Fight the Frump: Finding Clothes That Fit and Flatter

Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Yesterday I issued the challenge on this blog: let’s fight the frump! When you put no effort into your appearance, you give the message: “I don’t care what I look like. I don’t make any effort. And I don’t care what you think I look like, either.” That’s not a positive message.

Instead, when you wear things that fit and flatter, you say, “I respect myself. I put effort in. I care about what you think.” In a marriage, that’s super important!

Yesterday we looked at all the reasons why we women may let frump reign. Today I want to focus on one of them: we just don’t know what to wear.

When I’m talking about fighting frump, I am not saying we all need to be in dress clothes all day. If you’re a SAHM, jeans and a T-shirt are perfectly fine, and there are so many that aren’t frumpy at all! Comfortable is GOOD. But comfortable does not have to mean frumpy. Somehow too many believe that in order to be comfortable you need to look sloppy. That’s not true! Fitted, flattering tops can be made of T-shirt jersey material. Jeans that fit are more comfortable than jeans that don’t fit. So it’s not about not being comfortable.

This t-shirt, for instance, is quite simple. But notice how it comes in at the waist a bit. A T-shirt like that in a size that fits will look infinitely better than a boxy T-shirt–let alone a man’s T-shirt.

That Yarn Cat Tee from ModCloth

They key is to not look sloppy, as if you don’t care. Oversized graphic Ts and jeans that don’t fit or yoga pants with holes in them are frumpy. So it’s not that you can’t be casual; it’s just that we should take pride in what we look like. We should put at least a minimum amount of effort in. It’s just a matter of respecting ourselves and respecting our husbands.

Join me in fight the frump and you could win a pile of my books, plus tuition for my new 6-week online course starting April 8: The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex! To join up, just leave a comment on yesterday’s post (scan to the bottom for details).

(Now, I wrote the rest of this post, and the entry, quite a while ago. It was all set to go live early Tuesday morning, but I put a hold on it. I just didn’t think that all this “not being frumpy” was going to be controversial, but I obviously hit a nerve yesterday. I wanted to collect my thoughts before I did hit publish, then, because it honestly is not my intention to put another layer of “you shoulds” around any woman’s neck. If you’re feeling confident in your body, and you like the way you look, and you enjoy your marriage and you enjoy sex, and your husband is happy, and you dress in clothes that don’t fit and make you look frumpy, then that really is okay. Really.

The problem I have is that the vast majority of women that I speak to are so embarrassed and ashamed about their bodies. They don’t like how they look, and so the tendency is not to try. THAT’S what I’m talking about. Because honestly, a little effort, and a little understanding of what clothes can do, and anyone can look attractive. Really.

I don’t care where you buy your clothes. I don’t care if you find them all at consignment stores or thrift shops. I don’t care if all your clothes are ten years old. I just simply want all women to understand that with a little bit of effort and the right clothing they really can look attractive. Let’s feel more confident! It will change you and it will change your marriage. That’s my aim here).

Today we’re going to look at how to fit and flatter different body types.  Basically, to flatter your figure you want to try to create an hour glass shape.

When fitting clothing, you want to find clothes that fit the largest part of you. If you’re petite with a big bust, this may mean fitting the bust but hemming the shirt. Or if you have wide hips but a narrow waist, it may mean finding pants that work around your hips and then taking in the waist. You haven’t failed if you can’t find something that works perfectly for your body straight off the rack. We are all unique! If you have to have something altered, you’re not a mutant. MOST people would do better with some altering; you’re just taking the care to do it.

I’m going to use some pictures from two online clothing retailers, because I really need some pictures to illustrate the post, and some of you may hate actually going shopping (and I want to show you that that’s no excuse! :) ) But again, if you shop somewhere else, that is absolutely and perfectly okay. So let’s look at six different body types and see how that would work:

1. The “Twiggy”

You’re rather straight down, with few curves. While many bemoan this figure because of the lack of chest, it’s actually quite easy to dress.

Dos: Wear 3/4 sleeves, V-necks, or skirts that come just above the knee so that you aren’t completely covered in clothing (unless you’re Canadian and it’s January. Then you simply have no choice. Especially if you live in Saskatchewan). You’re one of the few body types that can get away with skinny jeans! Collared blouses also work well for you, since they add a bit more interest around the neckline.

