Every Body is Beautiful:
Dressing Different Body Types
Every body is different. And every body is beautiful. We all have our own personal challenges when it comes to finding the right clothes to flatter our body type. And sometimes it can be hard to know what styles of clothing will make you look and feel your best. At Fringe we try to carry a wide variety of sizes and styles to accommodate as many different beautiful body types as possible. We know not every woman will be able to fit into or look amazing in every piece we carry–the key is to embrace your body as it is and wear what flatters you most. Through our Every Body is Beautiful blog series, we will feature real women of Whatcom County, and share tips and tricks for dressing different body types, including your own! We hope that through this series, you can learn a few style secrets to help guide you through your next shopping trip, help you purge your closet of those pieces that just do not do you justice, as well as empower you by showing you women who share your beautiful body type. First up in the series is Kelsey Barnwell!
Kelsey grew up in Bellingham, and is proud to call Whatcom County home! She is a professional photographer and ambassador for the Natural Health Revolution, which helps “everyday people” reclaim their health – naturally. With her photography business, she specializes in empowering and educating entrepreneurs to develop their business by integrating Lifestyle Branding Photography. This unique style of photography helps business owners develop their brand, create custom imagery as well as social media marketing education. You can find Kelsey on Instagram @dk_barnwell or @kelseymichelle_photography, or visit her website www.dkbarnwell.com
Fringe: How would you classify your body type/what are we workin’ with here?
Kelsey Barnwell: I would classify my body type as curvy/hour glass. I’m also 6’0” tall and wear size 12 shoes.
F: What challenges do you often encounter while shopping for clothes?
KB: Being 6 feet tall, with longer legs, but also a curvy body type presents a whole plethora of issues. Pants are never long enough, or fit correctly. My waist is smaller, and I have muscular thighs, so pant legs are tight and waists are too big. I also am busty, so tops are often too short or not wearable without stretch. Stretch is KEY!
F: What styles of clothes make you feel your best?
KB: Solid color (no pattern), form-fitting clothes that have a modern and clean look. I like to keep things simple with colors, so I stick to black, white or blue. I also love hip length jackets to pair with body con dresses or midi skirts. They add a different texture and dimension to my typical monochromatic outfits.
F: What fashion advice do you have for other hourglass figures and tall women?
KB: Stick with clean and simple colors/patterns, and streamline silhouettes. Don’t be afraid to show off your curves, and if you can, find killer items that have stretch so it looks like it’s a custom fit!
F: Do you have any secrets for finding size 12 shoes?
KB: Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack, Zappos are my go-to spots for finding shoes that actually FIT!
Kelsey feels comfortable in form fitting, stretchy dresses, so we styled her in this ribbed “maxi” dress, which fit her perfectly as a “midi” dress. She doesn’t usually go for flowy or patterned pieces, but once we got her in this kimono she loved wearing it a little askew to show some shoulder. The length of the kimono was perfect for her as well, and because it is so light weight, it didn’t add any bulk to her figure.
Just as the dress fit Kelsey as a “midi” dress, we had the same luck with this hi-lo wrap skirt. Kelsey wrapped the skirt at her true waistline instead of her hips to accentuate her hourglass shape, and wearing the skirt higher up made it fit like a hi-lo “midi” dress. She tucked in the off-the-shoulders top to give it a more fitted look around her waist, and the ruffles were a fun way to show off her shoulders. And of course we couldn’t resist throwing in a cute hat to complete the look!
What is an hourglass shape?
- You’d describe your body as curvy
- You have a well-defined waist
- Your bust and hip measurements are roughly even
- You may have fuller bust, hips, and thighs
Tips for dressing an hourglass shape:
- Embrace your shape and show off your curves! Try pencil, flared, or short skater skirts.
- Stretchy, form-fitting clothes to accommodate hips and bust/shoulders, and accentuate natural waistline.
- Wrap, fit-and-flare, and empire waist dresses will highlight your natural waistline.
- Necklines that draw attention to your bust can be very flattering. Try v-neck, scoop, sweetheart, boatneck, or off-the shoulder.
- Fitted, wrap, or peplum tops are usually best. If you’re shorter, a top that hits just below your natural waist will makes you look taller.
- Higher waistlines to accentuate true waist line. Wrap skirts or dresses that hit right at your true waist are great because you can cinch them in as needed for the perfect fit. Pro tip: if the wrap skirt as a button to hold one end in place, you can always take off and re-sew the button just where you need it.
What to avoid:
- Boxy or baggy clothes that hide your waistline will make you look bigger than you are.
- High necklines
- Be wary of too many ruffles or embellishments that hide your figure
Tips for a tall woman:
- The “midi” trend in dress and skirt lengths is a godsend for taller women. If you find that maxi skirts and dresses are always just a bit short on you, look for longer skirts that hit you mid-calf, and they will pass as a midi skirt!
- This same rule can apply to the cropped pants trend. Look for pants that run slightly shorter, or cuff jeans that may not be long enough and go for the “cropped” look.
And there you have it, the first installment of our series, Every Body is Beautiful: Dressing Different Body Types! We hope you enjoyed it and found some gems of advice you can incorporate into your wardrobe if you identify with an hourglass body shape, are a tall woman, or have a hard to find shoe size. If not, stay tuned for the rest of the series where we will be featuring many other real women with varied body types that may reflect your own!