- Forget what other people think – it couldn’t be less important
Go for it… here’s wishing you happy shopping. Be confident, be bold, and stand out from that crowd!
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