Photo by Linda Steward/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Linda Steward/iStock / Getty Images

So we have put together some tips for dressing our shape.

TOPS

  • Consider wearing bright, bold colours and patterns. Bright colours and patterns catch the eye and wearing these elements on the top of your body will keep the attention upward down playing your wider lower half in the process.
  • Look for bust enhancing necklines sweetheart and scoop necks.
  • Avoid sleeveless tops and dresses which draw attention to the upper arms, although those cut-away at the armholes to reveal more shoulder will work.
  • Avoid cap/short sleeves which finish right at the flabbiest part of the upper arm. This is worse than wearing a sleeveless dress, as the sleeves hit the heaviest part of the arm, which immediately draws attention to it.
  • Three-quarter-length sleeves will flatter your figure more than short or long ones. They have the effect of making the body look slimmer, including the arms. Why? Well, three-quarter sleeves finish at the slimmest part of the arm and also serve to show off the firmest part the wrist area.
  • Avoid sleeves that are too tight and clingy they will only accentuate your upper arms. And hurt the lipoedema pearls!
  • Avoid horizontal stripes on sleeves and avoid puff-sleeves like the plague even if they are fashionable!
  • Choose dresses and tops with fluted sleeves or floating cuffs to balance out bingo wings.
  • Add a delicate chiffon or silk wrap to a strapless or strappy party dress, which will give just enough coverage but still give that illusion of bareness.
  • Bolero jackets and shrugs give enough coverage and because they finish half-way down the arm still show an expanse of flesh (the thinnest part). Alternatively try a pretty pashmina shawl, which can be worn in so many ways.
  • Off-the shoulder tops or asymmetric tops are more slimming as they show off a greater expanse of skin around the shoulder area, thereby deflecting attention from arms, and serving to elongate them.

BOTTOMS

  • Wide leg trousers mask the fullness of your hips and thighs by making the rest of your leg look a little fuller and are also great over compression garments.
  • Find a pair with a draw string waist. Look for linen palazzo pants most have a drawstring so you can buy a few sizes up to accommodate your legs then pull the waist in
  • Find a tailor and take trousers to be altered to fit. With a tailor you get a professional finish for a few pounds. Worth every penny.Look for yoga pants. These are great for lounge wear. I love mine and they are my new go to school run trouser. Mine are from www.next.co.uk.
  • Look for yoga pants. These are great for lounge wear.
  • For something smarter or for workwear, look for trousers that have a flat front and elastic back preferably ones with the elastic that is not stitched to the fabric allowing you to cut a small hole in the waistband, pull the elastic tight and tying a knot. There you have it small waist, big legs covered.
  • Try wearing a maxi skirt or a gypsy skirt. These long skirts gently drape off your hips, flowing down without clinging to your legs the stripping effect often de-emphasises’ the width of your thighs and hides those calves.

ACCESSORISE

  • A colourful scarf can lift your mood and face whilst drawing attention to your upper body. They come in lots of different fabrics, silk, linen, wool and with sparkles. They can change a plain outfit from flat to fabulous. Link YouTube ‘How to wear a scarf 15 ways’. ?
  • Go for chunky, eye-catching necklaces and earrings which will draw the eye upwards as well.
  • Wear statement jewelry on the wrist area to deflect attention away from the upper arm. A stylish cuff or some pretty bangles will do the job.
  • Cinch your waste in with a belt and show off your smallest bit. OBI belts are great for doing this and one size fits all. Available on eBay at low cost.
  • This wonderful accessory is sometimes simple, sometimes flamboyant - but always the place to keep your stuff. A big bag can slim you down!

FOOTWEAR

  • Wearing well-fitted shoes for women with lipoedema is important as our legs and feet need as much support as they can get.
  • Ask for assistance while shopping or choose to go to some of the specialist shoe companies online that specialise in wider fits. Link Clarks, Hotter, DB shoes.
  • Boots are often what women with lipoedema wish for most and looking for the perfect fit is like looking for the Holy Grail. Some online stores are now carrying a range of wider Fitting ankle boots, full-length boots and Wellingtons.  Link Simply Be, Evans, Hotter, Duo
  • The other option is to have boots made to measure, though expensive, these boots are made to last. Link Bootmakers.com

SWIM WEAR

  • Getting in the pool is one of the hardest challenges we face even though we know swimming is good for us. So here are some tips to help you do it.
  • Choose swimsuits that draw attention away from your larger hips and thighs.
  • Look for two-piece swimsuits that allow you to mix and match tops and bottoms. Choose a dark-coloured bottom black is a good choice since it will match any top.
  • Look for tops with embellishment like patterns or ruffles to draw the eyes upwards away from the hips.
  • For pear-shaped women, plus size swimsuits with short skirts can help to hide your hips. Consider a swim dress with a straight skirt that fits well.
  • Suits with control panels can make your hips and thighs look much smaller than they actually are.
  • Wear light support swim leggings to give you confidence. Simply pop your costume on top of them.
  • Don’t forget the sarong these hide a multitude of sins and you can hide your legs getting into the pool and pop it on when getting out.

Sometime it’s just too much to head to the high street for us as we find it emotionally and physically challenging. So shop from the comfort of your arm chair. Here is a list of our favourite sites.

