Fashion, Demystified, Round 2


Last week, I shared some general style tips I’ve gleaned from reading. Now here’s what I found out about dressing the curvy body, AKA hourglass figure. (That would be me.) But if you’re not curvy, read it anyway, because I decided to leave in some of my general notes. Because I’m in a hurry today, that’s why. 😛


Dresses: Avoid too loose or too fitted (including cinching the waist) and high necklines. Lower necklines, medium-weight knits, soft fabrics that drape well are good. Show some skin in the legs & neckline. Specific styles:

shift/sheath (simple cut, streamlined, fits close to the body and has more of a waistline).


Bias-cut, in other words, cut on the diagonal line of the fabric, which allows the dress to follow the body’s curves.

Wrap or faux wrap in, specifically in nylon jersey fabric or cotton. (Next assignment: figure out what the heck nylon jersey is.)

Belted shirt-dresses and full dresses.


Tops: Scoopnecks–the wider the better–flatter large busts. V-neck is universally flattering; the deeper the diagonal, the more slimming. Semifitted styles with seams and darts that end below the waist and can be worn out or tucked in. Avoid high, covered-up or button-up necklines; show more skin for balance. Try wrap styles, deep V-necks, small collars, narrow lapels. Minimal flourishes (i.e. ruffles, etc.). Shoulder pads are not my friend.


Pants & jeans: look for boot cut with a flat front. No super tapered styles or cuffed hems. Stretch jeans with straight or flared legs are my friends. Dark colors make you look slimmer. Jeans should NOT dig in at the waist, and you should NEVER have plumber butt, even if you’re wearing hip huggers.


Jackets: semifitted, hitting at the point where the hips start to curve out–or just barely covers the butt. Belted styles good. Avoid cropped shapes & styles that button to the neck. One good style is single-breasted with closure right below the bust. Narrow, longer lapels on a one-button jacket deemphasizes curves without hiding them.


Skirts: pencil skirts hugs curves. A-line flares and slims the hips, hides the thighs. (Hey, look, I’m a poet.) Full skirts have pleads, tucks or draping, and are flattering for most women; pleats that fall from the hip are easier to wear than those that start at the waist. For curvy figure: pencil skirts that don’t hug too tightly, A-lines that fit gently at the hips. Avoid overly tight and full skirts w/too much pleating or draping at the waist. If you have a tummy, choose drop-waist styles; tuck in shirt or use belt to highlight waist. Best length for skirt is right at knee.


Sweaters: Wide V-neck and cardigans, flat knit, with belt. Avoid fitted, high crewnecks and turltenecks with fitted, foldover necks. Chunky textures add bulk. Other flattering possibilities: soft cowl neck or shawl collar, as long as it’s not bulky; self-belted cardigan. A banded waistline will widen the midsection. (Like a big stripe.) Look for a “handkerchief” hemline–uneven at the bottom. I’ve tried this on. Trust me. Very flattering.


Oh yes. And have you seen this?

(I know. I should have led with that.) Happy weekend!

7 quick takes sm1 7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 177)

4 thoughts on “Fashion, Demystified, Round 2

  1. Nylon jersey: nylon is the fabric (a synthetic replacement for silk) and jersey is the knit, which will make it more stretchy but give it nice body/shape. Polyester is fine too, just make sure you bypass anything rayon (including rayon from bamboo). It won’t hold up in the wash and the process for making it is so harmful to the environment and toxic to the workers that it’s production is banned in the US! One of my biggest irritations is this campaign that companies have been claiming bamboo as an eco-friendly textile. Yes, bamboo does grow and replenish quickly, but the hazards of making rayon definitely are worse than the 1% of the world’s oil use for synthetics or the chemicals put on cotton plants. Read the labels! And pay attention to construction. It can tell you a lot about whether you’re getting a bargain or a ripoff.

  2. Oh and be careful with empire waist. With curves, it can sometimes make short people look more dumpy. I say sometimes because I LOVE empire waist and have both things happen – where the cut will shorten me and where it will lengthen me. It comes down to the big picture. On a floor-length dress empire can make you look taller. When used on a shirt or short dress, it can have the effect of making you look like you have NO torso which makes you look shorter. (You may not have as much of a problem because you are taller than me…)

    I also love the handkerchief hemline on sweaters or vests or whatnot, it is so lengthening and can have such a slimming effect.

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