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Fashion advice needed! :)

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
My wardrobe may not be featured on "What Not To Wear" (well, maybe some of it, like my "girls don't fart" shirt) but I'm not great at dressing "girly." I am a size 16, and I have some fries with this shake, if you catch my drift. I'm also 5'4, which doesn't help. Im a jeans/capris and T-shirt/tank kinda girl. However, boys like girls that dress like girls. At least sometimes. My boyfriend has requested that I try wearing skirts and girlier clothes once in a while. Don't get me wrong, it's not just for him, I've been wanting to spruce it up a bit these days, also because I work in an office now and want to look more presentabe than at my old job where I wore scrubs and handled animals all day. Didn't need to be girly there! It's just that I have no idea where to start. Any dresses or skirts I tried on in the past made me look even shorter and chubbier. NOT what my goal is here. I have been losing weight but my thighs are still a bit chubby, so the skirts can't be too short. Don't wanna scare the neighbors or anything. I have some ideas from friends, but wanted to expand my horizons a bit.
So, this is where you come in. Any advice to give this clueless, oddly shaped girl?
post #2 of 23
My only piece of advice is try on every skirt style you see, even if you *think* it might make you look worse. I've been surprised by something that looks like it'll be terrible only to have it look great.

Also, avoid stretchy poly-blends for skirts if you can. Cotton based skirts look more professional and will last you longer.

Good luck!!!
post #3 of 23
I'm 5'4" too, and... well, if things go according to plan, I should be down to your size pretty soon. So let's see if any of my personal guidelines are helpful...

If your lower legs are slim, then you would probably look great in a slim, narrow skirt that hits just below the knee -- or narrow-legged pants, although it's hard to find those. I have to stitch mine up, because all the designers seem to assume our ankles are the same size as our thighs!

Even though my upper arms are not bad, I find that I look slimmest in a top with three-quarter sleeves, rather than short sleeves. Somehow the silhouette is just more balanced. Also, a V-neck or a long pendant-style necklace can make a huge difference -- anything that puts a big V-shape down your front will emphasize the shape you're going for!

Tunic-style tops (especially with side slits) work a lot better for me than anything fitted, and I like them to hang a little bit loose, just skimming the body. The last thing you want is to look as if the clothes are too tight, y'know? And emrldsky is absolutely right about non-stretchy fabrics! It's amazing how slimming a nice clean fall of woven fabric can be, as opposed to a knit that clings to every curve -- including the ones you wish you didn't have!

Since I'm short, I can't get by with too long a top. What seems most flattering to me is something that hits just below the hipbone (yes, I can actually find my hipbones now! Woohoo!). Mid-thigh is too long, and makes me look even shorter.

As much as I love flowing, feminine things, I have to admit that straighter, more tailored lines look a lot better on me. When I put on a peasant-style blouse with a round, gathered neckline, it adds 20 or 30 pounds in an instant! Straight and narrow, but not the least bit tight-fitting... that seems to be the key for me.

One last point that might help: the more graceful your shoes, the better. They make all the difference in the world, especially when you wear a skirt! The heels don't have to be all that high, but a couple of inches can really give you a longer, more feminine line.

Oh, and earrings! It's amazing what some pretty earrings can do to brighten your eyes!
post #4 of 23
Originally Posted by menagerie mama View Post
My boyfriend has requested that I try wearing skirts and girlier clothes once in a while.
I'm so glad DH would never tell me this! He'd get a and told if he was so concerned "be my guest and wear them yourself".

Sorry, no help here - I'm not much for "girlie". Maybe you can convince him to go shopping with you, though.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you so far! These are the kinds of things I want to hear! Keep them coming girls! I'm too shy to take him shopping. I know that sounds weird but I would be mortified for him to pick out clothes for me. Maybe if I was a size 6. lol
post #6 of 23
Wear slightly flouncey skirts, those that are comfortable with elastic at the top and just flouncey enough to make you feel like a woman. Layer if you can.
a long top with a belt or a low belt can be complemented with a long louse with a jacket. Wear coordinating solids and have them match you coolers. Wear eye make-up that is not overwhelming but will draw the eye to your face. Even if your legs are good, where a medium heal with a darker shade of taupe or a shade to match your outfit.
Just IMO
post #7 of 23
I'm going to tell you just the opposite of butzie. Stay away from ruffles, flounces, and poofy things. Clean, straight lines that skim your figure will look best. Just not too tight, like the others said. If you can find a dress it might work better than a skirt and blouse. Maybe you can find something that's tailored from the shoulders to the hips, then flares out a bit from there to look more feminine. If you want a two-piece look, try a tailored dress with a long, loose jacket over it, the kind that doesn't button.

Solid colors will be more slimming than busy prints. You don't have to stay with dark colors, go with what looks good on you. You probably want to stay away from white or really light pastels. Diagonal stripes are good, too. They are more stylish than vertical stripes without making you look wider.

