I started working with a new client recently, E., who is ready to up her game. She’s awesome—a tv director at a major network and mother of illegally cute twin boys. She spends a lot of time in a dark control room where what she wears is not always key. But she is a creative and expressive person by nature and her pre-twins clothes just weren’t making her feel fabulous. Plus, she is starting to make bigger decisions at the network and wants to feel fierce–not frumpy– when in meetings with execs. Enter moi.
After a conversation about her lifestyle, current body and closet situation I determined that we should go shopping ASAP. The closet edit could wait since most things didn’t work anyway. I gave E. the homework assignment of coming up with a style inspiration to get us started and sending me a photo to determine body type. “Olivia Pope in Bright Colors” was our style starting block.
E. had 3 major points in her figure to concentrate on
- Large bust and middle—waist needed defining
- Shoulders slightly narrower than hips—needed to add structure to shoulder to balance hips
- Petite—legs slightly short in proportion, needed to create a longer, leaner looking leg.
At this point she is also a size 16/18—a borderline size that can quickly go full on frumpyville in a minute.
For this first session we hit two spots, the Worth New York Showroom and the newly renovated Macy’s by Appointment. Our original inspiration changed a bit as we started working. It’s amazing how quickly you get to know someone when they are in their underwear in front of you. We stayed with Colorful Olivia Pope but added a dash of Sexy Rock Star. We worked for several hours and sent E. home with an entire new wardrobe that works across the board in her life. Watching her leave the store with all those bags made my heart swell.
I don’t often do this but I am going to share some specifics of what E. and I bought together. Individual needs are so unique that I hesitate to give blanket statements like–“if you are plus size, wear a v neck dress” or something. Large and small bodies come in so many different shapes that there is not one item that works for all. But, over the course of our appointment, I realized that a lot of women could probably use this information. So–here you go!
We determined right away that moto style jackets were an absolute no. The extra flaps and epaultes on the shoulders only added bulk to a large bust.
Flowy cardigans and other knits were also a no—same thing with the flaps on the boobs and the soft shoulders looked dowdy.
Cropped, slightly fitted single breasted jackets with no shoulder pads were the winner. Worn open, there is a vertical line created down the center—hello elongation! The cropped shape created the perfect proportion between top and bottom. We are also altering some of the jacket sleeves to fit closer.
Classic oxford button downs with slight shaping—the right amount of structure and a little collar popping action—FIERCE!
Skirts and Dresses
I loved the way a ponte knit pencil skirt created an hourglass shape by coming in nice and tight at the knee.
Straight suit skirts did nothing for us. They just looked dowdy
Flared skirts were ridiculously cute.
And jersey wrap dresses? Awww yeah.
We went for several new pairs of jeans. Nice super strectchy skinny jeans. E. has very shapely legs and should show them off.
Vegan leather leggings—a bit of structure, a bit of stretch and a whole lot of versatility.
Trousers: We went with back or side zip with no bulk adding front fly. Also, a tapered close fitting leg—again to elongate and show off those gams!
The point that was driven home again and again is that more is not more when it comes to dressing for a larger figure. This is what I think is so important—camouflaging extra weight by adding more layers only adds more stuff. It only makes you look bigger. Believe me no one is going to think you are a size 4 if you are a 12, no matter what. So, keep things simple, skim (don’t squeeze) the body in shapes and colors you love and let your personality be your guide.
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I’m Carmen Adriana! I help fierce individuals Rule Their World in Style! Click here to schedule a FREE wardrobe strategy phoner with me!