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How to Dress Your Unique Body Variations

Dressed for My Day...My Way
October 2, 2018

Hello gals, and welcome to Dressed for My Day. Can you believe it? Today I’m actually picking back up our long forgotten Dressed for My Day…My Way series. I know, I know. It’s long over due!

Today I’m sharing how to best dress your unique body variations. What are those? Well, they’re different for each woman. By body variations I’m simply referring to that area of your body that you probably frequently call your “problem area.” And while we’re going to change that awful label, you may even have more than one “body variation.”

How to Dress Your Unique Body Variations

Commonly addressed body variations include, but are not limited to:

  • ample bust
  • small bust
  • broad shoulders
  • stocky shoulders
  • thick ankles
  • large hands
  • tiny hands
  • ample bottom
  • large thighs
  • thick calves
  • ample upper arms
  • large feet
  • ample tummy
  • flat bottom

And as we age, those areas of our body which feel out of proportion can change or shift. Have you noticed that happening in your body?

Why are They Variations?

Unfortunately, when we talk about our body variations, we tend to label these areas as bad or problematic. But let’s not do that here, okay? Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made! Instead, let’s examine why we are labeling these as variations to begin with.

Remember, while you are free to break all the fashion rules you desire, we’ve learned in this Dressed for My Day…My Way series that there are indeed rules of science, math and art that help us create a more aesthetically pleasing presentation of our bodies. One of those basic rules is the rule of balance. While we do want to create a feminine shape (pleasantly curvy), the human eye naturally desires a degree of balance, too. We prefer a ratio of 2 to 3 ratio, to be exact. We learned more about how to achieve that proportionate ratio here.

So the variations we’re addressing in this post are the areas of our body that seem a little out of balance with the rest of our body. Or they make our entire body appear out of balance with the ideal we are desiring to achieve – that Golden 2 to 3 ratio.

Before we move on, if you aren’t familiar with the ground we’ve covered so far in discovering our body shape and proportions and subsequently how to dress our body shape and proportions, I suggest you review those posts first. Why not start at the beginning, here?

One more thing. I’ve provided handy printouts for this series that are only available to my email subscribers. If you would like to subscribe so that you can unlock all the goodies I keep tucked away for my subscribers, you can learn more here. There are more perks, too!

The Basic Rules for Dressing Your Body Variations

After discovering your body shape and proportions, you may feel like your body doesn’t fit neatly into the categories. I get that! Actually no one fits neatly into the categories. After all, we’re human beings, not Barbie dolls! Shoot, even Barbie is extremely out of proportion!

So learning to dress your body variations is not so much about fixing what is wrong (because our body parts are not wrong) as it is about learning to achieve balance.

We want to learn how to draw attention or focus to some areas of our body while diverting attention from others. Once again, we’re not diverting attention because those portions of our bodies are wrong or bad or ugly. We’re just helping the human eye to “not trip up” over one part of our body so that it misses the beauty and harmony of the whole. And ultimately, we want most attention drawn to our faces so that we can interact with people rather than having them staring or gawking at one feature or another.

Here are some general tips for achieving harmony and balance:

  • Start with a good foundation. It’s amazing how important good undergarments are in achieving balance in our bodies. A good bra lifts the “girls” to where they are supposed to be. Adequate shapewear helps create pleasant curves rather than juts in the road. And panties that don’t leave you with unseemly panty lines ensure that any glances in that area are for the right reasons. Ha!
  • Get it to fit it. Fit is crucial when it comes to dressing our variations. Sometimes we assume that an area of our body is just “beyond hope” so we don’t bother to try to buy garments that fit in an appropriate and flattering way. Big mistake. If you have an ample bosom, get an ample bra. If you have wide shoulders, don’t buy shirts that leave your shoulders extending beyond the shoulder seams. If you have long arms, make sure you buy tops and jackets with sleeves that are long enough. If you have wide feet, don’t purchase shoes that your feet are bulging out of on the sides. Buy clothing and footwear that fits or have your clothing altered.
  • Draw attention appropriately. Draw attention to the areas you want to highlight by adding detail and interest. Ultimately, I think it’s best to draw attention upward to your face. But you’ll also want to draw attention to some areas in an effort to divert unwanted attention from certain body variations. Details like pockets, embroidery, buttons, fabric prints and patterns, interesting hems, ruffles and hardware draw attention, as do jewelry, handbags, hair accessories and flowers, bows and tassels on shoes.
  • Divert attention by keeping things plain. The areas where you prefer the eye to simply skim over and not dwell, keep plain and free of ornamentation or details.
  • Balance with proper scale. Scale is simply using clothing pieces and accessories in proportion to your body size and frame. Let’s pause here to look at the following diagram. In the diagram below, which of the lighter, central blue dots is smaller? 

Ebbinghaus illusion

Actually, it’s an illusion. (the Ebbinghaus illusion, to be exact) While the dot on the right appears to be smaller at first glance, both of the central lighter blue dots are actually the same size. But because the dots surrounding the blue dot on the right are larger, they cause the dot in their center to appear smaller than the equal sized dot that is surrounded by smaller dots.

