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My Style Tips for Real Women Like Me: Short, Overweight, Apple Shaped

Updated on September 19, 2018


Do you cringe when you look at yourself in photos? Do you have bumps and curves in all the wrong places? Is clothes shopping a depressing chore for you? Do people ask "when are expecting"?! Then, my friend, you and I have a similar dilemma.

It is an uphill battle trying to find appealing outfits for someone 5ft 3in, overweight, apple shaped and 50-something. My main source of advice has been the Internet. The tips I usually find are useful but when the examples are designer outfits for celebrities I don't have much to go with.


A petite size is a standard clothing size designed to fit women of shorter height, typically 160 cm (5 ft 3 in) or less.

Apple-shaped women are fuller around the middle. If they gain weight, it shows up around their belly and upper body. They’re usually larger-breasted and their upper arms and shoulders are broader, too. Their legs tend to be thin and their butts tend to be flat.

The ratio of bust:waist:hips is 4:4:3.


No wonder I've been frustrated with my appearance. I've come to understand that my short and round body type is the most challenging to clothe -- a fine line between frumpy and cutesy. I'm sure there are many of you who feel the same way.

After years of trial and error, I found a few nice pieces that I rely on, they never fail to make me feel confident. And I figured out why they work. So I hope my thoughts in this hub will help you out.

try on outfits with this virtual stylist

http://www.joyofclothes.com/style-me/

the low down

When I look up styling tips typically I see these recommendations:

«The main goal is to create the illusion of a trim waistline. Choose tailored tops, dresses and sweaters. They trim the silhouette, as opposed to boxy tops, which exaggerate a wider waistline. A plunging neckline lengthens the neck and minimizes the chest and torso. Tops and dresses featuring ruching or shirring at the middle or side define a large waistline. Wear straight wide and flare leg pants, which balance the bottom of the body.»

These tips are useful:

  • Wear properly fitted bras that support the bust
  • Dress in one color / hue / shade to give a uniform look
  • Wear clothes that fit properly (don't sag or bind)
  • Select garments with vertical lines
  • Choose V- or U-shaped necklines
  • Avoid bulky fabrics
  • Avoid sheer or clingy fabrics
  • Avoid styles with extra bulk: frills, pleats or ruching
  • Avoid bright colors and large patterns
  • Avoid belts altogether
  • Choose pants without cuffs, bulky pockets, or pleats

But these I find are not practical for me:

  • Avoid oversized handbags > I have a lot of stuff to lug around
  • Wear high heels > having bad feet rules out high heels for me for everyday wear
  • The empire waist top is often recommended for the apple shaped body. The idea is to emphasize the bust and therefore diminish the stomach region but it doesn't work for me. In fact the cinching or gathering below the bust draws attention to my rounded mid-section. It only works if you have a flat tummy, or if you can flatten your torso with a body shaper.

I highly recommend medium weight jersey and knit fabrics with a little spandex for tops, they provide maximum comfort and moveability. For apple shaped ladies, dark colors with no or small pattern is best -- sometimes a pattern can camouflage lumps and bumps. And it is true that hip-length tops are more flattering than waist-length tops (think of how waist-length tops slide upward when you lift your arms up, hmmm?)

Another tip -- "pants should be cut lower than the waistline" -- doesn't work for me either. I get a muffin top when I wear pants cut lower than my waistline. Loose fitting pants that sits at the waist and hang straight to the floor is better.

When shopping online, stay away from clothes that include the following phrase in the description: "emphasize your feminine curves" -- because you want to de-emphasize your curves. Descriptions that include "easy-care stretch fabric", "comfortable and effortlessly stylish" are good.

Wear shoes that are comfortable with good support. Sensible shoes don't have to mean ugly shoes, there are lots to choose from these days. But comfy is key because feeling good is essential to looking good.

