The Fabulous Curvy Older Woman Style: Move over Chanel!

by | Mar 18, 2019 | Clothing Styles | 14 comments

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                                                          Stock photo from zdyma4/Shutterstock


This article has been done with Collaborative comments (in bold italics from Jeanette Ball and also with Clothing style input and illustrations from Artist Tina Mercadante

I love fashion, but I love people more!     My journey into creating authentic style – for myself and others – is a continuing challenge.     But I am doing what I love. Image consultant, personal shopper, stylist and decorator – it has all come together in working with people just like YOU who occasionally want a nudge in the right direction.

Tina Mercadante is an artist who shows her passion for the unique and different with what life is truly full of. She has a flair in her artwork that captures your attention and amazes with her inspiration in her “art life”.  You will find some unique images of Tina’s artwork at  Karmic H E A R T and it will be exciting to see her future exhibits. She has included some simple illustrations in this post to give ideas on what a curvy lady can look fabulous in.


Wanting to look and feel like a million dollars as that “Curvy older woman” but thinking your curves are getting in the way?  Aiming to be fabulous and confident? Always wondering what the main step to getting there? Let’s see how you can say “move over Chanel!”.

How you feel about yourself and your own attitude is your foundation beauty trick. But it is no trick – for your confidence is styled into your appearance. This leads the way in your self worth and confidence. It “shows” in your attitude. Let it work well together and you are almost there in looking and feeling great.  

Now with your clothing choices you may or may not like some styles. That is par for the course in getting to know who you are. It’s how you would like to express yourself and feel good in doing so. Part of that is seeing what you like or dislike. We can’t all have a gypsy or hippy state of mind nor can we all be a well tailored classic style.You may not have nailed exactly what tips in the styling line that can help you. Maybe you feel frumpy in your current choice of clothing because of your larger size – particularly when siding up  with smaller and more petite girlfriends.

With sizing also not all clothing is created equal!

You may not have Chanel’s sidekicks on board to help you out -but you can style to please yourself as number 1.. Whether you are over 40, over 50 or over 60 or somewhere outside of that there are some stylish solutions you can incorporate in your closet to help you be in a dressy positive



                                                            Thanks to Annette of Reinventing 50s


Cull your wardrobe


You may be ready for a new season, a new year or a new way of thinking. There needs to be sorting through of what you have. A look at whether the clothing you have needs to be purged and given away or sold. Pulling out of soiled, stained garments and those pieces which have had far more wear and tear than is reasonable for you to look good. Re-purpose those type with regulation to the garage or as cleaning cloths or use some useful bits as upcycling projects.  Put aside those outfits that are too small – and if they are quality pieces – put them in storage or give them to a smaller friend who would be appreciative if they are suitable.


Another suggestion at this time of purging is to employ the services of a personal stylist to help you in this. These may not be as expensive as you think if they can save you from making expensive mistakes.


Assess what you have and how you use your clothing


Take inventory of what have at present. You may very well see a dominating colour running through your closet. Or maybe a classic look or a Bohemian touch. Do you know what you spend most of your time doing? Also what corresponding clothing do you wear when you are doing those projects? This will give you some idea of the types of clothing you will need if you need a good revamp and closet overhaul. But then again remember you might have different goals at this time of your life and may be injecting new situations and new activities that can mean your style needs to go up a notch:


  • Get an idea of what type of clothing you are wearing for different situations
  • Check what type of work, relaxation, outing, or hobby you are doing.


Identify what your “uniform” is and try building outfits differently. If you wear pants all the time, shake up your style with a dress! … Jeanette


                                                            Thanks to Annette of Reinventing 50s


Call for the help of an astute friend or a personal stylist


Calling on the help of a stylish contact or a friend in the know about your current choices is often a “plus”. They can help you with the choices you currently have in your closet and help you with any current choices you look for. Maybe they can also come on a shopping trip if needed – which should be fun!

I’d suggest they use a friend who is similar in body type, and one whose style they admire. The advice is more likely to be good!  …. Jeanette


Remember though that you are uniquely you and that as two people are often fairly different. Also that no two closets will be the same. Take the final word on what feels comfortable with you.