Embellish shirts with ruffles and detail to add some “curves”, like this:

Indigo-Getter Top from ModCloth – $24.99

from: ModCloth

Or this:

Cascading Character Top from ModCloth – $29.99

from: ModCloth

You can also wear those fun, 50s type skirts that flare a bit, like this fun dress (which would also suit petite frames or hourglass frames):

Soda Fountain Dress in Grape from ModCloth – $44.99

from: ModCloth

Think layering lighter fabrics rather than one big, bulky sweater. Wear pretty lace camisoles to layer under shirts which may gape since you don’t have much bust. Play with belts to divide top and bottom, too.

Don’ts: Don’t wear really big patterns that overwhelm your frame. Avoid completely shapeless tops, since that will tend to make you look like a box.

2. The Slender/Petite

You have some curves, but you’re really small.

Dos: Concentrate on small patterns or single colour pieces, rather than bold pattern. Play with ruffles and details in the shirt, especially anything that gives the sleeves a little more shape.

Samba in the Way She Moves Top from ModCloth – $42.99

from: ModCloth

Don’ts: Don’t wear skirts or dresses that are too long, because that, ironically, can steal height.

3. The Hourglass

If you’re already an hourglass, you have your pick of clothes! You have the easiest frame to fit, although that doesn’t mean you’re going to love every pair of jeans or every bathing suit you try on.

Glamour Power to You Dress in Blueberry Muffin from ModCloth – $74.99

from: ModCloth

Dos: Play with belts! Belts look wonderful on hour glass figures, and they can add some pizzazz to an outfit.

Here’s one of my favourite “modest” tops:

Coach Tour Top in Grass from ModCloth – $37.99

from: ModCloth

Or you can wear a similar dress, too!

4. The Pear-Shaped Woman

You’re bigger on the bottom than you are on top. That’s actually most of us once we’ve had some babies and we’ve hit 35 or 40, I would guess.

Dos: Wear interesting detail on your top, with ruffles, pattern, etc.. You’re one of the few body types that can wear horizontal stripes on top to bring more width there. Wear slimming pants that fit you at your widest point and then come straight down. Boot cut jeans work well. Wear lots of big necklaces and things which draw the eye up to your face.

Yacht to Attend Top from ModCloth – $32.99

from: ModCloth

Don’ts: Stay away from flared skirts or dresses or patterns in the bottom half.

5. The Busty Woman

Now for those of you who are bigger on top than on bottom: a few women in the comments yesterday noted that they were technically petite–under 5’4″, for instance–but they were very busty. It was almost impossible to find things that fit. Here are some thoughts:

Dos: Think separates rather than dresses. Something that fits on the top may overwhelm the bottom. Find fitted tops that are smallest right below the bust, which is often our narrowest point. Then let those tops flare out from there, like this:

Casual Abby Twist Front Top, Blue (Womens Plus Size) – $58.00

from: Kiyonna Clothing

Best of all, Kiyonna posts pictures of REAL women wearing their tops, so you can see how they look in real life!

Buy pants and skirts which flare out a bit, too, to balance the top.

Don’ts: Don’t wear a lot of pattern on your top half (unless it’s small pattern). Don’t wear really heavy blazers or really bulky sweaters. Be careful of the urge to buy XL T-shirts to fit your bust, because those will very likely overwhelm the rest of you. Find fitted things, even in a plus size if you have to, and then hem them if they’re too long. Be wary of button-down shirts unless they fit very well, since these will often gape at the buttons, letting others peek through.

UPDATE: If you’re not comfortable with V-necks, here’s another type of option that works well if you’re top heavy, but you still have a slim waist.

Dressy Smitten Lace Ruched Top, Black (Womens Plus Size) – $68.00

from: Kiyonna Clothing

I like this style of top, but if you’re rather “rolly” in the tummy, something that doesn’t flare out may not be flattering.

6. The Curvy Woman

If you’re super-curvy, on the plus-sized end, it won’t be too hard to create an hour glass look. Here are some thoughts:

Dos: Wear interesting neck lines, like scoop necks and V-necks. Wear more fitted tops, perhaps with flare around them. Try to find clothing that emphasize the smallest part of you–likely right below the bust. Have tops and blazers hit above your hip bone. Dresses look fabulous on you!

