I am a 20-year-old student with very broad hips and a big bottom, but the rest of my body is quite skinny. My problem is that I look dreadful in pants. For years I have resigned myself to wearing skirts or dresses, and if I had to wear long pants, I'd wear an oversized long blouse.
Now I want a new look. What can you suggest?
For advice I turned to Jennifer George, who is very savvy about women with figure problems.
First, she recommends wearing black or navy, because dark colors are minimizing. Then, she says, "use jackets to develop a flattering silhouette. Choose them with shoulder pads as they give an especially good line on women with tiny upper bodies and big hips. But be sure they are properly sized -- there's nothing worse than a jacket that's too small across the hips.
"Look for double-breasted styles and wear them open. As they have more fabric, they are more flattering."
She agrees that you should stay away from jeans.
"Be careful also with big shirts. They can make you look bigger -- especially if you wear them with wide, floppy pants.
"Try a crisp white shirt with slim black pants in rayon, silk or something that doesn't cling. Watch out for cotton; it can be quite a problem."
Ms. George has noticed many full-figured women wearing leggings for casual wear, but says leggings "should be kept in the gym. If you want to wear them out for a fruit shake after your workout, that's OK. But please, never wear them with heels."
She says it's most important to accentuate your positives. "Trapeze dresses are excellent for your kind of body. Try a black baby doll or an A-line dress. And if you have fabulously long legs, you'll find a boxy chemise dress will look ravishing."