Cee popped this question into the suggestion box:
It would be wonderful if you could address issues about dressing “unusual” combinations. For example, broad shoulders and a small bust, or a larger tummy and a flat bottom. I think often styling advice is based on the presumption that if you have one feature, it will be paired with another. Of course, we all know we carry our breadth, length and weight in lots of different ways.
My guess is that women with “unusual” proportional combinations become acutely aware of them while shopping. While casual observers may anticipate that the majority of bodies will express some form of balance that falls within the statistical norms, I don’t think it’s carefully monitored. For instance, I’ve never looked at a woman and thought, “Gosh, she’s got a small bust for such broad shoulders.” But when the woman in possession of those traits goes to try on clothes, she may find that manufacturers expect her to fill out certain clothing based on how big or small she is elsewhere.
This is how “curvy” fit jeans were born. For ages, jeans manufacturers assumed that if you had an ample butt and hips, you also had an ample waistline. Gapping. An epidemic of jeans waistband gapping for decades. Curvy fit jeans were the vendor attempt to cater to women who curved in at the waist a bit. Not the universal balm they may have hoped for, but an interesting phenomenon nonetheless.
Other pairings of traits, however, are unlikely to get this treatment unless there’s a large vocal minority demanding them. For instance, Cee used the example of a large tummy and flat bottom. In my experience, many women with large BUSTS have flat bottoms, so some fit accommodations might someday be made for that combo. But less common ones will likely be left to their own devices.
And that’s frustrating. Because – and this is the main idea I want to express here – it means that to highlight or downplay one aspect, you may be forced to work around the other. Many figure-flattery techniques achieve one goal while subverting others. Irritating as it may be, you may not always be able to flatter everything about your figure all at once. And, for the record, that goes for EVERYONE, not just those with unusual proportional pairings.
So it comes down to choice and analysis:
- What about your body do you love best of all? Can you make highlighting that your top priority, and be willing to compromise on needing to highlight or downplay other aspects?
- Can you make a study of which garments and combinations of pieces achieve the highest number of your goals at once? Your body is unique, so this list will be completely individual.
- If balance is your goal, which outfits balance you best and why? If there are some that balance in one area but fail in others, how does that feel?
This is all vague and general, which may seem like a cop-out. But even if you took a sample of 50 women who all had tiny waists and proportionally large hips, they’d all carry that combination a little differently. So it’s really up to each woman as an individual to suss out what works and how she wants to implement it.
Image courtesy J.Crew.