The best news is you can wear dazzling necklaces to emphasize your neckline. Medium sized pieces that lie flat work best for you. Don't go too chunky -- this will make you look top heavy.

dresses

plus size fashion doesn't have to be boring, this simple velvety electric blue cocktail dress with black scroll pattern is guaranteed to dazzle
plus size fashion doesn't have to be boring, this simple velvety electric blue cocktail dress with black scroll pattern is guaranteed to dazzle
A-line chiffon floor length one-shoulder formal dress with fitted bodice and rhinestone trim
A-line chiffon floor length one-shoulder formal dress with fitted bodice and rhinestone trim
jewel neckline chiffon dress: trapeze silhouette, long sleeves
jewel neckline chiffon dress: trapeze silhouette, long sleeves
evening pant set with chiffon popover capelet, cold-shoulder sleeves, sequin trim at neck and shoulder
evening pant set with chiffon popover capelet, cold-shoulder sleeves, sequin trim at neck and shoulder
sleeveless V-neck loose-fitting swing dress with asymmetrical hem
sleeveless V-neck loose-fitting swing dress with asymmetrical hem
swing dress with lace yoke and sleeves detail
swing dress with lace yoke and sleeves detail
sporty and youthful sheath dress with printed flounce hem
sporty and youthful sheath dress with printed flounce hem
knit sleeveless maxi dress with a scoop neckline and a high-low flounce hem
knit sleeveless maxi dress with a scoop neckline and a high-low flounce hem
feminine sheath dress with beautiful border of flowers at the neck and hemline
feminine sheath dress with beautiful border of flowers at the neck and hemline
deep V-neck empire-waist black and white jumpsuit
deep V-neck empire-waist black and white jumpsuit
3 piece pantsuit with glitter details and mesh sleeves
3 piece pantsuit with glitter details and mesh sleeves
easy trendy lace slip dress: spaghetti straps, romantic lace, V-neck and back
easy trendy lace slip dress: spaghetti straps, romantic lace, V-neck and back
sleeveless dress with A-line silhouette, colorblocking and high-low hem -- the stylish hemline emphasizes the legs
sleeveless dress with A-line silhouette, colorblocking and high-low hem -- the stylish hemline emphasizes the legs
crinkle-chiffon maxi dress with split neckline and elasticized waist
crinkle-chiffon maxi dress with split neckline and elasticized waist
sleeveless chiffon swing dress with stone embellishment on chest
sleeveless chiffon swing dress with stone embellishment on chest
relaxed jersey sleeveless swing dress, scoop neckline with beaded embellishment, cutout back with an embellished beaded trim and a dipped reverse hem
relaxed jersey sleeveless swing dress, scoop neckline with beaded embellishment, cutout back with an embellished beaded trim and a dipped reverse hem
basic relaxed jersey swing dress with V-neckline
basic relaxed jersey swing dress with V-neckline
velvet T-shirt dress with round neck and long mesh sleeves: curves have never looked more sexy
velvet T-shirt dress with round neck and long mesh sleeves: curves have never looked more sexy
A-line swing dress with floral placement print
A-line swing dress with floral placement print
swing dress with rounded split neckline, lace up styling and eyelet trim at front yoke, seamed  shirred back waist
swing dress with rounded split neckline, lace up styling and eyelet trim at front yoke, seamed shirred back waist
rayon stretch jersey dress, relaxed through the body with a flared hem that swings out
rayon stretch jersey dress, relaxed through the body with a flared hem that swings out

