Ugh. The challenges of shopping as a woman in 2023 are too real. We have more choices than ever before, almost too many, but the options still seem limited.
This is especially true of those of us outside of standard size ranges.
Try finding a petite top in 2023. It’s harder than ever. The same of course can be said for certain plus size items.
That’s why it’s important to be armed with all the info you need before going shopping. A little research and some sound strategies can go a long way toward helping you build a wardrobe you love, regardless of your shape and size.
Fortunately, the strategies in today’s video can help every woman look and feel her best, because they are based on mathematical principles that work for ALL sizes and shapes.
Don’t Wait to Lose The Weight
Stop waiting for some mythical time in the future or a certain number on your scale to start dressing your best. Instead, if you’re actively on a weight-loss journey, assemble a small number of key neutral wardrobe essentials in your current size, at a price well within your budget, and wear them on repeat (accessories can help you create so many more outfit possibilities) while you’re on your weight loss journey. Dressing for the body you have now will help you achieve the goals you want later.
In all of the closet edits I’ve done (and there have been hundreds), one of the things that I see consistently is how many women wear their clothes TOO BIG. Your clothes are not meant to make you disappear. They are meant to enhance your beauty. No woman has ever looked her best in shapeless clothes. The same is true for overly tight clothes. The best fit, for almost every woman, is one that skims the body without swallowing it up or without hugging it.
Check out this same model in a look that is too loose, too tight, and just right.
Another example on a different model.
Focus On Your Shape, Not Your Size
Flattering your body’s unique shape is important at every size, but even more so when body confidence is a struggle. Understanding what works for your unique shape means that you can highlight what you want to highlight and create a balance that keeps the focus on you. Here are some examples.
This woman has a Strong Lower Shape. The shapeless first dress adds volume where she doesn’t need it, while the yellow dress creates balance with interesting shoulders.
This is an example on a proportional body type. The first outfit swallows her shape and creates no balance or flattery, while the second dress shows off her legs and waistline.
More proportional body type outfits.
Here’s an example on a woman with a Strong Lower Shape. The first dress, with the interesting shoulders, creates balance in this silhouette, and so does the lighter top with darker bottoms. The last outfit, with skinny pants, throws off the balance in this shape.
Now here are some examples for a woman with a Strong Upper Body. The first dress is the best choice for this body type. it has a vertical neckline, a flowy skirt, and ruching, all flattering on this type. The sheath dress overemphasizes the shoulders and the straightness through the waist, and the skinny pants with flowy blouse and blazer are the opposite silhouette that you want for this body type, making the top stronger and the bottom skinnier. This is a modern version of a tunic and leggings, an outfit that doesn’t work great on a Strong Upper Body.
Show Off Your Waist
Before you protest, let me make a case for why showing off your waist is almost always a good idea. A waist is a terrible thing to waste (ha ha) so if you have an indentation at your waist, wherever that is, it’s worth defining in a way that works for you. Here are some ideas to try. (More on this in the next video).
Try a belt or a gather detail to show off your waistline.
Consider tucking. Notice the difference with this top tucked and untucked on the same model.
Try An Outer Layer
If you’re looking to easily and stylishly subtract pounds and add height to your shape, consider an outer layer like a blazer or a jacket of any style. Adding that layer, either in a contrasting color or in a monochromatic look, visually erases the sides of your frame and makes you look slimmer and longer.
Show Some Skin
In the same way that hiding under baggy clothes has the opposite effect of flattery, covering from your collarbone to your ankle bone has the same effect. It makes you look larger and makes the overall outfit seem out of proportion.
Decide whether you want to show your arms or ankles or decollete, but a little skin goes a long way in flattery.
Own Your Current Size
In this era of vanity sizing, made up sizes, and inconsistent sizing (often even within the same brand), the size has become utterly irrelevant. Attaching your body confidence to a specific number keeps you stuck in the wrong sizes and feeling less than your best, either by wearing clothes that are too big or too small to be unflattering. Focus on fit and shape, not size.
Pick The Proper Undergarments
Every woman essentially needs 3 things in her underwear arsenal:
- A supportive bra that fits
- Everyday shapewear
- Special occasion shapewear
Over 40, I recommend an annual bra fitting. Weight and hormonal changes can cause huge shifts in bra size, and a bra that fits well is your most essential ally when it comes to flattery. Reach out to the pros at Jenette’s Bras if you want a virtual fitting and you’re a size D or higher.
Next, you want comfortable, everyday shaping underwear and special occasion underwear with a little more compression. Smoothing underwear can be very comfortable and create a clean and seamless line under clothing without constricting.
Combine Fitted With Flowy
I’ve already mentioned that baggy isn’t flattering, and neither is skintight. Combining a fitted item with a flowy item, however, works very well to create balance and a visually pleasing outfit.
Try Before You Buy
Whether you use a plus size subscription service (Dia & Co, Gwynnie Bee, Eloqui Unlimited) or a try-on program like Amazon Try Before You Buy, consider exploring the ways you can try new brands and discover some new go-to favorites. Department stores like Nordstrom that offer free shipping and free returns also make ie easy to try new brands and sizes.
Looking your best in 2023 at any size requires some persistence and some flexibility, and that includes getting comfortable with shopping online.
What did you think of these guidelines for looking your best as a plus-size woman? Which will you consider trying? Let me know in the comments!