How to Rock Patterns on Your Lower Half – X and A Shapes


If you’ve read my recommendations on how to dress the hourglass shapes – the X Shape and A shape, that have the wider lower hip area, you may have noticed that the instructions are to keep the bottom of your body more boring, plain and free of detail.

Details to Avoid Below the Waist for X Shapes and A Shapes

How to Flatter Curvy Hourglass Figures - How to Wear Pattern below the waist and what to avoid wearing below the waist

Pockets (particularly patch pockets) are the nemesis of the X and A shape bodies as they create larger horizontal details around hips and thighs that are particularly widening because they are made from horizontal details (find all about the effect of horizontal lines here) and they add a focal point to the part of the body that most X and A shape women tell me they’d rather nobody noticed.

Whiskering and Distressing Details on jeans, particularly around the crotch and thighs are other no-nos for this body shape.  Again, this kind of detail just draws your eye to that part of the body (and I’m not sure about you, but my crotch is not an ideal focal point for my outfit!).

How To Wear Pattern Below the Waist

So you’re avoiding those nasty pockets and whiskering, but how about a lovely patterned skirt?

Absolutely you can!

How to Flatter Curvy Hourglass Figures - How to Wear Pattern below the waist and what to avoid wearing below the waist

  1. Choose a Top in a Light or Bright Colour from within the print – light and bright colours draw attention, so use a light or bright colour, rather than a darker colour from the pattern in your top.
  2. Add a Focal Point in Your Portrait Area – as always advised, add a focal point in your portrait area with a necklace, brooch, statement earring, scarf etc.
  3. Keep Your Shoes Tonal to Your Legs – choosing a very different coloured shoe from your legs (or hosiery if you’re wearing it) will draw attention down, instead, choose a shoe that doesn’t draw attention – a nude shoe is a great option.

Print and Pattern Tips for X and A Shapes

  1. Choose busy and denser patterns as sparse patterns draw attention to each element, creating a focal point on the pattern.
  2. Avoid horizontals, particularly wide horizontals which draw widening stripes across your lower body.  Instead, opt for verticals (particularly more narrow verticals) as they elongate and slim.
  3. Be wary of the scale of the print – the larger the scale the taller and broader you need to be to be able to carry it off without being overwhelmed by the print.  Instead, go for medium or smaller scale prints.

How to Flatter Curvy Hourglass Figures - How to Wear Pattern below the waist and what to avoid wearing below the waist


Not sure if you’re an A shape or an X shape or some other body shape?  You can take my free Body Shape Calculator quiz here and then download your Body Shape Bible.  Alternatively, if you’d like my professional opinion on your shape, you can get this as part of my 7 Steps to Style program – find out about it here!

More Tips on Dressing with Prints and Patterns

Patterned Skirt – What Colour Top?

How to Mix Stripes with Prints

Choosing Prints to Disguise Your Tummy

How to Pick Prints – Curved or Angular

How to Understand the Elements of Prints

How to Interpret and Choose Prints and Patterns For Your Personality

3 Essential Elements to Choosing Flattering Prints and Patterns

How to Pick a Slimming Print

How to Flatter Curvy Hourglass Figures - How to Wear Pattern below the waist and what to avoid wearing below the waist


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

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  • I was thinking that I could never wear patterns on my lower half at all, but now I can see how something like that pretty floral print skirt would work very well. The white skirt with branches and flowers has a more subtle and classic look than fussy prints often do. But the way you described certain design flaws in modern jeans really made my day:

    “…my crotch is not an ideal focal point for my outfit!”

    Thank you for the best laugh I’ve had all week. I always knew there was a subtle reason why I avoided distressed jeans. You nailed it! Anyhow, now I have an excuse to go shopping for some suitable prints and a dressy skirt was on my list. Thanks for your great eye for detail and wonderful fashion advice.

  • Imogen,
    Thank you for clarifying my A shape and stone colored bottom garment concerns ! Wearing both lighter and/or brighter warm colors on top opens up my options instead of just all lighter tops !
    Next several questions — how many tops should go with each bottom in a wardrobe module, as well as how many bottoms should go with a given top ? I have seen advice that when purchasing a new garment to think of three ways that it can be used , so should a given top go with a minimum of 3 bottoms, and each bottom go with 3 tops ? Because of value concerns, I have not found that a given top works as well with 3 different value bottoms , so should the 3 bottoms be instead of similar values, but just different styles ? Thank you in advance !

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