Fuller-figured women should always keep proportion in mind when choosing their wardrobes. Look for styles that play up your best features, and choose clothes that are fluid and shaped so that you'll be able to accentuate your curves.
Only choose trends that work
Steer clear of trends that don't suit your figure - if it doesn't look good, opt for something more classic and flattering. 'This spring is all about the feminine figure, so women with a fuller figure are in luck,' says Eve Roth Lindsay, an image consultant and owner of colour me beautiful HK. 'Although the trends this season include frills, ruffles and huge florals; these are all looks that plus-size women should avoid.'
She also suggests avoiding this season's nautical trend and horizontal stripes. Skinny scarves are nice tied around the neck, because they create a long, vertical line.
Show some skin
The worst thing a woman can do is cover up too much, which often looks unflattering. Open V-necks flatter most shapes and add some sexiness. A-line skirts are more flattering. They show a bit of leg and skim the hips. Cropped pants are also good as long as they end mid-calf.
Other things to avoid
'Avoid wearing stiff fabrics, and be careful of gathered waistlines or any details on your bust, middle and hips,' says Lindsay. 'Avoid pockets on areas where you'd rather not bring attention.'Wearing deeper colours will create a slimmer line, while lighter or brighter colours can be used to bring attention to the areas you'd like to highlight.'
ANYONE WHO IS more than a UK size 10 knows what a struggle it can be to find stylish clothes in Hong Kong . Whereas the average size in Britain is a generous 16, many Asian women tend to be a size six or eight, and many stores stock only a limited range of larger sizes.
Despite this, Hong Kong has become more receptive to the needs of fashion-conscious larger women. There was a time when options were limited to stores in Stanley Market, Lee Gardens Road and Granville Road in TST, where overstock and samples from US chains such as GAP and Banana Republic would fit the bill.
Even home-grown chains such as Giordano Ladies are heeding the call of so-called real women. The influx of European and US high street stores such as Mango and Zara (both of which go up to an XL or British size 14/16), and the new Club Monaco (where a large is equivalent to a UK 16) are making shopping easier.
English department store Marks & Spencer has always been reliable for larger sizes. It stocks trousers from UK sizes eight to 20 and various shapes from straight to bootleg, with most other items available up to size 20 and sometimes 22. The younger Limited and Per Una collections have trendier styles from sizes eight to 18.
If you want casual clothes, then K's Wear (Shop 202, 2/F Goldmark, 502 Hennessy Road , Causeway Bay , tel: 2882 3450) is perfect. The small store stocks up to an XXXXXL (which will fit a 44-inch waist and 56-inch bust). Its selection includes standard jeans for less than $200 and corduroy trousers, as well as denim miniskirts and shorts, capris with embellishments and tweed Bermudas - a big trend for spring. Tops are simple and are available in jersey or cotton, plain or with ruffles and other embellishments ($100 to $200). Velvet jackets are also hot sellers. Saleswoman Joan Kwong says new arrivals come in every week.
For stylish and affordable clothes, head to Cloud 9 (1/F, 7 Lan Kwai Fong, Central, tel: 2847 3339). It was set up by former telecoms executive Ilse Kerling, who started designing her own clothes in 2001, to fill a niche in the market for western women.
Its Asian collection consists of hand-embroidered Vietnam-made tops and evening dresses. Standouts include a silk/taffeta jacket with embroidery on the collar and arm ($1,150). The Business collection includes suits with a twist such as fuchsia silk lining and contrast stitching ($1,495). Popular choices for spring include pin-striped vests ($395) and ruffled white shirts ($395). For casual offerings opt for jersey T-shirts ($395) in a range of colours, a black halter with a zip front ($395) or sleeveless, reversible, V-neck tops ($395).
Sizes go up to an XXL (British size 18). Kerling says any style can be made to measure at no extra charge and takes three to four weeks. Alterations are free also.
Those looking for high-end designer fashion should check out Italian brand Marina Rinaldi (Shop 20A, Pacific House, 20-20B Queen's Road Central, tel: 2522 0292), which is part of the MaxMara group. The label is known for its full range of sizes. Clothes are cut larger than other brands, so if you wear a British size 18, you should fit clothes labelled 'large'. The selection is varied, with five collections to pick from: Daywear (for coats, suits and jackets), Elegante (formal and occasion wear), Sport, Tricot and Basic. For spring/summer, women can choose from styles such as floral pattern silk tops and dresses, poplin blouses, jacquard suits, patterned and plain skirts ($2,000 to $4,500), dresses in cotton or linen ($4,000 to $8,000) and cotton and suede jackets ($2,200 to $15,000). colours range from whites and neutrals to golds and fuschia.
Another option for business wear is Zeno Fashions (1/F, Block B, Man Cheung Building , 15-17 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2868 4850), which carries a range of well-known US designers up to a US size 18 (see below for conversion). Here you'll find trouser suits ($1,100 to $2,500), as well as skirts, shirts and jackets. New stock arrives every two weeks.
Evelyn B and Evelyn B Annex have been around for more than 10 years. Evelyn B Annex (7/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2523 9506) stocks a mixture of casual and smart wear from German brand Bianca (up to a European 46) and Due Per Due. Stock ranges from jeans ($990) to T-shirts ($399 to $499), jacquard trousers, suits ($2,500), simple shift dresses and evening tops. Great finds on a recent trip included a blue satin evening top ($349) and faux fur jackets ($1,900).
Evening and occasion wear is available upstairs at Evelyn B (8/F Grand Progress Building, 15-16 Lan Kwai Fong, tel: 2523 4396). Sizes go up to a US 18 and brands include Tadashi, Jones NY , David Meister and Gilar. Styles range from conservative dress and jacket combos to a sexy chiffon and satin halter dress by Gilar ($2,499) or a Grecian style red dress by Tadashi in a US size 16 ($1,899).
Eveningwear can also be found at Sparkle (6/F Pedder Building, Central, tel: 2524 2992), which carries dresses up to US size 16 on average, although some styles go to US size 22. For five years the store has been providing expats with eveningwear, including longer lengths for taller women. Beaded tops go up to an XL (US size 14/16) and range from $1,200 to $1,500. Evening dresses start at $3,000 and skirts range from $1,800 to $2,000. New stock comes in four to six times a year, and brands include JS Collection, Scene, Satnam and its own in-house label.