How to Dress a Size 16

By Jennifer Blair

As a size 16, you may gravitate toward baggy, loose-fitting garments that hide your figure -- but that's a mistake. The key to finding clothes that make you look and feel good is to choose pieces that give you a longer, leaner look and fit impeccably. That means shopping for clothes that emphasize your assets and flatter your frame.

hanger couture
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A close-up of garments hanging on clothing racks in a store.

Get the Fit Right

Build a wardrobe around clothes that fit your body shape. The excess fabric of loose, shapeless pieces can actually make you appear larger than you are. Snug, clingy pieces like a spandex dress, on the other hand, can emphasize problem areas and feel so constricting that they're uncomfortable. Shop for clothing that skims your body but isn't too tight, so you show off your curves yet feel comfortable and confident.

Emphasize Your Best

Wear clothes that emphasize the smallest part of your body. For an hourglass figure, highlight your small waist with a figure-flattering wrap dress, for example. When you have a pear shape, emphasize your slim shoulders and upper body with boatneck tops or sleeveless blouses. An apple-shaped body gives you a chance to showcase your slender legs with skirts and dresses that hit at the knee or slightly above.

Elongate Your Frame

No matter what type of body you have, choose clothing that elongates your frame. By making yourself look taller, you'll also look leaner. Go with a monochromatic look; wearing tops and bottoms in the same color extend the line of your body. V-neck tops and blouses are another ideal option, because they elongate the look of your torso. Skip cropped or capri pants, which cut off the line of your leg and make you appear shorter. Choose pants that hit about a half-inch above the floor to make your legs look as long as possible. Slip on heels or wedges before you head out the door. They'll easily make you look taller and leaner.

Choose Patterns Carefully

Just because you're size 16 doesn't mean you can't wear prints, but pick designs that flatter your figure. Gravitate toward small-scale patterns, such as a subtle check or floral design, because large, bold patterns can draw more attention to areas you'd rather de-emphasize. For example, don't wear patterned skirts or pants that may highlight your heavier lower half. Instead, go solid from the waist down and wear a beautiful patterned top. Conversely, wear a print skirt with a solid blouse to bring attention away from a large bust.