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Size doesn’t describe your beauty

We all agree that Marilyn Monroe is one of the top style icons for the Bombshell style. She wore a size 8. Oprah claims to be a size 14. Lady Diana Spencer wore a UK size 14 (US 12) at her engagement and a size 10 (US 8) at her wedding when she became Princess of Wales. Salma Hayek is a US size 0 to 2, but sometimes 4. She needs a lot of tailoring because of her curves. Khloe Kardashian wears a US size 6 to 8.

Looking at these iconic women one has to come to the conclusion:
Size is just a number. #dress4success Click To Tweet
Its only purpose is to give you a brought orientation to navigate thru the racks of clothes to find your perfect fit.

#midlifefashion woman in a LBD in size 4 styled for work
Black GAP sheath dress in size 4 with brown Gucci belt, brown opaque GNW tights, brown Clark booties, Hermes collier de chien bangle and statement necklace (all own)

Secrets of great style independent of size

What’s the secret of all these women to look awesome no matter what the size tag says? They don’t care about the number, but about fit. Now how can you be happy with your size and feel awesome? They (or their stylists) are aware of the following and work accordingly:

  1. There are size X and size X where here X stands for an arbitrary size of your choice. Every designer cuts the size X differently. Thus, don’t care about the size tag. Wearing clothes that fit you well make you look your best. Take always three sizes in the fitting room. One in the size you think you are, one in a size lower and one in a size higher than that. Then try them all on and buy the one which one fits best. Never buy something that does not fit or cannot be altered to fit.
  2. Be sure to have items tailored if it is needed. If you wear a different size at the top than bottom – like I do – always remember that it is easier for a tailor to nip something in than to let something out. When you are petite ask whether they can alter it to fit your petite frame. In a dress, you don’t want the waist hanging on your hip. If you are tall make sure the waist of the dress hits the right spot as well.
  3. Make illusions work in your favor. If you want to appear slim, vertical seams like a Princess cut work in your favor. A well tailored dress or jacket can easily give the illusion that you lost 11 lb (5 kg). Vertical thin stripes also make the eye go up and down and give the impression of being taller than you actually are. Long necklaces can also do this trick. Heels elongate the body and that’s just one reason to wear heels. Avoid any horizontal lines – whether it is pockets, darts or stripes – like the plague when you strive to look tall and/or lean
  4. Work with color to accentuate or hide features. Choose dark colors where you are the widest, light where you are the slimmest. Warning! Unless you are naturally a deep colorwise or have a long neck, avoid black close to your face. Dark colors often show-cast forehead lines.
  5. Make sure you get the proportions right or use them consciously. On jeans, pocket flaps or tiny (large) pockets make your bum look huger (smaller) than it actually is. When you want to appear more curvy you may want to wear tiny pockets or flaps. You also can use hems strategically. Doing so can work both ways too, to camouflage a wide part or to show-cast a slim part. For example, you don’t want cropped pants or boots hit where your calves are at their widest. Not sure about what’s you body shape? Then take this free body shape  quiz to find out.
  6. Never buy clothes that are too small with the intend to loose weight! It is just a recipe for frustration and a waste of money.

Take home message: Great fit makes you look more confident and love your body. This love and confidence show and make you look your best. #dress4success Click To Tweet

over 50 years style blogger in a LBD labeled with a tag 4 styled for work
Side view of black GAP sheath dress styled with Hermes collier de chien bangle, brown GNW Luxe cashmere sweater, brown GNW tight, brown Clarks booties, and brown Gucci belt (all own) for a modern work look

Still not convinced that size is just a number for (very) broad orientation?

US/Canada US UK Europe Italy Australia Japan
2 XS 4 32 36 6 5
4 S 6 34 38 8 7
6 S 8 36 40 10 9
8 M 10 38 42 12 11
10 M 12 40 44 14 13
12 L 14 42 46 16 15
14 L 16 44 48 18 17
16 XL/1X 18 46 50 20 19
18 1X/2X 20 48 52 22 21
20 XXL/2X 22 50 54 24 23
22 3X 24 52 56 26 25
24 3X 26 54 58 28 27
Size doesn’t matter, fit does. #dress4success Click To Tweet

In a nutshell

Finding the perfect fitting clothes is important. To achieve this goal size doesn’t matter, but the fit. Of course there are some clothing that add bulk due to their material or cut. In this case, you can make vertical lines work for you so that you even look slim in a waterfall cardigan and not look fat in a shearling coat. The trick to add vertical lines even works when when layering fall pieces for winter.

Size doesn't define you. #perfectfit Click To Tweet

Don’t let the right outfit be a random thing. Wear the right look in every situation by looking up what to wear when in How to Dress for Success in MidlifeBuy my book now.

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Photos: G. Kramm

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