Dressing My Not-Stick-Skinny Body

on dressing aOnce in a while, I’m following a favorite super-skinny blogger and get majorly envious. NOT envious because I’m unhappy with my own body, but envious of the outfit alone.  That outfit… the one that makes my heart skip a beat, and the one that I KNOW will NEVER work on this short, stocky, athletic build.

At 5’3″ and 145 lbs, I pride myself on giving women style advice applicable to a variety shapes and sizes. I’ve gone through four decades of my life being the “big-boned” one of the five of us kids, and living through the weight fluctuations that late-night college partying and four kids brought. Here I am today, entering a new phase of mid-life body changes. And I’m proud to say, these 40 plus years have taught me WHAT and WHAT NOT to wear.

Boy, it sure would be nice to be able to “throw on” just about anything, but I was born with this body and am determined to make the most of it. Behind even my most effortless-seeming outfits is a strategy: one that has been built from many years of trial and error. I thought you may appreciate reading what goes through my head when getting dressed each and every day.

  1. Monochrome.  I like to wear one continuous color from top to bottom, creating the longest line and most flattering silhouette. Color and pattern can be introduced through a vest or jacket outside the monochromatic base.
  2. If you have a favorite item and you love the way it looks, find more of versions of it!  Although styles may come and go, you can always keep the piece current with accompanying clothing and accessories. Pencil skirts, flared jeans and straight-legged trousers are a few of the items that have been cycling in my wardrobe for decades, despite what’s “current”.
  3. Darker colors are more slimming. Navy and black are the friends who never let me down. If you want to wear a lighter-colored more fitted piece, consider wearing a base layer or shapewear to conceal lines and jiggles.
  4. Knee-high boots are essential in helping these short, muscular legs more confidently wear skinny jeans, leggings and midi skirts.  (I’d SO love to bust out those Gucci loafers I bought two years and wear them with skinny jeans, but they sit and collect dust for just this reason.)
  5. Vests and jackets help to cover my belly bulge while looking put together. From casual quilted designs to black tie-worthy blazers, they are a present day essential for me. Longer versions (I often order my blazers in LONG) allow me to wear skinny jeans and leggings more comfortably.
  6. Most of my dresses and skirts are shortened to just below the knee for the most flattering hemline. I’m careful when I wear midis (slightly longer) for they can often be an unflattering length. When I do, I wear higher boots in the cooler months and nude sandals or pumps in the warmer months to avoid looking “cut off.”
  7. Bold and chunky earrings, necklaces and bangles balance out my frame much better than small, dainty jewelry.
  8. Belts have become a closet staple for me. With age came a disappearing waist. I’ve recently been using thicker belts to create a waistline on fitted dresses and pencil skirts, and to cinch the outside of wraps, blazers and jackets.
  9. Suede, skin-toned pumps are my fall go-to when wearing skirts and dresses to avoid “cankles”.
  10. I never, EVER leave the house without a good, padded bra. This helps to conceal my post-partum pooch. (Honestly, I’m past the point that I can legitimately call it “post-partum”.)

I am a firm believer that one of the best parts about being a woman is the plethora of things that we can do to achieve the look we want. The art of dressing is no exception. As my husband says as he completes his two minute post-shower routine, and while I’m laboring over my outfit…

“It sure takes a lot of work to be you.”

… and I proudly agree every time.



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