How to Choose Fabric Patterns for Your Body Type

Body sizes don’t fall into simply “big” and “small,” therefore, there are no defined fabric patterns based on how much you weigh. However, there are tips and tricks and things to know about how to achieve a certain look depending on the shape and size of your body.

Where You Want the Attention

Take a long look at your body and decide where you want the attention to be. Some women might want their hips to be the focal point, or their busts. Others might want to show off their legs. Try to figure out where your strengths are and what you’d like to get emphasis on when picking out your clothing.

Where You Don’t Want the Attention

Alternatively, is there a part of your body you definitely don’t want attention going? Are your hips wider than you’d like, so you want to draw attention elsewhere? Or, are you a top-heavy woman who wants to slim down some of that top weight?


Stripes can be a very handy pattern. For women who’d like to appear slimmer and taller, vertical stripes (running up and down the length of the body) can not only make you look taller, but skinnier as well. Of course, if you’re already on the tall side, vertical stripes may not be a great choice.

Horizontal stripes, on the other hand, often look unflattering on many body types because they’ll make the widest part of your body look even wider. This is true even on slender body types. Your shoulders might be made to appear too broad, for instance. Before buying anything with vertical stripes, try it on first and make sure it doesn’t put too much emphasis on areas you’d rather it didn’t.

Decorative Patterns

Flowers, butterflies, tribal designs or any other kind of pattern should always be done in moderation. Outfits consisting of entirely patterns tend to look noisy and unflattering, as more attention is on the patterns and colors than on you. Try keeping to printed tops with solid-colored bottoms, or lightly printed bottoms, like skirts, with solid-colored tops. The noisier the print, the less of it you should wear.

A handy trick for use on any body-type, but especially heavier women, for those eager to spice up an otherwise plain outfit is to purchase some simple printed accessories. Find a small, possibly sheer, neck scarf with an animal print or another pattern. Something as small and simple as this can add a lot of flair without overdoing it.

If you carry your weight low, avoid using patterns on your skirts, shorts or pants. This will draw attention to your hips and rear rather than focusing up top. Likewise, if you’re top-heavy, consider picking out solid, dark tops with more eye-catching bottoms.


Darker colors do make you appear slimmer, but even a black outfit can look unflattering. In fact, something done entirely in black probably won’t look much better than decking yourself out in all white. Mix it up a little. If you’re a fan of bright colors, try a vividly colored camisole or a t-shirt with a pair of black slacks to help balance it out.

Overall, everyone has a theory about what heavier women should wear in comparison to thinner women. The truth of the matter is, anyone can get away with wearing any color, so long as they’re smart about doing it.


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