Choose Clothes To Fit Your Body

Caprice Willard

Caprice Willard at Macy’s Ala Moana. Yu Shing Ting photo

Chances are you may know someone like this, or maybe it’s you – after all that dieting and exercising, you’ve lost the weight but still sport the same clothes as before, which are now way too big for you. After any weight loss, it’s common for people to comment on how great you look, but it’s probably not as easy for them to say that your clothes don’t look good on you.

“I can relate to someone who loses a lot of weight and doesn’t want to invest in a whole new wardrobe right away,” says Caprice Willard, vice president/regional planning manager for women’s apparel for Macy’s and featured buyer/judge on NBC’s Fashion Star. “To me, that is when accessories come into play, and I’m a firm advocate of getting things altered as opposed to buying a whole new wardrobe until you hit your goal.

“But I also feel you’ve got to celebrate the little successes as you’re going, and buy a couple of cute pieces that will allow your wardrobe to move forward.”

Willard, who was in Hawaii last week on business, shares how she weighed 20 pounds more in college than she does now. “I was short and chunky, and didn’t feel great with my body,” she recalls. “But it wasn’t so much how much I weighed but more because I didn’t have a good understanding of what worked for my body and what to wear.”

An active teenager who was into dancing and cheerleading, Willard says she stopped working out in college because she didn’t have the time. So, upon graduation she joined a gym and eventually incorporated exercise into her daily regimen.

“I started seeing results and started eating healthier, and then I got a buddy, a friend at Macy’s, who had a weight-loss goal as well, and we worked out together and ate lunch together every day so we didn’t get off track, and then it became a lifestyle,” she says. “Yes, there’s a fitness thing and I like being able to wear the clothes in my closet, but for me it’s also a mindset that it’s my 30 minutes to be one with me, and that’s so important regardless of how busy you are.”

Some other fashion tips from Willard:

* For a petite person, just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you are meant to wear it. “Often a wide-leg pants just isn’t as flattering on a petite person because you don’t have that leg span to really warrant all of that fabric flapping around,” she explains. “I’m also not a big advocate of high-waisted pants or even skirts because, again, the proportions. They made it in your size but that doesn’t change the fact the distance is just not there like on an average-size person. On the flip side I would say don’t be afraid of long things like maxi dresses or maxi skirts, those look fantastic on a petite person.”

* For tall people, don’t be afraid to wear heels. “If I did learn anything from Elle Macpherson, it’s that tall people get to wear heels too, and it looks great on them,” she says.

* Don’t wear something just because it’s a hot trend. “I think that’s the biggest fashion mistake people make,” she says. “Seeing something in the magazine doesn’t mean you’re meant to wear it. If you’re a curvy, short girl like I am, and gauchos came back in style for two hot seconds – I didn’t wear it the first time they were in and I wouldn’t wear them now.

“I really feel people should embrace their body whatever it is. If you’re tall or short, if you have 5 pounds to lose or gain, just embrace where you’re at today and then work toward what it is you want to be.”

Fashion Star (Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on NBC) also features supermodel host Elle Macpherson, celebrity mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos, and buyers/judges Nicole Christie of H&M and Terron Schaefer of Saks Fifth Avenue. On the show, 14 unknown designers compete for the chance to win a multimillion-dollar prize to launch their collections in three of America’s largest retailers, Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.