Updated date:

My Style Tips for Real Women Like Me: Short, Overweight, Apple Shaped

clothing-tips-real-women


Do you cringe when you look at yourself in photos? Do you have bumps and curves in all the wrong places? Is clothes shopping a depressing chore for you? Do people ask "when are expecting"?! Then, my friend, you and I have a similar dilemma.

It is an uphill battle trying to find appealing outfits for someone 5ft 3in, overweight, apple shaped and 50-something. My main source of advice has been the Internet. The tips I usually find are useful but when the examples are designer outfits for celebrities I don't have much to go with.


A petite size is a standard clothing size designed to fit women of shorter height, typically 160 cm (5 ft 3 in) or less.

Apple-shaped women are fuller around the middle. If they gain weight, it shows up around their belly and upper body. They’re usually larger-breasted and their upper arms and shoulders are broader, too. Their legs tend to be thin and their butts tend to be flat.

The ratio of bust:waist:hips is 4:4:3.


No wonder I've been frustrated with my appearance. I've come to understand that my short and round body type is the most challenging to clothe -- a fine line between frumpy and cutesy. I'm sure there are many of you who feel the same way.

After years of trial and error, I found a few nice pieces that I rely on, they never fail to make me feel confident. And I figured out why they work. So I hope my thoughts in this hub will help you out.

clothing-tips-real-women

the low down

When I look up styling tips typically I see these recommendations:

«The main goal is to create the illusion of a trim waistline. Choose tailored tops, dresses and sweaters. They trim the silhouette, as opposed to boxy tops, which exaggerate a wider waistline. A plunging neckline lengthens the neck and minimizes the chest and torso. Tops and dresses featuring ruching or shirring at the middle or side define a large waistline. Wear straight wide and flare leg pants, which balance the bottom of the body.»

These tips are useful:

  • Wear properly fitted bras that support the bust
  • Dress in one color / hue / shade to give a uniform look
  • Wear clothes that fit properly (don't sag or bind)
  • Select garments with vertical lines
  • Choose V- or U-shaped necklines
  • Avoid bulky fabrics
  • Avoid sheer or clingy fabrics
  • Avoid styles with extra bulk: frills, pleats or ruching
  • Avoid bright colors and large patterns
  • Avoid belts altogether
  • Choose pants without cuffs, bulky pockets, or pleats

But these I find are not practical for me:

  • Avoid oversized handbags > I have a lot of stuff to lug around
  • Wear high heels > having bad feet rules out high heels for me for everyday wear
  • The empire waist top is often recommended for the apple shaped body. The idea is to emphasize the bust and therefore diminish the stomach region but it doesn't work for me. In fact the cinching or gathering below the bust draws attention to my rounded mid-section. It only works if you have a flat tummy, or if you can flatten your torso with a body shaper.

I highly recommend medium weight jersey and knit fabrics with a little spandex for tops, they provide maximum comfort and moveability. For apple shaped ladies, dark colors with no or small pattern is best -- sometimes a pattern can camouflage lumps and bumps. And it is true that hip-length tops are more flattering than waist-length tops (think of how waist-length tops slide upward when you lift your arms up, hmmm?)

Another tip -- "pants should be cut lower than the waistline" -- doesn't work for me either. I get a muffin top when I wear pants cut lower than my waistline. Loose fitting pants that sits at the waist and hang straight to the floor is better.

When shopping online, stay away from clothes that include the following phrase in the description: "emphasize your feminine curves" -- because you want to de-emphasize your curves. Descriptions that include "easy-care stretch fabric", "comfortable and effortlessly stylish" are good.

Wear shoes that are comfortable with good support. Sensible shoes don't have to mean ugly shoes, there are lots to choose from these days. But comfy is key because feeling good is essential to looking good.