Instead of heading to the same stores, and the same styles, go shopping as if you have never been to your local centre before. Chances are you have been walking right past many stores, thinking they are “not for me” or too expensive. Sure those teensy skinny jeans won’t be coming home with you – but there could be a superb jacket or wrap in there with your name on it. …. Jeanette


You may also have reached that time in your life where you think that more than the normal revamp is called for. Maybe you want to try Subscription boxes where a number of these include Styling fees or Style quizzes so that your options are personally chosen by Stylists for you. This often means that your styling fee is taken off your clothing order and you can send back what you do not feel comfy in – often free of charge. Here are a few with some of the Pros and Cons of some companies listed here


Maybe a  Personal Stylist is more in your line of style thinking.. Consider Personal Stylist tips and call it an education before engaging one.


Be prepared to accept your curves as “you are now”


Whether you have good intentions of losing weight or not, dress for who you are now. That includes your current weight and all. That is half the battle for becoming attractive. Being confident in who you are.


Having a dressmaker work on your garment choices to “fit you” is good style sense and worth paying extra for. Remember in the realms of Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel – his designs were for the thin woman. Don’t even go there. Work on who you are now – if change comes about – let it be bit by bit and with no sabotaging of the individual you currently are – unique!


Remember if you choose for health reasons to incorporate a change in lifestyle – still be confident in dress choices you make now. Attitude is called for – and you are 90% there.


Fit is the most underestimated facet of good style – a well-fitting garment feels so much better on and looks expensive!  Just adjusting the proportions can do wonders. …. Jeanette


                                                            Thanks to Annette from Reinventing 50s


Dress for your body shape


Let’s face it – when the curves are being handed out – you just don’t know where they are going to settle! You may be bigger around the chest and shoulder area, the middle or the lower part and around your thighs. Maybe you are much curvier around 2 out of 3 of those areas or all 3. Plus you might have big flat feet too!


We can’t seem to choose where the curves are going to be. As we get older the body softens and gravity pulls in unexpected places – so just go with the flow and work on dressing for the body shape you have presently. If you are motivated to tone and work on drinking lots of water and eating delicious healthy food and find your shape changes again – work with that!


Think Colour


    • Don’t always consider wearing black. Branch out into some brights that blend in with your changed skin tones over the years. For darker colour choices consider a more complex primary colour mix. For a darker mix try dark plum burgundy or grape, navy or royal blue, khaki, dark brown, Let black if you need to wear it, be a choice away from your face. Other lighter mixes to experiment with include orange, tans, corals, pinks, greens, blues. Most women will need makeup to balance the strength of  the black – and for some this also applies to wearing white! … Jeanette
    • Wearing a plain colour at your top part is often forgiving and pairs well with a print in your lower body.
    • Wearing all one colour elongates – so go for a splash with a colouring that suits you.
    • Look at a Seasonal Colour Analysis for ideas.


  • Colour speaks to the essence of who we are – it’s foundational to your style. In a nutshell, any colour you wear either supports your natural beauty or clashes with it. It’s easy to learn, can be done in a single session, and will pay dividends for the rest of your life. …. Jeanette


                                            A wrap blouse stands in good stead here in floral from Tiel Dorein – Etsy


Types of clothing to bring out the best you


Take into account all the ways you can include different garments to look your best.


  • Include a garment with plain or patterned sheer sleeves. They can hide problem arms and look attractive and stylish.
  • A cap sleeve takes the definition off your arms. A split in the sleeve is a good addition too. Just watch the short cap sleeve that cuts across the widest part of the upper arm – it’s deadly! … Jeanette
  • A Kimono or Poncho with the right style can be suitably stylish and an asset to hide what you don’t want to be seen.


                                                            Used with permission Kome Clothing  

                                                            Used with permission Kome Clothing


  • Although tunics are often worn with leggins do try a few styles that are patterned well or sit well – make sure not to include those that give a maternity look. Your first try on should tell you by sight. To try something different – don’t always go for black leggins – teal or navy or grey or coffee are great colour alternatives. Or instead of leggins, try a pull-on slim straight leg pant for a more polished look…. Jeanette
  • Wear an open cardigan which comes down past the widest part of your hips to give a slimming effect.
  • When you consider a well styled short jacket – ie a denim, leather or short blazer – pop a long tee or blouse underneath to hang below the jacket
  • Necklines that are a favourite are the V neck, scoop and Sweetheart necklines. Also, an embellishment such as buttons or a zip down the front draws the eyes downwards and vertical..
  • A Peplum top which starts at your thinnest point gives your waist definition and shape. Paired with a pencil skirt (consider stretch) this makes a great combination. A pencil skirt suits mostly all body shapes. Do remember though if you don’t feel this style works for you or you can’t find just the right garment look for other styles.
  • A wrap dress or A-Line dress that is plain or with a good look print is a blessing to those with curves.
  • A long vest – a dressy kind with a collar and tailoring in the form of vertical buttons down each side is a bonus as a stylish addition. As long as the vertical lines of buttons are not too far apart – leading to a wide zig-zagging by the viewer…. Jeanette