Causal Evening Whimsy Wrap Dress, Red (Plus Size) – $98.00

from: Kiyonna Clothing

Don’ts: Wear tops that are too long. You want to emphasize the waist, not have tops hit you right at the widest part of your hips.

Again, let me reiterate: I am not arguing that we all need to wear work clothes or church clothes when we’re home! I’m just saying that you can be comfortable with clothes that fit and flatter, too! And if you have to have something altered, you are absolutely not a failure. But it’s nice to have a few quality pieces that you do feel fabulous in.

If you hate going to the mall, or if you’re interested in buying any of these items online, it’s really easy. Just click on any of the links. And Kiyonna has offered readers of this blog a special coupon code: Use the code LUVHNRVAC when checking out and you’ll get 15% OFF, $100 min. It’s good until March 31! (*Not valid on bridal, body shapers or accessories.  Cannot be combined with any other coupon.  Not valid on wholesale/military orders.)

Tomorrow we’ll be talking about lingerie and finding a bra that actually fits! Don’t forget to enter our contest by leaving a comment on yesterday’s post.

This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Does Kiyonna have tops/dresses that DON’T have a plunging neckline? As I said in yesterday’s post, I’m a DDD and don’t like drawing attention to my bustline. I like the first top but feel its too low cut for my liking and although I DO like the style of the blouse, I wouldn’t be comfortable putting my cleavage on display like that.

    • Hi Kelly, I updated and put one on there! I like the others better, but there are other options. If you click through you’ll see some of them.

    • And don’t forget, you can always layer a lightweight camisole under any top that’s too low. I’m small-chested, so it seems like a lot of scoop-neck t-shirts come too low on me because I don’t fill them out the way I need to. So I keep 4 or 5 camis with lace trim to layer under things like that. :) They look pretty without showing off my sternum. 😛
      AmyBean recently posted…It’s not a sale or anythingMy Profile

      • Yes, absolutely! I am a big fan of camisoles because I have the same problem as Amy–being smaller tops gape.

        And you can even buy bras with built-in camisoles now, which is really pretty. But I do understand not wanting to draw attention to a large bust, though admitting you have curves isn’t a horrible thing. :) (Although I’m sure it’s difficult at 13!)

      • Love the cami! I have a collection of them because they are so perfect to make an immodest shirt modest!
        Mrs Annonymous recently posted…Print ComparisonMy Profile

    • Julie Gonzalez says:

      A few well placed stitches could solve the problem!

  2. Another great post, Sheila! I won’t wear something that isn’t comfortable, even when I am “dressing up,” because I just don’t see the need to suffer for fashion. That’s just me. But I still think about what I’m wearing and make sure that everything fits the way it should, and I don’t wear clothing that is stained or damaged (unless I’m painting or something, but that’s an entirely different scenario). Even comfy hoodies and yoga pants can be flattering to your figure if you buy them in the right size and cut for your body shape.
    AmyBean recently posted…It’s not a sale or anythingMy Profile

  3. ButterflyWings says:

    Interesting…. as a plus sized woman I’ve always been advised to wear longer tops. Ones that curve in at the waist but flair out over the hips and cover the bottom.

    I think it’s an individual thing…. being plus sized isn’t necessarily a shape – we come in all shapes. I’m an apple shape and the longer shirts definitely suit me better – just very hard to find.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement (and enabling 😉 ) You have some fabulous tips!! And you are so right about jersey fabric. I haven’t worn a t-shirt in years because I’ve hated the boxy cut (and the womens cuts never felt right). But I have lately found many shirts made with “t-shirt fabric” but have some super cute attention to detail and fun. They’re super comfy and they look really classy. I love it because I wear my good jeans and the tops when I want to be more casual, but when I want to be dressier, I can put them with a skirt and viola! It took no more effort than putting on a boxy t-shirt.

    The last one I bought in a beautiful mustard yellow (a color of which I was afraid but now now looks smashing on me) my husband liked so much he told me to go back and get more!! I bought it 200 miles away, so then he quickly said “then go online!” I have to say I LOVE it when my husband thinks something I’ve bought is so flattering he tells me to go buy more!

  5. Mia Simonsen says:

    I very much appreciate the focus of these posts. Your advice seems doable and so helpful. As the mother of two teenage daughters, I also try to keep in mind that my daughters are watching me for examples of how to age gracefully. I want them to see me modeling how to stay current in my looks within a budget. One website I have found inspiring is Her blog is a treasure trove of affordable style information for real women. Thank you for addressing this topic.

