For those who are shorter, taller or curvier than the average woman, buying clothes can be a struggle to say the least. But fashionistas come in all shapes and sizes, and every woman deserves to have pieces in her wardrobe that fit, flatter and make her feel her best.
If you’re tired of settling when you shop, these tips are for you:
• Know your numbers: A tape measure is an essential tool for any fashionista — especially one who isn’t a standard size. By knowing your waist, hip and inseam measurements, you can avoid the disappointment and frustration of buying pieces that are too long or drown you in fabric.
• Look for cropped: If a clothing item is designed to be shorter on an average-sized person, it may fit you just right.
• Choose elongating pieces: If you want to look taller, high heels aren’t your only option. High-waisted pants, for example, give the illusion of height and are essential for a petite wardrobe.
• Go online: Unfortunately, if you wear petite sizes, there are very few stores where you can try on pieces in person. However, many brands carry petite sizing on their websites.
• Find a good tailor: Even when you’ve mastered shopping for your body type, you’ll still need tweaks here and there. If you’re not handy with a sewing machine, leave those alterations to a trusted professional.
JENNIFER GENTILE, contributing writer and editor, Gulf Coast Woman
• Don’t be afraid of the size: Curvy sizes are not standardized; therefore, the same person can typically fit in multiple sizes depending on the brand of clothing. In most cases, retailers will be able to help with sizing recommendations.
• Balance between fitted and too tight: You do not want to be squeezed into a piece of clothing. It should fit just nicely without any pulling in areas that are too tight. You also should not see any undergarment lines. That indicates it is too tight.
• Accentuate your best features: Choose items that emphasize the areas that you love while also hiding any problem areas. For example, a baby doll top or wrap dress highlights the smallest part of your waist and creates a slimming effect.
• Just try it on: Many times, you will find that items look much better on a body instead of the hanger. If you think it would fit, just try it on. If you aren’t sure that you will look good in it, just try it on. If you love the print but question the style, just try it on.
• Throw out the old fashion rules: You can wear whatever you want. This includes stripes, color, patterns, crop tops, bikinis and so on. Wear what makes you feel good. Get out of your comfort zone and forget the “stigma” associated with fashion. The sooner that you do this, the more fun shopping can be!
• Use shapewear: Great shapewear can change how something fits your body. It can smooth out problem areas and help clothing lay on your body properly which, in turn, can provide an extra confidence boost.
CRYSTAL CAGLE, owner, Moxie Shop
• Find stores that cater to tall women: Check Gap, J.Crew and Ann Taylor for flares, jumpsuits and rompers that won’t need alterations.
• Be purposeful with your footwear: When pants and jeans are not long enough, try pairing them with some strappy lace up gladiator style sandals or an ankle boot. It will draw attention to the shoe and not the length of the pant.
• Rethink dresses: Mini dresses have become blouses for me many times — and a midi dress can become a mini dress. Maxi dresses must be worn with flat sandals, no heels, to keep the length right. Hi-low dresses are a better option because the length is less noticeable.
• Try this boot trick: Over-the-knee boots often don’t cover the knee. Luckily, over-the-knee socks can compensate for the shortness of the boot. Try to find socks in the same color range as the boot and pull them up above the boot. Because they are stretchy, they can visually fill in the “missing” part of the boot.
• Roll up your sleeves — literally: The worst is when my sleeves look three-quarter length when they are supposed to end at my wrist. When this happens, try rolling the sleeve a couple of times. You can do the same with blazers. Also, pairing your jacket with a long-sleeved sweater or frilly blouse where the sleeves peek out at the bottom is another way to style a too-short blazer.
WINDY STANTON, owner, Ladidaa Boutique