As a fashion blogger over 50, I am frequently approached with inquiries about curvy style.
Now, let’s address the quest for dressing with style, elegance, and a touch of modernity while staying in sync with the latest fashion trends. These questions have been directed at me countless times.
Allow me to introduce you to Ilaria!
Today, it brings me genuine pleasure to introduce Ilaria, a stunning and fantastic curvy blogger, and the creative mind behind the blog Color Me Fall.
Ilaria is not only passionate about curvy style but also actively engages in ethical and sustainable fashion. Her focus on second-hand and vintage clothing, along with her recent addition of content on embroidery and tailoring, reflects her commitment to a more conscientious approach to fashion.
In this post, you’ll discover invaluable tips on how to accentuate your assets and what pitfalls to avoid to minimize any flaws. Without further ado, I’ll hand over the reins to Ilaria!
When it comes to curvy fashion for women, I have firsthand experience navigating the transition from a size 42 to a size 50 or sometimes even 52. Adjusting my style accordingly has been an enlightening journey, and I’m thrilled to share my insights with you! Are you ready?
WHAT DEFINES CURVY FASHION?
Before diving into the tips, it’s essential to clarify that the term “curvy” has been used quite liberally lately, lacking a concrete definition. Opinions on what constitutes a curvy woman vary and are highly subjective.
In English, “curvy” refers to a certain physical contour, rather than a specific range of sizes. However, for simplicity’s sake, it is commonly associated with sizes ranging from 46 to 52 in European sizes or size 14 to 28 in U.S. sizes. Beyond these sizes lies the “plus-size” category or larger sizes.
Conventionally, the curvy woman is perceived to have an hourglass, triangle, or inverted triangle shape, with a narrow waist and accentuated hips and breasts. According to these standards, women with apple or rectangle shapes might not be considered curvy due to their less defined waists.
As a bit of a non-conformist, I disagree with these rigid conventions. In my view, any woman with curves can be considered curvy, regardless of her specific body shape. Therefore, I prefer to include sizes 46 to 52 in this category, embracing various body types.
CONFORMED AND CALIBRATED SIZES
Moreover, it’s crucial to grasp the difference between conformed sizes and calibrated sizes.
Have you ever experienced the frustration of finding a dress in your size that fits well in one part but poorly in another (or vice versa)?
This occurs for two main reasons: either the garment’s cut does not suit your body shape (e.g., a tight dress for an apple-shaped body), or it’s a calibrated size.
Calibrated sizes involve standard sizes simply enlarged or decreased to create different sizes. For instance, a size 38 garment is scaled up while maintaining the same proportions to produce a size 50.
However, we know that even individuals with similar sizes or body shapes can have distinct body proportions. For example, I am an hourglass with size 50/52, and my derriere and abdomen are more prominent than those of a “typical” hourglass.
To address this issue, shaped sizes exist, tailored to meet specific needs. These are essentially custom-made garments designed for individual body shapes.
Of course, our closets don’t need to be filled entirely with custom-made clothing, but if you encounter challenges finding well-fitting clothes, consider investing in a modest yet versatile wardrobe with a few tailor-made, evergreen pieces. You won’t regret it.
Select Based on Your Unique Characteristics
In my case, being petite (just 1.55m) in addition to having a size 50 and a pronounced derriere and abdomen, regular size 50 calibrated pants or skirts often appear overly large and excessively long compared to size 42 items.
This led me to learn sewing, enabling me to create my own clothing that suits my proportions perfectly!
With these foundational insights, let’s now explore the general advice I have for curvy women to embrace their bodies through stylish and well-fitting attire! I’ll divide the tips into both general guidelines and specific recommendations tailored to different body types.
CHECK OUT THIS GREAT SELECTION OF CLASSIC AND CLASSY STYLES FOR CURVY WOMEN:
Here are four essential tips that every woman with a few extra pounds should follow to ensure that her outfits drape beautifully and enhance her appearance.
The first and foremost advice centers around choosing the right fabric: opt for natural fabrics, preferably those without much stretch (except for specific cases we’ll discuss later).
These natural fabrics are a curvy woman’s best friend, as they offer a softer, more fluid fit compared to synthetic materials. Embrace fabrics like chiffon, georgette, silk satin, flannel, wool crepe, velvet, natural cady, cotton, and viscose for their flattering qualities.
CURVY FASHION: COLORS AND PATTERNS
Contrary to popular advice, I believe in embracing colors and patterns to express one’s individual style. Balance is key when incorporating colors and patterns into your wardrobe.
