8 Ways to Flatter a Bottom-Heavy Figure

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Balance Your Figure with Color and Fitted Pieces

Oscar de La Renta Suit
Oscar de La Renta. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

You can wear a fitted suit, even with a slim skirt, if you are bottom-heavy. Just remember:

  • Keep the line long by using just one color with slim-cut pieces. This elongates and slims the figure.
  • Choose fitted jackets that end above your widest point.
  • Wear a top or jacket with structured shoulders to balance out your larger bottom half.
  • Your skirt should be form-fitting but not tight, and choose a fabric that doesn't cling.
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Think Fit-and-Flare

BCBG Dress
BCBG. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

The full skirt is one of the classic recommendations for the bottom-heavy figure. It's still a great option, especially for dresses. How to make the full skirt work:

  • Go for a fit-and-flare silhouette. Draw attention to the waist with a belt, gathers, band or other feature. The skirt should flare out from the fitted waist.
  • Take the fit-and-flare silhouette one step further by opting for a strapless dress. You'll get the benefit of showing off your shoulders while concealing your hips. Also, the strong line of bare shoulders helps balance a wider bottom half.
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Find Jeans That Flatter

Not Your Daughter's Jeans
Not Your Daughter's Jeans. Nordstrom.com

You can look great in jeans. The key is to choose leg openings and back pockets to fit your figure. Here's how:

  • Bootcut leg openings are the most flattering jean legs of all. The slight flare balances out wider hips and fuller thighs.
  • Opt for a darker wash jean for the most slimming look.
  • Five-pocket styling looks best, but you'll want to avoid excessive embellishment on the back pockets if the size of your backside bothers you.
  • The longer the jeans, the longer (and thinner) your legs look. Wear bootcut jeans as long as you possibly can without having them bunch up around your legs. If you can stand them, pair jeans with high heels for a super-flattering look.
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Put Prints on Your Smallest Feature

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

Another way to balance the bottom-heavy figure is to accentuate your top half with prints.

Vertical stripes, menswear checks or plaids, florals, and polka dots are all great options.

Wear a solid pant or skirt and keep jackets short. Never let a jacket end right at the widest point of your hips.

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Go for a Raised Waist

Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

If your natural waistline is thick, along with full hips and thighs, one of your best options in dresses is the empire-waist (raised waist) dress.

With this silhouette, the focus is shifted to only the top third of your body because the waist falls right below the bustline. This look works best with pear-shaped women who are small-busted.

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Pick a Pretty Neckline

Oscar de la Renta
Oscar de la Renta. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

You don't need a plunging V-neck or tons of cleavage to pull this off. What you do need is added interest—a sweetheart neckline, a halter, a knotted front—to draw attention up and towards your face.

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Light on Top, Dark on Bottom

Pamella Roland
Pamella Roland. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

As basic as it sounds, the best way to use color to camouflage/highlight figure areas is to use contrasts.

The black bottom with white top works like a dream: it brings the eye up to the lightest hue and the top half of the body.

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Choose Slimming Swimwear

Carmen Marc Valvo
Carmen Marc Valvo. © Cheryl Gorski Photography

The idea of high-cut legs on your swimsuit may make you uncomfortable, but they are a flattering way to make your legs look miles long. Here are more dos and don'ts for swimwear:

  • Don't wear boy shorts. They'll look boxy on you because they accentuate thighs.
  • Do choose swimwear with graphic interest—vertical stripes, color blocking—strategically placed to draw the eye up.
  • Don't wear a teeny-weeny bikini bottom. The less fabric on bottom, the fleshier you'll look from the waist down.