I’ve got curves. I have curves when I’m thin and I have curves (just bigger curves) when I’m fat. In fact, someone recently told me that I was rocking the Christina Hendricks vibe. While I was seriously flattered (I mean, she’s gorgeous), I think it was just in reference to my red hair and big boobs. Otherwise, we really don’t look all that alike…well maybe the fair skin and blue eyes too…although, let’s just say I don’t think this guy was spending too much time looking at my eyes… (a total curvy girl problem, right?) Anyway, between dressing myself and other curvy women for the past ten years, I’ve learned a quite a few tricks when it comes to making a woman’s curves work for her. Here are just a few of my suggestions on how to rock your curvy body with style.
Curvy Girl Tip #1- Don’t Waste that Waist
When you have curves you have a waist. This body feature is the single most important part of a curvy girl’s body, period! By highlighting the waist, you not only balance the proportion of your body, but you look slimmer. When you bypass the waist area by not shaping it, your entire body looks as wide as your hips and bust area which, for curvy girls, can often be quite ample.
There are many ways to shape your waist. The obvious are to choose tops, jackets and dresses that have waist definition. You can also look for seaming and side panels in the waist area which will create the illusion of an even slimmer mid-section. Whatever you do, don’t ignore this area!
Curvy Girl Tip #2- Contain those Curves
The only way to describe what happens when a curvy girl doesn’t contain her curvier body parts in fabrics that aren’t substantial enough is to explain my “fat in a Ziploc bag” analogy: Imagine you stored fat in a Ziploc bag. That fat would be able to wiggle and jiggle any which way it wanted. Conversely, when you put fat in something like a Tupperware container, the fat is forced to take the shape of the container. The same is true for curvy body parts. Curvier body parts are often fleshier and less toned; they need structure. Choose fabrics for these body parts that can contain your body the way you want it to be shaped or else your curves will just jiggle and roam free.
Curvy Girl Tip #3- Avoid anything too high waisted
Whenever you shorten a body part it creates the illusion of being bigger and wider. Therefore, a curvier woman with a large chest should be wary of any style that is too high waisted. Women with large chests already have the appearance of a shortened waist or torso (even if she isn’t short-waisted.) By wearing a high waisted pair of pants or a skirt, and even a wide belt the look of the torso shortens even further and makes the bust look larger than it is. While there may be some appropriate times to rock a big chest full-on, in most cases, shortening the torso through high-waisted clothing just makes the bust area look disproportionately large. Instead, choose styles that fit at your natural waist, thinner belts or styles that are either drop-waisted or have no waist definition, like a shift dress, for example.
Curvy Girl Tip #4- Boots and Pencils
Boot-cut pants and pencil skirts were made for the curvier figure. Being slightly wider at the hem, this style, counterbalance a curvier bottom half and make the hips and thighs look balanced. A pencil skirt, with a slight taper at the hem, works with the natural curves of the body and make curvy hips and thighs look more proportioned.
A common error is to gravitate too strongly to a skirt style like an A-line skirt. While this style isn’t a bad one, a curvy girl has to be very discerning when choosing one. It shouldn’t be too billowy or flowy (see the Ziploc analogy above), nor should the A-shape be too wide, unless you want to look like a bottom heavy triangle. A slight camouflaging A-line is a structured fabric is fine. Because curvy girls often have heavier legs, an A-line shape that is too loose and diaphanous can make legs and hips look heavier, especially when wearing flat shoes.
Curvy Girl Tip #5- Go with the Flow
It’s important to embrace your curves. In my mind, I sometimes see myself as this lanky, sinewy woman and then catch myself in a photo and realize that my body is more Amazonian than it is slender. I’ve said before on this blog that even at a size 4 (which I’m not at the moment), I’ve had a size D chest. It’s so easy to pine for what we don’t have yet, when we do that, we usually choose styles that don’t work for our body. It’s fine to appreciate an article of clothing that is gorgeous, just as long as you accept that the style is prettier to look at than to actually wear it.
Here are some great curvy girl looks.
A classic shift dress is a great way to show off a curvy girl’s natural assets. This one is particularly lovely because the rushing further emphasizes the waist. In addition, the deeper v-neck can minimize the look of a fuller chest and the cap sleeves broaden the shoulders which is great if you have a bit more curve downstairs than you do upstairs. The tapered hem of the dress also enhances yet balances the curves. If you’re a curvy girl with heavier legs, a tan heels is a great choice because the leg lengthening nature of nude shoes elongates the legs and makes them looks slimmer.
There are so many great elements to an outfit like this that make it a flattering look for a curvier girl. First, the pencil skirt flatters, plus the defined waist of the blazer, add to that the pockets placed on the diagonal (diagonal lines slim) makes the waist even more defined. Necklaces are fine if you have a large chest, but I usually recommend that they usually be finer and not so clunky, especially if they have to lay over a large bustline.
Just because shaping the waist is important does not mean that you and your curvy body have to swear off drapier styles. In this case, a drapey cardigan is perfectly fine because the layering piece is slimmer and more fitted. I’d be hesitant to place an equally shapeless t-shirt underneath a drapey cardigan for fear of losing the slim waist area in the outfit. Secondly, the cardigan is in an easy knit that may be draped but still maintains some body skimming shape.
Next, the boot cut jeans work with the curves while counterbalancing a fuller hip area. Lastly, notice that the t-shirt is a little longer. I don’t recommend t-shirts be any shorter than the pelvis bone on curvy women because, when they are, they tend to shorten the torso and make a full chest look bigger and boxier.
I put this last look together because I want to be clear about a few things. Dressing your body is all about empowering yourself to make an informed decision, not to give up certain looks entirely. If you know the rules you can learn how to work around them and bend them to work for you. Therefore, while I’m always reluctant to belt anyone who has a large chest, a way to make it work is to choose a thin belt or one that is a “self belt” (a belt made in the same fabric and color as the body of the garment or a belt of the same color as what it is belted.
A belted tunic like the one found in this look is a great example of this. Skinny jeans may also be intimidating for someone with a curvier shape but, if they’re worn right, they can work. In this case, I chose a cropped white denim pair of jeans with a platform shoe to elongate the legs and make them look slimmer. The tapered shape of the tunic top creates a more balanced look and the wider neckline counterbalances a wider hip and thigh area making this summer skinny jeans outfit work for curves.