  • Www.carolineann.co.uk British designer featured in our fashion show. A favourite 
  •  www.annascholz.com Anna Scholz is an exclusive designer range with 4 stockists in the UK. Eye catching and opulent designs.
  • www.barenecessities.co.uk/ This Derbyshire based company offer a great range to dress size 24. Bra sizes are from 30-48 JJ. There is also a special mastectomy range.
  • www.base-fashions.co.ukThis is a fantastic shop, run by Rushka Murganovic for more than 18 years. It’s in the heart of Covent Garden. Sizes 16-28 Labels include Almia Cocoon, Elina Miro, Oska and many, many more. I love this shop! 
  • www.beigeplus.com Casual and special occasion wear as well as wider fit Italian leather boots. Designer names at two London boutiques as well as online.
  • www.boden.co.uk/ Great on-trend looks from this perfectly formed catalogue. Every page has something you want!
  • www.box2.co.uk A large selection of Women’s plus size clothes – sizes 14 to 30. All clothes are hand-picked with ranges from Germany and Holland. Outlets across the UK.
  • www.cast-woman.comThis is a UK company but delivers to Europe, USA and Australia. Classic and well-made tops and dresses for fuller cups sizes 8-18 with three bust fittings also reconfigured darts on shirts.
  • www.chescadirect.co.ukAn up-market plus size range. Available in House of Fraser across the UK. Sizes 12 – 24
  • www.clarisciagill.com An affordable collection of customised clothes by a designer who understands that the shape and personality of women vary greatly. Styling advice standard. Relaxed Mayfair boutique.
  • www.curvety.com Online shopping emporium of plus size women’s clothing and lingerie with designer chic and a comfortable fit, offering plus size women out size fashion clothes to celebrate your curves!
  • www.daxon.co.uk Daxon is a mail order catalogue which is aimed at the over 50’s, sizes 16-38. Shoes are in wide styles prioritising comfort. Lingerie up to size 46 F
  • www.debenhams.com Casual club, Trader and Debut, XPG, J Taylor, Maine and Nuage are all labels that go up to 22.
  • www.delicates.co.uk Finest silk lingerie hand-made to you measurements. Larger sizes a speciality.
  • www.designershoes.com Narrow and wide fitting shoes
  • www.dorothyperkins.com Dorothy Perkins the well-known high street store stocks ranges up to size 20 and x long lengths up to 36 inches.
  • www.duoboots.comFab mail-order company specialising in calf fitting boots with over 20 widths available in many great designs. Sizes 2-10 and prices from £90.
  • www.elenamiro.com A sophisticated Italian designer clothing brand for stylish professional women in sizes 14-26. Stocked in House of Fraser and other outlets. Flagship store Regent Street London.
  • www.elvi.co.uk Elvi has over 100 stores in the UK selling a great range of classic women’s separates for everyday wear in sizes 16 to 26.
  • www.kandco.com K&Co offers a plus range designed especially for fuller figures which is sold in sizes 16 through to 30. To request your catalogue visit the site.
  • www.evans.co.uk Evans has a great range of styles from sizes 14-32. Petite and tall ranges are also available. Shoes come in a wider fit and underwear and hosiery is well considered.
  • www.fashionworld.co.uk This catalogue is aimed at a fashion conscious forty plus market. Sizes 12-32.
  • www.frankusher.co.uk Frank Usher specialise in glitzy evening and occasion wear. It traditional sizes 10-20.
  • www.grayandosbourn.co.uk Gray and Osbourn are a mail order company specialising in clothing for a mature 50 plus customer, sizes 10-26
  • www.igigi.com An American company will deliver worldwide. A great site that has created 7 different body shapes to help you to order the perfect fit for 
  • www.newlook.co.uk The range is designed for the proportions of the curvaceous figure and starts at size 16 – 24. Some longer lengths up to 34 inch inside leg.
  • www.jdwilliams.co.uk A great range of mature and elegant clothing available in sizes 12 to 38
  • www.svobodastyle.com- Jessica Svoboda- Canadian site for premium jeans in sizes up to 58″ hips. Will deliver to UK
  • www.kaleidoscope.co.uk Online catalogue shop full of female fashion including cruisewear, eveningwear, summer and autumn clothing, shoes, jewellery, accessories and more. Sizes 6-24.
  • www.kiyonna.com/ This USA based company designs stylish plus-size women’s apparel in sizes 10-32. If you live in North America, this site is worth a look.
  • www.laredoute.co.uk/ A French mail order company with serious European style, sizes 8-24. Credible design names. 
  • www.chantilly.co.uk Stocks a limited amount to dress size 24 cup size G but will custom make garments to any size. Nottingham based.
  • www.lessbounce.com Made to measure lingerie in sizes up to 52GG
  • www.marksandspencer.com In sizes 20-28 The Plus Collection is available in selected stores featuring garments which retail at the same price as the standard ranges.
  • www.newlookgroup.comThe one-stop shop for the fashion savvy shopper…
  • www.next.co.uk Next sells effortless, fashionable clothing for all ages and occasions, sizes up to 26. Excellent mail order service.
  • www.simplybe.com This catalogue is aimed at women who want modern fashionable clothes in sizes 14-32. Also has extra wide shoes and boots
  • www.yoursclothing.co.uk This is a midlands based company with a range consisting of formalwear, eveningwear and lingerie, sizes 14-32. Great ‘on trend’ designs.