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How to Dress in Flattering Fashions for a Curvier Figure
Fabulous Fashion for Curvy Women
Flipping through a fashion magazine or watching one of today’s popular shows, you may notice one thing—most of the models and actresses have similar shapes: straight hips, slim bodies, small busts. And the mannequins in the store windows look the same.
But when you look around in the mirror and then around yourself, you see a wide range of bodies—most of them with curves! Without positive examples in the media of how to dress a curvy body, it may be hard to pick the most flattering fashions for a curvy figure.
However, with a little patience and an eye for shape, it’s easy to dress your curvy body in a way that makes you feel confident and look great!
What Shape Are You?
Determining Your Curvy Body Type
Women come in such a range of body shapes that it can be hard to broadly classify any one type. However, most curvy women will fall into three categories: apple, pear, and hourglass.
Apple shaped women have thicker waists and less distinction between the waist, hips, and torso, and they may be more endowed on top. For some movie star-inspiration of apple-shaped women who dress their bodies beautifully, think Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spenser.
Pear shaped women carry their curves on the lower halves of their bodies, with their hips being wider than their bust –think J. Lo or Kristin Davis. This is the most common body type among American women.
Finally, hourglass shapes are fairly evenly proportioned at the bust and hips with a narrow waist. For hourglass shapes, think Scarlett Johannson or Salma Hayek.
Remember that dressing a curvy body is not about hiding the parts you may not like—it’s about emphasizing the parts you love! Each of these curvy body types is fabulous, and each has its own distinct flattering style. Read on for how to dress in the best styles for your body.
Flattering Fashions for the Curvy Apple Figure
Dressing an apple shape in flattering fashions is all about creating a waist and emphasizing the parts you love--like slender arms, a full bust, great legs--while downplaying the parts you might not be so excited about (like a thicker midsection).
For any body shape, the ideal goal in picking clothing is to create balance and the proper proportion between the upper and lower half. Most apple shapes will want to balance a full chest and/or create waist definition.
To balance a chest, keep prints on the bottom and pick a darker, solid color for the top--for instance, a brightly printed skirt with a solid cardigan. Button the middle few buttons right under the bust, and you'll have created structure as well. A-line and trumpet skirts will be most flattering and should hit above the knee to avoid looking frumpy. Trouser jeans are also good for an apple shaped body--the wider legs will balance a full chest.
To create waist definition, a structured jacket will nip in the waist and give shape to an apple body. A mid-width belt placed slightly above the natural waistline can create the same effect.
And to create waist definition AND balance a full chest, there are two perfectly feminine pieces: the wrap dress or the belted shirtdress. The wrap dress will cling to and emphasize the bust and shoulders while skimming away from the stomach, creating a more hourglass look, while a shirt dress will nip in at the waistline and give way to a full skirt, resulting in instant balance.
Other ways to best play up an apple shape with fashion are V-necks, which elongate the body, side ruching, which is very slimming, and shirts that are more fitted through the shoulders but flow down to skim the hips.
Flattering Fashions for the Curvy Pear Figure
Pear shaped women tend to have a smaller bust and a curvier rear and thighs. So, dressing a pear shape to its best advantage means creating balance and proportion between the larger lower half and the smaller upper half. For some women, this may even mean shopping in two different departments--plus size to fit the seat and thighs, and misses for tops.
It's easiest to create balance when dressing a pear shape by playing up the bust area. Wait, you may be thinking, that's my smallest area--how can I play it up? Pattern and embellishment are two easy ways to do this. For instance, a bright print on top with a dark bottom will emphasize the torso and draw the eye upward, away from a thicker lower half; ruffles, a tie-neck blouse, a cowl-neck blouse, or a shirt with blouson sleeves will actually emphasize and enhance a bust. Pear shaped women should also make sure their blouses or sweaters hit right at the top of the hips--any lower will emphasize the thigh area.
As with an apple shaped woman, wrap dresses and shirt dresses will be very flattering to the pear shaped women. A wrap dress will emphasize the bust while skimming over broader hips and thighs, while a shirt dress with a full skirt will balance full hips and thighs by masking them. Pear shaped women will also look fabulous in A-line dresses, which create a strong shoulder- and bust-line while flaring out slightly over the hips and thigh area.
Flattering Fashions for the Curvy Hourglass Figure
An hourglass figure is the easiest type of figure to dress, as nature has created proportion for you! With this type of curvy figure, it's all about having fun with fashion while playing up shape.
For hourglass shaped women, a peplum top is a good look--the shape draws in at the waist before flaring out in a ruffle, drawing attention to a small waist and emphasizing the hips without creating a waist. Try pairing it with a pencil skirt; one that ends right above the knee will elongate legs while showcasing curves.
A fitted jacket with a single button under the best also flatters an hourglass figure, as do shirt dresses and wrap dresses (really, the wrap dress is the most flattering dress for every figure).
Final Tips for Dressing a Curvier Figure in Flattering Fashions
Many women think that covering up is the same as hiding a body that they're unhappy with--and that's simply not true! Wearing oversized or ill-fitting clothing will serve to add pounds or emphasize the parts you're unhappy with. Though it's far easier said than done, it's important to embrace the parts you love and focus on those in the mirror--pick a color that makes your blue eyes pop, a cut that shows off great legs, or a neckline that plays up your perfect collarbone.
And once you've figured out how to dress your body shape, it's time to move on to fun with fashion--picking a style that represents your personality and dressing to portray that image, as well as figuring out the right stores to shop for your clothing.