Style Panel: 9 ways to dress for your body type, no matter which trend you try
As snarky as What Not to Wear may be, hosts Stacy and Clinton seem to always get one thing right: many women have no idea how to dress for differing body types. Since we all know that no two bodies are exactly the same, 9 of our unique and uniquely beautiful Style Panelists took on the challenge and styled themselves in what shape suits them best. Whether it be with tight fitting clothing, loose pieces or even balancing out both, our stylish go-to girls were able to manage the trick of dressing for their bodies
Determining what shape of body you have is the most crucial step before you start playing around with looks. Although many ladies this week, including new member Melissa Knight, agree that they prefer wearing loose-fitting over tight clothing due to comfort, most say that confidence is the real key to pulling off a look that flatters anybody’s curves (take a cue from our next new member, Barbara Solomon, if you don’t believe us!)
So no matter what your shape or size, hopefully our Style Panel will inspire you to dress for your body, and just werk it.
Question 25: What’s your foolproof way to dress for your body type, no matter the trend Read the answers now! »
Or jump to: BARBARA ANN SOLOMON, TORONTO | CARA MCLEAY, VANCOUVER | DANIELLE ROCHE, TORONTO | GRACIE CARROLL, TORONTO | KAYLA SHORT, HALIFAX | MARTA TRYSHAK, TORONTO | MO HANDAHU, HALIFAX | MELISSA KNIGHT, VANCOUVER | VICKIE LALIOTIS, EDMONTON
Melissa Knight, 30
Vancouver | Miss Melissa
For my body type, I prefer loose clothing to tight clothing. I have found that as long as I emphasize my waist I feel the most confident in pieces that flow away from my body (to cover up those hips).
Melissa’s wearing: Top, American Apparel. Skirt, H&M. Pumps, Aldo.
Danielle Roche, 20
Toronto | Kastor and Pollux
I like looking like a disheveled fashion ladygirl as much as the next person, but when you’re only 5’3″ (like myself), you have to be pretty wary when you’re getting dressed in the morning. After all, looking like you’re drowning in clothing is never a good look.
Since skintight clothing has never been my jam, I’ve learned to juxtapose my silhouettes so I get the best of both worlds, while avoid looking like I’m in a permanent state of uncomfortable. Since fall is upon us, and layering on piles of clothes is always a lingering temptation, always make sure you keep your look balanced by wearing a good combination of shapes. For instance, if I were to wear this weird carpet sweatercoat with a huge billowy skirt, chances are, I’d look like the Michellin Man’s fashionably inept sister. And since I
like to avoid situations like this, opting for a skinny pant was a good way to add a decent amount of sense to this look.
Danielle’s wearing; Coat, Kate Moss x Topshop coat. Shirt and pants, H&M. Boots, Dr. Martens x Agyness Deyn.
Barbara Solomon, 25
Toronto | Barbara Ann’s Style Blog
As a woman with curves, (a lot up top and a little behind) given the right confidence and cut, form-fitting clothing flatters best. You want your fitted pieces to complement and highlight a specific part of your body, so often I like to off-set all this tightness with something a little looser. I would pair a tight top with a skirt that has a lot of volume, or a tight dress with a great blazer or sweater. The same tip can be used when making a tight piece more work appropriate.
Barbara’s wearing: Fur collar, vintage. Blazer, Banana Republic. Dress, Old Navy. Necklace, Fenton Fallon. Shoes, Aldo. Cuff, ASOS.
Mo Handahu, 29
Halifax | Curvy Geekery
I have found that for my body type an outfit that has a closer top half fit and a looser bottom half makes me feel the most comfortable. This dress has a closer fit around my bust which gives the illusion of a smaller waist and a loose flirty bottom for a more flattering silhouette. A looser outfit, to me, means movement, freedom and being able to breathe when I sit down.
