Teen Plus Size

Dear Kathi,

My step-daughter has a clothing problem. She is all chest and wants to know what to wear to appear less chesty. Any easy advice for a teenager?

Peggy, San Diego

Peggy,

Start with making sure that your step-daughter has a properly fitting bra. She should be re-sized by a lingerie professional each year as she matures. Seamless off-white bras, smooth and without a fabric pattern are the easiest styles to coordinate with every type of clothing your step-daughter might wear. Under wire bras will provide the best support.

Clothing details for a large-chested woman to avoid on shirts or jackets include wide lapels, pockets over the breast area, large buttons, huge prints and baggy cuts.

Instead, choose empire cuts with seams just under the breastline. Empire styles also help to define the waistline. Many large-breasted women are short waisted and this seaming really helps provide definition to an otherwise straight line.

V-necklines are great to elongate the torso. Be careful not to expose too much cleavage-under a deep plunging neckline wear a camisole or lightweight t-shirt.

When layering shirts, choose solid colors and eschew large patterns on the outer layer. A great look is to combine a close fitting shirt under a lightweight jacket. This close cut top provides definition and the jacket camouflages any extra large curves.

Wear blouses with minimal decoration. Choose to focus embellishments and accessories on the eyes, jeans, shoes, etc. In other words, draw the eye away from the chest area and emphasize the other more favored areas of the body. If her eyes are exceptional, choose eye shadows that bring out their beauty. If she has long legs, wear slacks that make them appear even longer and leaner. If her hair is a great feature, she might want to wear hair accessories that attract the eye to that portion of her overall image.

Shoes are an easy way to draw attention down the torso. Choose pointed toe shoes to help elongate the bodyline. Wear cute rounded toes with interesting details. Avoid clunky shoes, as these add weight to the bottom of your image and also stop the eye at your feet instead of encouraging them to scan up and down.

The faster the eye travels up and down an object, the longer and leaner it will appear. This is a good rule of thumb for everyone.

Choose your best feature and work on bringing attention to that area. Don’t dismay if (in your mind) there is one part of your body that is less than acceptable. We all have at least one aspect that we would trade in if we could. The point is to de-emphasize that area and play up the feature that you are most pleased with! Lead the eye to that area with extra color, accessories or embellishments. Have fun, try a few playful image tricks with your friends and see if you get any compliments.

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San Diego Professional Organizer