I Tried It: Dressing for My Body Type

If you are anything like me, your young teenage years were filled with trips to CVS or Walgreens to grab the newest edition of Seventeen, J-14 or Teen Vogue. There comes a time in every young girl’s life where you are sifting through the dozens of glossy pages comparing who wore it best and you come across an article that shows you what to wear for your body type. More often than not, the body types are broken up into four shapes: tall, petite, athletic and curvy. Truthfully, when I was 14 and 15, I couldn’t have cared less about what they told me I should and should not wear because at that age, everyone still kind of looks the same: awkward, skinny and prepubescent.

But now that I am older, I’ve looked back at those types of articles — some still exist — and truly realized just how limiting they are. So, I decided to put these tips to the test by trying out some outfits that were supposed to ideally highlight my body shape.

After some digging around on the internet, I concluded that my specific body type was an apple. You might wonder what that means. Or you might ask yourself why it seems like every body shape is named after a fruit. What I learned is that it is typical for a woman with an apple-shaped body type to have broad shoulders, a curvy midsection and thinner legs. After I figured out my body type, I continued scouring the internet for the best tricks and tips to dress my body type.

Day 1

The advice: Almost every article I looked at advised me to wear wide-legged or flare jeans. That way, I lengthen out my shape. According to the internet, skinny jeans and leggings are a no-go because they make my already slim legs look even smaller compared to my curvier top half. In terms of my top half, I am supposed to go for flowy tops that hide my stomach.

My opinion: Honestly, I was a little shocked that I wasn’t supposed to show off my legs. I was very athletic in high school, and I love my slim legs. It was a shock to see that this wasn’t going to be a showcased asset. This advice was a little hard to take considering that I only own one pair of flare pants, but in the eternal words of Tim Gunn, I made it work — and I loved it. I usually would have never gone for a flowy top AND flare jeans, but it made me look taller and skinny. The black flare jeans added to the slimming factors. This is a piece of advice I am going to keep in my back pocket going forward.

Day 2

The advice: Dresses should be simple in pattern as to not draw attention to your stomach. It’s recommended that they hit above the knee. When it comes to dresses and shoes, you want to emphasize your legs while also slimming your top half. Strappy sandals and platforms both help create a nice balance on your lower half.

My opinion: I always feel extremely insecure in dresses because I feel like they bring even more attention to my uneven weight distribution. However, I found a really simple dress in my closet, and it just happened to hit just above the knee. For dresses and skirts, personally, I dress more conservatively. A dress or skirt that rests right above the knee is a perfect length for me. This is another outfit combination I would have never picked, but I felt great wearing it. The tip about the platforms makes me want to rock them every day to class!

Day 3

The advice: Skirts with higher waist lines help disguise a fuller top half while also hiding tightness across the midsection. Pair it with a simple top with no pattern to ensure you don’t draw attention to your stomach.

My opinion: Okay, obviously at this point I get it. They don’t want me to show off my stomach. I think that’s something all women can relate to; It’s not just a curvy girl problem. I feel the same way with skirts as I do with dresses. I only own two skirts because I just tend to avoid them. So far, this was the outfit I liked the least. Why pair a simple denim skirt with a boring plain top? When I shop, I go for the more bright and patterned tops, so it was difficult just finding a plain shirt. Overall, I have and always will like the idea of high waisted anything.

Day 4

The advice: Tops that extend lower than your waist reduce a “muffin top” situation and help balance out wider hips. Ideally, the shirt should meet the largest point of your hip and hide the zipper of your pants. Additionally, adding layers help camouflage a larger stomach and draw attention to slimmer arms.

My opinion: The second time I wore the black flare jeans, I started to love them more and more. I wore them with simple strappy sandals, and even though they were a tad bit longer than I would like, I really started to see how they elongate my legs. Personally, I would not have paired it with a flowy, longer top like this, but overall, it was an okay outfit. I could totally see myself wearing this to the farmers market downtown on Wednesdays!

Although these tips and tricks to dress for my body shape were interesting to try, I unsurprisingly don’t always follow those rules. Even though I liked most of the styles, I feel the most me in outfits that I put together myself. After I was done following the style rules, I took some time to dress a little more like myself — even if it meant wearing (GASP) skinny jeans.

Day 5

At first, I was told to not even think about skinny jeans, so today I put on my favorite pair and rocked them all day long. I never felt self-conscious about my legs in jeans until I read that I should not wear them. However, I did start to notice that a lot of my denim was dark-washed, which the internet says is slimming. Maybe I had thought about how darker jeans looked better before and never considered why.

Day 6

According to the internet, the second worst thing for curvy girls to wear after skinny jeans are clingy tops. Tighter shirts are not flattering because they make your midsection look even larger. The problem was I liked wear shirts that looked like they fit me, even if it was supposedly clingy. I have always been a fan of matching a “clingy” top and wider pants. There’s also the bonus of feeling like Cadet Kelly chic in these army green pants.

Every website I looked at for advice says to go for scoop or V-neck tops to show off cleavage. Sadly, on my list of least flattering tops, V-necks are on the top. Today I decided to wear a high-necked shirt because I like the way it sits on my chest. Plus, it gives me an awesome backdrop for a nice neck scarf. If you read my previous article about neck scarves, you’ll understand that they’re my favorite accessory to any outfit.

––––––––––––––––

Through this long and stylish journey, I learned one very important and very cliché lesson: wear what makes you feel like you. Sometimes it’s nice to find out a few good tricks and tips to help dress for your body shape; However, you should never feel confined because of those. They are not rules, just guidelines. The best thing that you can do for yourself, whether you’re a wannabe Miranda Priestly or you have no interest in style, is to dress how you want to present yourself to the world. Because in the end, it’s a simple as ABC: All ‘Bout Confidence.