When you’re feeling full of confidence in yourself and your body, the prospect of the party season and shopping for a new dress is outright delicious. But what about when you’re not feeling so great? Or when you’ve been out all day, seen the inside of every changing room and tried on every dress in town and not found anything that makes you feel good?
If the thought of continuing (or indeed) beginning the search for ‘that’ dress is now filling you more with dread than delight, it may just be that you need to start hunting in a different way. Before you reach for the chocolate and consider sending a ‘with regret’ RSVP, take a few moments to think through why you put the other dresses on the discard pile.
“Does my bum look big in this?”
The chances are you decided they ‘made you look fat,’ ‘your arms flabby,’ ‘your bum too big’ or exposed some other perceived flaw. Whether they did or they didn’t, isn’t the point. The point is that’s how they made you feel. And if there’s one thing anyone in the know on fashion will tell you – clothes that make you feel great will make you look great.
Confidence shines from within
Confidence shines from within so rather than be convinced to buy something you’re not sure about, take a few moments to be a little brave. Write a list of the parts of your body you don’t have confidence in – the ones you don’t want to show off. Then, before you start feeling like you’re reliving the Friends’ scene where Ross listed Rachel’s ‘chubby’ ankles on a list of her ‘cons’, switch to being kind about yourself.
Don’t deny your good points
Make a note of your good points. Somehow this is always more difficult for most of us than listing the negatives, but force yourself – come on, everyone has good points. Do you have beautifully toned arms? Lovely shapely ankles? A little waist in between the bust you feel is too buxom and the bottom you feel is too bulbous? – By the way, if that’s you, whilst you may not have a body like models on the catwalk you’re the kind of curvaceous creature many a more straight-up-and-down lady wishes to be.
Common body issues
Taking note of how a dress will show off your favourite features whilst also playing down your least favourite ones will make a huge difference to your shopping success. Getting to know how to dress for your shape will help, but in addition to that, before you grab that hanger or click on your internet purchase run a little mental check – will this dress display your best bits and cover those you are less proud of? Below we’ve listed a few of the most common body worries and, more importantly, ways you can shop to overcome them.
“I think I have a big bum”
Let’s face it if you worry your behind looks too big in your dresses of choice you’re probably in the majority rather than the minority. If the Kardashian brigade with their larger derrières haven’t yet convinced you to show off your curves with pride, the right style dress will work wonders.
Robs top tips…
Choose to seek styles that don’t fit too tightly around your bottom half and, instead, draw attention elsewhere. A-line styles, those with lots of detailing or pattern around the top half or neckline or those that show a little decolletage are going to be a win for you. Don’t forget the power of accessories either – a beautiful chunky and glittery necklace and earrings are a great way to pull attention elsewhere.
“I hate my tummy”
Here’s another worry shared perhaps by the many rather than the few. Unless you have a tiny and taut middle (though how many people really have?) it’s likely you’re a little self-conscious of your midriff. The good news is, dresses, provided they are not too figure hugging, are often a great garment to underplay a not-perfectly-toned tummy.
Robs top tips…
It goes without saying that you don’t want a style that shows every lump and bump so avoid the skin-tight, instead, lean towards something more elegant.
An empire line is a good consideration for you as are floatier fabrics. You may like to avoid too much pattern around the middle, which can be widening, but don’t be afraid to be proud of your stronger features. If you have great legs – get them out!
“I have big boobs”
We don’t need to tell you that there are many ladies out there who are likely wishing they had your problem, but, then, they perhaps haven’t considered the restrictions of always needing to wear a solid bra that rules out flimsy straps and strapless styles.
A large bust can be restricted but there are still loads of beautiful dresses to choose from.
Rob’s top tips…
V-necks and wide necks will help draw the eye away from your bust, though you may prefer to avoid anything too low cut, which will only highlight your bosom. Having said that, remember, that whilst you may want to play down your assets in your office and day-to-day wear, the party season is the perfect time to celebrate what you have.
Sleeveless styles will likely highlight your chest further and focus further attention on your bust.
“I have a flat chest”
If you’re not so well endowed around your top half, you have loads of choices that those with a larger bosom can only dream of. You have the option of a strapless style, but it’s worth bearing in mind that showing lots of flesh around your chest runs the risk of drawing attention there, rather than to the parts you’re more happy with.
Rob’s top tips…
Frills across your top half will serve to disguise the lack of curves, whilst sleeveless styles will draw the eye to your toned arms. If your lighter top half is matched by an overall slenderness don’t shy away from a more body-hugging style, especially those with a cropped overlay, which will accentuate what you do have at the top and create additional shape, whilst further highlighting your waist. Plunging necklines and wide necks are best avoided but remember the backless dress is made for you! High necks can be particularly elegant on you too.
“I think my arms look flabby”
Sadly you don’t have to be far from the other side of 30 for this to be something you’re ever more aware of. If your upper arms have started to lose a little of their elasticity and you’ve come to start feeling you’re at risk of a bingo wing it can be quite distressing, but you need not to feel frumpy. There really are dozens of styles with a sleeve for you.
Rob’s top tips…
This is one of those areas where you’re probably far more aware of your perceived ‘flaw’ than anyone else, but as we said previously that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. To feel confident you’re going to want to pick a style that covers your arms whilst seeking some lovely detailing elsewhere so it doesn’t feel like a compromise.