As a 5'3", overweight, apple-shaped 50ish woman, I know how hard it can be to find flattering clothing.
What to Wear If You're Overweight and Apple-Shaped
Do you cringe when you look at yourself in photos? Do you have bulges and curves in all the wrong places? Do you get depressed when you think about shopping for clothing? Have you ever mortifyingly been asked, "when are expecting?"
You and I, my friend, face a similar dilemma.
It is an uphill battle trying to find appealing outfits for someone like me: 5 feet 3 inches, overweight, apple-shaped, and 50-something. The tips I find online are helpful, but when the photos are for expensive designer outfits made for celebrities or the wealthy, it doesn't leave me much to go on.
I needed to find clothing tips for real women like me.
After years of trial and error, I have found a few nice pieces I rely on that never fail to make me feel confident. Importantly, I've figured out why they work, so I hope my thoughts on this page can be helpful to you, too.
On This Page
- What Does Apple-Shaped Mean?
- Video: Apple-Shaped Body Style Tips
- Style Tips for Overweight, Apple-Shaped Women
- Video: Plus-Size Style Tips
- Photo Guides: Dresses / Pants and Skirts / Tops / Jackets and Outerwear / Swimwear / Everyday Shoes / Dressy Shoes
- Apple-Shaped Celebrities
- Video: Who Is Your Celebrity Body Twin?
- Links for Further Reading
What Does Apple-Shaped Mean?
Apple-shaped women are fuller around the middle. If they gain weight, it shows up around their belly and upper body. They’re usually larger-breasted, and their upper arms and shoulders are broader, too. Their legs tend to be thin and their butts tend to be flat. The ratio of bust to waist to hips is 4:4:3.
Style Tips for Overweight, Apple-Shaped Women
When I look up styling tips for this body shape, I typically see recommendations like this:
The main goal is to create the illusion of a trim waistline. Choose tailored tops, dresses and sweaters. They trim the silhouette, as opposed to boxy tops, which exaggerate a wider waistline. A plunging neckline lengthens the neck and minimizes the chest and torso. Tops and dresses featuring ruching or shirring at the middle or side define a large waistline. Wear straight wide and flare leg pants, which balance the bottom of the body.
- Wear properly fitted bras that support the bust
- Dress in one color/hue/shade to give a uniform look
- Wear clothes that fit properly (do not sag or bind)
- Select garments with vertical lines
- Choose V- or U-shaped necklines
- Avoid bulky fabrics
- Avoid sheer or clingy fabrics
- Avoid styles with extra bulk: frills, pleats, or ruching
- Avoid bright colors and large patterns
- Avoid belts altogether
- Choose pants without cuffs, bulky pockets, or pleats
Read More From Bellatory
Impractical Tips (In My Opinion)
- Avoid oversized handbags. I have a lot of stuff to lug around!
- Wear high heels. I have bad feet, so that rules out high heels for me for everyday wear.
- Choose an empire waist top: This common tip for the apple-shaped body doesn't work for me. In fact, the cinching or gathering below the bust draws attention to my rounded midsection. It only works if you have a flat tummy, or if you can flatten your torso with a body shaper.
More Tips That Work for Me
- I highly recommend medium-weight jersey and knit fabrics with a little spandex for tops, as they provide maximum comfort and movability.
- Dark colors with no pattern or a small pattern are best. Sometimes, a pattern can camouflage lumps and bumps.
- Hip-length tops are more flattering than waist-length tops (think about how waist-length tops slide upward when you lift your arms up!).
- Avoid low-waisted pants. I get a muffin top when I wear pants that are cut this way. What works better for me are loose-fitting pants that sit at the waist and hang straight to the floor.
- When shopping online, stay away from clothes that include the following phrase in the description: "emphasize your feminine curves." This is because you want to de-emphasize your curves! Descriptions that say "easy-care stretch fabric," or "comfortable and effortlessly stylish" are good.