Hope this helps without making you crazy.
post #8 of 23
well, if you were on WNTW, they'd probably say pointy shoes [ouch!] w/at least a kitten heel... or a wedge. those types are supposed to be relatively easy to walk in.
i've seen them recommend A-line skirts for women with substantial lower halves [at least, larger than their upper halves - you didn't mention if you were a pear, apple, hourglass shape?].
wide v-necks broaden the shoulders if yours are smaller - so does a cap sleeve. according to them, shirts/tops should end just above the hipbone to camouflage a 'tummy' issue [not sure i believe that one].
if you are different top/bottom, you'll have better luck finding separates that fit correctly. if an hourglass, something w/a belt is good [draws attention to a narrower waist]...
i would think similar color top/bottom would avoid the 'chunky' appearances, but wouldn't know from experience or the show.
post #9 of 23
You've gotten some great advice so far!

The ideas I had immediately, were (and this was already said, but it's worth repeating) in the office, wear a simple, solid color (not black - that's not best for daytime) shift dress (one that hits around the knee, but not any higher, with a low, but pretty heel and a coordinating (not matchy-matchy) lightweight jacket that is around the same length. Larger jewelry would go best, such as some longer beads, or a dramatic pendant. Another great accessory is a beautiful scarf.
In total agreement with the poster who said earrings are important!
For your shoes, check out Aerosoles. Even with heels, they're really made for comfort. (nothing wrong with wanting that!)

Second outfit is with pants, but I think the best way to find a good fit for you, for a more professional look, would be to find the widest part of your thigh, and have the pant go directly down, in a perpendicular line. It gives the illusion that your legs are actually a bit smaller. Wear the pants with a low set of colorful heels and you've got style!

Most importantly, shop where the classics are sold. This is one time you don't want to go bargain hunting. Go to somewhere that has a personal shopper (don't worry - they don't cost a thing!). Ask lots of questions! You'll get honest feedback, rather than that of a friend who doesn't want to hurt feelings. The nicer stores offer free tailoring of their clothing - that makes a world of difference! None of us are the same shape and size, yet so many designers think we are!

Perhaps you could take a photo after you've found the perfect outfit and show us a before and after?

One last note - do you love your hair? Do people stop you and ask who you go to for your fabulous do? If not, look around in the grocery store, the mall, the carwash, whatever, and find the women who look beyond put-together. Ask who does their hair. Then go there and say you want to be a classic beauty.
You'll find that you're wanting to take extra time to "girlie" yourself up!
post #10 of 23
I have wide hips and while i was dress shopping the 60s styles suited me very well, same as skirts.

Personally i am not a fan of skirts, as i am smaller than you 5"1ish, i cant wear ballarinas as they make me look like im round. Although if i wear boots with skirts, i can look sexy. Get my drift? You will need to wear shoes with a heel, to make it look even, you can pretty much wear any shirt, it just has to match your make up, wear a nice necklace, fashion at the moment is just a little chunky, but dont make it long , wrap it up twice and make sure it sits just below your neck. It does make a big difference.
I mainly wear V necks, and lower rounded tops.

You can wear your tank tops and normal t shirts and make it professional with a nice cartigan and business pants. Of course if you are in the office you shouldnt wear open toed shoes.
post #11 of 23
I'm not very good with fashion, really. I tend to go to the store and try things on until I find stuff I like, usually. I am a larger woman also, although I am a bit taller than you (5'6"). When I am shopping for nice, girly things to wear to my office, I shop at Lane Bryant - I love their clothes, and they are designed for women who arent' skinny! They have some gorgeous stuff, and I have a Lane Bryant credit card just so that I get all kinds of special discounts and coupons. And by coupons, I mean "Save $50.00 on a $150.00 purchase." They have some pretty seriously amazing coupons.

Someone said not to wear black, but I do and I like it. Black suits and pantsets and dress slacks are very common in offices in my area. If you like dark colors, I say go with them. Darker colors are often slimming, too!

Good luck!

(I used to wear nothing but jeans and t-shirts, so girly fashion was pretty new to me, too, when I started working in an office...)
post #12 of 23
You don't want to wear tight/close fitting skirts. Try to find ones with ruffles or pleats in them to make them hang better.

Also NEVER wear horizonal stripes (especially around the stomach/hips) - they will just make you look fatter. Find vertical stripes or some nice print (flowers, etc.) material.

Black will make you look slimmer. Too much white will make you look fatter.
post #13 of 23
I am horrible at fashion Lol. I do have one piece of advice that I love for myself. I am short (5 foot 2). I’m a girly girl and usually wear extremely high heels Lol because I don’t like my height. My advice is for shirts. I find any solid colored shirt with some sort of line under the boobage area makes me look longer. Whether it’s a belt, or just different material as part of the shirt, a ribbon. I find it makes me look slimmer and longer.
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks again! I have never been able to determine what shape I am. I always just say "odd shaped." lol
post #15 of 23
Originally Posted by menagerie mama View Post
Thanks again! I have never been able to determine what shape I am. I always just say "odd shaped." lol
here's a link to help you decide!
post #16 of 23
I always hate hearing black is slimming. Its not the only color that is slimming and if you wear all black then you will look bigger than you are!

a-line skirts are great on pretty much any shape! Slight v necks will elongate your neck.
Also maybe try on a pair of wide leg trousers they look really good on some people.
Like another person said go for natural materials they will last longer and feel better!

