Sometimes the last thing you want to do is wear a cute outfit when you’re feeling less than your best. We’ve all been there. There are simply days when you don’t like a certain part of your body or how you look in a specific top, dress, etc. It’s safe to say that most of us have at least one, if not many, ‘fixes’ that we’d like to make to our appearance.
In today’s society, these feelings of body discomfort are more common than not. The 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence report revealed that almost 89% of the women studied aren’t satisfied with the way they look. I think we can all agree that it’s downright unusual to find women who are completely satisfied with how they look and feel in their body.
These feelings aren’t limited to a certain size or shape; body image is the product of peer, social, cultural and familial values. These values influence women’s self-perception, self-worth and, self-esteem. The Dove study showed that nearly all women (85%) opt to cancel plans, job interviews or other important life activities when they don't feel good about the way they look.
For many women studied by Dove, the key to breaking a cycle of beauty and appearance anxiety is the experience of taking time to care for their minds, body, and appearance. Almost all (7 in 10) women report feeling more confident or positive when they invest time in caring for themselves.
Having experienced a number of ‘low days’ ourselves, everyone here at TC Elli’s has worked together to create a set of guidelines for overcoming appearance anxiety and keeping it from getting us down in the first place.
As Dove’s study suggests, appearance isn’t just about what you wear, it’s about how you feel. We believe that fashion is about feeling good looking good. From how to dress for your body shape to taking care of your inner-self—this five-step guide is here to help you feel confident.
Step One: Determine Your Body Shape
There’s nothing quite as disheartening as slipping into something that isn’t adapted for your unique (and beautiful) body shape. Avoid these unnecessary feelings of self-doubt by knowing your body type and which styles are sure to look best on you.
Which best describes you?
Body Shape Limitations
It’s important to keep in mind that the ‘body type’ approach does have some limitations. Not everyone will fit into a specific category because we come in too many shapes and sizes to possibly categorize in one (or even ten) articles. The ‘body type’ approach assumes a few common shapes, however it is perfectly naturally to not identify with just one.
Step Two: Find Cute Outfits for Your Body Type
Now that you’ve determined your body type, to help guide you in the right direction we’re calling out the cute outfits that are sure to flatter each individual shape. Best used as a starting point, you might find that you’re in-between shapes. Experiment with different styles from each of the categories to find where you fit best.
Cute Outfit Ideas for Pear Body Types
Why: A fit and flare dress will show off how little you are up top, with more room in the waist for your bottom half.
Why: Aim for styles that accentuate your waist. An A-line dress that hits right below the knee will elongate your frame while slimming down your hips and thighs. Perfect for cute spring outfits and more, an A-line dress is a great staple that you can wear all year long.
Cute outfits with jeans
Why: Really show off what you’re workin’ with in a plunging neckline in any silhouette. A structured top will draw attention to your narrow shoulders and tiny waist. Pair with bootcut or flare jeans to balance proportions and keep your lower half elongated.
Cute Outfit Ideas for Hourglass Body Types
Why: A feminine wrap dress will perfectly accentuate the curve between your waist and hips
Peplum tops + pencil skirts
Why: Really hug those curves in a structured top that fits closely to the body. A pencil skirt that hits about mid-thigh will accentuate your lovely lady shape while smoothing out your thighs.
Cute outfits with jeans
Why: Show off your waist in a bomber jacket with an elastic waistband. Pair with some wide-leg jeans that will make you look taller and balance proportions.
Cute Outfit Ideas for Apple Body Types
Why: Show off your shapely legs in a shift dress that hits well above the knee. The dress should lay just far enough away from the body to slenderize your middle area while showing off a bit of leg.
Structured trousers + trench
Why: A pair of structured trousers that are low-waist will highlight your slender legs while avoiding any of that stomach bulge we all know and hate. Pair with a classic trench for a timeless look.
Cute outfits with jeans
Why: Skinny jeans look great on apple shapes. Pair with a less-structured flowy tunic for a perfectly balanced look.
Cute Outfit Ideas for Straight Body Types
Halter tops + A-line mini skirts
Why: Draw attention to your defined shoulders and small waist with a halter top and mini skirt combo à la 1998. An a-line mini will fill out your slender hips and balance your wider-set upper body.
Why: A side cut-out maxi dress will make add some va-va-voom to your slight frame.
Cute outfits with jeans
Why: A ruffled tops will fill out the bust area and make your bust look larger in all the right areas. Pair with skinny jeans to keep the volume up top.
Step Three: Flaunt Your Best Features
Everyone has features they love to flaunt-- the key is finding your body-shape sweet spot. It doesn’t necessarily have to align with your body shape either. If you’re a straight-shaped lady but want to show off your beautiful broad shoulders--by all means! Not everyone wants to look like a perfect hourglass shape, we certainly understand that. Rather than focusing on a certain standard body shape, we’ve identified how to draw attention to different body parts, and we’ll let you pick the parts you’d like to highlight. Because after all whether it be your arms, legs, shoulders, stomach, or waist knowing some go-to ways to show off your best features will help you feel confident even on your down days.
Cute Outfits to Showcase Your Shoulders
There’s never been a better time to let your collar bones do the talking.
