Reader Request: Rocking Trends That Aren’t Traditionally Flattering

unflattering trends

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Reader Madeline had this request.

I love pieces about dressing not necessarily for your “body type.” For example: the older I get (lol I’m 23) the less interested I am in wearing bras with padding. I just don’t care about creating curves as much, I’d rather just run with the little boob thing. So I’d love to hear about how to rock trends that aren’t “flattering” on you — I just embrace the drapey trend without feeling like I have to create boobs, and it’s awesome.

I’d be willing to bet that, like many of us, Madeline’s preference for unpadded bras is a difficult one to see to fruition. The world seems to think that ALL bras – but especially A and B cups – must have padding. Because the world mistakenly believes that all women want the appearance of larger, lifted breasts. But that’s really a side note, here.

I believe that you can and should show your body’s form, no matter how short, tall, bumpy, smooth, big, or small that form may be – proudly, happily, and without shame or fear. In my experience, wearing nothing but oversized tops and voluminous pants will create the optical illusion of more body, larger body, out-of-proportion body. And most of the women I’ve spoken to and worked with aren’t fond of the proportions that are created by all-volume-everywhere outfits. But not everyone feels that way. Some women will never be comfortable in fitted clothing. Ever. No matter how many compliments roll in. And that could be because of abuse, or anxiety, or plain old personal preference. No woman will ever look good if she doesn’t feel good, and part of feeling good is feeling comfortable as well as confident, beautiful, and powerful.

So I guess what I’m really saying is don’t let anyone make you feel like your body is not “good enough” to show off in form-fitting clothes. Showing your figure is a right, not a privilege. But, as always, the choice is yours. Wear what makes you look as you want to look, feel confident, tap into your personal stores of visual self-expression.

And that, of course, includes trendy items that aren’t traditionally “flattering.” Some folks adore the style of cardigan pictured above – call it waterfall, open-front, drape-front, what have you – but I find them to be quite good at waist-hiding and volume-adding. They are, however, comfy, graceful, and everywhere. And if you love the idea of a cardigan but a traditional crew-neck button-front one makes you feel like you’re being shoved into a school uniform, by all means! Waterfall away! And that goes for absolutely any trend you want to try, from baggy joggers to high-waisted skinnies to bulky sweaters. Regardless of your size, age, ability, or any other parameters. Try it on and if you like how it looks and it gels with your overall personal style, wear it proudly.

Will everyone you meet be thrilled by your sartorial choices? Maybe not. Will some experts declare that you should only wear trends that suit your figure in traditionally flattering ways? Yep. Will you occasionally indulge in a trend for a period, then see photos of yourself years later and think, “ACK! That looked terrible on me!” Possible. But frankly, who cares? There are countless factors in our lives that make them stressful and complicated and difficult, so the way I see it, wearing something that makes you feel uplifted and happy even if it’s just in the moment has undeniable value.

You make your own figure-flattery priorities, and you decide when those priorities shift, change, or need to be temporarily bent. Dress to feel good, whatever that means to you as an individual.

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4 Responses to “Reader Request: Rocking Trends That Aren’t Traditionally Flattering”

  1. MeMeYou

    Interesting. Because I see the trends as a plus size woman as more body-con, but that’s the last look I want to go for. Give me loose, flowy fabrics any day.

  2. livi

    Loose, flowy fabrics for me, too. Even when I was thin I never liked shirts that cling to my middle. I not only don’t like how they look, but I hate how it feels.

    Up until a couple years ago I wore straight or wide leg trousers with loose (but not long) tops. Then one day I took a leap and wore leggings with a long tunic, and I loved it. Is it flattering on short, fat me? Probably not. Probably makes me look top heavy, but I don’t give af. I feel great; comfortable and pretty, and like I finally found my style in my mid-thirties.

    As a fat person there is no clothing that will make me look not fat, so I focus on what I find aesthetically pleasing and don’t worry about anything else.

  3. Emmy

    1. Put on clothes.
    2. Don’t give a fuck what anyone else thinks about your clothes or how you look in them.

    The point is, to ‘rock’ a trend is not a technique or skill, it’s an attitude.

  4. Erika

    I am all about the waterfall cardigans, even though they hide my waist. I like wearing them with leggings or a really long, flowy skirt, which makes me feel like a fancay artiste even though I am not one at all. I am aware some things look good on me, some things feel good on me, and some things are both. Those that are both are what I shoot for, but I’d rather feel good than look excellent in a photo.