The best news is you can wear dazzling necklaces to emphasize your neckline. Medium sized pieces that lie flat work best for you. Don't go too chunky -- this will make you look top heavy.

clothing-tips-real-women

dresses

plus size fashion doesn't have to be boring, this simple velvety electric blue cocktail dress with black scroll pattern is guaranteed to dazzle

plus size fashion doesn't have to be boring, this simple velvety electric blue cocktail dress with black scroll pattern is guaranteed to dazzle

A-line chiffon floor length one-shoulder formal dress with fitted bodice and rhinestone trim

A-line chiffon floor length one-shoulder formal dress with fitted bodice and rhinestone trim

jewel neckline chiffon dress: trapeze silhouette, long sleeves

jewel neckline chiffon dress: trapeze silhouette, long sleeves

evening pant set with chiffon popover capelet, cold-shoulder sleeves, sequin trim at neck and shoulder

evening pant set with chiffon popover capelet, cold-shoulder sleeves, sequin trim at neck and shoulder

sleeveless V-neck loose-fitting swing dress with asymmetrical hem

sleeveless V-neck loose-fitting swing dress with asymmetrical hem

swing dress with lace yoke and sleeves detail

swing dress with lace yoke and sleeves detail

sporty and youthful sheath dress with printed flounce hem

sporty and youthful sheath dress with printed flounce hem

knit sleeveless maxi dress with a scoop neckline and a high-low flounce hem

knit sleeveless maxi dress with a scoop neckline and a high-low flounce hem

feminine sheath dress with beautiful border of flowers at the neck and hemline

feminine sheath dress with beautiful border of flowers at the neck and hemline

deep V-neck empire-waist black and white jumpsuit

deep V-neck empire-waist black and white jumpsuit

3 piece pantsuit with glitter details and mesh sleeves

3 piece pantsuit with glitter details and mesh sleeves

easy trendy lace slip dress: spaghetti straps, romantic lace, V-neck and back

easy trendy lace slip dress: spaghetti straps, romantic lace, V-neck and back

sleeveless dress with A-line silhouette, colorblocking and high-low hem -- the stylish hemline emphasizes the legs

sleeveless dress with A-line silhouette, colorblocking and high-low hem -- the stylish hemline emphasizes the legs

crinkle-chiffon maxi dress with split neckline and elasticized waist

crinkle-chiffon maxi dress with split neckline and elasticized waist

sleeveless chiffon swing dress with stone embellishment on chest

sleeveless chiffon swing dress with stone embellishment on chest

relaxed jersey sleeveless swing dress, scoop neckline with beaded embellishment, cutout back with an embellished beaded trim and a dipped reverse hem

relaxed jersey sleeveless swing dress, scoop neckline with beaded embellishment, cutout back with an embellished beaded trim and a dipped reverse hem

basic relaxed jersey swing dress with V-neckline

basic relaxed jersey swing dress with V-neckline

velvet T-shirt dress with round neck and long mesh sleeves: curves have never looked more sexy

velvet T-shirt dress with round neck and long mesh sleeves: curves have never looked more sexy

A-line swing dress with floral placement print

A-line swing dress with floral placement print

swing dress with rounded split neckline, lace up styling and eyelet trim at front yoke, seamed  shirred back waist

swing dress with rounded split neckline, lace up styling and eyelet trim at front yoke, seamed shirred back waist

rayon stretch jersey dress, relaxed through the body with a flared hem that swings out

rayon stretch jersey dress, relaxed through the body with a flared hem that swings out

bottoms

midi skirt: sheer pleated tulle, lace underlay, high-rise waist

midi skirt: sheer pleated tulle, lace underlay, high-rise waist

faux wrap skirt

faux wrap skirt

for those with lovely legs, this vibrant stretch-knit skirt with asymmetrical black-mesh overlay wrap  is for you

for those with lovely legs, this vibrant stretch-knit skirt with asymmetrical black-mesh overlay wrap is for you

casual yet elegant pull-on straight-leg pants with elastic waistband, no pockets (70% viscose rayon, 24% nylon, 6% spandex)

casual yet elegant pull-on straight-leg pants with elastic waistband, no pockets (70% viscose rayon, 24% nylon, 6% spandex)

classic straight-leg cut pants tailored for a smooth, clean fit in seasonless crepe, elastic insets discreetly hidden at the side waist , zip fly with hook-and-bar closure, back welt pockets