The same thing happens when we carry a large or small handbag, wear large or small prints on our clothing or put on shoes with large, bulky straps or sandals with thin straps. If you have a larger frame but wear tiny prints, jewelry or handbags, you’ll appear larger in comparison. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s something you need to be aware of. Likewise, if you’re a tiny, petite woman and you wear bold prints, carry a large handbag and put on huge statement jewelry, you will look dwarfed in comparison.

How to Apply Scale

So there’s no hard and fast rule about whether you should wear or use large prints and accessories or small, but you do need to be aware of scale. Choose according to your desired effect.

Bottom line? If you want to appear smaller, carry a larger handbag. If you want to appear larger, carry a smaller handbag. Then apply the same principle to your jewelry, jackets, belts, shoes, prints, etc.

But this principle doesn’t just apply to the overall picture. It applies to certain body parts, too. For instance, I have kind of large, chunky hands. If I wear diminutive rings, my hands just look all the larger. But if I wear bigger, bolder rings and even a big chunky bracelet, my hands look daintier. Or at least that’s the goal! Ha!

Is there a body area where you need to think about scale? Maybe your ears, hands, shoulders, waistline, feet, bottom, or bosom?

Let’s Get Specific

But what about specific body variations? Because each woman is different, I’m not going to offer advice about how to draw attention to or away from every single body part. This post is long enough as it is! But I have created printable or downloadable shopping tips for three pretty common body variations:

  • ample bosom
  • thick ankles
  • broad or stocky shoulders (those are not the same, but you could have one or both variations)

If you’re a subscriber you’ll find my shopping tips for those body variations in the Freebies for Subscribers page. However, that page is locked unless you have the subscriber password. (Of course, subscribing is free and I really take good care of my subscribers, so if you want access, just sign up. I’d love for you to!)

Now if those aren’t the body variations that concern you, you still might want to check out the tips. I think once you see how I’ve applied the guidelines above in these scenarios, you’ll begin to understand better how to dress your own variations. It just all starts to click.

But feel free to ask questions in the comment section below, too. I’m glad to help if I can.

If you enjoyed today’s post, why not share it on Facebook and Pin it to one of your Pinterest boards. Remember, friends help friends dress their body their way! So let’s share the information.

And really, if you’re not an email subscriber, why in the world not? I don’t send you spam or junk, just updates about my posts so you won’t miss a thing. And I also award one lucky, randomly selected subscriber each month with a $25 gift card to Nordstrom. So you could win! You’ll find out more about my subscriber community here.

If you’re looking for outfit ideas for fall, I have all of my looks in one sweet location. You don’t have to scroll through all of my posts to find that sweater you liked and saw here a couple of weeks ago. Just go to the Shop My Looks tab on the top toolbar, and you’ll always be able to shop my looks. They include affiliate links, so I do make a commission when you shop through them, but at no cost to you.

One last thing. The Talbots Anniversary Sale ends tomorrow, October 3, so I’m including my shopping widget for all my favorites at Talbots right now. You gals have a great day! And let me know if you have any questions about today’s post. I know it was a lot to take in. But it feels good to be back to writing this Dressed for My Day…My Way series. I’ll try to stay on it for next week!

Blessed for My Day

Today I pray that you will be given heavenly perspective so that you can see the world’s reaction to your faith as Christ sees it. Let’s face it. It hurts when we are rejected based on our relationship with Jesus. We’d rather our faith not be polarizing, but winsome. Unfortunately, if we’re really walking closely with Jesus, however, there will be days when our convictions, beliefs, words and priorities are misunderstood, even mocked and belittled. Jesus warned His followers that if the world hated Him, they would also hate us. That’s because living a godly life is like turning a blaring bright light on in the midst of darkness. It blinds and provokes. 

But Jesus assured us that there is blessing in persevering under persecution. So if today you have family members, friends, Facebook acquaintances, co-workers or neighbors who have belittled your faith and mocked you for it, hang in there. Your reward in heaven is great.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. ~ Matthew 5:11-12

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xoxo, Kay
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10 thoughts on “How to Dress Your Unique Body Variations

  1. This is very helpful. I cannot remember the password for the freebies. I am always trying to disguise my ample bosum.

    1. Hi Julie! I included the password in today’s subscriber email. So check that. 🙂 And hey, no need to “disguise” your ample bosom. Just draw attention away from it and up to your pretty face!

    1. I guess I’d have to know which two you mean. But just keep in mind that you’re trying to move the eye away from some areas and redirect it to others. And ultimately, always try to move the eye to your face.

  2. How about older aged legs? Mine have been faithful friends for over 7 decades, but look iffy minus tights during Australia’s summer months. I’m considering trying a couple of maxi skIrtsor dresses to hit above my ‘shapely’ ankles (husband’s sweet comment).

    1. Yes, maxi skirts or dresses are a good way to create a “thinner” ankle, as are wide legged cropped pants. Once again, make sure those hit just below or at the thickest part of your leg. The fullness of the leg will make your legs look smaller in comparison. It’s one of those “scale” tricks, like the circle graphic above. Thanks for reading!

  3. I’ve only recently came across your blog and posts and I gotta say I am a HUGE fan! I’ve recently retired and grew out my gray hair. You talk about some things I have not considered and I find them extremely helpful.