I have big problems. I am 5'8" and wear a size 14. I carry all of my weight right in my mid-section and am very large chested (thanks for the great legs, Mom!). This makes the supposedly slimming wrap tops/dresses a nightmare for me! Baby doll styles leave me looking 7 months pregnant and I am at a loss! I am on an eternal quest to find tops that flatter my figure without tugging, hugging or impregnating me! Can you please help me?
Thank you! Jules
This is a dilemma that I hear time and time again, and we are going to get you headed in the right direction right away! The very first thing that you need to do is make certain that you have a fabulous bra. And by fabulous, I mean going in for a professional bra fitting. I cannot emphasize how important this is, and how it will change your life forever (for the better!) I would suggest going to a major department store - Bloomies, Nordies, Saks, Victoria's Secret - who usually do bra consultations for free (I had mine done at Victoria's Secret). The proper bra will keep the girls locked and loaded so you won't have to worry about the trauma's that occur with an ill-fitting bra (too much cleavage, uni-boob, underarm bulge, etc.) It will also open up entirely new wardrobe possibilities!
Now that you are properly supported, you will find that those slimming wrap tops/dresses actually are an option now! One concern that curvy women have, however, is over-exposure of the girls in a wrap style top or dress. A gorgeous cami will solve that problem toute suite, and can even bump up the volume a bit if you go with something lacy or with a little shimmer.
I would, however, stay away from anything in a babydoll style or a traditional empire waist style. This does not totally rule out the empire waistline, just anything that is voluminous enough to make you look prego. Try looking for a modified empire style that hits below the bustline but just above the natural waistline. A twist-front top or dress is a good option, because it flows from below the bust gently over the hips and is soooo flattering.
Button down shirts are also very figure flattering; just make sure that when you are trying them on you get the size that fits across the bust (even if you have to go up a size) then have it tailored to fit. Same with a blazer or jacket. If you make sure it fits across the bust and is not too snug in the upper arm area it will be so much more flattering and slimming. Also, look for blazers and jackets that have seaming to emphasize your slim waist and hourglass figure.