December 18, 2014

Shopportunities: Living Large

Shopportunities: Living LargeDear Cheryl,

I’m a 5-foot-11-inch plus-sized woman. I have no issues with that, other than I find it hard to know what styles work for me. I never seem to wear much color—although I’d like to—and I don’t want to draw attention to my heavier top half. I have good legs, but my closet is full of pants. I’m ready for a change but need a steer in the right direction.

—Wendy, Sanibel

It’s vital that you’re wearing a supportive, well-fitting bra. A correctly fitting bra is the foundation for whatever goes on top of it—it’ll lift your bust and make your clothes look better.

- While it might be tempting to go for baggy tops to disguise your heavier top half, unfortunately all that extra fabric just exacerbates the problem. Instead, look for tops that are elegantly loose, skimming your silhouette. Select pieces with vertical details—even something as simple as a placket on a shirt will help to create visual length. V necklines are your best friends as they help to break up width across your torso. Longer-length scarves and necklaces do the same thing; just make sure your necklace isn’t dangling over the widest point of your bustline.

- Don’t be afraid of wearing color. A colorful top will draw attention upwards to your face. If you’re not used to wearing a solid block of color, the diagonal lines of a crossover-style top will help to offset it.

- It’s important that you consider the scale of prints, jewelry and other accessories. Tiny, sprigged prints and small, delicate jewelry on a tall woman look out of proportion—go for medium to larger-scale patterns and pieces. Apply the same thinking to handbags, too.

- As you have good legs, show them off! Choose a slim (not tight) skirt style, and work out the best hemline for your leg shape. (My Q&A in March explained how to do this.) Next, pick a great pair of heels (embrace your height!) and step out in style knowing you look as good as you feel.

Submit your questions for consideration to jfreihofer@gulfshorelife.com.