How to Wear a Belt (2)

Bulky belted sweaters
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An ideal look for many thin women (and one that is popular in cooler weather and climates) is the look of a bulky sweater with a belt over it. This has the benefit of adding ‘padding’ to the cinched look and increases the appearance of shape to the figure. It should be noted that not all cinched looks are great and that a loose, draped shirt cinched with a belt can easily just look outsized and make the woman appear shapeless instead of shapely.
Heavy Builds
Possibly the woman for whom belted looks are least friendly in general is the heavy built woman. Women with heavier builds generally fall into two body sub-types – apple and pear. These subtypes are also present in the other body categories but become most notable in women who are heavy. The ‘apple’ figured woman is called such because her body mass is primarily centered in her upper torso and mid-section.
The legs are usually more normally proportioned. As a result she appears to be build like an apple on a stick. The ‘pear’ figured woman is often referred to euphemistically as a full-figured woman. Her body generally has the traditional curves of a woman, although a larger portion of her mass rests in the lower torso and thighs. In silhouette, she appears to look like a pear.
For the apple figured woman, it is generally best to avoid belted looks altogether. Her focus should be on creating looks that accentuate vertical lines and thereby help to slim and make her appear taller. The pear figured woman CAN wear some belted looks as long as she remembers her proportion rule and understands that she wants to avoid all ‘cinched’ looks.
Ideally, the heavy woman (with the pear figure) will want a look that features stronger vertical lines and uses the belt as an accessory to add to the vertical focus or create an asymmetry in the look. Wider belts are obviously better since the proportion rule will make many thinner belts look out of place. But in addition to a wider belt, if the belt is longer than needed and worn loosely fastened or clasped and allowed to drape, it can create a fashionable look and flatter the figure in the process. I generally recommend many close-fitted garments unless they are part of a layered look.
Extra Special Cases
There are a couple of body types that need some special advice and emphasis in dealing with belts and belted looks. These are those types who are petite and heavy, and petite and thin. Women who are petite but of average build simply need to pay attention to the proportions of their body and the width of the belts they choose. Otherwise they follow the rules for the average build woman.
The woman who is petite is small in stature (short) and she should pay attention to the advice in the corresponding thin and heavy sections above. However, as a petite woman, it becomes doubly important that she avoid belts that fit into the extreme ends of the width spectrum. On a petite and thin woman, a wide belt tends to leave her looking like a little girl playing dress-up in mom’s accessories. A thin belt can work for a petite and thin woman, but it needs to be of appropriate length or otherwise it looks ill-fitting.
The petite and heavy woman should also avoid both wide and thin belts as these two extremes too often result in making her appear either too short, or wider than she honestly is. The purpose of fashion is to make a person feel good about herself, and if your accessory doesn’t do that for you, you truly don’t need it.