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It’s Fight the Frump week here at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and today we’re going to talk about how to find items of clothing that fit and flatter you.

We’ve talked about hair and makeup so far, because your face is where people look first. You want it to be framed well and to look great! But now let’s move on to clothing, which is often a source of great stress for women.

But first, let me tell you a story.

About a decade ago I was on a speaking tour, and when I go out of town to speak, churches often put me up at hotels. The cool thing about that is that I could watch TV, since we’ve never had cable at home. So I decided I’d try CSI, since my nephew was always watching it and I wanted to see what he was seeing.

That episode had to do with a woman, travelling alone in a hotel, who found a body under her bed.

I got Keith on the phone while I checked for corpses under my bed, and changed the channel.

And then I found What Not To Wear.

That show changed my life. It was amazing! And it was inspiring. They took women who felt dowdy and badly about themselves and showed them that they really were beautiful, because they showed them how to dress to match their personality and give them confidence.

And those women quite frequently were not the “ideal” shape. There were bigger women. Busty women. Pear shaped women. Twiggy women. But they all felt great in the end.

You see, it’s not about needing the perfect body. It’s about learning how to dress the one you have.

That’s what I want to tackle today: principles for choosing clothes that will flatter you, and make you feel good about yourself!

But first, a caveat. One reason women get upset about shopping is because they try things on and nothing looks good. But that’s okay! As we’re going to talk about tomorrow, you can have a totally versatile, functional, and beautiful wardrobe with only 25-40 pieces. You don’t need a ton of things! So if you try on 20 and only 1 works, that’s okay. Don’t give up! It’s better to have fewer pieces that are well-made and look great on you than a ton of pieces off the clearance rack that you buy because you just have to come home with something (and it’s cheaper, too, to buy fewer but more expensive pieces than tons of low-quality pieces).

So don’t get discouraged! If you need a pair of pants, you may need to try on 20 pairs. But then you’ll have your pants. And hopefully they will do you for a few years!

And you can still dress well and be comfortable. I’m going to illustrate my principles with clothes from some online retailers, just so you can see pictures of what I’m talking about (these are affiliate links). You can buy clothes that are comfortable and can still be casual, while also looking like you’re put together.

Casual and comfortable are great. Sloppy, as if you don’t care, is not. 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, and do casual well. So let’s look at how that works!

Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter: Part of our Fight the Frump Week! 4 General Principles on dressing YOUR body well!

Do you know the four general principles of finding clothes that FIT and FLATTER you?Click To Tweet

General Principle 1: Clothes Can Create a Shape

Ideally most women yearn for an hourglass shape. If you’re one of the few who already basically has one, then pretty much any clothes will look great on you. Most of us, though, aren’t perfect hour glasses. So what we want to do is use clothing to create a shape by emphasizing certain things and drawing the eye to certain places.

One reason people tend to wear very baggy clothes is because they feel big, and they don’t want anyone to see their shape. But appearing shapeless actually makes you look bigger than if you emphasize a shape. And you’ll tend to feel more feminine if you emphasize a shape than if you try to cover up your body–even if you don’t like your body!

General Principle 2: If You Want Something to Look Bigger, then Use Pattern and Texture and Fabric

I don’t have much of a bust. So if I’m going to look hourglass, I want to do things to create shape on the top part of my body. Maybe you DO have a bust, but your bottom half is still way bigger You can do that with things like ruffles to add detail, or some extra fabric to add curves, like this:

Solid V Neck Shirt

Solid V-Neck T shirt from Fashionmia, on sale for $14.96

Here’s me in a ruffled top that I wear a lot when I speak! It just adds more oomph where I don’t have it. 🙂

Fight the Frump by wearing ruffles and layers!

And layers work well, too!

Layered Top

Fashionmia Round Neck Zips Top, On sale for $17.95

If you need more width on top, you can even get away with horizontal stripes, like this cute top!

Striped Cowl Neck Tunic

FashionMia Striped Top, $39.75 (on sale now for $7.95)!

What about if you’re super busty, but you’re actually quite thin on the bottom? How do you make your bottom half look fuller? Wear flowing skirts! Choose boot cut jeans rather than skinny jeans. And try dresses that are more form fitting on top and fuller in the bottom!

Full Skirt Dress

Megan Dress from Karina Dresses, $108

(all Karina dresses are basically the same cost, but you can see them on real people and they look awesome!)

