Make your Uniqueness Work for You!: Dealing with Figure Flaws

No one is a perfect 10 regarding their body; however if you have the savvy you can use clothing to minimize your liabilities and accentuate your assets.  What you first have to do is to 1) take an honest look at yourself in the mirror, and 2) measure yourself.  Measuring yourself includes your waist, hips, arms, bust but also the length from the top of your head to the bust, from the bust to the fullest part of the hips, length from the hips to the middle of the knee, length from the knee to the soles of the feet, neck length and the shape of your shoulder.  Once you have these measurements then you can truly identify your assets and liabilities and through clothing accentuate the positive.  Here are some tips to using clothing to work wonders for your body.  Bring out your best and appreciate your uniqueness – its the best part of who you are!


Do Wear:

  • Belts to match skirt or pants
  • Cummerbund belts

Don’t Wear:

  • Skinny sweater or top

Protruding Abdomen

Do Wear:

  • A- line skirts
  • Sewn-down pleated skirts
  • Empire waist dresses
  • Side-slash pockets
  • Gathers at the side of the skirt

Don’t Wear:

  • Clingy fabrics
  • Dirndle skirts
  • Loose pleats
  • Straight skirts
  • Tight belts 

Tiny Waist and Large Hips:

Do Wear:

  • Narrow loose belts
  • A-line dresses

Don’t Wear:

  • Clothes that emphasize your tiny waist

Flat Rear End:

Do Wear:

  • Two-piece outfits with overlapping tops
  • Trousers altered to fit
  • Gathered skirts
  • Pants that fit smoothly

Short Legs:

Do Wear:

  • High-waisted pants
  • Corduroy pants
  • Tree-button suits

Don’t Wear:

  • Pants with cuffs

Petite Figure

Do Wear:

  • One-tone or one-color suit in cool colors
  • Delicate high heeled shoes
  • Slim-line skirts
  • Vertical patterns in pinstripes
  • Vertical seaming
  • Slim-line slacks
  • Three Button Suits

Don’t Wear:

  • Bulky, complicated clothing
  • Cluttered neckline
  • Skirt too long or too short
  • Ankle strap shoes
  • Thick-soled or heavy shoes
  • Plaids
  • Tweeds
  • Double-breasted jackets


Large Figure

Do Wear:

  • Clothing that fits well
  • Well-tailored dark suits
  • Cloths that accent the face i.e. printed shirts, scarves around the neck
  • Solid colors
  • Smooth fabrics
  • Pin or chalk-striped suits
  • Tops and shirts outside the skirt of trousers
  • Narrow belt pushed down a bit further than normal
  • Blouson tops
  • Light-colored shirts with belts lighter than the pants

Don’t wear:

  • Skintight or very loose garments
  • Bold patterns
  • Front-pleated trousers
  • Pleated or dirndl skirts
  • Large plaids
  • Bulky sweaters
  • Unstructured jackets
  • Colors that change at the waist
  • Wide Belts


Wide Shoulders

To de-emphasize:

  • Garments with should seams slightly within real shoulder line
  • Soft fabrics
  • Silky blouses gathered at yoke
  • Raglan sleeves
  • Double-pleated pants

To emphasize:

  • Cap sleeves
  • Dolman Sleeves
  • Stiff fabrics
  • Sleeveless garments
  • Horizontal Stripes
  • Bold Bright colors
  • Bulky sweaters
  • Heavier shirting fabrics such as pinpoint oxford and denim
  • Plain front pants

About vseitz

Marketing Professor at California State University, San Bernardino and author of "I Don't Wear A Suit."

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