Marta Tryshak, 24
Toronto/Montreal | With Love Gabrielle
I like a combination of fitting and loose silhouettes. For instance whenever I wear a pair of skinny jeans I like to balance them with a chunky sweater. In this outfit, I decided to wear a pair of pj-like pants and a flowing blouse for a look that was more slouchy. Regardless of which silhouette you prefer, it all depends on proportions. If you’re small do not overwhelm your frame with too much fabric nor wear anything that is too tight and vice versa.
Marta’s wearing: Blouse, Ann Taylor. Pants, Ann Taylor. Pumps, YSL. Watch, Michael Kors.
Vickie Laliotis, 28
Edmonton | Adventures in Fashion
When it comes to dressing, I like to mix up my silhouettes and incorporate both loose and form-fitting elements into my outfits. Depending on how different items fit or how I’m feeling about my body on that particular day, the proportions will vary accordingly. As a general rule, however, I tend to wear flowy pieces on top, anchoring loose tees and blouses with tighter pants, like these floral print leggings from Zara. That way, I’m able to look polished and proportional while still feeling comfortable and true to myself—It’s a win-win.
Vickie’s wearing: Blouse, Forever 21. Leggings, Zara. Boots, Aldo. Watch, Michael Kors. Necklace, Zara.
Cara McLeay, 28
Vancouver | A Fashion Love Affair
For me, comfort always comes first. I think one of the most important factors to feeling confident and looking great is being comfortable in your outfit – not needing to pull down a skirt, adjust a top, or loosen a button on those jeans just to enable proper breathing. In the battle of tight vs. loose, loose takes it every time.
Cara’s wearing: Blazer, Zara. Skirt, Zara. Top, Stylemint. Necklace, Astrid + Miyu. Ring, Olive + Piper. Clutch, K.Slademade. Pumps, Shoemint.
Gracie Carroll, 24
Toronto | Gracie Carroll
I’ve always been a creature of comfort. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a closet full of hoodie upon hoodie, sweater upon sweater. Don’t even get me started on loose, easy T-shirts. Although “draping” (aka loose and easy) still crowds my wardrobe to this day, I’ve had to face the fact that it’s not the best choice for my body. Fact: I am not a wafer-thin model and the clothes I lean towards to be comfy, just don’t look as good on a girl with curves. It even came to the point when a friend (photographer, David Gillespie) cornered me in a bar one night and lectured me on having to let go of the sack dress and embrace the body con instead. “You’ve got big boobs and a small waist,” he said “why the hell are you hiding it?” My bust size has never been something I’ve been completely comfortable with, especially since they appeared, very prominently, way before anyone else in my elementary class. While it still takes effort to reach for tight over loose, in the end I would rather channel Marilyn Monroe rather than a tent.
Kayla Short, 26
Halifax | Short Presents
Personally, my philosophy is that either extreme should be avoided no matter what size you are. Below are a couple guidelines to keep in mind when it comes to deciding what’s best for you:
Don’t add volume where volume exists; fit the biggest part of your body first, and then taper in where possible (For instance: your natural waistline). Remember opposites attract: if you’re going baggy on top; opt for narrow pants; and visa versa, if you’re wearing a wide leg trouser; opt for a more fitted top. If you are overly concerned about your lower half, avoid ultra fitted prints or patterns on bottom, and opt for darker solid hues instead. Because I am less developed on top I usually opt for shirts with ruffle detailing to add a feminine touch, but also to add some volume.
Fit the body you have, not the body you want: There’s no point in wasting valuable styling opportunities because you’re down about not going to gym, or because puberty wasn’t kind to you. The sooner you accept what you have the sooner you can move onward and upward. Often times when we are insecure with our bodies we want to hide them, and usually this results in some major style disasters. Play up your assets and you’ll learn to cope with your specific style challenges.
Kayla’s wearing: Jacket, Forever 21. Leggings, American Apparel. Boots, Vince Camuto. Hat, H&M. Purse, Christopher Kon.