Size Matters: Style by Size
In the past four years I’ve been a size 12, post-baby, then down to a size 4, when baby got active, and now back to my pre-baby size 8-10. Despite this body roller-coaster, I’ve managed to stay stylish at every size thanks to my years as a fashion writer, gaining influence from top designers and trend-setters alike. What I’ve learned is that fashion isn’t one size fits all and that trends don’t always translate well in real life. But, finding pieces that flatter is an exciting challenge worthy of any fashionista. Here are the tips, designer picks and style secrets, according to size:
It’s easy to assume that a size 0 or 2 is the ideal where everything flatters but many women with a small frame have just as hard a time as any other size. For example, as a size 0 teenager, I couldn’t find an evening gown to wear to a wedding that didn’t look like I was playing dress-up! Anything with too much fabric and weight can completely overpower a size 0-4. Instead, opt for cocktail length dresses with cut-outs to add dimension and prints to bring attention to your svelte figure. Alice + Olivia and BCBG have an array of strategically cut dresses that will highlight and accentuate your assets.
For everyday wear, skinny jeans and a fun tee will make for an enviably easy look. Try James Jeans or 7 for All Mankind brands for perfectly fitted denim. Keep your accessories light but on-trend with long pendants – too many statement pieces can overpower slender gals.
There are plenty of options for a size 6-8 in mainstream and high fashion but the trick is to find items that will make you stand out from the crowd. Experiment with color, prints and shapes that a size 0 might not be able to pull off. A bold printed Mary Katrantzou dress can be your go-to piece, accented with equally impressive accessories like an oversized Michael Kors watch and metallic clutch. For work or formal occasions that call for a more streamlined look, choose an accent piece, like a printed blouse with a classic pencil skirt or a bright scarf with a shift dress to keep the attention on you and your fab body!
A billowy blouse and skinny ankle jeans make for weekend chic – in a bold color and with added accents like distressed denim.
Being a size 10, I know it can be tricky to find pieces that flatter your curves without making you look bigger than you are. Shapeless sheath dresses don’t work, and neither do boxy tees with low-rise jeans. Instead, try wrap dresses, belted shirt dresses, fit and flare styles and high-waisted denim.
Diane von Furstenberg – whose famous wrap dresses will work on every body type – and Donna Karen are among the few top designers that seem to have the curvy silhouette in mind. Pair any of their dresses with your favorite heels for an instant signature style. Top off your whole look with chunky accessories, like an extravagant Alexis Bittar necklace to bring attention to your décolletage.
Plus-size style is about flaunting your curves, not hiding them. There’s no print or pattern to avoid (yes, even horizontal stripes!) because looking good isn’t about looking thin, it’s about finding pieces you love. It’s easy to go to your little black dress for all occasions but, instead, try a solid color, like orange or cobalt blue. Have fun with your style and play with textures and shapes, like ruffles and asymmetrical cuts.
Designers like Vince Camuto and Ralph Lauren have fantastic plus-size lines with cocktail dresses, tunics, perfectly fitted pants and denim. Just add a standout coat, like a classic trench, and you have a plus-size look coveted by all sizes.
Fashion is a form of expression and what better way to express yourself than with a great sense of style designed for your size.