bottoms

midi skirt: sheer pleated tulle, lace underlay, high-rise waist
midi skirt: sheer pleated tulle, lace underlay, high-rise waist
faux wrap skirt
faux wrap skirt
for those with lovely legs, this vibrant stretch-knit skirt with asymmetrical black-mesh overlay wrap  is for you
for those with lovely legs, this vibrant stretch-knit skirt with asymmetrical black-mesh overlay wrap is for you
casual yet elegant pull-on straight-leg pants with elastic waistband, no pockets (70% viscose rayon, 24% nylon, 6% spandex)
casual yet elegant pull-on straight-leg pants with elastic waistband, no pockets (70% viscose rayon, 24% nylon, 6% spandex)
classic straight-leg cut pants tailored for a smooth, clean fit in seasonless crepe, elastic insets discreetly hidden at the side waist , zip fly with hook-and-bar closure, back welt pockets
classic straight-leg cut pants tailored for a smooth, clean fit in seasonless crepe, elastic insets discreetly hidden at the side waist , zip fly with hook-and-bar closure, back welt pockets
extremely comfy relaxed fit cotton-poly velour pants can be dressed up or down -- the thin elastic waistband won't fold over at waistline
extremely comfy relaxed fit cotton-poly velour pants can be dressed up or down -- the thin elastic waistband won't fold over at waistline
cotton/polyester fleece relaxed sweatpants with flat elastic waistband -- no drawstring, pockets or cuffs
cotton/polyester fleece relaxed sweatpants with flat elastic waistband -- no drawstring, pockets or cuffs
comfy, stretchy wide legged denim pants: all around elastic waist, drawstring, slash pockets, stitched cuffed hem
comfy, stretchy wide legged denim pants: all around elastic waist, drawstring, slash pockets, stitched cuffed hem
classic fit lightweight cotton canvas pants with elastic waist
classic fit lightweight cotton canvas pants with elastic waist
cotton-polyester French terry Bermuda shorts with drawstring waistband and 2 side pockets
cotton-polyester French terry Bermuda shorts with drawstring waistband and 2 side pockets
soft cotton jersey shorts with wide, ribbed elastic waist that flexes for ease of movement
soft cotton jersey shorts with wide, ribbed elastic waist that flexes for ease of movement

tops

easy fit long-sleeved blouse with lace overlay and scoop neck
easy fit long-sleeved blouse with lace overlay and scoop neck
long sleeved cardigan with shawl collar, light textured polyester-spandex fabric
long sleeved cardigan with shawl collar, light textured polyester-spandex fabric
sexy sleeveless top
sexy sleeveless top
split V-neck henley, soft lightweight burnout jersey in all-over stripes with drop-shoulder, rounded hi-lo hem
split V-neck henley, soft lightweight burnout jersey in all-over stripes with drop-shoulder, rounded hi-lo hem
cami with front and back pleats -- and lace trim along the neckline, armholes and bottom hem
cami with front and back pleats -- and lace trim along the neckline, armholes and bottom hem
lace trim top in a lightweight rayon knit with floral lace overlay, scalloped hem, gathered shoulders and deep scoop neck
lace trim top in a lightweight rayon knit with floral lace overlay, scalloped hem, gathered shoulders and deep scoop neck
short sleeved viscose/spandex top with ombre effect
short sleeved viscose/spandex top with ombre effect
loose fitting tank top with embroidery & beads,  scoop neck with functional zipper, side slits
loose fitting tank top with embroidery & beads, scoop neck with functional zipper, side slits
scoop neck tank with ombre sequin pattern, can be dressed up or down
scoop neck tank with ombre sequin pattern, can be dressed up or down
blouse with lace yoke and sleeves, wear with black skirt or pants for an elegant look
blouse with lace yoke and sleeves, wear with black skirt or pants for an elegant look
3/4 sleeve top with adjustable zipper neckline
3/4 sleeve top with adjustable zipper neckline
3/4 sleeve top with cutout neck detail
3/4 sleeve top with cutout neck detail
trendy sleeveless summer top: shirt-tail hem with front and back asymmetrical cut out
trendy sleeveless summer top: shirt-tail hem with front and back asymmetrical cut out
if your bust area is small, shoulder ties are a good way to add balance and interest to the shoulder area without adding extra bulk
if your bust area is small, shoulder ties are a good way to add balance and interest to the shoulder area without adding extra bulk