  6. Sheila thanks a ton for the tips! My weight has yo-yoed quite a bit lately :) and I think am still catching up mentally :) Just this weekend, I went shopping and was pleasantly surprised to discover than I looked good in a straight skirt with pockets at the hip. In the past, when i had fuller hips, i stayed away from straight things with detail on the hip.

    I think sometimes we just have to keep discovering and trying out things. We won’t know what works if we don’t look.
    Again, we may not fall under a specific category cos truth is our bodies are all so different! But that shouldn’t be a deterrent, we should take the tips and use them as clues to find out what works for us! Thanks Sheila!
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…6 Ways to Navigate Financial Difficulties in MarriageMy Profile

    • That is SO true! I think often we have this mental image of ourselves that doesn’t actually fit with what we really look like. And we let that mental image keep us stuck.

  7. I’m 5’11 and a size 6 and I really don’t love to shop! No matter your size, dressing room lights are unflattering and shopping can be overwhelming. I recently discovered which has free shipping to you and for returns so if it doesn’t fit stick it back in the mailbox. Their clearence is amazing! I got a cute dress for $12. And while they have a ton of clothes you can really narrow down your search. So if you are looking for clothes that flatter your body type you could search for a certain style of dress and only see those. Just something I found recently :) I’m fighting the frump!
    Claire recently posted…Wedding CakeMy Profile

  8. Another wonderful post! Very helpful too.
    I can never seem to find things that look good on me. I’ll see an outfit and think it’s adorable but that does NOT mean it flatters my shape.
    I appreciate the pointers!
    Laura recently posted…HospitalityMy Profile

  9. I’m not even a mom, but I am a grad student, and I have been feeling really *meh* of late. I don’t dress badly, but I have been bundling up for winter. So, because of these reminders, I – though I am on spring break! – showered, got dressed, put on earrings, and am working away, feeling so much more awake and productive and like I care about myself. Thanks!

  10. Great post! In the past year God has really done a work in me regarding how I view my body. I am overweight and have always struggled with shopping and walking away feeling like I hate my body. I’m learning to accept myself and to appreciate the good things about my body.

    I also have taken to heart some advice from Stacy and Clinton on “What Not to Wear.” :) I’ve heard them say to many women that when you are trying on clothes and you can’t find the right fit, it’s NOT because there is something wrong with your body, it IS because there is something wrong with the clothes. This seems like a subtle thing but it makes a huge difference – instead of thinking that I have to change my body to fit the clothes I now stop and think about how I can change the clothes to fit me.

    Another mindset change for me is understanding that maintaining my wardrobe isn’t a task I can check off my list once a year. I’ve noticed that the women in my life who I admire for always looking nice seem to view shopping and wardrobe maintenance as a process. If they go into a store and try on 10 items and none of them fit, they shrug their shoulders and realize that they’ll try again on another day or in another store. In the past, if I went into a store and tried on 10 things and none of them fit, I would have been depressed and may have purchased some of the items anyway. I would have thought, shopping is on my checklist for today and I’ll be a failure if I don’t purchase anything. Plus I hated shopping and wanted to spend the least amount of time possible in a dressing room so I often settled for clothes I hated just so I wouldn’t have to shop as much. Oh the irony! Now I know that it’s worth it to shop more often and try on lots of outfits so I can find one or two or three things that I LOVE and can wear with confidence.

  11. I love this advice. I think we need to know in general what is the best style for our bodies, and then we need to try things on and see what looks good and FEELS GOOD. If we don’t feel good in an outfit, we probably won’t look good in it. It’s often a good idea to take along a stylish friend or sister when shopping for clothes (but only someone who always has our best interests in mind!) – she will often see things that we wouldn’t notice, but end up looking great on us.
    Gaye @CalmHealthySexy recently posted…SmallStep #5 – Step Out of Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

  12. What if I can’t figure out my shape? I’m 6″, and when I’m overweight, I tend towards the “apple on a stick” shape, but when I’m lean like now, I can’t figure where I fit. Are there on-line helps for hard-to-match shapes?

  13. Thanks, Sheila, for posting these tips. I’m a busty figure, top bigger than bottom, but tall, and not plus-sized. I’m also a 50-something older mom. Any suggestions for ladies like me?

