Clothes for Curves

Celebrate your silhouette with these suggested pieces

Becca Bycott
Sep 4, 2019 · 7 min read
Creative Commons photo by Brett Jordan on Flickr.

Being curvy is both a blessing and a curse.

Ask any voluptuous woman and she’ll probably agree with me on this one.

If we’re lucky, we’ve enjoyed the company of good lovers who have completely fallen out over our curves, sighed with pleasure at seeing them and touching them. This is wonderful, and makes us feel sexy as hell.

Finding fashion that loves our curves as well is not so easy. Many of us have stood in dressing rooms staring in dismay at what would have been the perfect shirt or sweater if it didn’t stretch so tightly over our breasts. Or we’ve tried on jeans that gape at the waist but are too fitted everywhere else.

The best of all worlds? Knowing how to shop for clothes that celebrates our shapes and makes us feel like the full-figured queens we are.

Interested in getting a better idea of what clothing works for curvy women committed to celebrating what nature intended them to? As Sir Mix-A-Lot says, if your waist is small and your curves are kicking, read on:

I fell in love with pencil skirts after watching Joan Holloway and her many gorgeous outfits in “Mad Men.” Here’s a little history of the pencil skirt, from a fabulous piece in Vogue:

“The pencil skirt as we recognise it today first entered the world several decades later in 1954, when Christian Dior’s H-line collection introduced another new shape for the modern woman. Named after the way its silhouette resembled a capital ‘H’, complete with straight lines and a slight emphasis on the waist, it had the advantage of both lengthening the wearer’s legs and placing greater attention on the hips. It also offered something tighter and more streamlined for those tired of the New Look’s excess fabric and frou-frou prettiness.” — ROSALIND JANA

Pencil skirts are great because they’re body conscious in all the right places for voluptuous women and easy to pair with just about anything: a sweater or a peplum top if you’re wearing it to work, a T-shirt if you want to mix casual with a touch of fancy. They’re ubiquitous and unapologetically sexy, while also maintaining a sense of timeless, classic style that’s worn by everyone from Michelle Obama to Dita Von Teese.

I’m a huge fan of affordable fashion, and when it comes to pencil skirts, Thalia Sodi’s styles are some of my favorites. I became obsessed with this one denim skirt over the summer and wore it constantly with everything. It was not only comfortable but it had more of an edgy elegance than my favorite pair of jeans, and kept me as cool as a pair of shorts. Every time I wore it, strangers would look at it and even stop me and ask me about where I got it. From Macy’s, ya’ll.

In my experience, if you want to go for the right neckline, V necks are a winner every time. The cut creates lines that dip down and balance out bigger chests, with the focus of the neckline creating slimming symmetry that beautifully emphasizes each breast. For work, it helps to pay attention to how deeply cut they are and not go too overboard with anything that might be perceived as inappropriate, but for other occasions, rock the depth of the V neck in whatever way floats your boat.

Round necks provide a softer visual framework around your face and collarbone that is less dramatic than the V neck but still flattering. Both V neck and round neck tops also offer the perfect place to show off a pretty necklace and look terrific with scarves. In fact, one of my favorite looks for a while was wearing a black round neck sweater and a bright vintage Sixties scarf, with an interesting necklace peeking out beneath.

Finding both V necks and round necks with three quarter sleeves, another great detail in tops, is just about picture perfect for people with rounder, softer shapes.

Photo by author, right.

Wearing a well-made and fitted bra is one of the best investments busty women can make. Although they’re not cheap, quality bras elevate your overall boob composition from droopy to perky and secure. They can help you appear slimmer, due to how well they uplift and display your chest. I usually wait for expensive bras to go on sale and then stock up on some a few times a year.

To find a good bra, look for a lingerie store with experts who can measure you and help you find the right size. This is important because many of us don’t really know what size we wear and have had changes in our breast shape as we age and gain or lose weight. I did this at Soma several months ago and was grateful to revisit my actual size, which had changed slightly over the years. The saleswoman who helped me was terrific — she guessed my correct bra size just by looking at me, always a good sign — and confirmed she was right through a few quick measurements.

Knowing your best bra size is also empowering and exciting when shopping for lingerie you plan to wear not just as an undergarment but as something you show someone else. I’ve found there are some great styles out there with details like extra straps that show off bigger breasts in a flirty, decorative way.

Photo by Evan Dvorkin on Unsplash

Not everyone agrees heels are practical, and many people are on Team Flats, but I myself am not one of them. I feel more confident and sexy when I have a little height that lengthens my legs and pushes out my chest a bit. But comfort is critical, and I’ve learned over the years to invest in really good footwear, not throw money away on trendy but terrible shoes.

I recently discovered Sorel, a company typically associated with quality hiking boots, also makes sturdy but super cute sandals. I bought a pair on Nordstrom Rack and they are literally the most comfortable but elegant sandals I’ve ever purchased. I’ve walked home from work in them many times this summer. I also love Cole Haan for stylish but practical footwear that feels great.

Accessories are another strategic way to make the most of your curves. If at all possible, I try to avoid overly bulky statement necklaces that add unwanted attention to my already eye-catching chest. I do love a bold pendant every once in a while — paired with a solid color V neck, for example.

Statement earrings, which draw the eyes upward to your face, are useful for adding detail and encouraging people to see your whole beautiful self, as opposed to staring at your boobs.

Paying attention to prints and using their lines to flatter your curves is also a great way to incorporate detail into your wardrobe. I love diagonal lines to create wraparound emphasis on my curves, as well as pretty florals that show off how lovely a woman’s natural body can be, in all of its feminine twists and turns.

Picture of author in a sundress with wraparound lines.
Picture of author in a sundress with wraparound lines.
Photo of author.

If Marie Kondo taught us anything, it’s that owning items that make us feel bad is a waste of time — and space — in our closets.

As someone who has moved several times, including downsizing her wardrobe after walking out the door and getting divorced, I’ve learned what I need to keep around in my life to feel good. And in all the fun experiences following my marriage ending that helped me claim my curves, I am an advocate of helping other women do the same. I’ve become intimately familiar with items that work with my shape and those that don’t, and how the right outfit helps me feel fearlessly alive. Thanks for checking out my selections! What would you add to my list?

If you liked this post, consider reading:

Bride in Reverse

Essays exploring creative acts of courage, crazy failures and other ways people reclaim their autonomy following a divorce and other major life changes.

Becca Bycott

Written by

Writer, messy cook, lover of D.C. Creating relevant conversations about becoming someone new after divorce: http://bit.ly/BrideinReverseFacebookGroup

Bride in Reverse

Essays exploring creative acts of courage, crazy failures and other ways people reclaim their autonomy following a divorce and other major life changes.

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