One thing that I’ve really learned over the years is the importance of dressing for your body type. For years, I struggled with finding clothes that fit properly. And by years… I mean essentially my whole life. Seriously, since birth… I giant when I was born so I’m sure that I wasn’t fitting into any newborn clothing. Then there was elementary school where we wore uniforms (thankfully), but dance costumes were always an issue. Almost always, a new costume would have to be sewn especially for me. (I was very lanky. Super tall, super skinny.)
And then… middle school hit. All of my friends were just beginning to fit into “grownup” clothes from Gap and American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch. I was stuck wearing jeans from Gap Kids with elastic waistbands, and even then they were likely too short and too baggy. I tried. I really tried, but it always seemed like what I wanted to wear was something that I couldn’t wear because of my body type. And oh did I fight back. I wore jeans that didn’t fit just to wear them. And I wore dresses that were too big to fit in. And I wore whatever was in style no matter if it actually looked good on me or worked with my body type.
It made me really dislike my body. I wished that I had curvier hips to fill out jeans. I wished that my chest was smaller so I could wear those little camisoles. I wished that I was four inches taller so I could rock a short dress.
Only recently have I begun to accept my body for what it is and wear clothes that actually work. And it’s certainly a game changer. I have so much more confidence and I appreciate my body for what it is… and not distraught by what it’s not.
The other day, someone at work mentioned how long my legs were. I was shocked… My legs used to be long when I was, like, 10. But then the rest of me continued to grow and my legs just stopped. Truthfully, my legs are SHORT. I can bend down and put my palms flat on the ground with my legs straight. And it’s not because I’m flexible. It’s because my legs are short.
But I have (at least somewhat) finally figured out how to dress for my body type.
I know that magazines often (read: every issue) label body types and tell you what to look for, what jeans to wear, and what types of belted dresses to wear. But I don’t think that it’s as simple as that.
My tips for dressing for your body type:
ONE | Don’t look at the number on the tag
The number is just a number. If you need to go up a “size,” go up a size. A skirt that’s too tight (or too short) won’t be flattering. And the best part about tags? No one sees it.
TWO | When in doubt, get it altered
Love that print? Need to have that dress? But it just doesn’t look fabulous? Bring it to a tailor to have perfected for your body type. I often have to buy dresses in a size (or two) bigger because of my chest size… but then the dress would totally not work. A couple of darts here, and inch off the hem there and it’s practically a new dress! This is also a great solution for when you buy clothes on sale or get a hand-me-down from a friend.
THREE | Figure out what you want to highlight
Magazines are always talking about what you want to “hide.” Instead, focus on what you want to HIGHLIGHT. Maybe it’s your long legs or your hourglass figure or your neckline. I think the easiest way to do this is to look through old photographs and look for the ones where you’re glowing with confidence– you knew those jeans looked great that night. (We all have those favorite photos, right?) What about that outfit worked for you?
FOUR | Wear the right undergarments
Both in size, shape, and color. I recommend getting properly fitted for a bra. It makes all the difference. I always get uncomfortable talking about underwear (#prude), but what you wear underneath your outfit can actually make or break it. A good rule of thumb: Black bras/panties under black clothes; nude under white. And I swear by Hanky Panky and Commando.
What tips do you have for dressing for your body type?