- Wear shoes that are comfortable and that offer good support. Sensible shoes don't have to mean ugly shoes—there are lots to choose from these days. But comfy is key because feeling good is essential to looking good.
- Wear dazzling necklaces to emphasize your neckline. Medium-sized pieces that lie flat work best. Don't go too chunky—this will make you look top-heavy.
Dresses: Photo Guide
Pants and Skirts: Photo Guide
Tops: Photo Guide
Jackets and Outerwear: Photo Guide
Swimwear: Photo Guide
Everyday Shoes: Photo Guide
Dressy Shoes: Photo Guie
- 4 Ways the Fashion Industry Is Embracing the 'Plus-Size' Movement | Elite Daily
The fashion industry is embracing the "plus-size" movement through social media, bloggers, online retailers and celebrities.
- No Longer Ignored, Retailers Catering to Curvy Women | CNBC
The fashion and retail industries have turned an eye toward the often ignored plus-size apparel category, generating a 7 percent sales increase.
- How Plus-Size Women Are Constructing A New Normal | The Fader
Plus-size people are reconstituting the new size norm.
- Plus-Size Workout Clothes: Brands That Are Leading The Way | HuffPost
The growing awareness of "healthy at any size" has forced brands and retailers to step up!
- The Best Plus-Size and Size-Inclusive Fashion Brands | The Telegraph
In search of something new? We've rounded up the best brands that offer something for everyone.
© 2012 Tranquilheart
Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on August 20, 2020:
The clothing pictures are mainly from macys.com and asos.com, a few from oldnavy.gap.com, others I can't remember
Lourdes on August 19, 2020:
Could you please provide the store where you have acquire these clothing pieces? I am 5'1", between size 16 to 18. It is really hard to get fun clothing on this size and height. Thanks.
Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on December 05, 2019:
Hello Carolyn Cannings, your outfit sounds elegant & fun! I'm glad my tips helped you out. And I'm so pleased that you felt very comfortable because that is what I aim for. Thank you for sharing your lovely experience here with us. Wishing you many more. Cheers!
Carolyn Cannings on December 02, 2019:
Just wanted to let you know, with your help I chose black pants, black cami with diamantes around the neckline and a hip-length jacket for my son's wedding. My outfit was a great success. I felt very comfortable and also felt quite dressed-up. I received quite a few compliments, not something I am used to hearing. Thank you for your wonderful HubPage.
Carolyn Cannings on September 06, 2019:
This is very very helpful. The photos are so encouraging because you have used real ladies instead of 6' tall size 10 models! I'm planning my outfit for my son's coming wedding and your tips were just what I've been looking for. Much appreciated
Yogita on August 18, 2019:
Please give some tips for Indian wear I. Am 4ft 9inch and little chubby
Nitin Patil from Surat on April 18, 2019:
Great tips for women.......
Memey on March 31, 2019:
nimrakhan111015 on March 22, 2019:
Good tips very informative
Tranquilheart (author) from Canada on November 05, 2018:
rbsof : Macys.com
rbsof on November 02, 2018:
Hi where can I find the A-line swing dress with floral placement print?
PaulaPlaytex on August 22, 2018:
I'm an "Overweight Male"...I always wear my Matching Bras and Panties.
Patricia Ring from Sugar Land on July 19, 2018:
Perfect clothing tips for every type of body shapes, thank you for sharing this beautiful information.
yogesh pal from India on June 22, 2018:
Thanks so much,
for sharing this informative post and I like the way you described all the things with perfect information.
now I can share this with my friend
Fishbark on May 26, 2018:
Thank you! It was as though I was writing the article myself. It was as though you were in my head. I never wear pleated skirts or pants. I never wear a belt. I never wear empire waist. Thank you for your beautiful common sense.
Mike Ralph from Singapore on May 14, 2018:
Amazingly created this post with so many beautiful pictures. Loved completely. It will inspire so many fat people to think about a fashion actually. These tips will help indeed.