General Principle 3: If you Want Something to Look Smaller, Make it Plainer and More Form Fitting

Wait–“why would I want form fitting around my hips if my hips are huge?”, you may say! But trust me. Wearing a pencil skirt or fitted jeans, when paired with the kind of tops we’ve talked about, makes you look much smaller than if you cover your hips in a huge skirt or in baggy pants.

It’s absolutely true! Go shopping with a friend who is fashionable and let her pick the clothes for you to try on. You may be surprised!

Here’s a ruched skirt from Kiyonna Clothing, which focuses on Plus-Sized clothes, just to show you what I mean.

Kiyonna Ruched Skirt

Kiyonna Ruched Skirt, $78 (on sale for $54!)

I would prefer the top was more flowy, but if you click through the link, you’ll see multiple pictures of real customers wearing it with tops that are more flowy, and it looks great!

One of the issues bustier women have, too, is that they don’t want to draw attention to their chest, so they wear square shaped baggy tops. It’s understandable. Especially if you’re sensitive about people staring at you there, it can be intimidating to try something more form fitting. But those sorts of tops really do make you look smaller than wearing a huge piece of fabric on your upper half. If you’re really busty, look below at some of the high waisted options.

No matter your body shape, you can choose clothes that fit it and flatter it! 4 Great Tips:Click To Tweet

General Principle 4: Everybody needs a waist.

Yes, those with perfect figures can get away with no waist, but most of us need our waists defined. It gives you more shape if you’re straight up and down, but it also makes you look smaller if you’re not! So try to choose basic t-shirts that are fitted, like this:

Fitted Turtleneck

Fashionmia Fitted Long Sleeve Turtleneck, $14.95 on sale

But your waist doesn’t have to be at your waist. You want to emphasize the smallest part, and for many women, that’s right below the bust. So a blouse that comes in below the bust, and then flows out from there can make your waist look a lot smaller. And it can hide your tummy!

High Waisted Top

Fashionmia Ruffled Hem t-shirt, on sale for $18.66

And here’s a dressier version from Kiyonna Plus Sized clothing:

High Waisted Tunic

Promenade Top from Kiyonna, $58

Or you can do the same in dresses, too!

High Waisted Dress

Nora Dress from Karina Dresses, $108

Do you dress in shapeless things because you're afraid you're too big? Why that doesn't work!Click To Tweet

Those are your basic principles for dressing your body type.

And the neat thing is that those items of clothing are actually quite comfortable (except for perhaps the super dressy ones). You don’t need to wear just yoga pants and t-shirts to be comfortable! It’s winter! Fleece-lined leggings with a tunic or skinny jeans with a tunic are super comfortable. You can get all kinds of things in t-shirt fabric or sweatshirt fabric, but they look great!

Heavy Tunic Shift Dress

Fashionmia Tunic Shift Dress, on sale for $20.95

You can be comfortable and stylish. You don’t have to feel like nothing fits you. You don’t have to feel like nothing looks good on you. You just have to look for clothes in the right shape and style!

Tomorrow I want to talk about the concept of creating outfits ahead of time using a capsule wardrobe, so that you don’t need a ton of pieces to look put together. It doesn’t have to cost a ton of money or time to put a great wardrobe together. And you can plan your purchases deliberately, thinking, “I need one colour blazer and one neutral pair of pants.” But I hope that helps!

Here’s Another Idea for Finding Clothes that Look Good on You

Try a subscription with Le Tote! They’ll send you a box with 3-5 items (depending on your subscription) based on what you’ve marked as things you’d like to try. Then you can wear them, and when you’re done, ship them back (for free) and they’ll send you more! The subscription is on a monthly basis, so you can return things as often as you’d like during that month. It’s a great chance to try on a bunch of different things, and then you can cancel when you’re done and know what you like!

And right now, you can get 40% off your first month! It’s a great chance to just try things on, see what compliments you get from other people, and experiment with your style!

05A89E37 5CB9 0197 31EE4E37E33A2F79 - Fight the Frump: Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter

Check out Le Tote here!

Want to Join Me in Fighting the Frump?

Monday: Get Dressed! Tuesday: Choosing a Quick Hairstyle that Flatters You Wednesday: Mastering Natural Makeup Friday:  Creating Outfits and Style

Let’s do this, ladies!

Now, here’s how you can join in!

  1. Instagram or Tweet a picture of you actually getting dressed in something that looks decent today! Just use the hashtag #fightthefrump!
  2. Leave a comment telling me what are your biggest problems when trying to find clothes that flatter you–and telling me which general principle would work well for you.

Let’s encourage each other and fight the frump together!

redeeming minerals - Fight the Frump: Finding Clothes that Fit and Flatter

 

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