Reader Nicole wrote an e-mail asking for some posts that discuss style for very thin women. Specifically:
Advice for dressing thinner frames, both petite and lanky – like what flatters the parts to flaunt and enhances any curves. (It took me about three unfortunate years to realize clothes that “drape” are better than skin-tight fabrics that show everything you’ve got.)
Slender frames come in as many shapes and sizes and configurations as curvy ones, so this is a tough question to tackle! Also, as you may have noticed, I’m on the curvier end of the spectrum myself, and therefore have no personal experience with flattering a very thin body. So I will outline a few suggestions that have worked for my slender clients, and send you to the comments section for more input.
Focus on what you love
This is probably the central tenet of figure-flattery for ANY frame. Ask yourself which aspects of your figure make you feel strong, proud, and gorgeous. Do you love your legs? Arms? Collarbone? Waist? Shoulders? What can you do to draw attention to that part of your frame? Remember that some of the simplest ways to play up your assets include contrast, embellishment, and exposure.
Consider creating curves
Naturally, attempting to “fake” curves on a curve-free body can backfire, and many women would rather just embrace their natural curvelessness. Totally optional, but since Nicole specifically mentioned curve enhancement I wanted to throw this into the mix. While there are certainly padded bras and even padded panties to consider, there are also some tried-and-true ways to visually create curves using clothing.
- Princess seams on blouses, jackets, and dresses will create the illusion of a waist.
- Full skirts can make a set of hips appear fuller.
- Belted styles and cinched waists can lend a little hourglassy-ness to a naturally curve-free figure.
- Pencil skirts – especially styles with seaming along the back panel – will boost butt curves.
- Tops with draping or embellishment at the bustline can make breasts appear a bit fuller.
Ponder hems and breaks
If you’re interested in making any particular body part appear fuller, pay close attention to your hems and breaks. If a hem or break falls across a body part, it will make that body part appear wider. This applies to skirt and pant hems, sleeves, boot and shoe openings. Hems and breaks attract attention, so place them where you want attention focused! But also consider their widening properties.
Balance loose and tight garments
Nicole points out that draped clothing works better on her figure than skin-tight clothing. That’s true of most body types, in my experience. So I’ll take the idea down a slightly different path and suggest creating balance between loose and tight garments. Feel free to wear skinny jeans, fitted tops, and slinky dresses. They’re fun and fabulous and may look amazing on your figure! Then ask yourself if balancing something tight with a draped, flowy, or loose garment would work. Do a batwing top with the skinny jeans, a pleated midi skirt with that fitted top, a diaphanous wrap with your slinky dress. Tight all over can be tough to do, but tight and loose within the same outfit often create sophisticated chic.
Try not to hide
If you’re a skinny woman, no amount of clothing trickery will mask that fact, and I hope you slim gals have made peace (or are making peace) with your natural shapes. Thin women can get a fair amount of flak for their body sizes and shapes, which may create a desire to hide inside loose, formless clothing to avoid scrutiny and critique. But doing so prevents you from embracing your body and celebrating what you love about your physical form. Never feel like you must wear formfitting clothing, especially exclusively. Your body, your choices. But also remember that overly big, ill-fitting clothing will likely fail to make its wearer seem either less-skinny or less-visible. Find styles that work for you and do your utmost to wear them proudly.
Image courtesy Extra Skinny, whose blog is absolutely gorgeous and a longtime fave of mine.