Off-the-shoulder tops / Dresses- Give a little bit of the cold shoulder in tops and dresses that have a high neckline and dropped shoulders. As an added bonus off-the-shoulder tops emphasize the widest part of your body, making your waist look smaller by comparison.
Cap sleeves- Show off your chiseled arms and shoulders in this cute and timeless cut.
Sleeveless- An obvious choice for shoulder-lovers. Show a bit more skin in sleeveless dresses and tops that accentuate your arms, shoulders, and back.
Cute Outfits to Highlight Your Waist
Skip the corset while still highlighting your waist with these easy style hacks.
Contrasting belt- Wrap your waist in a brightly colored belt or sash for a look that perfectly accentuates your favorite feature.
High-waisted pants- draw eyes to your waist while also elongating your legs in high-waisted trousers.
Wrap dresses- Give your waist the definition it deserves in a dress that perfectly wraps around your most flattering feature.
Cute Outfits to Show Some Leg
Show off your gorgeous gams in these easy looks.
High-waist skirts- A high waisted skirt that stops above the knee will add inches to your legs.
Heels- Strapless skin-tone heels will create a sleek line from thigh to toe, making your legs appear miles long.
Cropped Pants- Show a little ankle in cropped trousers or jeans.
Cute Outfits to Define your Derrière
Bump it up back there with these style tips.
Cropped jackets- A cropped jacket will hit slightly above your waist, showcasing your envy-worthy rear-side curves.
Skinny jeans- Dress them up with heels for an even more bootylicious look
Pencil skirts- Nothing hugs your backside quite like a classic pencil skirt. Find one with contoured seams to pull attention to your backside rather than thighs.
Step Four: Shop for Self-Confidence
Knowing that your closet is filled clothing that you really love will make throwing together cute outfits a breeze. Improve your body positivity while also cutting down on buying things you’ll never wear by following our five-step shopping guide for self-confidence.
Buy Your Size- The first, and likely most important step is to buy things that actually fit. We’ve all done it; bought something just a little bit too small or a tad big because it was on sale. This practice isn’t just bad for our wallets, it’s also bad for our confidence. Who wants to go to their own closet and pull on a top that’s two sizes too small? We don’t. That too-small piece of clothing will likely end up on the floor of your closet or swiftly put in the give-away bag. Do yourself a favor and skip it.
Know what looks good on you- Experiment with the above guides to find cute outfits that perfectly fit your body type and a work towards building a wardrobe around styles that you know look great on you.
Find your favorite piece of clothing- Everyone has something that they know they just look great in. Why do you love that particular piece? Maybe it flatters your mile-long legs, maybe it’s a cozy sweater that feels like wearing a duvet cover. Whatever it is, find a few pieces with a similar style and build go-to cute outfits from there.
Don’t buy trends that don’t fit your personality- Sometimes feeling less than confident about the way you look doesn’t have anything to do with your body satisfaction. Part of the fun of fashion is trying on different personas and venturing away from your usual uniform. However, there’s a difference between dabbling in a new trend that still fits your taste, and something completely out of your comfort zone because you see everyone else wearing it. If the cute boho outfits trend, for example, isn’t exactly your thing, it’s best to skip it in favor of a trend that truly fits your personality and style. Most of us don’t feel confident when we don’t feel like ourselves.
Find a good brand- In today’s world of vanity sizing, there’s no telling what your true size really is. There’s nothing worse than trying on your typical size only to find that the brand runs small. Sticking with a few brands you love-- and know carry products that flatter your body type-- will keep you feeling confident about your body and wardrobe.
Step Five: Take Time to Care For Your Inner Self
Staying confident definitely isn’t all about pretty outfits and appearances, so last on the list (but certainly not least) is how to care for your inner self. We’ve identified some ways you can shift focus away from size and focus on awareness, staying present, and how you feel.
A first step towards driving out feelings of self-doubt and body consciousness is to change the way you think. Information and thoughts move through your brain via neural pathways. Similar to hiking paths, the more your thoughts follow a specific pathway, the more well-defined that pathway becomes. So, if you’re thinking “I’m fat” or “I’m ugly” on a regular basis, those pathways will likely become really strong. Once these pathways are well-defined, the harder it is to change your thinking.
However, because of something called neuroplasticity, you can change the way your brain processes information and create new pathways of self-love and positivity. Make it a priority to spend a few minutes each day to write out positive thoughts of self-worth to work towards forging a new path and letting go of the old.
Taking time to care for your needs and listening to your body will also help keep feelings of body consciousness at bay. Your body needs certain things to feel good--stretching, exercise, nourishment, and physical contact, to name a few.
Meditation, breathwork, exercise, and healthy eating contribute to the “feel good” state that your brain manufactures when it’s receiving proper care. Make these practices a regular part of your daily routine to cut down on days when you don’t feel your best.
Finally, work towards shutting down the voices and criticisms of others.
Our minds are constantly filled with the thoughts and beliefs of the people who influence our lives. It’s not always easy, but tuning out the voices of everyone else and listening to your own intuition, needs and desires will set you on the right track towards confidence and strong self-worth.