I’ve styled literally thousands of women over the years and most of them say they’d like to look slimmer. The good news is that this can easily be achieved through clever dressing. This month I’m sharing some tips for dressing particular “problem areas”.
Keep to a darker block colour on the bottom half and avoid unnecessary pockets or detail. Look out for side rather than centre zips, as these give a good sleek line. Hobbs Mallory capris are particularly good for wide hips as they have a discreet side zip and no pockets. If your trousers do have side pockets, sew them shut to avoid unnecessary gaping/bulk. Make sure tops and jackets finish either above or below the widest point of your hips. Add pattern, colour and interest to your top half to distract from your hips.
If you’ve got broad shoulders, you need to keep the shoulder line clean and unfussy. Halter necks and cut-away shoulder styles will look good but wide/off- the-shoulder necklines, shoulder pads, epaulettes and puff and cap sleeves are not your friends. This gorgeous maxi from Boden would look fabulous on someone with a strong shoulderline.
Chunky arms/bingo wings
This year there are lots of Summer dresses with floaty sleeves to choose from but if you already have sleeveless dresses you don’t feel confident wearing, either think about buying some cardigans, wraps or jackets to wear with them (Given the British climate, this a sensible move whatever the state of your arms ) or consider wearing separate “sleeves” underneath. Cami Confidential has a good selection.
If you want to expose some arm flesh though, it’s generally better to go totally sleeveless rather than wear a short cap sleeve as they tend to make arms look bigger. A nice alternative is the “cold shoulder” style where the shoulders are exposed but the upper arm isn’t.
The first thing to say is get professionally fitted for a bra! It will not only make you feel much more comfortable but also give you a much better shape.
If you are blessed with a big bosom, avoid very high necklines as they tend to highlight its size – and often not in a sexy way! A lower neckline will generally be more flattering. Also, opt for soft fabrics that caress your curves rather than anything too stiff which will just fall straight from your bosom and make you look bigger all over.
Alas, I know all about this one! Again, the first thing to say is get professionally fitted for a bra! The right bra will certainly make the most of your assets.
Unlike big busts, small busts do look good in high necklines but low ones can be difficult to carry off. If you do want to go fairly low, it’s often a good idea to add a necklace or pop a cami underneath to add a bit of substance. Unless you are truly very flat chested, fitted tops will be more flattering than baggy ones.
If you carry your weight on your tummy, you need to think of your stomach as a “no fly zone “and keep it uncluttered – so no pleats, gathers or belts. Avoid clingy styles and opt for soft fabrics which drape beautifully. Longer length tops and tunics will be flattering, along with empire line and A-Line dresses. Softly tailored jackets and waterfall cardigans are great for disguising a big stomach. The Sadie jacket from Kettlewell * (pictured right) comes in a variety of great colours and would be a good option.
If you’re fairly straight up and down with no discernible waist and a relatively flat bottom, forget florals, frills and flounces and go for a more tailored look in crisper fabrics in geometrics or polka dots. You will look great in a shift dress or capris, and Breton stripe tops were just made for you! Create the illusion of curves with biker jackets or other jackets that have some shaping at the waist. If you are skinny as well as straight, think about layering to add some “bulk” with jackets, scarves and jewellery.
If you’d like to make your legs look longer, the most obvious way to do so is to wear high heels. Other good leg lengtheners are wearing tights that coordinate with your footwear and /or hemline e.g. black skirt, black tights and black shoes. This creates an unbroken line of colour. In Summer, nude shoes or sandals are flattering with bare legs or nude hosiery. Shoes with low fronts and pointed toes will further enhance the illusion but ankle straps will visually shorten your legs. Flip flops can be surprisingly flattering .
Big calves/thick ankles
A-line skirts are a good option, just make sure they don’t finish at your mid-calf. Full length trousers or (if you have toned thighs) shorts are likely to be more flattering on you than capris and ankle grazers. High heels and wedges are good but avoid very thin stilleto heels and ankle straps.
When we look in the mirror most of us tend to focus on parts of our bodies we don’t like and thereby overlook the good bits. Try to quell your inner critic and be kind to yourself. Find at least one thing you like about your body and dress to highlight it. Small waist? – Belt it! Nice hands? – wear nail varnish and stack on the bangles! Great legs – get some statement shoes to draw attention to them!
If you’d like to find out more about the styles, fabrics and accessories that will make you look your very best why not book in for a personal style consultation?
* Remember, if you order through me, Kettlewell will give you 5% discount and free delivery on all their clothes.