I am a size 16 and I just admitted it on the World Wide Web!
Let's face it ladies of the Middle East: How many of us are a size 0? Really! Even though the clothing stores would like us to think that all the women who shop there are in fact only sizes small and extra small (am I the only one who never finds a large? YES, I'm bitter about it) it is absolutely false. The average size of a woman is a (believe it or not) 14. Also, more than half of women out there have a pear shaped body (narrow shoulders and fuller hips) so model sizes we are not!
In my experience it has been VERY difficult to find clothes that not only fit properly (I have an hourglass shaped figure which is busty, small(ish) waist and full hips) but that also make my body look great and in turn make me feel good about myself. If you've never walked into a store looking for a great outfit for an occasion, only to storm out an emotional wreck because nothing fits and you feel even worse about yourself than when you walked in, you're one of the lucky chosen ones!
It is also not a topic that your mother, sister or friends talk about , is it? I've never had someone teach me what to wear to flatter my figure or where to get it from? SOOOO I learned the HARD way and several of 3/4 length pants, ill fitting shirts and muffin top nightmares later I'm here to share some of my collected wisdom with curvy women everywhere!
First things first, if you don't know what body shape you are go to this amazing website and find out! Then come back here and take in all of my awesomeness! (JK a bit of narcissism never hurt anyone! )
Most of the tips below apply to ALL body types but I'll be focusing more on the hourglass shaped figure because that's what I have the most experience with. Please note that this is solely my opinion and what I believe is right and has worked for ME; if your stylist, mother or the Guatemalan exchange student whose style you love think otherwise, I apologize to them in advance.
The Underwear chronicles
I am about to speak of your 'unspeakables', your delicates, your lingerie, your 'shhhhhs'...etc.
# 1 Don't underestimate the power of the almighty bra, it can make or break an outfit. A LOT (some say more than 70% but I'm no expert) of women wear the wrong bra size so you may have been told you're a 34B when you were 16 and just stuck with it. Trust me honey you're no 34B anymore and you need to get measured for a new bra STAT! The right bra can make you feel lighter, create the illusion of a longer upper torso and make your clothes look incredibly flattering.
Many lingerie stores in Cairo can measure you for a bra, so don't be shy and go ask the sales lady for a new measurement and maybe treat yourself to some cute undergarments while you're at it!
#2 Shape-wear has changed my life! Whatever you want to call them Magic knickers or Spanxx they will change the way you look at yourself and body forever. Trust me! They also make them for every problem area: there are the full shorts that can suck in your thighs and hide those *cough* belly rolls , the full body that will hug your curves and give you a flat tummy and finally the high waisted knickers that will rid you of that unsightly muffin top forever. So try out some shape wear under that new dress or jeans and إدعولي.
I know for a fact that Carina stores in Cairo make the full shorts shape wear (كورسيه) and that Marks & Spencer's carry all sorts of shape wear in their lingerie departments! My abolsute favorite is the Marks and Spencer full body because it is so versatile you can wear it everyday under jeans and a tshirt or for a night out under dresses and skirts to give you a cinched waist and flat tummy!
"Empire" State of Mind: No More!
Most curvy women, especially if they are a larger size are always tempted to either wear really loose clothes, an empire waistlines or wide leg pants. PLEASE STOP CURVY WOMEN OF THE WORLD!
The empire waistline will work pretty well if you have a pear shaped body because your bustling isn't as prominent as us hourglass shaped gals. The stylist who keeps recommending waist belts to curvy/busty women needs to stop doing that! All they do is basically create an incredible 'unsexy' shelf for your *ehm ehm* chest to sit. It's NOT FLATTERING! Don't create an empire waistline with that belt if non is needed.
So if you really love that tunic in the back of your closet or that flowy top you got on vacation then please keep in mind to pair them with fitted pants and without a belt.