If you love vibrant hues and patterns, go for it, but ensure that the combinations are harmonious. If you prefer a more subdued palette, darker tones and basic colors can be equally stylish and flattering.
Embrace colors like black, gray, brown, rust, burgundy, mustard, forest green, and various shades of deep blue. Opt for small and delicate patterns like polka dots, flowers, and checks, or stick to solid colors if that suits your taste.
THE RIGHT SIZE AND SHAPE
Choosing the right size and silhouette is crucial in creating a flattering look. Clothes that are form-fitting or slightly tailored can accentuate your curves elegantly, but avoid overly tight garments that constrict your figure.
Don’t shy away from trying on and purchasing a larger size if it complements your body shape better. Conversely, steer clear of shapeless or oversized pieces, as they can diminish your natural curves and create an unflattering effect.
CURVY FASHION: THE IMPORTANCE OF THE RIGHT UNDERWEAR
No matter your size, investing in the right underwear is essential. Comfortable, quality undergarments that cater to your needs can significantly boost your confidence and improve how you perceive yourself in the mirror.
For curvy individuals, shaping underwear can be a valuable ally. Focus on the “critical” areas that concern you the most, such as thighs, buttocks, and abdomen.
There are various options available, including containing briefs, culottes, high-waisted and ultra-high-waisted styles that reach below the breasts, as well as full-body suits or slips for a smoothing effect.
Of course, it’s important to choose a suitable bra as well, one that has good support but doesn’t squeeze, otherwise you’ll see unsightly rolls. Remember that the right size is the one that allows you to insert only one finger between the skin and the bra band 😉
TIPS FOR THE CURVY HOURGLASS WOMAN
If you have an hourglass figure, with a well-defined waist and proportional shoulders and hips, these tips will help you enhance your beautiful curves and feel confident in your style.
- Emphasize Your Waist: Your waist is your asset, so always highlight and enhance it in your outfits. Opt for clothing that cinches at the waist, such as belted dresses, wrap tops, and tailored jackets.
- Balance Your Volumes: Maintain consistent volumes in both the upper and lower parts of your figure. For instance, if you wear a top with balloon sleeves, pair it with flared or palazzo pants to maintain proportion.
- High Waist is the Way: Stick to high-waisted bottoms, as they flatter your figure and accentuate your waistline. Avoid medium and low-waist options, especially if you have a protruding abdomen.
- Length Matters: Choose skirts and dresses with a length that falls from the knee downward. Mini-skirts may not be the most flattering choice for an hourglass shape.
- Dress Styles: Opt for slinky dresses that gracefully follow your curves. Stretchy fabrics can work well, but ensure they don’t fit too tightly. Additionally, 50’s-inspired dresses and classic wrap dresses are excellent choices for your figure.
Remember, these tips are meant to serve as a foundation for those seeking confidence in their style.
Feel free to experiment with various combinations and patterns to find what suits you best. Embrace your hourglass figure and let your unique style shine!
For an hourglass figure, opt for tops with a V-neck that provide a flattering neckline without being too revealing. Fitted tops can complement your shape beautifully.
Tuck in if it suits: You can experiment with tucking tops into your pants or skirts, but be mindful of your abdomen. Depending on how you style it, this look can either accentuate or detract from your curves.
Pants and Skirts:
Choose pants or skirts with side zippers rather than central ones to divert attention and create a more balanced look. Flared or pencil skirts are great choices, as long as they don’t overly constrict your figure.
Embrace the Crop Top:
Don’t shy away from wearing a crop top! Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to bare your belly. Pair a crop top with high-waisted bottoms, and consider layering with a cardigan or blazer to accentuate your waistline while staying chic and confident.
Remember, these guidelines are designed to help you feel good about your style. Feel free to explore different outfits and combinations to discover what suits you best. Embrace your curves and have fun with fashion!
Getting back to pants, we’ll make an exception about fabrics – it’s best to choose stretch pants in this case.
I know the difficulty in finding a pair of pants that fall well at both the waist and hips, and stretch fabrics help us a lot in this! Palazzo and legging styles are perfect for you, as are bootcuts.
Special tip for tall women
If you’re very tall you can also afford capri and culottes, otherwise keep your ankles covered because the ¾ length tends to shrink the figure. For skirts, as we said before, the wheel or pencil are fine for you, always paying attention to the fabric.
