Feel incredible and love your body – whatever your shape. With a little help from our friends, we discuss the wardrobe staples that flatter our figures.
We know it’s easier said than done – it can be difficult to 100% love the body you are given, but when we dreamed up this issue, we wanted to help women dress to suit their shape, not disguise it. With the help of some of our friends – Alex Stedman (aka The Frugality), A-list PR Nene Granville, and Frances Christie, senior director of modern art at Sotheby’s – we explore everything from which jeans to choose when you’re pregnant to how to embrace athletic legs. If your particular body hang-up isn’t here, join us on Instagram Live on the 19th of February so we can give you tips on how best to dress your figure.
There is a tendency for women to feel that they have to wear specific maternity wear once they’re pregnant. But we have all found that it still possible to buy investment pieces that you can wear now and post-partum. The key is to hone in on the items you would normally wear if you weren’t pregnant, but which also suit you with a bump. In Alex’s case it’s pyjama dressing, so this velvet Ganni wrap ticks all the boxes. The tie belt helps give her bump definition, but it’s not constraining, and post-bump she can wear it looser over a dress or with a T-shirt and jeans.
For someone who’s a bit busty and doesn’t want to enhance or show off their neckline, a round, narrow crewneck works wonders. The J Crew Tippi sweater has no detail or embellishment, so it doesn’t bulk up – essentially it’s a T-shirt in knitwear form. It has a slim arm with a slightly cropped sleeve, showing off a little wrist, which is universally flattering. A practical staple to have in your wardrobe, it comes in loads of colours too. It suits every woman, but when you’re busty it’s a real wardrobe hero.
Petro Stofberg & Frances Christie
CURVY AND SHORT LEGS
If you are a true hourglass shape like Petro, your thinnest part is your waist, so we’d recommend enhancing it with a belt. Whether it’s a dress or a jumpsuit, something long and flowy needs to be nipped in to break up the silhouette and give your figure definition. Vertical stripes are also a great way to elongate your figure. If your legs are relatively short compared to the rest of your figure, like in Frances’ case, try skirts with a high waist to make them look instantly longer. The high waistline will also break up a long torso and make it look more in proportion.
Laura Fantacci & Nene Granville
PETITE AND ATHLETIC LEGS
When you are petite like Laura, try to enhance your curves with a cinched-in waist and add a bit of volume here and there. You can do this with oversized sleeves, or wearing bright white also works wonders. Shorter hems are recommended to elongate your silhouette, but they are not for everyone, so if you’re wearing a midi-dress just team it with heels. Nene has always felt that she has to be mindful of her athletic legs when it comes to dressing for her shape. But rather than disguise them she has learnt to celebrate them. Accentuate them by wearing pencil skirts in fabrics that skim the thighs, to give a leaner look while enhancing your slim waist – and finish with high heels.
Most of our dressing tricks are about achieving balance in our figures. In Frances’ case, she feels her narrow shoulders are one of her trickiest areas to dress and rule out things like strappy dresses and tops. She recommends trying out horizontal stripes – they are ideal for giving narrow shoulders more structure and width. This Gucci jumper is a brilliant example of how a graphic pattern can help to frame and balance out your figure without adding bulk. To really make it stand out, add to a solid-coloured bottom such as this A-line navy tulle skirt.
Alex, Laura & Petro
DENIM FOR PREGNANCY, SHORT LEGS AND BIG BUMS
When choosing maternity jeans, Alex suggests going for a pair that’s the closest to your natural style as you can find. Don’t be tempted to change your look during maternity – although not everything will work from your old wardrobe, it’s important to stay ‘you’ and wear items you love. If you are short, a relaxed skinny might work best (tight around the legs but not sucking you in). Showing off a little bit of ankle and teaming with a pointy shoe will help elongate your leg. With a big bum and hips, try a slight flare or boot-cut in a dark-hued denim – it will help create balance and the illusion of slimmer thighs.
In proportion with her athletic thighs, Nene also has bigger-than-average feet for a woman. Her size 8s (sometimes a 9 depending on the brand) need wider-fitting styles to work with their natural shape, so she goes for a block-heeled boot in a solid colour. Tonal dressing helps make her feet look smaller, so do boots with a round or square toe. Anything with a point only elongates them.
Being broad-shouldered means you have to forgo a lot of things, sadly – bulky faux-fur jackets, ruffled or puff sleeves and anything off the shoulder. However there are advantages; you can pull off most wrap dresses and anything tailored looks amazing. This Ganni chiffon dress is a great example of a good dress for broad shoulders – the deep V draws the eye inwards, while the unfussy narrow sleeves divert attention away from the widest part of your shoulders and arms.
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