style tips carol parker walsh

24 Dressing Tips for Women of All Sizes

By Carol

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Everybody has a body shape and specific clothes that flatter it. There isn’t one item that flatters everyone. It’s up to each of us to discover what our body likes to wear.

In order to find clothes that will flatter you, the fashion industry has used language to “help” the buyer move closer to finding their ideal fit. Some words that are used are petite, plus size, missy sizing, extra tall, or women’s sizing. You’ve probably heard of these terms plus more.

Not everyone loves the terms that are used. A “petite” person may hate that word…or love it. A “curvy” person may rebel against the term plus-size…or love it..

Maybe you prefer a different language system for fashion sizing but the goal remains the same: you want clothes that fit and flatter.

Knowing these terms may or may not be your favorites, let’s suspend that discussion and work with what we have right now. Here are some tips to help you work with clothes that will help you feel balanced, proportional, and happy with the way you look.

If you’re 5’4” or shorter, you’re familiar with the word petite. Petites come in all sizes.

Here are a few figure flattering tips.

1. If you have a fuller bustline, empire waists can feel great. You can even create an empire waist where one didn’t exist when you wear a maxi dress and belt it just under your bustline.

2. Wear a fuller skirt with a hemline that’s higher in the front than the back and then add a fitted top or fitted blouse. This high-low length on the skirt adds interest. Where a straight line can be static, a curved line has movement. Highlighting part of your body with a closer fitting piece and letting another part of the body enjoy more volume is figure flattering. All tight or all loose may be less flattering.

3. Sometimes petite sizing is not right for you even if you’re under 5’4”. You may be long in the torso or broader in the shoulders and non-petite sizes could be a better fit.

4. Taller people will be looking down at you from above if you’re petite. Make adjustments to the amount of cleavage you reveal, as the view will be different from above.

5. Don’t let long billowy sleeves take over your frame. Roll them up to the elbow to manage the volume or have them altered. Always alter sleeve length on jackets. You don’t want clothes to overwhelm you.

6. If your slim trousers or jeans are bunching at the ankle, they are weighing your look down. Either roll up a narrow jean or be sure to hem a narrow trouser so it shows your ankles. Wearing a pump with an ankle pant is great. It’s wonderful to expose some skin.

7. When you’re wearing knee-length or shorter skirts, keep the color of your tights the same as your booties.

8. Wear a cropped jean jacket over a midi or maxi dress and don’t forget the hat and sunglasses, which will bring attention up to your face. Creating different lines in an outfit keeps the eye moving around your whole outfit. A well put together outfit puts attention on your personality, which goes way beyond shape.

If you’re 5’9” or taller, you’ll likely be looking for clothes tailored for a taller frame.

You will want to find stores that offer clothes that are specially proportioned for you. There may be items that will work for you outside of that category depending on your length of torso and legs. Here are a few tips for you.

1. If standard jeans ride above your ankle, cuff them into a fashion forward length.

2. Favor jackets that have sleeves that are three-quarter length or if regular jackets fit your frame better but the sleeves are short, alter them to be three-quarter length. This is a great length for summer and fashion forward.

3. If you’re happy adding height to your frame, a heeled pump can balance out a long foot and accentuate your height.

4. Break up the outfit by using color or pattern in different pieces of the same outfit.

5. Increase the scale of your accessories or layer more accessory pieces by adding more necklaces, more bangles, more rings. This simple trick can bring balance to your height.

6. Capes or ponchos hang nicely on a tall frame and can add so much interest to your outfit. Find them in warm fabrics for fall or cooler fabrics for spring/summer.

7. If a jacket is too short or cropped, add a longer blouse or T-shirt under the jacket. Tops hanging lower than jackets or cardigans is a current fashion look.

8. Go big. Embrace large-scale prints in knee-length coats, sheath dresses and pants.

Here are some fashion tips that are relevant to all sizes.

1. Ensure the size you purchase remains that size by avoiding putting your clothes into a hot dryer. Use a cool setting or hang your clothes out to dry.

2. If your dress is too short, wear it as a tunic with a legging or a skinny jean.

3. Be sure there’s plenty of interest in your outfit from the waist up. The intention is to bring attention to your face, which is your communication center.

4. Regardless of your shape, get the perfect fit by taking your clothes to a tailor.

5. Baggy sleeves on a jacket, blouse or dress can add unwanted width. A simple alteration is to trim the sleeves to get rid of the extra volume.

6. With pants or maxi dresses, don’t let them hang on the ground. Either add heels or get them hemmed.

7. Use non-wire hangers on your clothes so they keep their shape. Fold fine knits so they don’t stretch.

8. Try on everything. There are many online resources available to women of all sizes. If you shop online, try the clothes on right away and return the ones that don’t fit.


Fit is incredible important in clothing selections, however, you have to first know what to purchase. Shopping is not about acquiring things, it’s about filling your wardrobe with those pieces that represent who you are and the clarity of your journey ahead. It should create a “wow” factor not only in your mind but in the mind of everyone around you.

I can show you. Let’s talk.
It’s possible if you know you are ready!  Book a confidence image strategy call with me.
Live, laugh, and confidently shine!
Carol 😉

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About The Carol

I'm a 50 years young curvy fashionista enjoying my "second life." I'm a wife, mom of 3 and 1 goldendoodle. I'm a recovering attorney, accidental professor, successful jewelry stylist, and ...