Looking hot may not be the first thing on your mind this summer when you’re feeling so warm you might melt. But it’s possible to find styles that flatter your figure when the heat is on. Whether you’re worried about how your butt looks in a bathing suit or what to wear to the office, here are some ways to help you feel cool and confident, regardless of your body type.
Throwing on a pair of shorts seems like a no-brainer, right? Wrong. Runway styles this season have leaned toward daring Daisy Dukes, hot pants and boy shorts – hardly looks that every body type can rock. Many celebrity stylists don’t even like shorts. But it’s possible to find styles that complement every body type. One mistake that fuller-figured women make is to hide under bulky clothing. Tailored, clean lines are the way to go when it comes to slimming your figure.
Avoid pleats, elastic waistbands and large, sloppy pockets. Many apple-shaped women tend to have great legs and look great in the right shorts, even some of the shorter styles. Pear-shaped women may tend to select wide-legged shorts, when these can make the bottom half look larger. Try a Bermuda-length short in a neutral color to elongate legs. A neutral shoe that is close to the leg color can help with that lengthening illusion.
The annual trip to the store to find a swimsuit strikes fear in the hearts of most women, especially those who may not feel confident about exposing their bodies in public. Be realistic when you begin your search. Focus on the areas of your body that you love, and play them up. If there’s anything you’d like to cover or control, keep those in mind as well.
The thighs and hips may be the parts that worry women most, and a modest bikini line seems to be the way to camouflage those lovely lumps, right? Think again. A higher-cut leg actually creates the illusion of elongating the leg and making it slimmer. And if you like bikini styles, then choosing one that dips or makes a V shape in the front can minimize large hips. Larger-busted women need more support – a string bikini top just won’t do it.
Look for molded cups with underwire, and if you want to minimize a large chest, then a sports style is a great way to do it. Smaller-chested women can use ruffles, stripes and padding to create the illusion of cleavage. If you’re worried about a tummy, then try a high-waisted bikini with a control top, or explore materials used in brands like Miraclesuit, Shape fx and Spanx. Take the anxiety out of the dressing room by shopping online with merchants who have lenient return policies.
This way, you can order the suits and try them on in the comfort and privacy of your own home and return the ones you reject, instead of in a cramped dressing room, under the watch of a nosy saleslady.
When it comes to shirts, streamlined is tops in summer. If you’re trying to minimize a large chest, then go for smooth looks – avoid ruffles and other embellishments that add bulk up top. Vibrant patterns in gauzy fabrics will keep you cool and flatter most figures. Tunics are wonderful, cool choices for summer, but a little structure can make a difference between a sloppy and a tailored look.
And while most women have heard that horizontal stripes are a no-no, that’s not always the case. Thin, pinstriped horizontal stripes can be worn and not add size. They work best with a blazer or suit jacket in order to break up the widening illusion. Most women with curves look fantastic in wrap shirts – they go great with most summer bottoms and can be found in vibrant colors.
It’s tough to go from the hot parking lot of an office into its almost-freezing, air-conditioned interior. But that is the line you must toe when the weather heats up. Regardless of your office’s dress code, layering is the answer to this temperature conundrum. A cool, professional tank top that is structured and fits well goes great under lightweight blazers, cardigans and suit jackets. If you don’t want to go sleeveless, then a dressy t-shirt or short-sleeved button-down blouse works well.
A pretty sheath dress in a lightweight material is always a classy choice to pair with jackets, and they’re fun to accessorize. On the bottom, the same rules apply as they do for shorts: stay streamlined. Pleats and flares are “don’ts” for most shapes – they simply add bulk on the bottom. A well-fitting pencil skirt that contours but doesn’t hug your curves is a great look for anyone. Be sure to shop for your height – women who are 5’4″ or shorter should try petite styles; taller women should look for inseams and skirt lengths that fit their legs, too.
Experiment with light materials, like cotton and linen, if you must wear a suit. Fashionable ¾-length sleeves can keep you cool if you must wear a jacket.
Take the heat off of deciding what to wear for summer by taking your body type into consideration as you select clothing. You should feel cool, comfortable and confident in whatever you decide.