March 31st, 2010
Fashion, Fashion Bomb 101, What to Wear
Dressing for Your Body Type: Plus, Petite, and Beyond!
By The Fashion Bomb Staff

Hey Fashion Bombshells!

It’s Danielle with a quick guide to dressing for your body type.

Understanding what works for your body type is so important when you want to look your best. Picking out stylish clothes without regard to how it will look on your body is complete and utter dreckitude (© Andre Leon Talley). Here I’ve broken down some quick tips on how to dress for your body shape and size.

Long Torso:
When it comes to looking your best, no matter what your body type is, you always have to remember that everything must balance and be proportioned. That said, if you have a long torso (meaning your top half is quite long while your legs are much shorter in length in comparison) in order to look balanced, you need to visually cut off some of the length of your torso. Now before you break out the Harry Houdini tricks to saw yourself in half, check out these pieces of clothing designed to cut some of the length off your torso while making your legs appear longer:

Long Torso Dressing Tips

1. A cute belt is the long-torso gal’s best friend because it allows you to create a waistline at a higher point than your own naturally lies. A non-belt option is to choose a top or dress with cinching or banding high enough on the torso area.

2. High-waisted pants, jeans, and skirts also have similar balancing effects on longer torsos since they allow the legs to appear longer than they are.

3. Steer clear of drop-waist dresses as they will further elongate your torso.

If you have a Short Torso, you do the exact opposite. You wear bottom that are lower waisted and tops that extend past your natural waist line to create the illusion of a longer torso.

Big Tummy:

Dressing to cover up a tummy isn’t as simple as finding the biggest shirt you can find to cover it up—what you want to do is find clothing that brings the eye to other fab areas like your arms or chest and that don’t cling to the belly. Check out these options:

Steer clear of shiny fabrics around the tummy area—they’ll add visual weight. Also avoid horizontal stripes on your midsection–they’ll make the area appear wider. Diagonal lines, however, have a way of visually cutting items in a flattering half.

Boyish Frame:
Looking to create some curves without having to go under the knife? Look for curve-creating details like ruffles, draping, and cinched waistlines. Further accentuate your bod with height-defying pumps.

Small Chest:
If you want to vamp up a small chest, look for ruffles and other textures at the neckline to visually create more curves at your bust. Also, exposing the top of your cleavage can make your chest appear larger.

Big Chest:
If you want to deemphasize a big bust, look for open necklines like V-necks or U-necks to help “seperate” your boobs and make them visually smaller. Like these:

Thick Thighs:
If you’re more Beyonce than Kelly, chances are you need some tips on how to dress your thick thighs. Now, there’s nothing wrong with a pair of juicy thighs (heck, I have ‘em!), but you gotta know how to dress them right.

Quick Tips:

1. Sleek, tapered styles work best on the bottom. Steer clear of pleats, ruching, horizontal patterns, etc. as they can over-emphasize the thighs. Make sure hemlines on skirts do not end at the widest part of your thighs—this will only make your thighs appear wider. Instead go for knee-length pencil skirts.

2. Wear lighter colors on the top and keep the bottom darker–you’ll visually balance your frame out this way. Or go for a solid monochromatic color on top and bottom.

3. The leg opening on your jeans and pants will need to be slightly wide in order to balance out the curve of your thighs (i.e. boot cuts, wide legs, and trouser cuts are great for thick thighs).

The next few are body sizes. You will need to understand your body shape first before going straight for size. Sometimes you’ll need to incorporate many body dressing tips to accommodate your frame i.e. if you’re tall, have thick thighs, and small breasts; or plus size with big breasts and a long torso. Make sense? Good!

Plus Size:
If you’re plus size, know your body shape (you can be a plus-sized boyish frame or a plus-sized hour glass, etc.). But stay away from fabrics that are too loose and hang away from the body to avoid adding on visual pounds.

1. Make BFFs with a tailor. If you find it difficult to find great pieces off the rack (many of us can’t) a tailor can easily alter those items so that they fit you perfectly.

2. High heels are a good, but not the only way, to add visual height. Platforms are great for those who wobble in heels because they offer more of a flat structure to walk on. If you want to wear a flat, go for something minimal that either matches your skin tone or the color of your bottom (skirt, pants, etc.). With a plus-size frame, as with any frame, adding height visually sheds a few pounds and gives you a lean physique.

3. Be mindful of how you use color: dressing in one color has a very elongating effect on your body, but isn’t the only way to get visual length. Nude pantyhose and nude shoes also have a similar elongating effect on the legs. The more of your legs you show, the longer your legs look. And the longer your legs look, the taller and slimmer you will appear. Understand that wearing monochromatic colors on your bottom half have a similar effect of “showing more leg”.