  14. Great post!

  15. I’m very short-waisted, so many tops show off too much cleavage when worn alone. I love camisoles, but find that they don’t always help because most are still cut too low (for me). However, I found a resource for really nice high-cut camisoles that are cute and work for me! is great and I love their stuff! The necklines might be too high for some, but they look good on me without me looking too, umm, overly modest (if you know what I mean – there’s a balance).

    Anyway, thanks for your post! This is a good encouragement!

    • Thanks for the link!!! I have the same problem, so I often break out my sewing machine and scissors and do some of my own tailoring (which I don’t particularly enjoy). However, I am going to check this out!


  16. Well, it looks like I’m going to have to find something that comes in just below the bust-line but doesn’t cling to the rolls under that (since I’m one of the “petite” women with a huuuuuge chest, but still rather overweight in my middle). So is there an option besides maternity clothes?

    I LOVE the clothes you’ve posted here, (way out of my price-range though) so hopefully I can find some sort of middle ground and start feeling good about myself. I really need to stop letting societal “norms” get me upset, but sometimes it’s hard to be this short and this overweight and this busty. God made us all different, and I’m going to check back here every day and help remind myself that I’m beautiful because I’m His!

    Also, are you going to do anything on hair/makeup? I’ve noticed that even if I’m in an outfit that I actually think looks really good on me, I see my chubby face and lose my “Hey, I look good today!” mood…

    • Yes, I’ll do hair and makeup on Thursday! And the main thing is you have ideas for what to look for–that’s great!

      • KellyK(@RNCCRN9706) says:

        See now my hair and makeup ALWAYS look good! My hair is cut in a popular pixie style and now that it’s getting to be spring, heavily highlighted so it’s more blonde than brown. I spend a decent amount on cosmetics. I LOVE makeup!! My favorite part of my face are my eyes! So I play them up EVERY time.

        I’d rather have a root canal without novocaine than try on clothes. I had weight loss surgery almost 4 yrs ago and dropped 90 lbs…nothing in my chest though, Still a DDD there(I’m the same Kelly from comment #1) have a lot of skin around my middle. I just don’t like drawing attention to my middle area with snug fitting tops :(

    • I totally hear you! I have had a big fat head my entire life – even when I was working out and pretty fit – I still have this huge fat face! When I was younger people called it baby fat and I hated that! Well at 38 it can’t possibly be baby fat – it’s just fat! So how do you camoflage a big fat face? Btw – I hate hate hate make up – I have never learned how to apply it and when I try I end up looking just plain silly!

  17. Tall girls represent – I’m 5’9″ with a long skinny waist and I can’t ever buy anything from a catalog/internet without having to return it. A normal waist comes up to my bust, and a low waist comes to my actual waist, and bum-covering shirts on other women look normal on me.

    I always had such a hard time buying pants because they are always too tight on the thighs and gap in the waist, so now I wear skirts 365 days a year unless I have to do field work or something (I’m an engineer).

    I don’t know how true this is but I heard that clothing manufacturers start with a size 6 and scale up or down from there. That probably explains why the larger sizes don’t seem to be made for real humans. Picture a size 6 woman scaled up like a photoshop picture – people don’t scale that way!

    • HSN.COM has a great jeans designer who caters to the baby boomer bodies, so to speak. DG2 jeans come in petite, average, and tall. No shipping to Canada, though, sorry. Also, Levi’s Curve jeans are made to fit a variety of body shapes. You can do a search for those online, also. I don’t see them currently available on HSN.COM any longer, but I truly believe one of these lines would fit your body shape.

  18. berjiboo says:

    I am a total pear shape, very small on top and curvy on the bottom. I also have a long torso and short legs. I can rarely find dresses to fit my shape, so I do separates. My waist is a lot (ok, there is less of difference post babies) smaller than my hips, but I find hip-sitting jeans comfortable- so long as I have a shirt that covers my waist. It is really a challenge to find shirts that go all the way down my torso rather stopping at my belly button. :)

  19. Stephanie says:

    Love this post! Not super excited about the hisla bikini ad that came with it though.

