Right now, I am not doing a lot of exercising.  I have had a spate of injuries:  knee, ankle, shoulder and neck.  Of course, I had to cancel my gym membership and riding classes in June due to my international move in July.  Put it all together and I haven’t been regularly physically active in 7 months!

Obviously, this has and will affect the shape of my body.  In fact, during this period I’ve come against a number of common personal style blocks: comfort, body size and time.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to explore these common style blocks and share with you the solutions I’ve used myself and offered my clients.  If you want to read more about comfort, click here.


Body Size.

Many women cite body size as the reason they cannot embrace personal style.  However, this is an excuse — not a reason. It is absolutely possible to embrace your personal style regardless of your body size.  In fact, I posit that having great personal style helps you achieve your healthy living goals!

Why?  Because when you create a personal style you love, you make feeling good about how you look your everyday reality.  Yes — you read that right.  Once feeling good about how you look happens everyday, you can focus on changing your habits to achieve your health goals precisely because you already feel good!

You can feel beautiful at any size.

Would you be surprised to know that in my process for personal style, your size is just data we collect along with many other data points?  It’s not a barrier; it’s just an element.  You can find great pieces in your size once you know what you’re seeking and where to look.  It’s true that there is more on offer for women in the middle size range — but more choices can actually be an issue itself.

Common Client Issue:  “I feel sensitive about my belly.”

Many of my clients feel sensitive about their belly area.  Perhaps you have always struggled with your weight, your body changed due to becoming a Mom or your metabolism has slowed down.  No matter how well your body is working or what other elements about it are beautiful, you may only see your belly.  I used to be the same.

Here’s the thing:  your belly is part of you.  It may not be your favorite part, but you are human and you have flaws.  It’s okay to be sensitive about this area of your body.  However, it does not need to define how you feel about your body as a whole.

Even though I am injured and am definitely not fit, I am proud of my body for how well it is working.  I am able to get around for the most part despite my knee injury.  I am able to work, hug my loved ones and do many of my favorite things.

How We Solve It:

  • Create a waist by wearing a tailored jacket, but respect your belly by wearing an untucked top
  • Try high-waisted jeans or trousers to pull in the belly and create a smooth line
  • Wear tops or dresses with shaping at the waist to trick the eye into seeing a waistline
  • Layer a belt or self-tie at the waist to distract from your pooch


Tailored Jacket Over Untucked Top:

The jacket points to the waist here either highlighting or creating a waist to balance your shoulders and/or hips.  The loose or untucked top underneath keeps the line even, ending the proportions at your hips for a pleasing and balanced look.

personal style, shaped jacket, body size issues, hide belly, how-to, plus size
Vince Camuto Plus Shaped Jacket ($154)
personal style, shaped jacket, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Vince Camuto Misses or Petite Shaped Jacket ($150)











High-Waisted Jeans or Trousers:

If you have belly issues, I highly recommend this brand:  Not Your Daughter’s Jean.  They have a particular construction that smooths the belly and lifts the bum to make you look and feel gorgeous!  Truth:  they are the only jeans I wear.

personal style, jeans, high-waisted, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Not Your Daughter’s Plus Marilyn Straight Leg Jeans ($109)
high-waist jean, personal style, body size issues, hide belly, how-to
Not Your Daughter’s Misses or Petite Marilyn Straight Leg Jeans ($109)











Shaped Top or Dresses:

Using a faux-wrap or set-in waistband can create or highlight a waist, which hides your belly issues.  With a little extra fabric layered over the belly, you have extra coverage to feel more comfortable.  The v-neckline draws the eye away from the waist and towards your face, while simultaneously tricking the eye into seeing an hourglass shape.  Cool, huh?

personal style, body size issues, hide belly, faux-wrap top, plus
Foxcroft Plus Faux-Wrap Sweater Top ($96)
personal style, shaped dress, belly sensitivity, body size issues, how-to, hide the belly
Maggy London Misses or Petite Crepe Dress ($138)











Layer a Belt or Use a Self-Tie:

Employing a belt or self-tie seems counter-intuitive with belly issues, but can actually serve to distract from the belly itself.  The self-tie will sit on top of the belly, so you don’t actually see the curve and the belt at the waist sits just above the belly, so the flare of the skirt provides coverage.  This takes some confidence, so may be a tactic you need to work up to if it feels daring right now!

personal style, belted jumpsuit, belly issues, how-to, body size, self-tie
City Chic Plus Belted Jumpsuit ($119)
belly issues, personal style, how-to, body size, belted dress, fit and flare
Eliza J Stripe Misses Fit and Flare Dress ($158)









Try It Yourself!

Above are some of the simple and easy tactics I use with clients (and on myself) to deal with belly sensitivity issues.  There are many elements, tricks and tactics we can employ to help you look and feel your best every single day — these are just a few.  Try them and see if they work for you!


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