I'm size 22 and really struggle to find clothes and know what to wear. I tend to stick to black and the same loose-style top, with trousers and a long cardigan. I'm solid all over, including my legs. Any suggestions for me?

These questions are always a little tricky to answer without actually seeing you, but I do have some suggestions.

For starters, some great brands cater for size 14-plus clothing - TS14+, EziBuy, Zebrano and City Chic to name a few. What I love about these brands is that most of them specialise in clothing for women with curves; they know what they're doing and are extremely helpful. This would be a good place to start.

Styling-wise, here are some things you might like to consider:


*Layering: try a longer top under a shorter top, in contrast colours, or a long dress under a top. Layering can add length, texture and interest to what you are wearing and help disguise lumps and bumps. Be very careful not to add any extra volume to your look.

*Big bust? Look for low-neck tops (scoop or v-necks are great) as this will help to reduce the appearance of your bust size. Wearing solid, long, pendant necklaces that sit comfortably between the breasts can also help, as can an open vest, jacket or cardigan.

*Big upper arms? Look for tops or dresses with a bit of a sleeve. Kaftan tops are very popular at the moment - light, drapey fabric, often in wonderful patterns and colours.
You can wear these over a dress or a long slip with leggings or trousers.

*Watch the hemlines. Never finish your hemline at the widest points of your body, such as the hips, thighs or arms. It only accentuates these areas.

*Minimise the appearance of your larger areas by keep your styling plain in terms of colour, pattern and design. In your case, dark-coloured leggings or plain trousers with long tunic tops may look good.

*Work out what colours suit you. Yes, black is a lovely slimming colour, but if it's not right for you, it may drain you. If you can, add some colour to your wardrobe. You'll be amazed how it can lift your spirits and appearance.

A word of caution - many women opt for large, shapeless clothing to hide everything, which can actually make you look bigger than you are. Be careful to avoid this.

I hope this helps.


Lisa Lyford is the founder of Gorgeous Me and gives out free DIY personal styling and makeover advice. www.gorgeousme.co.nz

Send your questions for Lisa to regionalfeatures@apn.co.nz.