Ask Ellbee ~ Fashion, Deconstructed

Dear Ellbee,

I am very curvy but my proportions are well-balanced.

I have always felt that I look best in clothes with structure and clean lines, but I like the idea of some of the more flowing, asymmetric styles and the deconstructed look.

The problem is that, not being a size-2 model, I feel like those styles look sloppy on me.

Can you help me figure out how to clean up that look for my body?  I’m 5’5″, and wear somewhere between a 12 and a 14.


PS Oh, btw: I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and love it!


Dear PJ,

You are a star!  We are happy to count you as a regular reader and hope you’ll continue to visit and enjoy little blog.

Now to your question:  Yes, there IS a way to do “deconstructed” and still look neat and lean, especially with your even proportions.

Here are a few guidelines:

Balance is key. 

As such, wear only one fuller, flowy piece at a time ~ and then temper it with something nicely fitted.

This is a good general rule for everyone (even size 2 models), as “balanced pairing” tricks the eye into seeing one’s best possible shape.


Keep lengths reasonable.

Asymmetrical items are lovely, as long as they aren’t too short (which somehow looks disproportionate on everyone) or too long (since only the truly tall can pull off extra length).

Tops should hit below the waist, but not beyond the derriere.

Bottoms may vary according to the wearer’s height; but when a portion of the cut stops at the knee, it’s particularly flattering (and especially so for anyone of smaller stature).


Choose pieces that are lightweight.

Heavy materials and thick knits only add bulk.

Go for gossamer.  And, if necessary, be willing to wear a modest underpinning.  A little cling is okay; but your ultimate goal is finding fabrics that simply skim your curves.


Skip big extras. 

Keep accessories understated and to a minimum.

A small pair of studs, a thin neck chain or a basic clutch will ensure that your flowy frills and quirky cuts are the real feature.


Here are a few practical examples to help inspire your own combinations:

A layered top does not work with a tiered skirt.  Instead, pair it with a classic, form-fitting pencil skirt or some slimming cigarette pants.


Likewise, a full and flowy asymmetrical skirt does not work with a billowy top.  Instead, pair it with a blouse that hugs your curves or a simple camisole.

Frilly dress?  Skip drape-y wraps and sweaters.  Define your shape with a seamed denim jacket or a cool leather jacket with feminine details.

Cheat the whole look. 

Still not ready to go all the way? 

Then slip into your favorite skinny jeans, pull on a fitted tee and add one obscenely big frill ~ like a swing jacket, a fun and flirty poncho or even an oversized ruffled leather handbag.

Ellbee often cheats the look with a huge, poufy scarf ~ and loves this brilliant lightweight piece by Athena Procopiou!


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