Wednesday, January 28, 2009

From "O" Mag: Fuller-figured women have flattering style options

By JOY SEWING Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

Oprah Winfrey’s recent weight gain doesn’t mean full-figured women should hang their heads.
But they can take cues from the talk-show host’s wardrobe of figure-flattering wrap dresses, A-line skirts and V-neck tops.

“Oprah is a smart shopper and finds pieces that work for her,” says Adam Glassman, creative director of Oprah magazine. “She has a signature style that plays up her assets.”

Winfrey says in the magazine’s January issue that she is embarrassed about her 40-pound weight gain over the past four years. “I was supposed to stand between Tina Turner and Cher, and I felt like a fat cow. I wanted to disappear,” she writes.

Glassman says Winfrey’s struggle ultimately is about being healthy and finding balance in her life.

“Oprah always looks great, and it doesn’t have anything to do with weight. It’s what she projects and the clothes she picks to fit her body.”

He said while every woman has the right to look chic and stylish, patience is essential to finding the right look.
Women can start by being honest with themselves about their size, he said, and select clothes to fit the size you are right now.

For spring, try clothes with an hourglass shape — wrap dresses, fitted jackets and wide-leg trousers. Designers such as Lafayette 148, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Liz Claiborne and Rafaella offer stylish options at major department stores and online. Houston designer Gayla Bentley also offers fashionable essentials for fuller figures, from ballet-neck tops to trumpet skirts. Her pieces are available at

Nnete, a morning radio talk-show host on Houston’s KBXX-FM 97.9 the Box, recently opened Strut, a boutique for full-figured women, in the Galleria. She says she was frustrated with selections for plus-size women.

“I always had a hard time finding things to fit that were also fashionable,” she said. “I wanted to provide other women nice quality and fun pieces that you see in size 2. We all want clothes that look good on, whether you’re a size 2 or 22.”

Nnete said she admires comedian and talk-show host Mo’Nique, who’s appeared often on the cover of Essence, for her trend-setting styles. Nnete says women must feel comfortable in their clothes regardless of the style.

“People aren’t going to hold it against you because you’re fuller figured, but you have to be confident and find clothes that flatter you. I’m the same person I was when I was smaller,” Nnete said.

Wearing a size 8-10, Whitney Thompson, winner of America’s Next Top Model Season 10, has been pegged as full-figured. She now works for Elite Model Management in New York for clients including Saks Fifth Avenue, JC Penney and Fashion Bug.

“In the modeling industry, 6 is considered fuller size,” Thompson said. “I hate that it seems no matter what size you are, you’re never going to be the right size. Tyra (Banks) is this incredible supermodel who has been criticized in the media for her weight. It’s awful to watch that.”

Thompson also represents Fashion Bug’s Right Fit jeans and career pants, which range from size 2 to 28. (They’re $24.99 at

Glassman says all women should give themselves a break.
“You don’t always wake up and know what to wear,” Glassman said. “Have fun with fashion because there are so many more options.”
America's Next Top Model Winner Whitney Thompson
(the first plus-size winner) is wearing
L.A. Blues Melrose Right Fit stretch jeans, $24.99,
and Studio 1940 Grecian sateen tank, $27.99, from

Adam Glassman of Oprah magazine offers these suggestions:

Be honest. Dress for the size you are right now, not based on your goal weight. (I TOTALLY agree with this one....)

Dress from the inside out. A well-fitting bra and shapewear can help camouflage lumps. (Yup!)

Buy clothes that skim the body, not hug it. Try wide-leg trousers and A-line skirts.

Don’t hide. Big clothes make you look bigger. Also avoid big jewelry. (I happen to like big bold jewelry....)

Keep hemlines near your knees. Legs look longer if hemlines are just above or below the kneecaps. (I have nice what?)

Wear shorter, fitted jackets. They should flatter the waist. Avoid jackets that end at the hips. (I'm not sure I agree with this one...if the bulk of your weight sits in your midsection...this won't necessarily be flattering to all...or at least not me.)

Avoid elastic waistbands. They add bulk.

Keep necklines open. V- or scoop-neck shirts help lengthen the neck.

Add a belt. Cinching creates a smaller waistline.

Balance your feet. Wide feet look slimmer in wide heels.

"It is easy to live for others, everybody does. I call on you to live for yourselves."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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