jackets and outerwear

topper jacket with elongated hem, floral embroidery at front
topper jacket with elongated hem, floral embroidery at front
hip length blazer with long lapels, mock pockets at front, and vent at back
hip length blazer with long lapels, mock pockets at front, and vent at back
notch-collar jacket softly structured from a textural stretch knit
notch-collar jacket softly structured from a textural stretch knit
hooded jacket
hooded jacket
classic long wool coat
classic long wool coat
wool blend A-line walker coat
wool blend A-line walker coat
A-line water-resistant poly color-block jacket with button-tab sleeve cuffs and detachable hood
A-line water-resistant poly color-block jacket with button-tab sleeve cuffs and detachable hood
A-line wool blend coat, single-breasted style cut with simple kimono sleeves
A-line wool blend coat, single-breasted style cut with simple kimono sleeves
collarless long, lightly structured coat with gunflaps; unlined, side slits
collarless long, lightly structured coat with gunflaps; unlined, side slits
raglan-sleeve coat cut from a wool blend in a longer, A-line silhouette
raglan-sleeve coat cut from a wool blend in a longer, A-line silhouette

swimwear

tiered tankini with contrasting trim, ruffled design offers coverage and a flattering look
tiered tankini with contrasting trim, ruffled design offers coverage and a flattering look
handkerchief tankini top
handkerchief tankini top
the dresskini: the coverage of a swim dress, and the convenience of a tankini top
the dresskini: the coverage of a swim dress, and the convenience of a tankini top

my choice for everyday shoes

mary janes with concave heel
mary janes with concave heel
comfortable lightweight sandals with adjustable straps
comfortable lightweight sandals with adjustable straps
comfortable suede loafers
comfortable suede loafers
leather multi strap slide sandal with fully padded contoured foot bed
leather multi strap slide sandal with fully padded contoured foot bed

dressy shoes

comfy, super stylish over the knee boots: fabric upper, round toe, hidden wedge with rubber outsole -- and  super sexy too!
comfy, super stylish over the knee boots: fabric upper, round toe, hidden wedge with rubber outsole -- and super sexy too!
black suede wedge pumps. 1.5 inch heel
black suede wedge pumps. 1.5 inch heel
perforated leather open toe booties, 2.5 inch heel
perforated leather open toe booties, 2.5 inch heel
suede open toe bootie with 2 inch heel
suede open toe bootie with 2 inch heel
stylish platform sandal with chunky heel and slingback strap, molded and shock-absorbing sole make it comfortable, mix of leather and elastic laddered straps, 3 inch heel, 1.5 inch platform
stylish platform sandal with chunky heel and slingback strap, molded and shock-absorbing sole make it comfortable, mix of leather and elastic laddered straps, 3 inch heel, 1.5 inch platform
slingback sandal with peep toe and stacked heel is shock-absorbent, flexible and slip-resistant, adjustable strap with buckle closure, leather upper/textile lining/rubber sole, 2.5 inch heel
slingback sandal with peep toe and stacked heel is shock-absorbent, flexible and slip-resistant, adjustable strap with buckle closure, leather upper/textile lining/rubber sole, 2.5 inch heel
comfy, classy low wedge slip on pumps
comfy, classy low wedge slip on pumps
low suede block heel ankle boots with cutout design and zipper back -- style and comfort at its best
low suede block heel ankle boots with cutout design and zipper back -- style and comfort at its best
block heel ankle boots with zip back fastening can be dressed up or down
block heel ankle boots with zip back fastening can be dressed up or down
trendy cage wedge sandal
trendy cage wedge sandal

articles

The plus-size fashion labels which are actually stylish http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/best-fashionable-plus-size-brands/

Plus-Size Workout Clothes: Brands That Are Leading The Way http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/08/04/plus-size-workout-clothes_n_11263842.html

How plus-size women are constructing a new normal http://www.thefader.com/2016/03/30/fat-shaming-is-dead

