With fine fabric, an excellent cut and great accessories, women of a certain size are free to celebrate their curves alongside their smaller companions. Confidence and a little imagination are the key ingredients in your dress-for-success recipe.
Experts agree that the most important rule for plus-size women is to dress for your body type. It is just as important to emphasize your assets as it is to cover up imperfections.
It may come as a surprise, but showing a bit of skin is very becoming. Deep necklines and slightly shorter skirts can instantly slim down your full-figure. Shoulders, chest, waist, legs…if you’re blessed in those areas, choose clothing that highlights your best features. Keep the other areas modestly covered for a balanced look. And it’s absolutely crucial to begin your look with proper undergarments, which will have a huge impact on the overall presentation. Properly sized foundation plays a big part in creating your profile.
Importance of Underpinning…
The foundations upon which your lovely clothes will be draped, is as important as the clothing itself. Susan Wort of Fashion Foundations in Kelowna’s Spall Plaza says the right bra will make you look taller and slimmer. On the practical side, she points out, a well-fitted bra will also help alleviate strain and pain in the neck and shoulder areas.
“Lots of ladies who visit the store want shapewear, those tight-fitting garments that help smooth out the bumps. Often, we can put them in a better fitting bra and it changes their silhouette so much that the shapeware isn’t even required,” she says.
It is crucial that you start with a bra fitting with your personal fitter at Fashion Foundations. They look at the fit of your current bra and from that, they can judge the styles you might like and what size to reach for. They can see if the back is too loose or the cup is too small. The personal fitting is a free consultation after which you will begin to choose your foundations wisely.
“Each company’s bra fits differently. We fit the customer…if they find three bras they like, chances are they will be three different sizes.”
Ideally, Susan says, you should have three bras…one to wash, one to wear and one as a spare! A good bra can last a very long time with some basic TLC. She suggests you hand wash your bras or at least clean them in a laundry bag on the gentle cycle, and hang to dry. At Fashion Foundations you’ll also find swimwear designed to maximize the potential of your body style.
Tips and Tricks
Diana Vona, proprietor of Casa Bella Boutique in Vernon recommends you look for quality fabrics and a good cut, this can work wonders, she says. “Also, don’t be afraid to show some skin! In dresses, the current length is right around the knee, but if you’re shorter than average, try going slightly above the knee, this will give you more perceived height, creating a slimmer overall appearance.”
“There are a lot of dresses with overlays which work well too, providing strategic coverage for problem areas,” she advises. “Darker colors work best. Blues, vibrant dark colours and a standout print are great choices this year.”
Diana thinks that this fall’s colors will work well for her curvy customers. Look for teals, black and white, a dark blush or a red print. Think about a midnight blue skirt and top, instead of the traditional black. Again, try something with an overlay. Hot pink and strategically placed sequins are popular, too.
Diana, like many plus size merchandisers and designers, suggest that wearing heels will slim your legs and body, and if high heels aren’t for you, a more modest inch or two will work as well.
The biggest mistake many plus-size women make is wearing clothing that is too big. “It just looks frumpy” says Diana. “Wear a classic, flowing fit that is not body-hugging, but is fitted to your shape.
Diana urges curvaceous women not to be intimidated when shopping, there’s plenty of wonderful choices out there. Casa Bella carries a great selection of Frank Lyman – up to size 22X, and a range of beautifully cut linen pieces in a full range of sizes to select from. “We are happy to order clothing in any size,” she says. “If you give us a bit of time, we can get the exact item you need for that special event.”
Blue Sky Clothing boutique owner and designer, Marilyn Cobban, has been designing clothing for a wide variety of body shapes from XS to 4X for many years.
Marilyn’s dream was to make attractive clothes for all women: the busty women with full thighs, the women who combine size 18 pants with size 12 tops. She understands the technical parameters when fitting extra small to extra large sized women. Marilyn also realized the need for more natural, breathable fabrics for the Okanagan, so developed a line of beautiful clothing in silk, bamboo, cotton and wool fabrications.
Sarah Porter has been dressing women of all sizes for years. She explains some of the challenges found in plus size clothing.
“Some brands will just keep going up into plus sizes without making the technical adjustments needed for the proper cut for the plus sized woman. As a buyer, I’m very aware of that and it’s good to know that brands are starting to create a true 1X or 2X and adjusting the cut of the garment to reflect a plus size body,” Sarah says.
She echoes the advice of other plus size clothing experts, reminding curvy clients to pay attention to fabric and cut, and don’t buy something that is too big or bulky. In the Okanagan heat, natural fabrics such as cotton and bamboo are a good choice.
“Shoulders and arm holes may need altering for the perfect fit. Don’t be afraid to alter.”
Follow a few simple rules when selecting plus size prints. The size of the print makes a big difference…petite plus size women should ensure that the print itself isn’t too large, as a big print can be overpowering. But prints are a good way to camouflage problem areas.
Let your confidence shine through….
A lot of women worry when faced with shopping for clothes, but when you shop in the right stores, you can find elegant, comfortable clothing, sized for real women that fit well in all the right places.
When it comes to accessorizing, have one ‘statement piece’ – an amazing necklace, bracelet or ring. When you’re wearing it, you don’t need other jewellery. Don’t make the mistake of having a tiny necklace or small earrings, which will get lost in the outfit. A great multi-coloured scarf is also a great accessory and can be worn in many different ways depending on your outfit and your boldness of the day.
Style, cut, fabric, color, accessories and even shoes…so many things play a part in creating the balance for that perfect outfit. A good salesperson will work with you to ensure that the outfit you choose brings out the very best in you. Then when you’ve found your fabulous new look…… wear it with confidence, pride and a great big smile!
SO GO AHEAD SHOP… …
Follow our tips and you’ll feel like a more fashionable and confident you!