Ask Avery: Fashion for the fuller-figured
blog by Avery Hartmans • December 23, 2011 @ 8:00am
Hi Avery. I recently moved to Buffalo from Dallas. As I’m sure you can imagine, winters in Texas are pretty mild, therefore, I’ve never “officially” gone shopping for winter clothes. Everyone here tells me it’s all about the layers. Layers, layers and more layers!
Here’s the problem….
I’m a 20 something plus size mother. One of the most difficult tasks I’m faced with is finding age-appropriate clothes that actually flatter my curves instead of highlighting my flaws. If a winter in Buffalo truly is all about the layers, how can I stay warm without bulking up. And, if I’m being misled, please tell me how I can stay warm yet (somewhat) fashionable without breaking the bank.
As for personal style, I have none. A typical outfit for me consists of a pair of Lane Bryant Boot Cut Jeans, tennis shoes (I believe y’all call them sneakers) and a plain fitted tee. Please, I am in desperate need of your help!
Our first order of business is spicing up your personal style. I’m all for a classic jeans-and-t-shirt look, but that can get boring very quickly if it’s your daily uniform. I know it’s easy to stick with what you know looks pretty good rather than experimenting with new trends and styles, but my philosophy is, if you have to wear clothes every day, why not have fun with it?
What’s awesome about your body type is that retro shapes and styles will look fantastic on you — think cinched waists, a-line and pencil skirts, and fitted jackets or blazers. While you don’t have to dress like a 40s pin-up, keep those silhouettes in mind while shopping. That can be as simple as a pair of jeans and a wintry sweater that ties at the waist, like this fair isle sweater or this one with a faux fur collar, both from Macy’s. Or keep your uniform of jeans and basic tees, but add a cute fitted blazer for a little bit of style.
Which brings us to our second order of business: dressing warmly without looking unnecessarily puffy. Whoever told you that it’s all about “layers, layers and more layers” was right — layers allow you to stay warm without looking and feeling bulky. The trick for any body type, whether it’s a size 4 or a size 28, is to wear pieces like tissue tees, thin cardigans and slim jackets. Basically, clothes that will add warmth but not weight.
An ideal layered outfit for you might consist of a long-sleeved thin t-shirt, a warm sweater and a cool jacket. Add your favorite scarf and some thick socks peeking over a pair of boots and you have the perfect winter outfit. You might also try something a little more daring, like jeggings, a long embellished tank and a sweater dress paired with low boots. You could also try regular leggings, just don’t fall into the trap of leggings as pants — whatever you wear with them must hit at least mid-thigh in order to be age-appropriate.
If you’re ever in doubt, look to some famous full-figured ladies for inspiration — Adele has great style, and so did Jennifer Hudson, before she got super thin (rumor has it she’s down to a size 0 now. Yikes). Just remember to always play up your curves and have a little fun with your style. Good luck!
I have tiny eyes. I mean, I guess they’re normal-sized eyes, but they’re set on my face in a way that makes them look like little brown buttons. I’ve tried finding eye shadow and makeup that makes them “pop,” but that actually just makes my eyes look smaller in comparison to the unnatural blue ocean of a paint job encompassing my peepers.
Thanks for your advice,
As someone with abnormally large eyes, I can’t really relate to your problem. But luckily, I know how to help. The two most important things to remember when trying to make your eyes appear larger is highlighting, which will make the eye appear more open and therefore wider, and full, curly eyelashes.
With that in mind, you’ll need to add a few things to your makeup bag. White eyeliner is a necessity, along with a neutral colored eye shadow that matches your skin tone, a medium to dark brown eyeshadow, an eyelash curler and two types of mascaras: one that separates and defines and one that adds thickness and volume.
To start off, use the white eyeliner underneath your eyebrow, in the inside corner of your eye and along the tear line — that inner edge of your eye above your lower lashes. Next, use a light, almost translucent shade of eyeshadow along your brow bone. All of this is called highlighting: it will lift and widen the eye, giving the optical illusion that you have a wide, doe-like gaze.
After you’ve successfully highlighted, spread the neutral, flesh-tone shadow over your entire lid. For everyday wear, stick with a matte shadow, but if you’re going out at night and want to get fancy, wear something with a little shimmer. Next, you’ll want to find your brow crease — that’s the place where your eyeball meets your brow bone. Fill in that area with the brown shadow, but only from the outer corner of your eye to about the center of your iris and make sure everything is well-blended.
Your next step is to add regular eyeliner — use black or brown — along the top of your lid. Line your eye from corner to corner but at the outer corner, make a tiny little wing up, almost like you’re doing a cat-eye. Draw from the top of the wing to the lash line, filling it in. This will actually look like a miniature cat-eye, but the purpose is to lift your eye at the corner, making it appear wider. Then, softly line the bottom lid, no further than the center of the iris.
You’re almost finished — the final step is mascara. First, use an eyelash curler to make your lashes extra curly. Get as close as possible to the lash line without stabbing yourself in the eyeball and hold for five seconds. Move the curler halfway up the lashes and repeat — this will add an extra curl. Next, use your volume based mascara to make your lashes thick and voluminous before using the defining mascara to lengthen and separate. This may seem like overkill, but mixing two mascaras usually makes your lashes especially thick, which will pull the eye up and make it look wider.
You eye should now look rounder and significantly larger than before. And the neutral tones hopefully won’t make you feel overwhelmed or unnatural. You’re ready to face the world with your new peepers — just don’t forget to do the other eye.
Photo courtesy of Flickr / AnnaKika.