Plus Size Style Is About Shape NOT Size
Once upon a time we all knew what size we were and could buy clothes off the peg from any retailer. These days it is pretty much impossible to find perfect fitting plus size ready to wear as couture brands don’t cut clothes for larger women, there’s not much in the middle that goes above a size 14 and on the High St sizing is no longer standardised, why getting the perfect fit from your clothes is proving so challenging for us all.
Fashion sizing is no longer standardised so finding clothes that fit you perfectly, the key to having great style, can be challenging even for small girls so is the haywire sizing issue. Add extra height, difficult proportions, and a little extra weight will cause massive style dilemmas for curvy girls particularly as we shift from going into a store and trying things on to increasingly shopping online where you literally have no idea. Brands use different manufacturers for different lines so unless you know the brand well and know you can trust their sizing it's a crap shoot.
It’s hard enough as a stylist with the perfect model size mannequin to work with but add lumps, bumps, age and or a few extra unwanted pounds to the equation and it’s easy to see why many larger girls make mistakes or even give up on their style completely preferring to hide under a big baggy jumper when faced with dressing their less than “Model” shape.
Shirley who was a model in her teens and early twenties has always been style challenged by her “womanly” hips and now in later life understands exactly how to dress her curvy, voluptuous figure (her clothes can range in size from a UK 14 to a UK 18) to disguise them, always emphasising her trim waist and long legs instead.
We asked Shirley for her Style Rules For Girls With Curves.
Here’s her 9 top tips - How To Disguise Big Hips
1. Always start with a blank canvas.
2. Don’t Get Wasted, get Waisted! Drinking too much alcohol causes many women to lose their waistline. Put your hands on your hips and find your waist, the curvy girl’s best friend. There is a big difference between shapely and unhealthy so never let pressure from the media’s take on beauty sap your confidence just because you have a larger frame. Historically sizing was all about proportion, 38, 28, 38, it didn’t matter what the first number was so long as the second was significantly smaller.
3. Shirts when you are busty make you look bustier, blouses are ageing and I avoid anything V neck as this broadens the shoulders and is more masculine. To show off that waist you have to be brave and wear something fitted, stretchy or tight. Keep the neck line a soft scoop. If you can feel the muffin and it makes you feel uncomfortable recognise a small muffin is better than looking massive in something baggy and if it’s a big muffin it needs addressing.
4. Black Black Black - all the way. Light colours, particularly white or cream will make you appear larger than life and not in a good way. If you are too pale for black, try charcoal grey or dark green instead next to your face.
5. Feeling stylish for me these days is all about feeling comfortable, not too hot or constricted with nothing digging in so separates are very difficult on my curvy hips for one reason, fit. Of course periodically you’ll see me try a pair of jeans, usually stretch but I always end up back in my leggings
6. Styling a larger, less than perfect body is impossible without a smooth foundation. Spanx and Sloggis are great for shaping under special occasion wear or party clothes but beware of panty lines, too much squashing and unwanted bulges, I never wear these shaping garments day to day, they are far too uncomfortable and impractical. Dealing with pockets, zips and extra facing in ready to wear when you are young is not a problem but since the shift to Athleisure styling and layering, for anyone a little bit older, the completely smooth body stocking effect I get from the best plus size black leggings and t shirt combo makes my styling so much easier.
7. The Tailored Jacket and Blazer is the curvy girls very best friend. Anything that is extremely well tailored and nips in at the waist draws the eye away from those massive curves and shows off that significantly smaller waistline.
8. Keep things light and simple. When you are bigger you don’t want to over emphasise anything on your body so avoid chunky knits, duster coats, anything that is straight up and down, boxy tops or cropped jackets (these shapes are for girls with no hips) and never wear anything bat wing, bat wing makes a big chest look even bigger.
9. The advantages of a larger frame, long limbs, large hands and long slender fingers perfect for showing off a fantastic piece of statement jewellery and when styling a tall curvy girl we can pull off a Chanel Jumbo with ease so plus size women make the most of carrying an extra large bag, smaller girls would be swamped by.
The Venus Cow Collection comes in four sizes and our L/XL PBL fits from a UK size 18-22.