                                                            Photo Credit Tiel Dorein Etsy  


There are all types of fuller curvy figures so to give a look of illusion:


  • You have both bigger patterns and smaller patterns. Smaller prints give the illusion of a smaller size. When you wear a bigger print on a garment that doesn’t fit well or is not fitting you have the illusion of an even bigger size.
  • A long handled bag with your outfit gives a “long” look rather than a petite bag. This doesn’t mean you go for a droopy look bag in your efforts to get a long look. There are many attractive bags in this style.
  • Have bigger bolder jewelry to draw the eye (often just one piece) rather than small which often gets lost in the look. The jewelry can draw attention to big wrists too. Can layer jewellery if you don’t like one chunky piece. … Jeanette
  • We have heard the realm of not wearing horizontal stripes if you are a bigger woman. But I suggest that if you must go for them choose a thinner horizontal. Pairing it with bagger pants is often not a good look. You can be equally comfortable in well fitted attractive looking pants. Remember “loose over lean”! Works for everybody….Jeanette
  • Knee length skirts are a kind look for the curvy woman and give a dressy look with a knee length boot and with a slight heel is nice. Add a scarf for elongating that type of look.
  • Keep patterning below plain tops.
  • Consider your hair style. If you have long hair that you wear down it can often give a “drab” quality to your look. Have a style that suits your face shape or where you can bring it up to a look that enhances not detracts. A shoulder length style can be a plus for the curvy woman. Totally agree – many women go so short they can’t balance their look except by adding hats, scarves or ornaments to the hair …. Jeanette


Left Outfits can look frumpy Right Charged up for Chic!

Illustrations and style points by Tina Mercadante – Karmic Art  

Accentuate the good in your style and down-play those things that detract from your look.

Left Shape without definition Right Lengthen in all points.

illustrations and style points by Tina Mercadante – Karmic Art   


Optional accessories to include


  • Include a pair of over-sized sunglasses – they are an attractive statement and work with most faces.
  • Necklace and beads particular longer and in a V-shaped formation.
  • Long boots with expandable tops and comfy heels
  • Wear textured shoes or those with animal print for a dash of chic.
  • Belts such as a cinch belt, obi belt, thin stretch or other plus size belts can be used with jeans, dresses or skirts.
  • Have a hairstyle that frames your face.
  • You may consider a hat – but style your hair to suit it.
  • Make use of the many styles of scarves and tie in such a fashion that they add to your style. Here are 25 ways
  • Keep your fingernails and toenails in good shape.


Clothing you find “works” for you even if it doesn’t follow curvy girl “rules”


You may have been told some items won’t work for curvy girls – haven’t we been talking about different ideas of what to wear? Don’t be limited by what “rules” you are said to stick by – some clothing just can bely the rules and suit you well “thank you very much! Agree! Dress YOU – not your perceived figure “problems”!… Jeanette

I have a peasant blouse I love to wear – and the patterning is unique in that it looks attractive and I have had many compliments. Yet some will say it’s a no no.  I also have a horizontal blue striped styled collared tee with great cut and style I never pass it up!


                                                             Thanks to Annette of Reinventing 50s  


In the end wear what you are comfortable in


You may have a flair for Boho Chic or you might feel happy with a more conservative classic style – but what is most important is that you are comfortable. You can gain education ie more ideas to try and take things up a notch to get there. When you have completed a clothing inventory and you know where you are it is time to take initiative. Add to what you have, pare down or have a complete overhaul. Have fun doing it and always be aware that you are pleasing yourself and your style. Make it sing!



Deborah Hunter Kells

I have a wide range of interests and the top of my list is people and relationships. I appreciate our big wide world and nature which tries so hard to deal with what we do to it. As noted you will find a variety of topics covered (see Home page) My appreciation goes to my team and others whom I collaborate with to make this blog successful and resourceful. Thanks especially to my team: Sarah, Tina, and Billah (See footer for more of their details)

What clothing suits you as a curvy older woman? How do you work to look fabulous?  Check out these ideas and tips @Shutterstock
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