Shopping is hard when you’re not a size 4

15 Feb

Here’s a shocking fact for you, I don’t love shopping. At least not for myself. I will gladly go out with my sisters and friends and help them pick out an outfit and I’ll have a great time. But when I’m forced to pick out clothes that I’m meant to wear the joy goes out of the process completely. I have an odd body type for a woman because I carry most of my weight on the front and have absolutely no butt (I call my butt Negatron because giving it a Transformer’s name makes it a little less pathetic in my strange brain) and as a result it is nearly impossible to find pants that fit and most shirts and sweaters are too clingy around my middle.

This was hard to deal with as a teenager because all I wanted to wear were baggy pants and tight t-shirts with cool graphics on them. I was so envious of those girls who could wear low slung pants that showed off just a little bit of their perfect tummies every time they moved. (Come on, I know you all remember the fashions of the late nineties. It was all about giving people a sneak peak of your abs)

Luckily my ideas about fashion changed. I opened my mind to skirts and dresses for every day wear because they fit me so much better than pants and I became willing to wear other things besides graphic tees and sweatshirts (although I still wear them around the house for comfiness sake). I also quit shopping in stores because it makes my heart hurt a little bit every time I go to a store and am forced to sift through all the beautiful clothes I’ll never wear in order to find the stuff that will fit oddly shaped me. Now I can get online and do localized searches for what I need and it brings back some of the fun. That way I’m focused on what makes me look good as I am, rather than wishing that I looked like someone else so that I could fit into certain styles. And isn’t that how life should be?

So for my next few posts I’m going to put up outfits that are specialized for certain body types. I’ll be ignoring price for the most part just because these are more to give you an idea of how to highlight the awesomeness of you, rather than show you awesome internet deals like I usually do.

The first body type I want to talk about is the pear shape. This is actually a great shape to have because it’s the most common shape for a woman, thus most clothes are designed with a smaller waist and larger hip in mind. Plus, butts are in! There aren’t too many rappers out there talking about how they like a jiggly belly. No, instead they are praising the apple bottomed girls. Frankly, I think my life would be easier if I were one of them.

Anywho, what you want to keep in mind when pulling together an outfit is de-emphasizing the parts of yourself you’re not crazy about and highlighting what you do like. So for pear shapes you’ll want to wear clothes that are tighter on top and looser on bottom. Dresses and skirts that hit at the natural waist and are gathered or pleated are a good way to achieve that. Most people believe in the old adage that a-line skirts are the most flattering but I would disagree simply because they tend to lack structure, and when you’re trying to hide a flaw you need something that holds its own shape.

Also, wearing heels is a good idea because it thins out and lengthens the leg. Even just a kitten heel can make a huge difference.

Here’s an example outfit:

Talbots Belle flower full skirt

J Crew Sequin Mist cardigan

ModCloth hours at the library heel

Another great way to slim and lengthen the leg is with a wide leg trouser. Make sure you’re looking at pants that are either relaxed or straight through the hip and thigh rather than fitted otherwise you’ll have major bell bottom action going on. Also, wear the type of shoes you’ll be wearing with the pants when you try them on and make certain you don’t get them too short. They should be about an inch from the floor when you wear them with your shoes (longer if you’re worried the material might shrink). Also avoid whiskered distressing whenever you buy pants because that will make the leg look wider.

Ann Taylor Signature Bergman Tweed Trouser

ModCloth Served With a Side of Character sweater

Steve Madden Dynastee Wedge


And of course there’s always the option of wearing a long sweater or jacket to cover things up. If you do this you can get away with most styles, even pencil skirts and skinny jeans. For skinny jeans try wearing jeggings or going to a store like Levi’s that make jeans for girls with different body types. Just remember, if it doesn’t fit in a certain area don’t be afraid to go a size up and then get the item tailored. I know that it feels like a sucker punch to the gut when you try on something in the size that’s supposed to fit you and it doesn’t, but wearing clothes that are too tight will make you look bigger than you actually are.

Anthropologie Twisting and Turning Cardigan

ModCloth Whitecap Waters Tunic

Levi's Bold Curve jeans

Forever 21 Buckle Up Combat Boots

Lastly, you can always just embrace your curves and wear whatever the heck you want! It’s hard enough being a woman in this world without being forced into these rules so feel free to forget everything I’ve said and just do your own thing. If you love it, wear it!


6 Responses to “Shopping is hard when you’re not a size 4”

  1. fionaphillips February 17, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Love this post Kathryn! Great advice and beautiful clothes. Love the variety you posted too – something for everyone from classic to funky.

    • Kim Hansen February 17, 2011 at 10:20 am #

      I’m marking this site as a favorite. Great advice and style too. I want to tell you when I said hi to you yesterday outside our homes, I thought to myself, WOW! Katherine looks great! You had a tank top printed top on with a carnigan over it. Way to go girl. Keep writing. I’ll be back.

      • phillipskt February 17, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

        Thanks Kim! That’s so sweet of you to say. I’m thrilled to see you on here!

    • phillipskt February 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

      Thanks Mom! This is the most fun I’ve had putting outfits together because I ignored the price. That J Crew sequined sweater is insanely expensive but sooo awesome.

  2. Cass February 17, 2011 at 10:34 am #

    Love the definition on top. Wonderfully creative. It made me laugh, and that is always a good thing. Not a pear shape in any fantasy, but the info is well put together. Great job Kathryn.

    • phillipskt February 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm #

      Thank you! I’m going to be doing posts for apple shapes and straight shapes so keep checking. Maybe something will get you inspired.

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