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.
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.
jackets and outerwear
my choice for everyday shoes
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
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:
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.
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:
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
Taranwanderer on August 03, 2016:
Short, apple-shaped Black women are my absolute weakness. Can't even see any other type of woman when an attractive one of this variety is in the room lol.
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!