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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 Girl’s 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:

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Indigo-Getter Top from ModCloth – $24.99

from: ModCloth

Or this:

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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):

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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:

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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.
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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!

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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.