Reader R sent me this request via e-mail:
I love many of your outfits, but I’m larger than you with a not-flat tummy. Some clothes just make me feel self conscious because I’m not slimmer. Any suggestions?
So, I’ve talked about dressing around my particular type of tum, and how a figure like mine looks different from the side … but R’s question pertains to a body that is both larger than mine and possessing a more pronounced tum. And she’s specifically noted that she’s self-conscious about her tum and would prefer it be downplayed. So here are a few ideas to get the conversation started.
These cardigans? They’re EVERYWHERE. There are a million length, color, and shape variations to choose from, and while a few of them look best draped across a slender, tum-free figure, many more do a fabulous job of downplaying the midsection. Ideally, something with this much movement and volume should be balanced by a slim-fitting bottom – leggings, skinny jeans, or a fitted skirt – but the choice is yours.
Shawls and scarves worn long
Pashmina/Cashmere Floral Scarf – $33.45
When the winter winds howl, we tend to ball our scarves up into neck-warming wads near our faces … but once spring has sprung, letting our lightweight scarves flow long feels natural and chic. And a scarf, shawl, or wrap worn long is another artful way to distract from a prominent tum. You’ll have to go for a fairly large piece, of course – long, skinny scarves won’t do the trick. But a large rectangular scarf draped simply around the neck, a gorgeous shawl pinned over one shoulder, or a wrap with one end slung around the collarbone and the other falling freely can all help minimize without hiding.
Blazers really are marvelous. They add structure and polish to any ensemble, dress up or down, and come in such a huge variety of styles. For this purpose, the ideal blazer will have some seaming at the sides to give the impression of curves, and hit at mid-hip. I’d recommend wearing it unbuttoned, and pretty much as shown above – with a flowy top that has some weight to it, and slim-fitting bottoms.
Items and techniques I do NOT recommend for minimizing a tum
Empire waistlines: Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. And when they don’t, they can create the illusion of extra body mass where there is none. It all depends on your figure, height, and taste, but I don’t see empire waistlines as a foolproof solution for tum minimization.
Wearing loads of black: Black does not automatically make everyone in the world look smaller, slimmer, taller, smarter, more talented, or better in any way. And since black sucks the life out of many complexions, do not rely on it for all matters of tum minimization. Dark colors do have some slimming properties, but there’s an amazing world of darks out there: Navy, brown, forest green … pick your poison, but don’t fall back on black every single time.
Over-sized everything: So you’ve got a tum. SO WHAT? Do not feel like you must cloak your entire figure in enormous, over-sized garments to hide it from the observing world. You’re gorgeous, and you deserve to be seen. Downplay the tum if it bothers you, but be sure to highlight other aspects of your marvelous figure. OK? Promise me.
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