Sometimes we can’t see the forest for the trees. Or the body type for the curves. Let me explain.
When we talk about body shape, we are talking about the body silhouette or the outline. But you can’t blindly follow the guidelines for your body shape while ignoring other key elements of your body, like your vertical proportions and your features. You need a holistic approach to your body and to flattering it through your style, and that’s something we cover in my Ageless Style Program.
ASP member Janet is gorgeous and sweet and inspirational, like the other women in my program, and her use of color and willingness to take risks has made her a style star in the group. That’s why I was so excited when she agreed to be featured in this video. I knew Janet would be a great model to illustrate some of the flattery principles that I discuss. She is a proportional Style Dial Red body type with a very full bust, which can visually throw her proportions off and dramatically affect how she can wear certain clothes.
The same is true of many of us. And that’s one of the limitations of body typing. We can’t take shape into account without also taking length and curves into account. It just doesn’t work.
Here, some strategies for dressing a curvy Style Dial Red body type with a full bust.
A monochromatic look is always going to be more flattering and lengthening, and it can make a feature of your body a little less prominent, whether that’s the bust or the bum. White pants can be very hard to wear on a curvy shape, and a lot women avoid them, but they look chic and flattering as part of a monochromatic look.
The white pants are more flattering when worn as part of a monochromatic look.
A tonal look works better for streamlining the bust than a colorblocked look.
Balance The Bust
The goal of flattering is to create a balanced and proportional look that puts the focus on you, not on just one of your body’s features. One of the ways to do this is to balance the interest you already have on the upper part of your body (whether that’s a bustline or broader shoulders) with a little volume and interest on the lower half of your body. Skinny jeans and pencil skirts, while not a bad choice for a Style Dial Red in general, can be a challenge when another feature, like a bust, throws the proportion off a little. Instead, go for a bootcut, wide-leg, or straight style pant to add some balance.
Highlight the Waist
Unless you have a very full tummy or a straight waist, showcasing the waistline can be very flattering. This is especially true when you have a full bust and tentlike tops tend to bury your waist beneath flowy fabric.
Wearing a top to your Fashion Fit Formula length will highlight the waist and also looks more contemporary than wearing a top that hits at the hip.
The outfit on the left flatters the waist, but if it were a little longer, I would recommend tucking rather than wearing it out. The outfit on the right would benefit from losing the belt, which looks too heavy for this outfit, and tucking the top instead.
Flatter The Bust
One of the key ways to flatter a fuller bust is through the right choice of neckline, necklace, and scarf. Scarves are especially tricky on a fuller bust. Choose a substantial scarf with a good drape in a contrasting color to avoid creating more volume, and tie it higher around the neck or off to the side. Necklines and necklaces should hit above the bust and not below to avoid a shelf-like effect. Your Fashion Fit Formula point is always going to be the most flattering neckline and necklace point.
If you have a full bust and a very short space between the chin and the start of the bust, it’s best to skip tying a scarf around the neck and wear it other places instead.
This necklace was too long and went below the curve of the bust. I shortened it so that it hits at Janet’s pivotal point and sits above the bustline, avoiding a shelf effect.
Layers can be tricky for a full bust. They can add volume and bulk where you don’t need it, but they are also a stylish and practical part of many outfits. One of the keys to creating a flattering look with layers is to choose completer pieces with structure, so they sit slightly off the body rather than molding to it. And then to make those layering pieces a little shorter, at the lower waist or high hip. This last tip makes the look more flattering and more contemporary.
The first two looks are more flattering and contemporary ways to wear layers. The look on the far right works better than some because of the dark color, but the length is wrong and the fabric is too clingy around the bust.
Are you a Style Dial Red (hourglass) body type? Or do you have a full bust? Which of these tips was most helpful for you? Let me know in the comments!