As a plus-size hottie, don’t be afraid of color. Be bold in a hot pink dress or a bright red coat in the fall. You will look confident and confidence is always your best accessory.

4. Vertical lines are slimming as well as elongating. Try to create a vertical line in your dressing wherever possible. Horizontal lines are widening and shortening. Try to avoid them below the waist line (i.e. never tuck your jeans into a pair of tall boots–doing so forms a horizontal line at the knees that cuts your legs off and makes you look shorter and wider).

5. Understand scale. Since your features are likely on the larger side, your accessories should also be on the larger side so they complement your frame. Oversized bags and jewelry will look chic on a plus-size frame. When choosing prints (like polka dots or stripes) go for those on a bigger scale.

Check out some plus-size options, but remember you still need to follow the rules for your body type:

Petite
First things first when it comes to petites–it’s not a “fits all” category. Petite refers to a size, not a shape so you’ll still need to follow the tips for your body type and then follow the petite dressing tips shown below:

1. Make BFFs with a tailor. If you find it difficult to find great pieces off the rack (many of us can’t) a tailor can easily alter those items so that they fit you perfectly.

2. High heels are a good, but not the only way, to add visual height. Platforms are great for those who wobble in heels because they offer more of a flat structure to walk on. If you want to wear a flat, go for something minimal that either matches your skin tone or the color of your bottom (skirt, pants, etc.).

3. Be mindful of how you use color: dressing in one color has a very elongating effect on your body, but isn’t the only way to get visual length. Nude pantyhose and nude shoes also have a similar elongating effect on the legs. The more of your legs you show, the longer your legs look. And the longer your legs look, the taller and slimmer you will appear. Understand that wearing monochromatic colors on your bottom half have a similar effect of “showing more leg”.

4. Vertical lines are slimming as well as elongating. Try to create a vertical line in your dressing wherever possible. Horizontal lines are widening and shortening. Try to avoid them below the waist line (i.e. never tuck your jeans into a pair of tall boots–doing so forms a horizontal line at the knees that cuts your legs off and makes you look shorter and wider). Avoid skirts that are more than about 2? below the knee (unless they’re floor length) as they shorten the frame. Also avoid wearing capri pants with anything but a strappy sandal. Pair a capri pant with sneakers or worse ankle boots and prepare to lose nearly 4 inches of visual length.

5. Understand scale. Since your features are likely on the smaller side, your accessories should also be on the smaller side so they don’t overpower your frame. An oversized bag may be stylish, but it can swallow a petite. When choosing prints (like polka dots or stripes) go for those on a smaller scale.

6. Look your age. If you’re a petite who often feels like your frame makes you look a lot younger than you actually are, be sure your clothing is always perfectly tailored. The quickest way to look like you’re playing in mommy’s wardrobe is to wear a garment that is too big or too long for you. Also steer clear of wearing too much of soft colors like pink, yellow, and baby blue. Darker clothes exude more sophistication than their lighter counterparts. Play around with accessories like dramatic sunglasses (think Jackie O) and to-scale statement bags. Avoid “kiddie” articles like sneakers (unless you’re at the gym).

Check out some cool looks that come in petite sizes–remember, you still need to follow the rules for your body type:

Tall:
Look for tips on your overall shape in this guide and then look for pants/jeans that have 34″ inseam or longer. Lucky for us tall drinks of water, many designer jeans come with long inseams by default. Look at retailers like J. Crew, Gap, Alloy, and Old Navy who offer clothing in tall sizes so that your long sleeves don’t get mistaken for a 3/4 sleeve one again.


~Danielle

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9 Responses to “Dressing for Your Body Type: Plus, Petite, and Beyond!”

  1. BeBe says:

    I love it this was very helpful but Could you do more on us tall drinks of waters plz

  2. asha says:

    this busty plus sized bombshell thanks you for the great post! so many people forget to consider shape and only focus on size.

  3. NickieLuv says:

    Great tips..Thanks!

  4. CUDDER. says:

    I’m petite and 5’6 . I’m pretty average height but in heels i’m a bit a bit over 5’7 depending on my heels. should i combine the petite and tall rules?

  5. Love how you guys covered all of the body bases. Perfecto!

  6. CUDDER – petite when it comes to fashion means short. Any woman under 5’4″ is “petite” by fashion industry standards. At 5’6″ you’re not petite, so you should definitely go for the tall rules you lucky girl!

  7. Danielle says:

    Hey!

    If you have specific “dressing for your body” questions, I’d love to answer them for you—just send me an email here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    The

  9. XoXo CA says:

    This is a great post !!

    vist my blog the life of a fashion addict @ PardonMyCloset.BlogSpot.Com

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