  20. Oh my goodness, I am so guilty of frumpy when I am super busy! I think I’ve been working in pj’s for a week. Sometimes my days go from morning to night on the computer and I look up and realize I worked the entire day without getting dressed. Sigh…
    Fawn Weaver recently posted…Please Pardon Our Dust…We’re Moving!My Profile

  21. Oh yay! I am very fashion-challenged and really needed this info! I am always very frumpy in the winter. It’s so cold here that I always wear big baggy sweatshirts to stay warm…I think it’s time for a change. Thanks for the encouraging posts. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
    Vanessa recently posted…How I Balance Healthy Eating with Frugal LivingMy Profile

  22. Sheila —

    This is SO timely for me. I dress professionally teach my morning classes and then come home to throw on sweats, a Tshirt, and hoodie. They’re soooo comfortable! But I find myself doing what they encourage me to do — lounge!

    When I pull on a pair of comfy jeans (which I do own) and put on a camisole with a simple sweater, I feel better about myself, and I get more studying / writing / etc. done.

    And when Daniel comes home from work and says, “Where are you going?” it tells me that I’ve not been dressing up for him enough! 😉
    Cheri Gregory recently posted…At Least I’m Not Like Her (Except for All the Ways I Am)My Profile

  23. I just want to emphasize this line (if others above haven’t already): “And if you have to have something altered, you are absolutely not a failure.”

    We go into dressing rooms and things don’t fit and we feel like we’re the problem, but this is a huge lie and I think it takes a huge toll on us. So let me say this: We are NOT the problem. The CLOTHES are the problem. I’m really, really passionate about this. Honestly. If the clothes don’t fit, THEY are the problem. Stores can’t create clothes to fit every single body type (every shape and size), so they just do the best they can (or they do what’s easiest/cheapest). The ONLY time clothes will fit perfectly is if you purchase real, fashion-house-in-Paris couture clothing. When a fashion house makes couture clothing (that is, the most expensive clothing, worn by models and actors and celebrities), they don’t whip clothing out of the closet and slide it over the famous-person’s perfect body… because there is no perfect body. Everyone’s body is so different, even within the same “size” category. So the couture houses measure, in agonizing detail, that person’s body. They take a dress form and pad it and shape it until it’s shaped exactly like that person. They make a draft pattern, fit it over the dress form, adjust it, shape it, adjust it again. They fit it several times before they ever cut into the real fabric. And once the real fabric is cut and made into the article of clothing, they fit it again on the actual person until it is PERFECT before they ever let it leave their shop. This is an entirely unrealistic way for most people in the world to shop for clothes because it is ridiculously expensive, but the reason I’m talking about it is because the ONLY time we should expect clothes to fit us right away is if we buy clothes that way. Every other time, if they don’t fit, it’s because they made the clothes wrong. The clothes are what’s wrong. So ask for different sizes, ask for different styles. Get the salesperson’s advice, shop at different stores. And if it’s still not quite right (too long, not fitted enough, etc), get it altered. Because it’s the clothes. The clothes are what’s wrong in that picture. It’s the clothes, not your body.

    (And if you really struggle to find clothes that fit, find a good alterations person and ask them what things they can easily change. That way, you can look for clothes that fit you in the areas that are harder (ie, more expensive) to alter, and have that person fix the other parts. For example, in a blazer, the width between the shoulders is waaay harder to adjust than taking in the waist or shortening the sleeves.)

    • One possible step before finding an alterations person… Take a loving, honest friend with you, perhaps one whose style you admire, and see if they can help you find clothes that fit. Sometimes we’re so used to the ways our bodies look that it’s hard to see when we’re not wearing things that fit properly. For years, I wore pants that were probably 2 sizes too big because I honestly thought that’s what fit me. I never got why other women’s jeans would look so stylish and I’d always look so frumpy until I was shopping with a friend who, after seeing me in the jeans I was trying on, dumped in several pairs of pants in the smaller sizes, and insisted I try them.

  24. I love clothes. I always get so many positive comments on my appearance and my style. (It’s been a long time in development so I should hope so!)

    I’m a pear shape (I’m 5’9″, with a 36″ bust, a 27″ waist, and a 42″ hip/butt – I know my measurements because I sew!), and even though my weight is smack dab in the middle of ideal it is close to impossible sometimes to find clothes that fit. A store bought fitted dress – ha! Never going to happen. But, I wear skirts and tops a lot, that are pulled in around my waist. You’re right, alterations are sometimes necessary. I have to alter my sewing patterns too. Clothes and patterns are made to certain factory set “ideal” standards, and you have to work around that sometimes! There’s a phrase for big hips/booty that I find funny….”more cushion for the pushin’.” 😉 Or, for the more conservative, “child bearing hips,” even though I’m not going to have children. Anyway, it’s so much fun to play with clothes, to play with styles and color.