No longer ignored, retailers catering to curvy women http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/30/plus-size-apparel-brings-opportunity-to-retail.html

4 Ways The Fashion Industry Is Embracing The ‘Plus-Size’ Movement http://elitedaily.com/women/fashion-plus-size-movement/1182723/

you may not have known these celebs are apple shaped

Kelly Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley, Drew Barrymore
Kelly Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley, Drew Barrymore
Mindy Kaling, Jennifer Hudson
Mindy Kaling, Jennifer Hudson

Comments

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    • Tranquilheart profile imageAUTHOR

      Tranquilheart 

      5 weeks ago from Canada

      rbsof : Macys.com

    • profile image

      rbsof 

      5 weeks ago

      Hi where can I find the A-line swing dress with floral placement print?

    • profile image

      PaulaPlaytex 

      3 months ago

      I'm an "Overweight Male"...I always wear my Matching Bras and Panties.

    • PatriciaRing profile image

      Patricia Ring 

      4 months ago from Sugar Land

      Perfect clothing tips for every type of body shapes, thank you for sharing this beautiful information.

    • yogesh pal profile image

      yogesh pal 

      5 months ago from India

      Thanks so much,

      for sharing this informative post and I like the way you described all the things with perfect information.

      now I can share this with my friend

    • profile image

      Fishbark 

      6 months ago

      Thank you! It was as though I was writing the article myself. It was as though you were in my head. I never wear pleated skirts or pants. I never wear a belt. I never wear empire waist. Thank you for your beautiful common sense.

    • seegod profile image

      Mike Ralph 

      7 months ago from Singapore

      Amazingly created this post with so many beautiful pictures. Loved completely. It will inspire so many fat people to think about a fashion actually. These tips will help indeed.

      Thanks!

      Mike - Coupon API

    • profile image

      Kellox 

      8 months ago

      This was the most practical advice I have ever heard for my body type (captured perfectly by your descriptions! Lol)!

    • profile image

      Hufrish Daruwala 

      10 months ago

      I can't thank you enough for your tips n mainly your pics with explanation of type of outfits and accessories. Thank you for your efforts. God bless you

    • Sam Terry profile image

      Sam Terry 

      13 months ago from Birmingham, England United Kingdom

      Very useful tips for the fashion conscious woman. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Wahyu yoyok 

      19 months ago from Surabaya

      Uiii

      Thanks for this very useful tips, tranquilheart. I am over weight.

    • FemaleAdda Social profile image

      FemaleAdda 

      23 months ago

      These tips will come handy.

      Thanks for sharing .

    • profile image

      Denise 

      2 years ago

      Finally, after visiting many "How to dress if your short and apple shaped"

      sites- You get it. Thanlk you

    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 

      2 years ago

      Short, apple-shaped Black women are my absolute weakness. Can't even see any other type of woman when an attractive one of this variety is in the room lol.

      https://bellatory.com/fashion-accessories/Dress-to...

    • profile image

      Diana Abrahamson 

      2 years ago

      Great ideas for the curves. Everyone can look beautiful if correctly clothed for their height and body shape!

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      2 years ago

      This is excellent - and real. Thanks for looking out for all of us.

    • profile image

      Missy 

      2 years ago

      The photos of the tops are skinny girls. It would be helpful to see apple shaped women in the tunics, etc.

    • Tranquilheart profile imageAUTHOR

      Tranquilheart 

      2 years ago from Canada

      Hi Vicki, you're very welcome. I'm so glad you found my hub helpful. Cheers!

    • profile image

      Vicki 

      2 years ago

      Bar none this is the best article on how to dress my apple shape! Thank you!

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      3 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for this very useful tips, tranquilheart. I am 5'4", apple-shaped and overweight, compelled to make my own clothes because I just can't manage to find something in the shops that suits my body and my pocket.

      I would give a toe and a finger for Elizabeth Hurley's apple-shape!

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