Tailored clothing compliments larger figures

If you are a size 18 or larger, fashion has a message for you: "It's time to tuck it in!" No ifs, ands, or buts about it, the look this season is strictly tailored. If the larger woman wants to look like her slimmer sister, she will have to plan her wardrobe accordingly.

Some will say that's easier said than done. For so long, women without trim waistlines have been encouraged to hide them under billowing tops and tent dresses. Few have well-fitted clothing to wear. This fall's fashions change all that. Large- figured shoppers can find a wide selection of well-made garments that combine to create figure flattering looks that go to the office or out to dinner.

Proportion is the secret to tailored dressing, no matter what shape your figure is in. The first rule is to avoid the 50/50 split, by not choosing equal amounts of colors or picking a skirt and jacket that divides your figure in half. Instead, choose a 1/3- 2/2 split. The best example of this is the combination of blouse, skirt and blazer, worn open, or a finger-tip length tunic , worn over a street length skirt.

When choosing to tuck in your blouse, the type of skirt you select is important. This season, the accordion pleated skirt offers a soft, swirling botton for a more figure- fitting blouse and bolero or vest on the top.

Kilts are the rage. Several clothing makers, including Pendleton Woolen Mills, offer kilts in large sizes. Pendleton also offers a matching plaid (Scottish stole). Both garments are constructed of 100 percent wool MacKenzie dress tartan. The use of the plaid in place of the jacket offers the opportunity to show off one of the new feminine, fitted blouses that now come in larger sizes.

Topics II is responsible for some of the nicest interpretations of fall blouse fashion in large sizes. Rebekah Roth, designer, is using her ten year's experience as a merchandiser at Lane Bryant to convert style trends into workable, flattering tops. Blouses are more important this year, with built- in fit at neckline and shoulder and more tapered bodies. But consumers should try on all merchandise, since neck/shoulder fit is still questionable in some garments.

Try on a variety of styles to see how certain necklines work. Perhaps the popular small collar with ribbon tie makes a face look too full, whereas a deeper V-neck would be more flattering. Full busted women should bypass the blouse with a jabot or bowtie over the bust, choosing instead an open V collar and a longer scarf as an accessory.

Jackets complete the tailored outfit. The length and style of jacket will be determined by height and width. The secret ingredient is the way that the jacket fits.

When wearing a blouse tucked in, you needn't worry about buttoning the jacket. Koret is showing a piped cardigan style that looks new, as well as their popular corduroy and velvet blazers that can be worn either open or closed.

With pants, however, the blazer looks best buttoned, with a lacy collar showing, tied with a narrow ribbon bow at the neckline. Open blazers look neat with sweaters (especially Shetlands) and oxford cloth shirts.

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