    I don’t think that jeans that come straight down from your widest point are necessary for a pear shape. I guess it depends on the type of pear shape, but I have a pair of skinny jeans that I get a lot of positive comments about. A lot of guys like big hips and booty. As long as it fits around the waist, so that it doesn’t pinch anywhere, then it can be sexy rather than frumpy. Some places have jeans for “curvy women” that come in at the waist and out at the hip, then back in at the legs.

    It was difficult at first, I have to say, dressing my body since I gained weight. I used to be a 33″ bust, a 25″ waist, and a 37″ hip – ah, youth. Although I was too skinny then, so I’m glad I gained weight. I like my curves. Anyway, I had accumulated clothes for years that no longer fit, and I had to regroup and realize that my clothes weren’t fitting and figure out what to do about it. In addition, I was no longer college age (even though everyone thinks I’m in my late teens or early 20s – it used to be a curse, because I looked like I was 9 when I was 13 and it just went on from there – when I was 20 I got pulled over because a cop thought I wasn’t old enough to have my license yet, but now I’m happy about it), so I had to rethink my style. (Thrift store, here I come!) So, the search was on to find clothes that “fit and flatter.” All I can say is, start trying on clothes, even if you don’t like shopping! I always hated shopping for pants because of the disparity between my waist and hips. It was close to impossible and I would always wind up with a dressing room full of jeans on the floor – which is why I only have two pairs of jeans and I’m going to stick with them for as long as I can. Realize that the latest trend most likely won’t be the style you need to go with, and come up with your own style. Separates, skirts and tops, are often the life saver of a pear shape. It’s handy to have a few pretty outfits that you can put together fast, if you don’t have time to think about what to wear (I’m a procrastinator, so that happens to me often). Don’t trust the measurement charts on clothing websites – they’re never accurate with the clothes that you’re buying. It’s best to try things on.

    I can understand feeling bad about oneself to the point of not wanting to even try because what’s the point, but most of us are a lot more attractive than we give ourselves credit for, and the right clothes and accessories can work absolute miracles. Even wearing different shoes, in the way they shape your calves.

    Anyway, I don’t know if there’s any good advice in there, but I tried.

  25. I have also had difficulty finding things that fit properly as I have hips, anything but skinny legs and a smaller waist with a larger chest (finding a 34DD is not an easy task). I have had to realize that I need to fit the body I have not what I want to have. I went up a size not too long ago and feel better about myself now then before when I was trying to fit into the smaller size. I also like one of the comments above about feeling good in yoga pants and a sweatshirt as that is what I am likely wearing if I want to be comfortable. I have a pair of yoga pants that fit just right and a slightly more fitted zip up hoodie that I feel pretty good in. Or sometimes i will put on a more fitted shirt with the yoga pants and can feel good about that. But I try to always put on a little makeup and do something to my hair. Though I do try to wear jeans and a decent top as much as possible. A few words of advice for bustier ladies…a scarf can not only be a pretty accessory, but it helps cover any unwanted cleavage as well. Camisoles are your friend, or you can get something that hooks to your bra straps to cover without having to wear a full shirt. I forget what is is called, but its basically a piece of fabric that goes under your top. I used one under a dress and it worked well.

  26. I’m loving these posts. I have used flylady on occasion so I have been doing my best for some time to get up and dressed to my shoes. However, I don’t always get my hair combed before I get the kids off to school. Then I wait several hours to get it done. It’s amazing how getting your hair combed can change the way you feel. I have also talked to my husband about wishing for new clothes. My clothes are nice but I’ve had them for several years and feel I need a new look :) My husband told me that he felt I always looked nice. Knowing I please him helps but the tips you have given can help me with choosing clothes that also make me feel good about myself. Thanks again! You are a blessing!!

  27. This confirmed how I dress naturally . . . good to know. Thanks again, Sheila.
    Steph recently posted…True BeautyMy Profile

  28. I’m an hourglass figure, and I don’t find a whole lot of things to wear! I find that my bust is too large for many “cute” tops, or my hips are too wide for smaller size pants. I wear the next size up because they fit my hips, but they’re baggy everywhere else. As far as tops go… I find that in order to cover my bust… the shirt needs to be bigger, which means it’s too large everyehere else! I started working out 6 months ago, and although my body has changed…. those areas haven’t. Getting dresses gets to be pretty frustrating.

