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 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. Next up, we have Natalie Ransom representing the full-figured women!
Although floral designer Natalie Ransom calls Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest her home now, she grew up on her family’s farm in Michigan’s rural Upper Peninsula, also known as ‘the U.P.’ At heart, she’s still and always will be a die-hard ‘Yooper.’
She has always been intrigued and captivated by flowers. Her dad Chip, who is one of her biggest heroes, taught her how to grow, forage for, and arrange flowers around the farm growing up. They made things together and sold them at the local farmers market on the weekends. So in some ways, she’s been doing floral design all her life.
Her business, Pozie by Natalie, is really about bringing joy to the customer through nature. Her floral work makes a statement at corporate and nonprofit events, weddings, memorable birthdays, celebrations for precious new babies, a range of holidays, and fitting memorial events. She calls her creations ‘bespoke’ because they’re custom and unique to the customer using local, sustainably-grown products whenever possible.
Fringe: How would you classify your body type/what are we workin’ with here?
Natalie Ransom: I would describe myself as a curvy 5′ 7″—a healthy combo of strong and voluptuous. I do pilates and my work is very active and physical. I am a solid Midwestern farm girl. *Cue “Brick House” by the Commodores*
F: What challenges do you often encounter while shopping for clothes?
NR: My biggest challenge is that clothes don’t always fit me in the bust even when they fit everywhere else. Another issue is when I encounter a store that doesn’t carry clothes that fit me properly, or when their large and extra large clothes are small and not actually built for average-sized women.
F: What styles of clothes make you feel your best?
NR: My work requires that my clothes be a combination of beautiful, professional and functional. I usually only wear dresses, rompers and pantsuits. They are comfortable—with some stretch and sturdiness for my workshop, nothing too cllingy—but appropriate when I dash off to a wedding or event. I prefer blousy, feminine, flowing clothes in layers for quick transitions. My grandmother always had great style. Like her, I like to look put together and feminine and I am drawn to clothes that highlight my figure—in French my décolletage and derrière.
F: What fashion advice do you have for other women with a similar body type?
NR: Rather than following the latest trend, find what works best for your lifestyle and choose variations of that. I don’t believe you have to sacrifice or suffer for fashion. If you’re worried or have limited movement in your clothes, it shows. You should feel comfortable and beautiful because that will breed confidence that will show outwardly. And try it on, try it on, try it on! When you experiment, you are learning and sometimes you discover that you actually look great in something that, on the hanger, might not have seemed right at first.
Natalie likes to flaunt her assets–in particular that décolletage she mentioned, so for her first look we went with this plunging neckline maxi dress that shows off some cleavage while still having really decent coverage. The stretchy empire waist was perfect for accentuating her natural waist line. The knotted cold shoulder sleeves and full flowing skirt added some extra sexy and femininity to the look, which is just her style. Let’s be honest–Natalie looks like a goddess in this dress!!
We dressed it up with some fun accessories, and of course had to put her in our new tropical leaf print heeled mules because, well, Natalie is a floral artist and it was just too hard to resist.
I’ll be honest: I order different prints and slightly different cuts of this dress throughout the year because I know it is so flattering on curvy, full-figured women like Natalie. The wrap top is really accommodating to full busts, the tie allows you to cinch in as much as needed to create a really beautiful shape, and the midi-length hem fits women of varying heights. If you prefer not to show your upper arms, these sleeve offer some coverage in a really feminine way. Natalie definitely owns this dress in multiple prints, so it was a no-brainer for this to be her second look. And c’mon, was this print not made for her?!
What is a full-figured body type?
- You would describe your body as curvy
- You’re voluptuous, with an all over rounded frame
- You have thick hips and full breasts
- Your waist line is not well-defined
Tips for dressing a full figure:
- Wrap dresses look amazing on you, as long as the fabric is not too clingy. The v-neck that the wrap creates is super flattering, the tie adds definition to the waist, and skirts are usually full and accommodating to full hips.
- Look for other dresses or tops that cinch at the waist or under the bust, like an empire waist.
- Flaunt what you got! Plunging necklines and v-neck tops can show off that cleavage a little or a lot, and create a slimming, elongated line. You can be daring or demure, depending on how low you dip.
- For cardigans, avoid the ones with a lot of extra fabric hanging open in the front, and go for the ones that lay flat against your body instead.
- Dark to medium wash jeans with some stretch. Find the style that flatters you best, regardless of trends.
- For skirts, try a-line or pencil skirts that hit at the knee or just below to create an hourglass shape.
- Try tunics with interesting hemlines, like an asymmetrical hem or a little ruffle.
- Go for bold accessories, like a statement necklace.
- Shop what fits your body, not necessarily what the label says. Every brand runs their sizes differently, so you might be a medium in one brand and an XL in another brand. Hold it up first and you might be surprised!
What to avoid:
- Ruffles or extra fabric that adds bulk around your bust
- Clingy fabric
- Higher necklines, unless you’re going real high with a turtleneck
- Boxy or baggy clothes with no waist line definition
If you consider yourself a full-figured woman, we hope you found some tips and inspiration here! Stay tuned in the coming months as we cover more tips for dressing different body types as the Every Body is Beautiful blog series continues. Thank you to Kelsey Barnwell of Kelsey Michelle Photography for these gorgeous photos! (Kelsey was our model for the Hourglass Body Type in our first installment of this series if you missed it!) Sarah Rorvig of Vivaluxx School of Makeup Art did Natalie’s flawless makeup, and Anna Anderson did Natalie’s hair.