As a lifelong fashionista and commentator of style, dressing fashionably has always been a priority. Really, who would listen to a woman spouting commentary on current fashion trends while wearing sweatpants from 1998? Yet, as une femme d’un certain age, I find that my body shape is not the same slender figure that I’d taken for granted for the better part of half a century. My eye for style is still keen, but now I consider which trends looks stylish on me - and my contemporaries - and how we might wear them best, no matter what sizes or shapes we are.
Having a closet filled with a wardrobe that spans multiple sizes - 4 different sizes, to be exact - I have unwittingly (and unwillingly!) provided myself first-account knowledge of the struggles of dressing a body shape that has morphed from a veritable human hanger to, well… hardly that at all. This isn’t to say that I don’t feel attractive, rather I’m suggesting that this shape-shifting ignites innovation to stay ahead of the game. Self-expression through fashion is still essential... it's just achieved by wearing garments that highlight what's good - and won't draw attention to aspects that don't need spotlighting.
Based on my experience and discoveries, here are a few tips to emphasize the best of a woman's figure, no matter what size or shape.
Tunics - This silhouette is a tried and true staple for our Florida resort lifestyle but more importantly, there are so many versions of this ubiquitous top that there's a flattering style for everyone. Pear-shaped figure? A tunic top will drape over hips and curves without a pointing a neon sign at a backside. Less than whittled waist or -- what? No six-pack abs? Yep, a tunic is a go-to top for adding style without drawing attention to problem areas. My closet is filled with tunics in a multitude of fabrics and colors - and I wear them over white pants, jeans (see below) and even shorts.
Slimming Jeans and Leggings - Okay, even if I had a smoking hot nubile body, I would STILL wear slimming jeans and leggings. Why not take advantage of the technological marvels in textiles that offer bottoms that smooth, sculpt and elongate? Slimming bottoms should be the number one Fall purchase for anyone of any size or shape. I don't have words to describe how transformative slimming jeans can be, from a fashion standpoint, but also for a flat-out boost of confidence, too!
Sleeves Are True Arm Candy- I have twin nemeses: my arms. Outside the house or the gym, my arms haven't seen the light of day since the late 90's. So for me, I love soft tops and dresses with roll-sleeves, 3/4 sleeves, dolman, flutter or angel sleeves. Sweet, sweet distracting sleeves. I have a friend who has killer toned, sleek arms and she loves sleeveless tops, halter necks and cap sleeves. For anyone with taut arms, show them! For the rest of the mortal world, experiment with sleeve lengths to find what flatters most.
Undergarments - Along with dressing in the most flattering styles to emphasize what's best on a woman's current shape, it imperative to address what's worn underneath. We've all seen the faux pas before: a woman with an ill-fitting bra can look older or frumpier than her years. Investing in a bra that fits well, lifts and supports a bust line is as important as anything else a woman can wear. We're fortunate to live in an age when bras can nearly defy gravity and visually shave a decade off of a woman's appearance. So too with panties: with microfibers and new styles, there is never a need for panty lines. And just in case you aren't wearing the aforementioned slimming jeans, find undergarments that perform the same kind of miracles. Changing body shapes call for attention to all aspects of a wardrobe so make sure foundation pieces are working to your advantage.
Poise - Finally, remember what your mother taught you: stand up straight! Great posture makes a world of difference on the outside but also on the inside. Clothes drape better, bodies look refined when spines are long and straight. Hold your head high, you look gorgeous!
Usually when I write for Anthony's blog, I try to stay circumspect and not personalize the topics covered. I never assume that women reading these posts can be lumped into any single category. Our customers are unique and diverse and we celebrate woman of all sizes, shapes and ages. This subject, however, hits close to home and I have to think I'm not alone in my quest to stay stylish while battling time and gravity. For anyone else with other ideas or with questions about specific fashion issues, write to us in the 'comments' section below. We'll do our best to answer questions or offer professional suggestions because we are collectively a fashionable variety of sizes and shapes, perhaps just like you.
By: Elisabeth Cook