Never and I repeat NEVER wear a loose top like that with hugely oversized wide leg pants. It gives your body no shape except that it accentuates the size of your bust and shortens your legs especially if the top is a longer length. "Uh-Uh" not a good look. Here's what I have found to be much more flattering:
#1 Fitted Tops with a nice 'boyfriend' blazer (pictured above with cute floral cuff detail), jacket or cover up. The fitted top will accentuate your curves the right way (especially with the right shape wear) and the jacket or cover up will hide anything you don't feel comfortable showing (i.e. arms back or tummy).Pair that with:
#2 A great pair of dark wash flared jeans. No, I'm not talking about 70s throw back bell bottoms
(لا مؤاخذة شارلستون) I mean just a little bit of a flare at the bottom like the 'GUESS' jeans in the picture above. Dark flared jeans create the illusion of slimmer thighs and longer legs. Unlike skinny jeans they do not accentuate wider hips the flare actually balances them out! Aim for simple jeans without too much detailing or fading: the simpler the jean the more streamlined it makes your figure look. Finally add:
#3 Killer heels! NOT LITERALLY! I don't mean ones that will actually 'kill' your back or feet but ones that make a statement. Shoes are every woman's guilty pleasure for a reason: they always fit regardless of what weight you are at, they can make any outfit pop and give you an IMMEDIATE boost of self confidence. On a practical level (which is not always why we buy them MEN of the world) high heels elongate your legs and give your booty a lift. Wear ones that are a bright color or a bold print (leopard <3) to give your average outfit an instant WOW factor. With curvy girls rounded toes are always more flattering than pointed ones because they keep your lines soft and clean.
"Dress"or Skirt to Impress!
If you're like me and the thought of having to find a dress for a special occasion (or any occasion for that matter :( ) makes your stomach do back flips then let me help put you out of your misery. The secret words are: V or sweetheart necklines and maxi dresses.
I've found that the V-neckline make my shoulders and upper body slender, paired with a floor length skirt in a block color makes the perfect dress for the hourglass figure. The block color and long vertical line of the skirt elongates the body and hides all the flaws without being too bulky.The sweetheart neckline also works wonders for women with a pear shape because it accentuates the bust therefore balancing out the top and bottom half of their bodies. Be careful not to go for a fitted skirt if you're a pear shape because you probably do not want anything hugging your hips and creating any more 'curvature' down there than need be.
If you have killer legs by all means go for shorter length skirts but I would steer clear of any mini dresses or skin tight ones if you have a curvier figure. I would also avoid any skirts with too much bulk at the bottom (i.e. ruffles or pleats) because they draw attention (*the bad kind*) to your lower half making you look fuller.
Final Pearls of Wisdom
- Please don't be too attached to the number on the tag! Wear the clothes that fit you perfectly and if that means the tag says size 12 when you're actually a 10 doesn't mean you should starve yourself for the next decade.
- Shop with someone whose opinion you really trust, don't take someone who will tell you "you look great" in everything because they're too afraid to hurt your feelings! Take someone who will tell you the truth but in the nicest way possible of course (Not a Simon Cowell wannabe!).
- Play with accessories. Experiment with different statement pieces: bold colored bracelets or necklaces, feathers, big brooches or dangly earrings . They don't have to be expensive pieces but they must match your personality (and outfit of course) while enhancing the overall look. Accessories are always a fun item to shop for especially because in their case size doesn't matter!
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: DON'T LET UNREALISTIC FASHION INDUSTRY STANDARDS GET YOU DOWN! You are beautiful whichever weight, body type, height, skin color....etc you are. There is no right or wrong when it comes to fashion, it's a way of expressing your creativity so don't let anyone else's idea of 'perfect' get in your way. Make your wardrobe a fun and exciting place to be and ALWAYS love who ARE!
As always if you have any questions about all of the info above just let me know BELOW in the comments box and if I have the answer I'll be sure to get back to you or write a post for your specific request.
Come back for more every 'beauty tuesday'!
Lots of Love!