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Nicky Hambleton-Jones answers your style questions

Apple shapes, plus sizes and petite figures


1. Dear Nicky
First af all, I love your style!! I'm a big fan. I, on the other hand, I don't have much style. I've always been more into cosmetics and beauty rather than fashion. I am an apple shape. And I mean proper apple. I'm just under 5ft 7" and about 11 stone. I am a bit chubby but the main problem is that I have quite a tummy, skinny legs and really small bum. It's all nice except it looks ridiculous with my tum. I really like wearing skinny jeans with boots a voluminous top. Even my dresses are always kind of 'pregnancy' ones with an oversize top and short bottom. How could I make my bum look bigger and more in shape with my tummy with no waist? Any advice will be really appreciated.
Thank you so much.

Hi Anna
You’re not alone in this dilemma; you’re what I’d call a classic apple shape with a round tummy and skinny legs.  The secret is to try and balance out proportions so you don’t look like a lollypop. Wearing floaty pregnancy tops is the logical way to cover up your tummy but often only serves to exaggerate roundness, especially when teamed with skinny jeans. What I would suggest is you switch the volume around and opt for wide leg trousers instead. This will add volume and width to the lower part of your body, helping to balance out the top part.

Choose low-waisted or flat-fronted trousers with a side zip for the most flattering cut. Team with long line, fitted tops that fall just below the hips so as to elongate the torso and even wear a belt on the hips to draw the eye downwards. Using fitted jackets to layer over tops will also help to nip in the waist and create shape. If your bum needs filling out you can invest in a pair of Huit padded knickers from or simply opt for a pair of jeans with bold pocket detailing on the back for extra volume.

2. Hi Nicky
I am a UK size 22/24, I always try to dress smart for work and, at the moment, while out of work, I am a big fan of baggy jeans, with knee-length dresses over the top. I see myself as fairly attractive and I am proud to be a larger woman. I like to remain classy, elegant yet trendy and at nearly 30, I am conscious that I am not dressing too young/old for my age. I am blonde with blue eyes and tanned skin (not permatan!).

Can you suggest some more plus size clothes shops in the UK and what sort of shapes should I be looking for to slim and enhance my figure?

Hi Pam,
It sounds like you’re wonderfully in tune with your body and have a really good sense of what suits you. Well done for loving and embracing your curves, we could all learn a lot from you. Without knowing where you currently shop it’s difficult to suggest new ones, but here are some alternatives which I hope you’ll find useful. I’ve stayed away from the obvious high street stores which I’m sure you’re very familiar with already.
www.freemans,com (probably a bit old for you but useful for future or someone else)

Regards to the styles you should wear, it's difficult without knowing a bit more about your body shape. One thing I would say though is always make sure you're in proportion and that you emphasize your waist if and where possible. This doesn’t have to be obvious like wearing a belt for example, it could be something simple like a wrap top or dress, fitted tops layered over each other to elongate the body etc. I do like the idea of layering a dress over trousers as you’re doing; just don’t forget to wear lots of chunky accessories as this will give your style a fashionable edge.

Keep up the good work. 

3. Hi Nicky
So much of the fashion magazine industry is dedicated to promoting youthful, unrealistic, less-than-average women. For those of us in our 40s or 50s there isn't much advice out there. My question is: how does a 40+ woman dress elegantly and practically given that there is no 'fashionista' or magazine celebrating petite women who are no longer waif thin and yet are petite in stature and capacious in personality?

Hi Kathleen
I completely agree with you, it’s really hard to get inspiration from the fashion press as what to wear as we get older. That said, I think it’s better to be driven by what suits you and makes you feel good rather than what age you are. You haven’t given me any details of your actual shape apart from the fact that you're petite but not slim, so it’s difficult to advise on specifics, but what I’d suggest is that you invest in a great pair of jeans – essential for any age (I’ve suggested some options below) which you can team with bright tops (to showcase your bubbly personality) whilst brightening your complexion at the same time and finish off with some gorgeous shoes and accessories. A long tailored jacket is also a good staple worth investing in to layer over tops. As you’re petite I would recommend you opt for shoes with a heel if you’re able to as this will give you the extra height. Don’t be scared to venture into high street shops aimed at generation younger for you. Places like Zara and Whistles are exactly where you need to be find something stylish and youthful.

Let me know if you need more tips. 


Nicky Hambleton-Jones
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