classic straight-leg cut pants tailored for a smooth, clean fit in seasonless crepe, elastic insets discreetly hidden at the side waist , zip fly with hook-and-bar closure, back welt pockets

extremely comfy relaxed fit cotton-poly velour pants can be dressed up or down -- the thin elastic waistband won't fold over at waistline

extremely comfy relaxed fit cotton-poly velour pants can be dressed up or down -- the thin elastic waistband won't fold over at waistline

cotton/polyester fleece relaxed sweatpants with flat elastic waistband -- no drawstring, pockets or cuffs

cotton/polyester fleece relaxed sweatpants with flat elastic waistband -- no drawstring, pockets or cuffs

comfy, stretchy wide legged denim pants: all around elastic waist, drawstring, slash pockets, stitched cuffed hem

comfy, stretchy wide legged denim pants: all around elastic waist, drawstring, slash pockets, stitched cuffed hem

classic fit lightweight cotton canvas pants with elastic waist

classic fit lightweight cotton canvas pants with elastic waist

cotton-polyester French terry Bermuda shorts with drawstring waistband and 2 side pockets

cotton-polyester French terry Bermuda shorts with drawstring waistband and 2 side pockets

soft cotton jersey shorts with wide, ribbed elastic waist that flexes for ease of movement

soft cotton jersey shorts with wide, ribbed elastic waist that flexes for ease of movement

tops

easy fit long-sleeved blouse with lace overlay and scoop neck

easy fit long-sleeved blouse with lace overlay and scoop neck

long sleeved cardigan with shawl collar, light textured polyester-spandex fabric

long sleeved cardigan with shawl collar, light textured polyester-spandex fabric

sexy sleeveless top

sexy sleeveless top

split V-neck henley, soft lightweight burnout jersey in all-over stripes with drop-shoulder, rounded hi-lo hem

split V-neck henley, soft lightweight burnout jersey in all-over stripes with drop-shoulder, rounded hi-lo hem

cami with front and back pleats -- and lace trim along the neckline, armholes and bottom hem

cami with front and back pleats -- and lace trim along the neckline, armholes and bottom hem

lace trim top in a lightweight rayon knit with floral lace overlay, scalloped hem, gathered shoulders and deep scoop neck

lace trim top in a lightweight rayon knit with floral lace overlay, scalloped hem, gathered shoulders and deep scoop neck

short sleeved viscose/spandex top with ombre effect

short sleeved viscose/spandex top with ombre effect

loose fitting tank top with embroidery & beads,  scoop neck with functional zipper, side slits

loose fitting tank top with embroidery & beads, scoop neck with functional zipper, side slits

scoop neck tank with ombre sequin pattern, can be dressed up or down

scoop neck tank with ombre sequin pattern, can be dressed up or down

blouse with lace yoke and sleeves, wear with black skirt or pants for an elegant look

blouse with lace yoke and sleeves, wear with black skirt or pants for an elegant look

3/4 sleeve top with adjustable zipper neckline

3/4 sleeve top with adjustable zipper neckline

3/4 sleeve top with cutout neck detail

3/4 sleeve top with cutout neck detail

trendy sleeveless summer top: shirt-tail hem with front and back asymmetrical cut out

trendy sleeveless summer top: shirt-tail hem with front and back asymmetrical cut out

if your bust area is small, shoulder ties are a good way to add balance and interest to the shoulder area without adding extra bulk

if your bust area is small, shoulder ties are a good way to add balance and interest to the shoulder area without adding extra bulk

jackets and outerwear

topper jacket with elongated hem, floral embroidery at front

topper jacket with elongated hem, floral embroidery at front

hip length blazer with long lapels, mock pockets at front, and vent at back

hip length blazer with long lapels, mock pockets at front, and vent at back

notch-collar jacket softly structured from a textural stretch knit

notch-collar jacket softly structured from a textural stretch knit

hooded jacket

hooded jacket

classic long wool coat

classic long wool coat

wool blend A-line walker coat

wool blend A-line walker coat

A-line water-resistant poly color-block jacket with button-tab sleeve cuffs and detachable hood

