Menopause is a natural stage of life for women, but it can be a challenging time for many. One of the most frustrating things about menopause is gaining weight, which can be difficult to manage. It’s important to be gentle with yourself during this process, as you are adjusting to a new body after having something familiar for a long time. But the good news is that there are ways to dress to look and feel your best, no matter what your size or shape.
1. Embrace Your Current Body Shape
The first step in dressing for menopausal weight gain is to embrace your current body shape and learn how to create harmony with it. Many women find that their weight redistributes during menopause, meaning that they may gain weight in different areas than they did before and body shape may change. You need to understand your body as it is now, and learn how to dress it in a way that is both stylish and comfortable. Check out my body-shape calculator quiz and get your guide that will help you figure out the right styles and cuts of clothes for the shape you are today.
You cannot rely on old habits anymore, as they are no longer in harmony with your new body shape. Look at your body shape, proportions, and variations to find what styles and details will work best for you. Consider where to put the overall silhouette and where to put the detail, whether to use horizontal or vertical lines, and whether to create focal points to draw attention to specific areas. Body shape is just one small piece of what I call The Style Puzzle (find out all about the elements of that here).
It’s also essential to love and accept your body as it is today and find what enhances and works in harmony with it. Ask yourself who you are now and how you want to be perceived. Your style should express your personality and fit the new version of you.
I love adding a jacket layer (when the weather is right for that) to cover up my post-menopausal muffin-top mid-section (now that’s a mouthful). Layers that skim over your body are a great way of creating vertical lines (elongating and slimming) and covering up your middle.
Jackets, blazers, dusters, kimonos and the like are all great options.
3. Replace Clothing That No Longer Works For You
Replace your wardrobe thoughtfully, with a focus on what styles, shapes, colours, prints, patterns, and details work for your body shape and personality. This way, you can avoid wasting money on clothes that do not flatter your new body shape.
When shopping for clothes, try to focus on items that flatter your body shape, rather than trying to fit into a specific size or style. This might mean looking for clothes with a bit of stretch and finding styles that accentuate your best features. For example, if you’ve gained weight in your midsection, look for tops that drape over your tummy, rather than clinging to it. If you’re self-conscious about your arms, look for tops with sleeves that provide coverage.
4. Choose the Right Fabrics
The fabrics you choose can also make a big difference in how you look and feel. When you’re dealing with menopausal weight gain, you may find that your body is more sensitive to heat and cold. Look for fabrics that are breathable and lightweight, such as cotton, linen, and rayon. These materials will help keep you cool and comfortable, even on hot days.
Avoid fabrics that are heavy or stiff, such as denim or wool. These materials can be uncomfortable and may accentuate any areas that you’re self-conscious about. Instead, look for fabrics that drape and flow, such as silk or chiffon. These materials will help create a flattering silhouette, without adding bulk.
Look for layers that skim and don’t cling, this soft woven tee and kimono I made from a very lightweight cotton/viscose mix is ideal for summer.
5. Prints and Patterns Can Be Your Best Friend
Often we think that we should avoid prints and patterns but the right ones can help to distract the eye and stop anyone from noticing that additional muffin-top. Busy, dense prints are the ideal kind as they don’t create any sort of specific focal point and our eyes don’t find it calming to rest on them.
6. Accessorize to Enhance Your Look
Finally, don’t be afraid to accessorize to enhance your look. Accessories can be a great way to draw attention to your best features and distract from any areas that you’re less confident about. For example, if you’re self-conscious about your midsection, try wearing a statement necklace that sits above your bust or earrings to draw the eye upwards.
You can also use accessories to add pops of colour to your outfits, which can help make you feel more confident and vibrant. Look for scarves, belts, and jewellery in bold hues that complement your skin tone and hair colour.
Get a Style Education
It doesn’t matter your age or stage of life, and it’s never to late to become more educated about your style. If you are finding it tricky to figure out what to wear for your body today, getting the right advice and information is imperative, along with the support you need to put it into practice. This is why I created my 7 Steps to Style program, so that you can work out how to be stylish in a way that is right for you and works with the woman you are today. Not only will you discover how to dress the body you have today, but you’ll get my professional opinion on your current shape as well as colouring (which also changes with age) and a suite of tools to help you create your own personalised style guidelines that will make shopping easier and more enjoyable.
Menopausal weight gain can feel challenging and make you feel frumpier, but it doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your style. Remember, the most important thing is to feel good in your own skin, and the right clothes can help you achieve that.