This week I’ve enlisted the help of the lovely Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks who kindly agreed to write a guest post to answer this question:
Help me dress for my new shape!
I’ve recently lost a lot of weight and have reached my target. The thing is, after years of taking no interest in fashion and dressing to cover up, I have no idea what I should be wearing. I’m now a size 12 (which I am going to maintain) and am a bit pear-shaped. I still feel self-conscious in clothes that are revealing and am not used to my new size yet.
First of all, huge congratulations on the weight loss! I know from personal experience what a long, boring slog it is so a big well done from me on getting to your target weight.
This may be a little more general than Sarah’s last Style Counsel answer as it’s tricky to suggest specific styles and items without knowing your personal sense of style. However I think we’re in a similar position so maybe sharing some of my tips will help you out a bit.
I think the first thing to do is take a good honest look at yourself in the mirror. Don’t see the shape that you used to be – see the shape that you are now. You mention that you’re a bit pear-shaped but what are your good points? Do you have cracking legs or a tiny waist or enviably good boobs? If you’ve been overweight for a while then it becomes sort of second nature to ignore the positive comments you receive but seriously, start listening to them. What do other people think of your figure? What sorts of things do they think suit you?
Once you’ve got those points sorted out, start looking around for ideas. Most of the big high street store websites have great sections on current trends which should be a good starting point. Have a look at blogs and see the sorts of outfits that girls who are a similar shape and size to you pull together. I’m not a great fan of fashion magazines personally (too many unattainably skinny and beautiful models and celebs) but if you like them then they can be a great source of ideas. Most of all though, what do you like? I bet you’ve always wanted to try a certain style or a particular item of clothing. Trust your own taste, even if you’re not sure exactly what your personal style is just yet.
I recommend setting aside a day for a great big shopping trip. If you can book a cheeky day off work and go on a weekday, the shops will be much quieter and there will be less pressure when it comes to trying things on and noseying around. Have lunch somewhere nice as a breather and enjoy yourself. I know there’s a school of thought that says you should never go shopping with a friend as they never give truly unbiased advice but personally I think that’s rubbish. Pick the right friend and they’ll be honest about what suits you and what doesn’t and they may even persuade you into trying on something wonderful that you’d never have considered yourself.
Very importantly, don’t rule anything out. Try on anything that takes your fancy, even stuff you’d never have thought of wearing in a million years. Some of it will look terrible (I am destined never to wear shorts, they make me look as if I’m a size 24 again) but some things will totally surprise you. Try shops that you would never have gone in before. Being a mainstream size is hugely liberating after being restricted to plus size options. The choice can be a bit mindboggling at first but I guarantee that you’ll soon start to love shops that you wouldn’t have considered before.
It can be a bit of a shock to the system to go from hiding your body to showing it off but remember, flattering doesn’t have to equal revealing. It took me ages to make the shift from bootcut to skinny jeans but they suit my figure so much better that I wonder now why I ever thought they were on the banned list. Going back to that list of your good points, try showing them off.
If you have great legs, layer tunics over leggings or try some short skirts or mini dresses. With autumn round the corner, you can team these things up with lovely tights and it means that you show off your best parts without looking tarty.
If your top half is your best feature then take advantage of all the beautiful blouses around at the moment. River Island has a few surprisingly pretty options and H&M had quite a lot of nice pieces in stock last time I was instore. Tucking them into tailored trousers (which should be available everywhere ) will be classic and elegant without being too revealing. Just be careful of proportions.
Belts can work wonders too. Empire line or round the waist, thin or chunky, leather or elastic – grab a few, try them over some of your tops and see what works. Primark usually have a great range available and they’re cheap enough for you to pick up a few different types for minimal cost.
When you get to feeling a bit more daring, don’t be shy about bodycon. I was wearing bodycon skirts (with tights and loose tops, obviously) at a size 16/18 so at a size 12 there’s no reason why you shouldn’t embrace it. This dress is absolutely stunning and the long sleeves mean it’s quite demure really. Treat yourself, you deserve it!
I hope this helps a little. I know how daunting it can be to face the challenge of having to buy a whole new wardrobe when you have no idea what suits you but just be brave!
A huge thank you to Alex for writing this post and giving such great, inspiring advice.
Do you have experience of shopping for a new shape? If so, let me know what your recommendations would be.