Shopping and Dressing Up as a Full-Bodied Woman

Despite my love and appreciation for anything fashion, shopping for clothes has always been a chore, if not a nightmare, for a big girl like me. Believe it or not, about 90% of my wardrobe to this day are hand-me-downs from my sis or mom. Despite that, my wardrobe actually works because as years passed, I’ve carefully selected and pared down what I own to what flatters my shape and what looks good on me. My style is usually something that embraces and accentuates my curves and assets right, while looking a little older than my age to have a contrast with my baby-looking face.

Every time I head to the mall to scout for some clothes, the models and styles I see are always marketed towards slimmer ladies, which makes shopping somewhat a pain in the ass for us meatier gals but let me give you a few tips and tricks to get that to-do out of the way:

Examine your body
(or learning which parts you need to show off)
In a day, I typically spend a total of around an hour in front of the mirror when I have to get dolled up for going out. Looking at myself in the mirror has been a lot easier over the years but it was such a dragging experience before when my default was to find something to pick on. Typical woman mind. It can be a difficult first step but it is very essential. This will help you determine which body parts you like about yourself that you’re comfortable to show or flaunt, and which ones you feel need to be more out of the focus. Remember that the key word for this first step is observe, not judge. 


Do not cling to comfort zones to hide your body
(or how baggy clothes is a big NO)
Yes, you’ve heard it right. I know, fashion magazines and experts have said it time and again but I know many of us cannot get over that bubble easily. Trust me, baggy clothes do your figure no good, hun. It is not creating a flattering silhouette over your body and we’re not about that business. We want CURVES. We want that BODY-ODY-ODY to be up and out there, ladies. So cliché as it may sound, get clothes that hug your body right. Do not try to make something work if the size doesn’t work for you as well; you will only waste that bucks. Get clothes that fit the right way. 


Get a bra with the right and flattering fit
(or get those babies the right support)
It is no joke that 80% of women are actually wearing the wrong size of bra and I’ve been a victim of that in my teenage years, too. I used to wear bras that are either much bigger or smaller than my actual boobs but I was too stubborn to address it. I always end up having boob muffin tops which looks unflattering and awkward on clothes. Aside from the RIGHT size, it should be the RIGHT type as well. All boobs are shaped a different way — some could be perky, some could be bottom-heavy — so getting the correct type of bra for your boob shape is a helpful tool in getting a flawless silhouette. Find which type of bras would work to your advantage, depending on the type of clothes you wear and the function you are going to. I find In Intimate Detail by Cora Harrington such a nice read for this. The book details a lot of useful information about lingerie and getting to know what will work for you.


Know your dress size!
(or knowing about the numbers should not be embarrassing)
I know, looking and knowing about these numbers can be scary sometimes, embarrassing even, but knowing about them is what will actually help us look our best. Remember that it is not about how big or small the numbers are, that is not the agenda here. The agenda is to be realistic about ourselves and get the size that works perfectly with and for us. Nothing looks and feels better than clothes that fits right like a glove. Do consider getting some of your special pieces tailored to your fit as well especially if customizing them will help make the dress more flattering for you.

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Shapes, colors and patterns
(or ways to trick the beholder’s eyes)
It used to be a drag reading about them when I was younger but after some time I realized that it actually works. Big prints on parts you want to enhance or emphasize, and small prints or plain on parts that you wouldn’t want to be the center of attention. Black or toned down hues are fool-proof flattering and brighter colors put certain body parts more on display. Horizontal lines make you wider and vertical lines gives a slimmer illusion. It’s no secret that there are plethora of resources online on blogs, Google, Pinterest, magazines, and/or youtube that talks in detail about this. My favorite resource has been this short but concise book Stylized by Liz Uy where she broke down how you can style basic pieces like plain white tee, little black dress, denim pants, etc. to look good for your personal style.


Timeless pieces
(or silhouettes that look flattering on you all throughout seasons)
Timeless pieces are called as such because they just work every single time, without fail. I know that at the end of the day it is still your prerogative which clothes you want to wear but it is never a crime to look into silhouettes that have worked for your figure for years. A little peek on the shoulder, some cinch on the waist, a tasteful amount of cleavage, certain lines and lengths of skirts — knowing a little about them can actually make a difference in how you’d look.


Get inspired with models/people that have your same shape
(or having an idea what will look great on us)
Celebrities and instagram models pay a good amount to their stylists to make them look a thousand bucks. Unfortunately for most of us, we just cannot afford to waste away good money for that but guess what — it’s easy-peasy to rip off from their page some styles and interpret it in our own creative way. The genius thing about our time right now is that if you go to Instagram at this second, you’re sure to see a lot of beautiful women with just the same style you want or need. Look for style icons and models that closely resembles your shape and style and you’re sure to be inspired instantly.


Only shop when you need to
(more as a general rule, really)
Generally, I never had a problem with this as I’ve always lived like I’m broke all the time. I hold on to my wishlists for months and I think more than thrice before purchasing any item of clothing. It is very important to only shop when you actually NEED the item. And no, not in that jokingly “I need to get this dress or I’m not gonna live the next day” type of need. I meant, need as in adding it on your wardrobe guarantees that you’re going to make use of it and it actually looks really great and makes you feel great too. Often times we are enticed to make a purchase only because the item was on a discount or because it looks dashing on a mannequin, without fully considering if it fits our bill — monetary and physically-wise. Save some of that moolah by being a little bit more inspective of your next purchases.

There are still more than a handful of tips to share about shopping for clothes as a lady on the heavier side, and these are just a scratch on the surface. Next time I’ll try to share with you some pieces that I love from my wardrobe which flaunts my body just right. 

How about you? What’s your personal rule for shopping as a full-bodied gal?