Body Type Matters

In my younger and fancy free days, there were really only three requirements when it came to wardrobe choices: trendy, CHEAP and just a little bit risky. I experimented a lot with my fashion choices and was never one to shy away from a piece that was quirky or unexpected. The only thought I gave to what you would call “figure-flattering” was if it showed off too many body parts at the same time. The older I get (and the older my body gets), I find that these rules simply don’t cut it anymore. I no longer just want a closet full of cheap, trendy pieces, I want outfits that truly fit my particular body type and that accentuate the parts of me that I am proud to still hold on to.

So with both of our 30-something birthdays looming, we decided that this was a good time to explore the clothes that really showed off the best of the what we uniquely have to offer. As a mom, the realization that I can no longer get away with throwing on a little mini skirt and strappy tank hasn’t been a hard one really–I enjoy comfort, BUT what has been a struggle the last 2 years is coming to terms with the changes my body has gone through. So with this in mind, I thought there would be no better time than for our birthdays that we choose to celebrate this instead of lamenting it. Not to mention it gave us a chance to do a little shopping together- something we haven’t had the chance to do in a very long time! Thus the quest for birthday party dresses began.

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Erinn Says…

My body type is pear-shaped I think I went from banana-shaped to pear after child! I’ve always had a more athletic build, with muscular arms and legs and not a lot of curve. After having a baby(and time taking it’s toll), my athletic shape has morphed into more pear and suddenly I needed to start thinking about how to balance my upper half with my bottom. Here are some things us pears should consider-

  • Focus the attention upward. This means putting the most vibrant colors or patterns on the top and simple shapes on the bottom.
  • Embellish around the neck. Statement necklaces are a great option to pull the attention upwards or even trying out interesting necklines like a high neck or even cutouts to accentuate the shoulders does wonders to balance out a wider hip (I never really thought about this one before, but will definitely be trying it out! See some ideas below)
  • Layer it up. I’m not necessarily talking about loading on pounds of fabric here, but dresses that have overlays or even a wrap dress with some weight on the top half are all good for minimizing the bottom half.
  • Wide is good (seriously? OK!) Shift dresses are my friend. Pear shapes can easily get away a simple box shape that balances out both halves of the body, but length is important. Dresses should hit above the knee for this one to work, otherwise it makes a pear look squatty. Dresses and tops that are off the shoulder are also a great option because they flow away from the body and bring the focus up toward the face.
  • Get a little structure. So this one is almost the antithesis of the previous ideas, but it really works. If you’re not going to go for a shift or layers, pull it in close to the body. Pieces that have strong structural elements can help guide the eye towards your. strongest aspects and can help to lengthen the body. Heels help with this too!

So with these tips in mind, I tried on several different dress options aimed at drawing the attention upwards, instead of accentuating my hips.

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First of all, I LOVE Free People. I feel like they are my clothing spirit animal. BUT, not all their pieces work for me. This one (old, similar here and here) however, hits many of the categories pear shapes should look for. The crochet detail on the top half of this dress, combined with the high neck line, really pull attention upward and the skirt flows away from the body without adding too much volume. Just a bit short for me to be comfortable though!

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This Splendid dress  (sold out, similar here and here) was the prettiest color of blue! And it definitely had the layers pears should try out, but I felt like the straps made my shoulders wider and gave me too much of a boxy shape. Maybe with the right heels to elongate the body this one would work.

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This is not a dress I would normally try on, but in the spirit of embracing my assets, I went for it (sold out, similar here and here). The high neck and the asymmetrical structure of this piece really worked to elongate my body and give my more of a balanced shape. The back also added some visual interest!

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This last one was a surprise. The wrap dress with the ruffles and embroidery initially seemed like too much. But after trying it on, I was surprised how it not only added some balance to my top half, it made my thicker legs look somewhat thin! A total win in my book! Also, hilariously, MB and I both tried on this dress and it looked COMPLETELY different on her! If anything taught me that body type matters, it was this one.

 

Shop the shopping trip-

           

Erinn’s Outfit-

         

Other Pear Shaped Ideas…

Date Night-

Primary Image of Off the Shoulder Shirt       

top- loft// jeans- gap // shoes- anthropologie //earrings- madewell

Work-

      

Skirt- loft// blouse- nordstrom// necklace- gorjana// shoes- anthropologie

Mommin’Around-

    Primary Image of Lou & Grey Cocoon Cardigan   

Stretch denim dress- j.crew// cardigan- loft// bracelets- free people// sandals- dolce vita