Taking into account the advice I’ve given so far for tops and pants, even a one-piece jumpsuit if it matches the same features will suit you well!
Coat/jacket: Belted trench coats look great on you; if you’re more into short, however, a structured jacket or blazer worn open is fine. 😊
The hourglass, even the not fleshy one, wants a heel, so no to low and flat shoes like ballet flats. The heel should be sturdy and thick, or even cone-shaped, and it is not important that it is very high, the important thing is that it slims the figure.
Welcome also wedges and platforms. No to laces and strings or ankle straps because they break up the figure too much. The only ankle shoe that is okay is the ankle boot, provided it has a little heel. In winter, green light to knee-high boots that help to slim the figure!
TIPS FOR THE CURVY RECTANGLE SHAPE
The woman with a rectangle shaped body has also a proportionate figure, with shoulders and hips of the same width, but alas, no waist or at least little accentuated.
Also like the hourglass, she must maintain the same proportions in the upper and lower body, but there is a need to create some movement to harmonize the figure and create a waistline.
Moreover, the rectangle figure gains weight very rarely, and if it does, it distributes the excess pounds throughout the body evenly.
You have plenty of choice in terms of clothes, you can opt for an asymmetrical dress to create some movement in the figure, not too tight but, the 50’s dresses, the pencil dress, the A-line dress and the balloon dress, but be careful that the latter is not in a fabric too rigid otherwise it will swallow.
The empire cut dress also enhances you, because it hides the waist and in this case there will be no need to emphasize it.
Beware, however, of the empire style dress: if you have a small bust it may not be recommended, you have to choose the right size for you so that it fits well to fill the breast area.
With tops you have a wide choice, almost everything is good for you, as long as they are not oversized or rigid fabrics. The crop top is also good, as for the hourglass, even worn with a cardigan or a duster over it.
If you’re quite tall, flouncy skirts are fine too, but remember that you don’t want to create disproportion between the top and the bottom of your body, so if you wear a particular skirt, which creates some volume, you’ll have to keep this proportion in the top too.
Same goes for skirts, full skirts are fine, as are pencil and A-line skirts.
The same rules apply to pants, and if you choose the right size you can also wear shorts if you feel comfortable!
Coat/jacket: With coats and jackets, you can choose to either enhance your waistline with fitted or belted styles, or hide it with straight coats worn open or short jackets.
Shoes: If you don’t have a particularly large ankle you can afford to wear flats and ballet flats, or even strappy sandals, especially if you’re tall!
Same goes for the heel, you can also choose to wear a thin heel, but try wearing it for a short time at a time at the beginning if you are not used to: it often happens that, if the weight is excessive, with a thin heel you can overload the ankle, and this is not good for the bones.
TIPS FOR THE CURVY TRIANGLE SHAPED WOMAN
The woman with a triangle, or pear-shaped body, has a marked waist and the upper part of the body is smaller than the lower part; in fact, she tends to accumulate extra kilos on her hips, buttocks and thighs.
It goes without saying that it is important to minimize the lower part and emphasize the upper part, from the waist up!
As with the hourglass, an important ally for you will be the high waist, which tends to slim give an impression of slimmer legs and hips.
The triangle woman, rather than with dresses, looks good with outfits composed of several elements, the only dress that enhances it is the 50s dress, which highlights the waist and cleavage, but hides the hips well thanks to the wider skirt.
For tops, remember that the right length for you is the one at the waist, not higher, nor lower… I’m sure you’re particularly puzzled by this because usually, to camouflage the hips, you tend to use long tops, am I wrong? 😛 Well, remember that sometimes hiding flaws in this way only accentuates them!
The length of a belted top, when paired with a pair of pants or a fairly simple skirt underneath, will help to flare out and make your legs look longer! This, after all, is the only rule, then if you like them, you can also choose tops with ruffles or balloon sleeves, V or boat necklines and even jackets with straps because they help give more volume.
Speaking of skirts, the ideal length for you is the midi length, the one that reaches the calf to be clear, or the long. As well as for the dress, the skirt that enhances you more and a little ‘flared, soft and flowing fabrics, which accompany the curves without forcing.
Even for coats and jackets you can choose either short or long – for the short you may well opt for a bomber jacket, which creates volume in the upper body; if you choose the long, prefer a model screwed to emphasize the waist.
A high, medium heel is ideal. If the toe is also slightly pointed, you’ve hit the jackpot! This type of footwear slims the leg a lot, as well as slimming.