A-line water-resistant poly color-block jacket with button-tab sleeve cuffs and detachable hood

A-line wool blend coat, single-breasted style cut with simple kimono sleeves

A-line wool blend coat, single-breasted style cut with simple kimono sleeves

collarless long, lightly structured coat with gunflaps; unlined, side slits

collarless long, lightly structured coat with gunflaps; unlined, side slits

raglan-sleeve coat cut from a wool blend in a longer, A-line silhouette

raglan-sleeve coat cut from a wool blend in a longer, A-line silhouette

swimwear

tiered tankini with contrasting trim, ruffled design offers coverage and a flattering look

tiered tankini with contrasting trim, ruffled design offers coverage and a flattering look

handkerchief tankini top

handkerchief tankini top

the dresskini: the coverage of a swim dress, and the convenience of a tankini top

the dresskini: the coverage of a swim dress, and the convenience of a tankini top

my choice for everyday shoes

mary janes with concave heel

mary janes with concave heel

comfortable lightweight sandals with adjustable straps

comfortable lightweight sandals with adjustable straps

comfortable suede loafers

comfortable suede loafers

leather multi strap slide sandal with fully padded contoured foot bed

leather multi strap slide sandal with fully padded contoured foot bed

dressy shoes

comfy, super stylish over the knee boots: fabric upper, round toe, hidden wedge with rubber outsole -- and  super sexy too!

comfy, super stylish over the knee boots: fabric upper, round toe, hidden wedge with rubber outsole -- and super sexy too!

black suede wedge pumps. 1.5 inch heel

black suede wedge pumps. 1.5 inch heel

perforated leather open toe booties, 2.5 inch heel

perforated leather open toe booties, 2.5 inch heel

suede open toe bootie with 2 inch heel

suede open toe bootie with 2 inch heel

stylish platform sandal with chunky heel and slingback strap, molded and shock-absorbing sole make it comfortable, mix of leather and elastic laddered straps, 3 inch heel, 1.5 inch platform

stylish platform sandal with chunky heel and slingback strap, molded and shock-absorbing sole make it comfortable, mix of leather and elastic laddered straps, 3 inch heel, 1.5 inch platform

slingback sandal with peep toe and stacked heel is shock-absorbent, flexible and slip-resistant, adjustable strap with buckle closure, leather upper/textile lining/rubber sole, 2.5 inch heel

slingback sandal with peep toe and stacked heel is shock-absorbent, flexible and slip-resistant, adjustable strap with buckle closure, leather upper/textile lining/rubber sole, 2.5 inch heel

comfy, classy low wedge slip on pumps

comfy, classy low wedge slip on pumps

low suede block heel ankle boots with cutout design and zipper back -- style and comfort at its best

low suede block heel ankle boots with cutout design and zipper back -- style and comfort at its best

block heel ankle boots with zip back fastening can be dressed up or down

block heel ankle boots with zip back fastening can be dressed up or down

trendy cage wedge sandal

trendy cage wedge sandal

articles

The plus-size fashion labels which are actually stylish http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/style/best-fashionable-plus-size-brands/

Plus-Size Workout Clothes: Brands That Are Leading The Way http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/08/04/plus-size-workout-clothes_n_11263842.html

How plus-size women are constructing a new normal http://www.thefader.com/2016/03/30/fat-shaming-is-dead

No longer ignored, retailers catering to curvy women http://www.cnbc.com/2014/05/30/plus-size-apparel-brings-opportunity-to-retail.html

4 Ways The Fashion Industry Is Embracing The ‘Plus-Size’ Movement http://elitedaily.com/women/fashion-plus-size-movement/1182723/

you may not have known these celebs are apple shaped

Kelly Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley, Drew Barrymore

Kelly Osbourne, Elizabeth Hurley, Drew Barrymore

Mindy Kaling, Jennifer Hudson

Mindy Kaling, Jennifer Hudson

Comments

Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on August 20, 2020:

The clothing pictures are mainly from macys.com and asos.com, a few from oldnavy.gap.com, others I can't remember

Lourdes on August 19, 2020:

Could you please provide the store where you have acquire these clothing pieces? I am 5'1", between size 16 to 18. It is really hard to get fun clothing on this size and height. Thanks.

Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on December 05, 2019:

Hello Carolyn Cannings, your outfit sounds elegant & fun! I'm glad my tips helped you out. And I'm so pleased that you felt very comfortable because that is what I aim for. Thank you for sharing your lovely experience here with us. Wishing you many more. Cheers!

Carolyn Cannings on December 02, 2019:

Just wanted to let you know, with your help I chose black pants, black cami with diamantes around the neckline and a hip-length jacket for my son's wedding. My outfit was a great success. I felt very comfortable and also felt quite dressed-up. I received quite a few compliments, not something I am used to hearing. Thank you for your wonderful HubPage.

Carolyn Cannings on September 06, 2019:

This is very very helpful. The photos are so encouraging because you have used real ladies instead of 6' tall size 10 models! I'm planning my outfit for my son's coming wedding and your tips were just what I've been looking for. Much appreciated

Yogita on August 18, 2019:

Please give some tips for Indian wear I. Am 4ft 9inch and little chubby

Nitin Patil from Surat on April 18, 2019:

Great tips for women.......

Memey on March 31, 2019:

Thank you!

nimrakhan111015 on March 22, 2019:

Good tips very informative

Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on November 05, 2018:

rbsof : Macys.com

rbsof on November 02, 2018:

Hi where can I find the A-line swing dress with floral placement print?

PaulaPlaytex on August 22, 2018:

I'm an "Overweight Male"...I always wear my Matching Bras and Panties.

Patricia Ring from Sugar Land on July 19, 2018:

Perfect clothing tips for every type of body shapes, thank you for sharing this beautiful information.

yogesh pal from India on June 22, 2018:

Thanks so much,

for sharing this informative post and I like the way you described all the things with perfect information.

now I can share this with my friend

Fishbark on May 26, 2018:

Thank you! It was as though I was writing the article myself. It was as though you were in my head. I never wear pleated skirts or pants. I never wear a belt. I never wear empire waist. Thank you for your beautiful common sense.

Mike Ralph from Singapore on May 14, 2018:

Amazingly created this post with so many beautiful pictures. Loved completely. It will inspire so many fat people to think about a fashion actually. These tips will help indeed.

Thanks!

Mike - Coupon API

Kellox on March 24, 2018:

This was the most practical advice I have ever heard for my body type (captured perfectly by your descriptions! Lol)!

Hufrish Daruwala on February 03, 2018:

I can't thank you enough for your tips n mainly your pics with explanation of type of outfits and accessories. Thank you for your efforts. God bless you

Sam Terry from Birmingham, England United Kingdom on November 09, 2017:

Very useful tips for the fashion conscious woman. Thanks for sharing.

Wahyu yoyok from Surabaya on May 19, 2017:

Uiii

Thanks for this very useful tips, tranquilheart. I am over weight.

FemaleAdda on January 03, 2017:

These tips will come handy.

Thanks for sharing .

Denise on August 05, 2016:

Finally, after visiting many "How to dress if your short and apple shaped"

sites- You get it. Thanlk you

Diana Abrahamson on August 03, 2016:

Great ideas for the curves. Everyone can look beautiful if correctly clothed for their height and body shape!

Rose Jones on July 26, 2016:

This is excellent - and real. Thanks for looking out for all of us.

Missy on July 06, 2016:

The photos of the tops are skinny girls. It would be helpful to see apple shaped women in the tunics, etc.

Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on March 05, 2016:

Hi Vicki, you're very welcome. I'm so glad you found my hub helpful. Cheers!

Vicki on March 05, 2016:

Bar none this is the best article on how to dress my apple shape! Thank you!

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 21, 2014:

Thanks for this very useful tips, tranquilheart. I am 5'4", apple-shaped and overweight, compelled to make my own clothes because I just can't manage to find something in the shops that suits my body and my pocket.

I would give a toe and a finger for Elizabeth Hurley's apple-shape!

Related Articles