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Nikki’s Inbox: Curvy, Petite and Top-Heavy

Hello, I would like to ask for your help. After acting like a tomboy because I was sick of people telling me that I have to like certain things because I’m a girl, I have recently decided to do what I want to do no matter whether it’s girly or boyish. So now I’m trying to dress a little more feminine but I’m only 5’2, quite curvy (40-32-40) and have a baby face (people usually think that I’m 3-5 years younger than I actually am).

When I wear more feminine clothes, I have two main problems:

1) I often wear wider clothes so I’m not emphasizing my chest area (when I wear tank tops even my girlfriends tell me that my boobs are distracting) which can be quite unflattering depending on how the shirt falls.

2) I don’t want to look like a little kid who dressed in her mom’s clothes.

I would really prefer to wear more feminine (either formal/elegant or more of a street style) but I’m not really sure what would suit me. Can you maybe give me some tips on where to start since there are so many different styles and I’m a little overwhelmed? Thank you!

Sandra, 21/Austria


I’m glad you’re asserting your individuality, Sandra. Standing up for your convictions and your choices is not easy. Hurray also for embracing your curves! Like what I’ve been saying a lot lately, you don’t have to wear dresses, skirts or ruffles all the time just to feel and look womanly.

Fit and Silhouette

I perfectly understand what you mean when you said you have to wear wider clothes. With large busts, I find that instead of going for looser or wider clothing, what’s really needed is structure. Start with the right foundation garments. Make sure your bras are the correct size, and the cups flatter your girls in the best way.

Second, look for tailored or structured pieces. I always recommend clothes with darts, princess seams or even boning on the bodice. You need that support in order to create a more proportioned silhouette. Fit is just as important because you don’t want any “spillovers” which will draw even more attention to your chest. In this case, I would suggest either finding a good and reliable tailor, or learning how to do basic alterations yourself.

Create Angles and Strategic Details

You have an hourglass shape, Sandra, and you can emphasize it further by going for pieces that contrast your curves. Square necklines are growing in popularity (we’re getting a lot of them on YesStyle!), and they definitely flatter big-busted women. Avoid low-cut versions and opt for a higher one that still exposes your neck (so you can accessorize with statement necklaces). You can also go for tops with cutout or asymmetric shoulders, and even rock transparent sleeves. That way, the attention is on your arms or shoulders, and not on your chest. A few other things to avoid: chest pockets, wide V-necks and dip-back styles, to name a few.

Don’t Waste That Waist!

Your hourglass figure is enviable, my dear, and don’t you forget it! Make sure to use every opportunity to showcase it by wearing a belt at all times with your skirts, jeans and shorts. It’s time to start a collection if you don’t have one yet. For easy, comfy pieces, I suggest polo dresses. Nope, you won’t end up looking like your mom if you wear a belt with it. Thanks to the collar, fabric and half placket, it’s a step above a T-shirt dress, which might make you look shapeless. And since you’re petite, a length above the knee is suitable for you. Perfect with sandals, flats or white sneakers!

Your skirts and dresses should be A-line, of course, and either be mid-calf (midi) or knee-length. Choose styles that really flare out right from the waist to balance your upper half. The nice thing is that with the summer season, you’re spoiled for choice — lace skirts, tie-dye, chiffon, layered, tiered, and more. Pair neutral-colored tops with vibrantly colored and patterned skirts to keep the attention on your lower half.

Always Cinched

I told you belts are going to be your new best friend. Anything that emphasizes that nice figure of yours should be welcomed! YesStyle carries a lot of skirts, shorts and pants that feature the increasingly popular waist sashes or self-fabric belts. You can also look for lace-up details on the waistbands, and paperbag-waist styles.

Don’t forget wide-leg pants, too. One key detail to watch out for this style is to make sure the silhouette is similar to an A-line skirt — flowing and fluid. Skip the versions that are wide from waist to hem. For special occasions like a date or a party, you can wear a full-length version. For daytime and more casual affairs, a mid-calf version will do.

All the best to you, Sandra!

P.S. If you’re sending a question, please don’t forget to include any helpful information about your body type or shape, your tastes or personality. You can include a selfie (link only please) or a photo of your clothes (which I will never publish without pre-approval). Thank you!

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