I strongly advise you to avoid ankle boots because they break up your figure too much, while knee-high ones are suitable for your physicality.
TIPS FOR THE CURVY INVERTED TRIANGLE WOMAN
The inverted triangle is, exactly as the word says, the opposite of the triangle woman, ie she also has the accentuated waist, but has shoulders, breasts and back pronounced compared to the pelvis and legs that are minute. So the important thing is to minimize the upper part of the body and create harmony with the lower part.
you look very good in crisscrossed dresses that optically slim the bust, creating a very harmonious effect between the lower and upper body.
Tops, the simpler the better: simple, clean lines help hide extra pounds and choose raglan or batwing sleeves that help camouflage any imperfections in the arm area!
A big no to strapless garments or with thin straps, or on the contrary too high-collared or high-necked.
The masculine cut shirt is a great ally for you, try it worn with a belt at the waist to emphasize it. I recommend keeping the top off your pants, to elongate your torso.
For pants and skirts, there are no restrictions for you! Even with a few extra pounds, your legs remain your strong point, so you can dare with miniskirts if you feel comfortable wearing them, or at least with mid-thigh length, as well as with shorts.
If that’s not your style, choose longer skirts, but with a little slit, to emphasize the leg and not hide it completely.
You can match your outfits with the pants or jeans that you like, except for palazzo models: having slim legs and pelvis do not enhance you.
When it comes to jackets, opt for shorter, single-breasted styles that naturally complement your body shape. Avoid long, double-breasted models, as they may not flatter an hourglass figure as effectively.
Choose fabrics that drape gracefully and enhance your curves, allowing you to exude confidence in your stylish ensemble. By sticking to these jacket preferences, you can achieve a chic and flattering look that highlights your beautiful hourglass silhouette.
For the hourglass figure, there are no strict shoe restrictions. With your slender legs, you can choose between low shoes or heels. If you opt for heels, consider thinner styles as they complement your ankles better. However, if you’re not accustomed to wearing heels or have weak ankles, try wearing them for a short period initially to assess their comfort and suitability for you, as the weight may strain your ankles.
TIPS FOR THE CURVY APPLE SHAPED WOMAN
The apple-shaped woman, similar to the inverted triangle, tends to have narrower hips and legs compared to her upper body. However, unlike the inverted triangle, the apple shape lacks a well-defined waist and tends to accumulate excess weight around the abdomen and breasts. Therefore, the key is to minimize attention on the midsection and accentuate the lower part of the body.
Though the curvy apple shape may deviate significantly from smaller sizes, there are numerous solutions to flatter this body type.
Empire-style dresses are a fantastic choice for you. The cut just under the bust emphasizes your cleavage while concealing the waist, diverting attention from that area. Similarly, wrap dresses with a crossover neckline gently flow from the waist down, creating a flattering look.
Straight tunic dresses can work well, but be mindful if you have very large breasts, as it may create a “monoblock” effect that doesn’t highlight your best features.
Remember, dressing for your body type is about finding what makes you feel confident and comfortable. The right dress styles can beautifully complement your curves and make you feel fabulous!
The tops that are good for you are those with a V-neck, even deep, which slenderize the bust and highlight the décolleté area, as well as crew neck and strapless ones.
Tunic tops are perfect as long as, as with the dress talk, you don’t have really very prosperous breasts.
In this case, I recommend all those garments that accompany the shape of the breasts and then come down soft on the abdomen.
Be careful how you tuck your tops in
If you like to wear tops inside pants or skirts, leave them soft, unbuttoned at the waist. Or you can put on a vest, cardigan or blazer, with a length up to mid-thigh, worn open.
These, in any case, are the garments that should never be missing from your outfit. Not only do they conceal the waist, but they also make sure to minimize the belly area!
Absolutely avoid one-shoulder tops, halter tops and boat necklines that would emphasize your shoulders too much in relation to your tiny hips.
As with the inverted triangle, the perfect length for you is the mini, or mid-thigh, as well as shorts, but I realize that not everyone feels comfortable wearing them: if that’s the case with you, a knee length or just above will do just fine. 😊
The golden rules to always follow are: high waist and soft fabrics that accompany the forms. The skirt models that best suit you are the trapeze skirt, the full skirt and the handkerchief skirt. Avoid pencils and all those models that would go too much to highlight the abdomen.
As for pants, the perfect styles for you are bootcut, flared and cigarette pants. And, if you can, choose styles that have zippers or buttons on the side instead of in the center front.
