Rack ‘Em Up

by Angi Ingalls
PCOS in ConnecTion

Going shopping can be a huge event for the average woman. Add to that weight and breast issues, and you got yourself a nice batter of frustration.

I love to shop for clothes. Or should I say, I love my wardrobe and searching for new oddities to add to it. What do I hate? Oh, my gosh, where do I start?

Because of my body shape (bigger in the belly area then the rest of my body) I like babydoll, peasant, and flare-outs with a pinch at the bra line. However; I do have some business-like shirts but that are tailored at the torso and flair out a little at the hip line. All of my clothes are of loose, flowy and are made of light-weight fabric. I don’t own anything made of cotton accept undershirts. There’s a reason for that about which I will clue you in later.

Going shopping can be a huge event for the average woman. Add to that weight and breast issues, and you got yourself a nice batter of frustration.

Let’s start with the basics.

The cut of a shirt is important. As stated before, I stick to a few styles. It was easier for me to buy these the previous three or four years but this past year has been difficult. It seems the style is fading out except in the maternity section – which I am not afraid to venture into. You wouldn’t know it, but I own several maternity garments. I have found on a shape like mine, having a cut just under the breast and loose around the stomach works. Many women with my shape have also said the same. For the record, I am a size 14/16. I could not get away with this style when I was a 24, it made me look full-term pregnant. For a larger woman, a better shape is concave – a shirt that hugs the sides of your abdomen but not necessarily the front.

Plus-size women are better off without cotton. The reason for this is because cotton clings. It does not have a nice airy flow to the fabric. If you stretch out the cotton shirt, it looks just that and does not flatter the wearer. If you do have something cotton that you love, wear a satin or silk tank underneath. This will allow the cotton to flow freely without clinging.

My chest doesn’t need the extra space, thanks. One thing that bugs me the most is trying to find a large size shirt that doesn’t have large breast cupping. Why do designers think that just because someone is large they have a large chest to match? I wear a size 16 but my cup size is only a C. This is why I tend to stick to the plus size sections in a store aimed at teens.

Speaking of chests…. Are you aware that as many as 60% of all women wear the wrong size bra? Astonishing isn’t it? Please take the time to go to a bra specialist – regardless of your size – to see what is best for you. I went to Victoria Secret, even though they don’t carry my size. Also, really look at your breasts in a mirror without anything on. Examine how they sit on your chest, look at the space between and where the outer edge of your breast sits. These are all issues you will need to address in your bras.

For me, my breasts are not perky, they have an inch gap between them and they end just before my armpits. This means I have to buy a bra that has a wider extension between cups, the cup of the bra has to be full on the sides but because my breasts do not create a cleavage I can wear a wide inner-cut cup. Women with bigger breasts that create a lot of cleavage should not wear cleavage-enhancing bras which would increase the likelihood of splitting and fall-outs. [Splitting is when half the breast is in the cup, the top of the cup cuts into the breast and pushes the other half over the rim.] When it comes to color matching, it’s best to wear black under black, brown or navy. Make sure to wear ‘skin tone’ bras under white clothing. White is the one color that can not be worn on itself without being visibly noticeable to those walking by you.

Horizontal stripes are not wise. They make a person look larger and can accentuate stomach issues. Have you noticed how many shirts have horizontal stripes these days? Go into any store and do a count. Did the designers forget this historic faux pas?

Rolls should not be seen. I live in Connecticut and it really amazes me at how many women show their rolls. Either showing actual skin or wearing clothing that clings to them. Now I’m not talking about a ‘thick’ woman. I think thick or even a little thicker-than-thick is sexy, personally. What I am talking about is a woman that has at least a one-inch roll, or even several rolls. I’m all for being proud of your body shape, no matter what size, be confident but be smart too. Rolls are not flattering.

Do you suffer from Dunlap’s Disease? Many women make the mistake of wearing jeans that which increases the likelihood of DD – where the belly has ‘done lapped’ over the rim of the pants. Several are so eager to wear hip-huggers, they forget or ignore this design flaw for overweight women. As with having a lot of chocolate, have the will power to say no.

“My cup runneth over” should not imply panties. I’m sorry ladies, there are just some clothing we plus-size women should not wear; including boy-shorts. Not only do boy-shorts encourage the belly pushing over the top of the undies, it also increases the risk for Double Tummy – this is the crease left in the skin from the rim of the underwear creating a second-tummy-look. However, I do encourage lace or satin underwear and not cotton. While cotton may breathe, it also creates issues with clothing; such as clinging, wedgies and twisting.

Or, you could be like many other women and opt out completely. If you do wear undies, try to match them to your bra. It will help you maintain a sexier feel and we all need to feel sexy, regardless of our size – another reason for lace and satin. Did you know lace underwear does not show lines in most pants/skirt/dress?

A total white wash? When venturing out, make sure you check your clothing with someone else’s eyes if possible. Many people make the mistake of wearing white on white. Do not wear white undies or bra under white pants, skirt or dress as white-on-white shows exactly the style, cut and design of your under garments. To avoid such faux pas, it’s best to either wear no underwear/bra or find under garments that match your skin tone.

Another tidbit, take a black light to your clothing if you are going to a club. Most clubs have black lighting and if you have used stain removers on your white garments, the evidence will show. The audacity of walking through a club with a big neon white spot right where you sat on that chocolate piece of cake one time, or maybe on the front of your shirt from that bloody nose you obtained in a drunken argument with your best friend last summer. Lastly, avoid acrylic nails when going to the club as these also glow under black lighting – unless that is your goal.

Prints or plain? Going into a store aimed at young adults and teens is always eventful when it comes to prints. Am I walking into a store for the young or for the 1970’s granny? I remember a lot of these prints in my grandmother’s wardrobe when I was six. I tend to stick to prints in my shirts and only buy plain pants and skirts. Doing so increases your wardrobe because it is easier to mix and match; however, don’t turn away from prints either. Just be careful what you buy – try to buy something that will stay in-style for a few years as well.

Remember that clothing serves two purposes: to cover us up but in a way that makes us look Super-Diva. Two snaps with a nod, baby cakes.

When venturing out, try new styles and stores and don’t be afraid to try new things, even if you think the clothing won’t look good on you. Bring an honest friend, a sibling, or your mother with you shopping too – someone who is not afraid to speak up. It’s better to look least-flattering in a dressing room rather than after you bought it and regret it.

Angi Ingalls; PCOS in ConnecTion
Guest PCOS writer
pcosinct@yahoo.com
Educator for over 18 years
Diagnosed in 1985 at 12, living with PCOS since 1981

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article and the Insulite Labs website is for the sole purpose of being informative. Information obtained is not and should not be used or relied upon as medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician, nurse or other qualified health care provider before you undergo any treatment, take any medication, supplements or other nutritional support, or for answers to any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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