Now shoes. Yes pointy shoes elongate your legs. You do not cram your toes down into the point. They are just like round toes but have a little more on the end. If you buy a nice pair and the right size they should not cramp your toes up!
Always avoid square toe shoes... and big chunky heels.
Wedges are great because they are easy to walk in and require less balancing!
Kitten heels are not always easier to walk in. But sometimes

The biggest thing is ALWAYS TRY THINGS ON! Even if it doesnt look like something you would normally wear still give it a try! How will you know what new styles look good on you if you never give them a try?!
post #17 of 23
You describe like me. I"m 5'5" and usually a size 16, sometimes 18. I'm defiantly an hour glass though. I've found wrap dresses flatter my body the most. I have 1 skirt that is a few inches above the knee and it's not my favorite. When I had to dress business casual at work, I'd usually go for knee length skirts that were the a-line shape. I did have 1 skirt that was a different cut, but I don't know the name of it. (Big help there) I felt like long skirts made me look shorter and fatter and those skirts that have all the ruffle/tier things on them made me look 10x wider and about 2 feet tall.

Most of my tops hit me around the widest part of my hip and that seems to be the best. Shorter and too much longer (if it was a more fitted top) just emphasized my stomach. The worst thing for me to buy is button down tops. I'm pretty darn busty so they tend to pull. I do better with knit tops. The worst was last summer when I went into a place to fill out an application. I sat down with it in the lobby and looked down, and one of my buttons had come undone!

I do like a lot of the tops that are out now that are kind of flowy and what not, but I'm always paranoid they look like maternity tops on me because of my tummy. I'm in my comfort zone with jeans and t-shirts too (and I wear scrubs to work now), so I totally relate to your shopping dilemma. Too bad we don't live closer to each other so we could be shopping buddies. My usual shopping friend is like a size 6 when she's bloated!
post #18 of 23
Originally Posted by MoochNNoodles View Post
I do like a lot of the tops that are out now that are kind of flowy and what not, but I'm always paranoid they look like maternity tops on me because of my tummy.
actually, it's probably the boobage. tops that hang straight down [or go out a bit] from large busts make everything else beneath look just as large [from a fellow 'blessed w/breasts' sufferer!].
post #19 of 23
Somebody mentioned wrap dresses, and I wanted to concur with that! I'm too big for them now, but several years ago when I was perhaps a size 14 or so, I tried on a classic Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress in a pretty green print, and it was incredible -- suddenly I was shaped like a girl again! If your weight problem isn't extreme, those dresses are great camouflage.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Great ideas! I love reading all the replies, keep them coming!
post #21 of 23
I have to agree with the poster that said stay away from ruffles and flounces. They don't make you look more feminine...just larger. Unless you get a mini-ruffle at the bottom of the skirt, ruffles can make you look larger.

I'm 5'5" on a good day, and a size 20. But because of the way I dress, most people take me for a smaller size.

A-line skirts stopping just below the knee. If you want a pattern, don't go for a bold busy pattern. My favorite skirt is black with 3 or 4 "bouquets" of dark flowers.

Pants shouldn't be tight legs. That tends to make your waist look bigger. Even proportions please. A slight flare makes your legs look longer than a full cut. Flat seamed waistbands. Pleats tend to emphasize the belly.

Tunics or empire waisted shirts. If you look for an empire waist, make sure the bottom of the shirt is loose and flowing. Tunics should hit from below the hip line to top of the thighs. You need to find out which is the most flattering for your body. This is where I put my pop of color! I rarely tuck in my shirts. I think this draws attention to the waist in the wrong way!

Blazers - no bold bright colors, but you don't need to stick to black/brown. I have blazers in red, hunter, grey, blue, brick, and moss as well as black and brown.

I personally wear ballet flats because of my back and knees. But on good days, I love wearing my wedges. The support the entire foot unlike heels where your support is on the ball and heel of the foot.
post #22 of 23
if you want to look feminine, get some lovely dangling ear rings, put lashings of mascara on, a nice pinky/peachy blusher & matching lip gloss. then get a pretty bias cut dress (flowery is always girly!) & put a little plain cardigan over the top. wear some pretty strappy sandals & off you go!!

for work you can't go wrong with a nice fitted blouse, pencil or a-line skirt & some formal stilettos or something. matching earing/bracelet/necklace sets always look posh!

it's all about lip gloss & eye lashes!!!
post #23 of 23
I think skirts with a flare/ruffle to about knee length look all right on me. I also have this lovely button-down dress that comes to the knee, it tucks in just enough (plus, pockets! ) I love wrap tops and a nice flared trouser for work, though nowadays I'm mostly wearing scrubs.
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