Coat/jacket: For jackets, it’s best to avoid the double-breasted because it’s stuffy and always prefer a mid-thigh length, maximum knee length.
The short jacket makes the upper part of your body look worse, creating a disproportion with the lower part.
For the apple-shaped figure, heels are recommended to create a more defined look, especially as this body type tends to have less prominent buttocks. Opt for a heel that strikes a balance, neither too thin nor too chunky.
Avoid wedges and platforms, as they can weigh down your slender legs. Flats may not be the most flattering choice, so it’s best to opt for heels or, in the winter, knee-high boots as your perfect footwear.
WHERE TO BUY CURVY FASHION ITEMS?
Finding cute and stylish clothing in sizes larger than the standard used to be a challenge, but thankfully, more brands are now catering to the needs of curvy customers.
While there’s more variety available, I have a selection of trusted brands and retailers that I rely on when looking for something specific or checking out new arrivals.
I prioritize brands that are committed to the environment, focusing on sustainability and ethics. As an advocate of ethical, sustainable, vintage, and second-hand fashion, I’m delighted to introduce you to some of my favorite brands in the first list.
In the second list, I’ll share my go-to places for buying preloved clothing:
Marks & Spencer is my first choice when looking for something new to buy! It’s an affordable brand that’s really accessible to everyone, for all budgets, and I literally love their style – I find it young, fresh and clean.
Also, even though it’s a British brand, they’ve been really well organized with regards to the Brexit. So there are no additional costs on the order, and the shipping costs are really negligible, they don’t reach 5€.
The thing I like the most is the size range they have. The standard sizes go up to a size 50, and they have a plus size section from 50 and up.
They also have some customization when it comes to jeans, pants and skirts, as for each size you can choose the length of the garment: short, regular or long – for example me being short I have the opportunity to order a size 50 garment, but with a short fit and for me that’s a big plus!
If you’re not sure about the size, there is a size chart for each item, which is very detailed. Not to mention the reviews from customers are easily available on each product page.
Back in 2010, when the brand launched its own plus-size range, Curve, the online retailer made a real difference to the market by catering to a demand for bigger sizes.
While many competitors trotted out middle-of-the-range basics that inspired no one, ASOS knew its customers wanted more.
ASOS’ own brand clothing is available in petite, regular, curve, tall and maternity ranges. The curve clothes are in sizes 18-30, tall 4-18 and maternity sizes are available in 4-22.
Madewell Plus was developed to allow you to dress your best every day, whatever your size.
Developed using the insights of more than 2,000 customers, the collection is brimming with trend-led pieces that are crafted with consideration for curvy figures, like statement shirts with no-peep-button technology.
Madewell is also a sustainable brand with a huge collection of classy, classic, but also modern pieces. You should definitely have a look if you are looking for great wardrobe staples:
Let’s move on to the sites where you can buy second hand clothing – which are the ones that saved me since, due to the general situation, you can’t go to vintage, thrift and flea markets which, of course, were my first choice 😛
Depop and Vinted (€/€€) are basically marketplaces. They also have the app so you can browse and shop from your phone. You can really find anything there at any price range: from designer items, to unbranded, to handmade.
Depop is more of an Instagram-like platform, I’ve been using it for longer and it has given me a lot of satisfaction. Vinted I’ve been using for a while now, but again I’ve been satisfied so far.
Vinted is also cheaper than Depop because the shipping costs are almost always negligible, from 99 cents to 5€ maximum.
On Depop instead, shipping costs are at the discretion of the seller; if you want to visit me you are welcome, you can find me under the username of @colormefall 😊
Check My Amazon Selection!
Dive into my Amazon selection and upgrade your shopping game!
There is a nice selection of items, all original, and you can easily find even large sizes. Obviously the prices are high, but we are still talking about big brands like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Caroline Constas.
By the way, if you are a fan of high end fashion, this is a sustainable way to have and wear branded clothes of a certain level without directly supporting the brands and their still very backward practices regarding sustainability.
Unfortunately, fashion “biggies” are the first to not consider the environmental impact they have at all. Or to not offer adequate wages to the workers in their factories.
So, if you like to dress in clothing of a certain level, but still care about not affecting the pollution of the planet, preloved is the solution!😊
CURVY FASHION: DISCOVER ILARIA’S BEAUTIFUL BLOG TO FIND MORE STYLE TIPS FOR CURVY WOMEN!