    • Amy, have you tried altering? I know it’s not fun, but some people just HAVE to alter clothes to get them to fit. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you; just that there’s something wrong with the clothes. It really is okay! If you have a pair of pants you just love, but they’re too loose at the waist, I’d just take them in and ask them to be altered. That would be a better use of money than trying to buy a different pair of pants. Do the same thing with one or two shirts that you like. They can take them in at the shoulders or take them in at the waist, and it will feel so much better.

  29. My mom always stressed the importance of looking good for our husbands. They get to see many other women who have dressed up for the day at work…and then come home to ….what they want to know and see is the most special woman in their lives….and it is nice to honor our men/husbands by showing them the courtesy of dressing nicely for them. I hope I am able to do this once my fiancee and I get married this July!!!! I am already practicing….and he has made comments, so I already know he appreciates my efforts! :)
    Almost Married recently posted…Fight the Frump: Accessorize!My Profile

  30. Susan Wilson says:

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts this week. Thanks for the inspiration to fight the frump!

  31. Christina Meyers says:

    SO TRUE! What a great reminder. This is one of those things that I remember and then implement but something happens in this thing called LIFE that brings me back to frumpland again! Then, it takes a great article like this, with practical ideas, to reboot me again! And, of course, I feel a ton better when I do put in the effort and it definitely reflects in my attitude and confidence. Thank you!

  32. There are two things I think are essential to looking great on a shoestring budget: 1) learn what styles and colors really look good on you, and 2) get in the habit of cruising your local thrift stores whenever you’re in town and have a few bucks to spare. I have a tall frame and big feet and wear plus sizes, so I’m not as easy to fit as some. I have still managed to build a wardrobe of clothes I like. When I go to the thrift store, I go straight to the skirt and blouse racks and look through the sizes that might fit me. It only takes twenty minutes, at the most. I don’t always find something, but because I stop in often, I know that eventually I’ll find clothes I love.

    It also helps to learn some basic sewing techniques. That way, you can do minor alterations yourself.

  33. Kim Guzzardo says:

    Thank you. As far as I know this series was done awhile back. But thank God for this. It will be life changing for me. I didn’t read the comments but it sounds like u got some, how I say it, push back. But for me and many other women, this was written for us.

  34. I have a 16 year old daughter, and how I dress and look is important to her. I try to dress stylish, but sometimes what I think is alright, she hates. If I let her pick my clothes, we generally are both satisfied. I do find it hard to dress stylish on a budget. Hopefully I can learn some techniques on what is best for my body style, and my daughters wish list.

Comment Policy: Please stay positive with your comments. If your comment is rude, it gets deleted. Any comment that espouses an anti-marriage philosophy (eg. porn, adultery, abuse and the like) will be deleted. If it is critical, please make it constructive. If you are replying to another commenter, please be polite and don't assume you know everything about his or her situation. If you are constantly negative or a general troll, you will get banned. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Sheila Wray Gregoire owns the copyright to all comments and may publish them in whatever form she sees fit. She agrees to keep any publication of comments anonymous, even if you are not anonymous on this board.


  1. […] An analysis of the 6 body types and what looks good on each one Wednesday: How to find a bra that fits (and makes you feel fabulous) Thursday: Accessorize! How to […]

  2. […] about the importance of taking pride in your appearance and not looking sloppy, and in finding clothes that fit and flatter. And if you’ve decided to join me in this challenge, don’t forget to sign up my leaving […]

  3. […] challenge! We’ve talked about the importance of looking as if you take pride in yourself, finding clothes that fit and flatter, and getting the right bra. Now we’re going to talk about how to put it all […]

  4. […] of you may remember from our Fight the Frump week some of the awesome Plus Sized styles from Kiyonna I was showing you–to prove that you […]

  5. […] One: Get Dressed Day Two: Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter Day Three: Finding the Right Bra Day Four: […]

  6. […] (and very, very few of us are), you can still be attractive! Fight the frump everyday. Get dressed. Wear clothes that flatter (and you can do that even if you’re plus-sized!). So much of being sexy is about attitude, […]

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge