Fashion stylist Susan Moses believes fashion is supposed to make us feel good. She has spent 20 years helping clients such as Queen Latifah, Wynonna Judd and Britney Spears find their best look. Now she’s revealing her best-kept secrets in a guide geared to curvy women. Almost 70 percent of us wear a size 14 and up, so Moses should have plenty of listeners. Every woman, no matter what her size, should keep The Art of Dressing Curves by their dressing room mirror.
Moses wrote her style bible to dispel fashion myths about the styles forbidden to curvy women. She wants women to stop dressing to camouflage their bodies or look thinner. She wants women to accept who they are and have fun experimenting with fashion.
Curvy women make two mistakes, Moses says. They either rely on oversized clothing because they are trying to hide their body type, or they squeeze into clothes that are too small. She finds that fit is a big problem for a lot of curvy women. Accepting who we are and what we look like is the most important thing. Self-acceptance frees us to experiment and try things we’ve always wanted to try, says Moses.
Here are some of her styling tips on dressing curves.
1. Find the dress that fits nicely without squeezing too tight. If any undergarment lines show through the dress, it’s too tight!
2. Invest in shape wear. Smoothing the tummy and hips gives all women a look that is more refined and polished in their clothes. Every woman needs is a body briefer for that little touch of support.
3. Adjust your wardrobe when you lose or gain a few pounds. Wearing clothes that fit will make you feel you are at the top of your game. Make sure you have essential pieces for every size if your weight changes.
4. A good tailor is your secret weapon. The difference between terrible and terrific is fit. There is no substitute for clothes that fit and hang properly on your body. Most department stores and boutiques offer tailoring.
5. You can never go wrong with a pencil skirt. The to-the-knee hemline flatters everyone by lengthening your curves. This length in a pencil skirt will give you balance.
6. Ditch the leggings as pants. Moses says the leggings-as-pants trend is responsible for “way too much personal information on the streets of many cities.” If you feel the urge, buy skinny jeggings.
7. The right shoes complete your outfit. Look for a classic pump in neutral. Ankle straps can make legs look shorter, so avoid them.
8. Proportion your bag to your size. Moses likes a medium size structured tote for day. Leave the bag that is too small on the shelf. For night events, a bag that you can’t see behind your hand is too small.
Moses has a list of designers who are offering great designs for curvy women. She recommends ASOS for trends and Universal Standard for minimalist pieces. Her favorites include Marina Rinaldi as well as Michael Kors and Eloquii. Don’t overlook Lane Bryant and Calvin Klein.
The Susan Moses fashion bible, The Art of Dressing Curves is published by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.