Reader Janel sent this question to me via e-mail:
I am 5’4, slightly busty, and thanks to years in gymnastics, diving, and weightlifting I’ve been blessed with big strong legs, an ample tush, as well as broad shoulders and “guns.” I’m wondering about some professional looks that are feminine on my muscular/curvy body, as well as show off what I’ve worked hard for.
As I mentioned to Janel, some of these tips will need to be adjusted (or, potentially, ignored) depending on personal taste and unique proportions, but hopefully a few will be helpful to a few of you stylish, athletic ladies.
This may be an obvious one, but be sure to scour the offerings of vendors like Athleta , Title Nine, and Lole. Yes, these manufacturers specialize in gear for actual sports, but they also create streetwear that works beautifully with the athletic female form. I’ve owned organic cotton dresses from Athleta, and wore them to my office for years. Seek dresses, blouses, and skirts as many of the pant styles are a bit too sporty to work in most office environments.
This style of skirt is often described as “universally appealing.” Nothing is universally appealing, in my opinion, but A-lines do work well on many figure types, including an athlete’s frame. Pencil skirts might cling to muscular thighs and a high butt, and full skirts might add too much volume (especially in Janel’s case, since she says she’s busty), but a nice, gentle flare will accentuate your waist and give just the right amount of balance.
The high neckline/sleeveless combo
What’s the easiest way to show the world a great set of guns? Going sleeveless, of course. Now, obviously, this will only work in warm weather and at relatively casual offices, but if you’re looking to show off those hard-earned arm muscles, seek out sleeveless tops and dresses that feature relatively high necklines. Pairing a really deep neckline with sleevelessness will result in a bit more skin being shown than is typically acceptable, but shallow Vs and scoop necks should both work.
- Skinny pants: Don’t avoid them altogether, but my athletic clients have always said they’re a source of endless frustration in the thigh department. Opt for straight legs or trouser cuts instead. Or buy straight legs and get them tailored into skinnies!
- Button-front shirts: Another garment that can be tough to fit the athletic female body. Jersey knit versions will be a bit easier to wrangle, if you love the look of a button-down.
- Blazers: Such a great staple, but if you’ve got a swimmer’s/rower’s shoulders that can make fitting into a snugly tailored garment well-nigh impossible. Again, jersey and ponte versions may be more forgiving.
Image courtesy Athleta
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