By JEFFARAH GIBSON
Tribune Features Writer
Not too long ago searching for chic, trendy clothing if you were a full-figured woman often felt like looking for that proverbial needle in a haystack. However, the tide has since turned and today's fashionistas who wear a dress size 10 and up have more options than ever before.
Thanks to various brands, plus size women can be just as fashionable as their smaller counterparts. They can pick from a variety of patterns, choose different colours and refuse the silhouettes that do nothing for their figures.
Ensuring you are wearing the right style for your specific body type is the singular most important thing a full-figured woman can do, according to Bahamian designer Cardell McClam, who has his own line of full-figured clothing under the Cardellicious brand.
In collaboration with Bahamian designer Ria Georgina, Cardellicious will host a shop n' sip event this Sunday at Divas Inc next to the Sand Trap from 11am to 5pm.
Cardell has been making full-figured clothing for several years now and believes that while Bahamian plus size women have been getting it right most of the time, there are still a few things they should know about dressing for their figure.
"Women need to celebrate their body. They should choose to celebrate through their clothing," he told Tribune Woman.
And celebrating one's body through clothing means making the right choices.
When it comes to full-figured clothing size really does matter. It is unsightly, Cardell said, when a garment is way too small on the woman wearing it.
In fact, choosing a size that is a bit bigger than your actual size is a good rule of thumb for those who desire to have their items tailored.
"When you choose a clothing that is a size bigger it leaves enough room and material for pieces to be tailored. However, tailoring can cost. So an alternative is finding brands that carry and celebrate plus size women. These brands create their clothing thinking about the width of your arms or your legs. Shop where you are appreciated," he said.
Make alterations when necessary
While many plus size brands offer true-to-size garments, Cardell said one can never underestimate the difference custom alterations can make.
"Even if you purchase a blouse and you are a woman that has huge bust, you might want to add buttons on the inside so that when you move throughout the day you can be comfortable and you do see those pockets of space through the clothes. And this kind of tailoring you can do on your own if you wish," he said.
Colours and fabrics
"My rules for women have changed over time when it comes to prints," said Cardell, who believes plus size women should choose them on the basis that the larger the print, the smaller you appear.
"Smaller prints on the other make you appear larger, so choose accordingly."
When it comes to colour, the designer said the full-figured women should go as bold or as muted as they choose.
"What I would like to see is women start embracing their eclectic and intellectual side. Don't let fashion make you into a note when you are a song. Don't be shy when it comes to fashion. Mix prints and be committed to it. Mix colours or try a monochromatic style," he said.
Build a solid foundation
What helps any clothing item look even better is the foundation that is worn underneath. There are a various undergarments that plus size women have access to that can smooth, shape and lift certain areas.
"Foundation is very important and there so many different styles out there. Some are long, some are short, but I think every woman should never stop investing in undergarments, especially nude ones," said Cardell.
"When you are wearing suits you don't necessarily need a foundation. Once your suit is tailored it will fall how it is supposed to on your body. But when it comes to a jersey fabric you need a good foundation to smooth out your body. You don't want too much distractions, because at the end of the day you want a nice smooth finish."