MB Says…

I’m an hourglass.  I’m for sure not a Kardashian kind of hourglass; I’m more of a linebacker-shoulders-and-good-birthing-hips kind of hourglass.  Pre-child, I always accentuated my waist, but post-child, I feared doing so, convinced it would draw dramatic attention to my post-baby pooch.  I wanted to cover the pooch, the muffin-top, and the rolls, so I draped myself in billowy, boxy, wide shapes to hide hide hide.  Turns out, this was the most unflattering thing I could have done, and it took me about two years to figure it out.  Here are some things for you child-rearing hourglasses to keep in mind:

  • Your narrowest point is your waist, so you have to emphasize it, not hide it.  Anything that nips in or belts at the waist is ideal.   And it absolutely does NOT highlight the pooch; it highlights the curves.
  • Avoid anything shapeless or boxy.  Sure, shift dresses are darling, but keep moving on down the rack, sister.  They’re not for you.  Wide frocks don’t cover up the pooch at all; in fact, they add bulk to our frames, making us appear to be heavier than we are.  Hourglass shapes need to draw on the natural contrast created between our widest points.  Anything that masks that waistline just makes us look like a giant rectangle.  And then in every picture you take, you’ll need to double tea-cup pose just to balance it out.  Not worth it.
  • Skirts and dresses need to have volume or a classic cut.  A-line, pencil, and tulip cuts are ideal for our shape.  A-line will help our waists look tiny.  Pencil and tulip, especially if they’re high-waisted, pull double-duty; they accentuate both our waists and our curves.
  • Avoid short dresses and skirts.  Think back to high school: the rule was when you put your hands down at your sides, the hem of your skirt couldn’t hit your leg higher than your middle finger.  Back then it was for modesty, but now it’s for flattery.   Short cuts draw horizontal attention to our hips, which makes us look bottom-heavy.
  • V-neck, halter, sweetheart, and scoop necklines are the most flattering for our shape because they’re slimming.  They draw attention downward towards our narrowest part (our waist) and prevent us from appearing too top-heavy.  Big boobs are never a bad thing to have on hand, but we don’t want to look disproportionate.  It’s all about balance.

So, armed with these pointers, I went out shopping for the perfect dress to accentuate my figure.

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A-line? Check.  V-neck? Check.  For me, though, this Joie dress had a bit too low of a V, so I kept looking.
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Flattering neckline?  Check.  Nipped in? Eh…this ASTR dress nipped in under the bust, so it would have been more flattering if that seam was a couple of inches lower.  And the straps were way too long, so alterations would have been necessary.  I absolutely loved the pattern on this dress and its super sexy strappy back, but it wasn’t a perfect fit for me.
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This Free People dress caught my eye because of the amazing lace detail.  It definitely nipped in at the waist and the cut gave a sweetheart effect, but this was too short for me and drew too much horizontal attention to my hips.
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Now this is more like it.  Without the belt on this Splendid dress, I would have looked 20 pounds heavier.  This belt is the perfect way to break up the pattern and draw attention to my waist.

 

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This Free People dress hit it out of the park for me.  Halter?  Check.  Nipped in at the waist?  Check. Volume in the skirt?  Check.  Mastercard?  Check.

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Proof that body type is everything.  Erinn and I tried on the same Free People dress.  It completely works on her, but was a disaster on me.  Firstly, I couldn’t wear it the right way because the V-neck was super low for me, so I turned it backwards.  Secondly, although the back is adorable, the front doesn’t work because I have ruffles on my bust, which makes an hourglass shape like me look top-heavy.  Plus, the extra fabric completely hides my waist.  Needless to say, the dress went home with her, and rightfully so.

Shop the shopping trip:

Joie 'Suzanna' Lace Fit & Flare Dress ASTR Ruffle Surplice High/Low Maxi Dress Splendid Official Store, Larkspur Printed Dress, navy, Womens : Dresses : Short, SD10500 Product Image: So Sweetly Mini Dress  Product Image: Sylvia Mini Dress  Product Image: Dahlia Dress

MB’s shopping outfit:

Product Image, click to zoom       

Other ideas for hourglasses:

Dress-up/Date Night:

Leith Wrap Front Body-Con Midi Dress J.O.A. Lattice Trim Fit & Flare Dress  Topshop Strappy V-Neck Dress  Product Image: Clearly A Dream Dress    Product Image, click to zoom

Work:

Eliza J Polka Dot Jersey Faux Wrap Dress (Regular & Petite)  Splendid Official Store, Marina Pinstripe Shirtdress, natural, Womens : Dresses : Short, SD10442     Chelsea28 Popover Crop Jumpsuit Julia Jordan Woven Gingham Shirtdress 

Mommin’ Around:

 Product photo 2    Product Image, click to zoom     

Erinn’s Final Pick!

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Outfit Details-

Dress- Leith// Sandals-old, similar here//Sunglasses- Quay //Earrings- free people//clutch-old, similar here //bracelet-old, similar here

 

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