Fashion Friday: Top-heavy sweaters

I believe our bodies are perfect just as they are. My goal in Fit to Flatter, and Fashion Fridays, and really everything I do, is to help you understand how to choose clothing you love to wear, and wear clothing that makes your body shine.

I was thinking about this as I went through the gray shirt outfits from last week’s post, and then I thought: But wait. How helpful can these posts really be, if you’re only ever seeing my straight, proportional, long-torsoed form? What about other body types?

So I talked to my good friend Jackie, and she agreed to let me use a few of her pictures for this week’s FF. We’ll come back to the gray shirt next week.

Jackie is a broad-shouldered, narrow-hipped (or top-heavy) shape. Of all body shapes, I actually think small-busted, top-heavy shapes can have the toughest time getting sweaters that fit properly. Much of the common internet advice (go negative ease in the bust!) steers them horribly, horribly wrong–a small-busted top heavy shape needs extra room in the shoulders, almost always requiring some positive ease in the bust. So I’ve seen a number of women through my classes with this shape who complain about their sweaters being constricting and uncomfortable.

Being a helpless victim around for a lot of my musings, we’ve figured out some great strategies for Jackie. Here are a few sweaters that fit her well and make the most of her lovely figure.


Snowmates is such a fantastic choice. The super plain top narrows her shoulders and doesn’t distract the eye from the real star of this sweater, the graphic color work on the bottom. That color work, the longer sweater length, and the 3/4 sleeves broaden Jackie’s hips and make her appear perfectly proportional (with a tiny waist, too!).


The same effect (drawing the eye down, narrowing the top) is achieved in the following sweater too, the lovely Metro. The difference here is that the addition of a narrow, deep neckline narrows Jackie’s entire torso. Doesn’t she look great? (Also! Wouldn’t it be fantastic if all of our sweaters made us feel this way?)


Finally, the same lines (again) in my favorite sweater Jackie has knit, a modified version of my New Towne cardigan. Over the original, Jackie added length and shortened the sleeves to create that same narrow-top-and-broader-bottom look.

I love these sweaters for lots of reasons–they’re hand knit, they’re superbly knit, they obviously make Jackie feel great–but even more than those, I love them because they’re a great example of how the lines of the clothing are so much more important than the style. The first sweater is totally mod and bold; the second, a very preppy look (perfect for the country weekend she was enjoying); the third, a more polished version of a kid-friendly day-to-day routine.

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Different styles, same great effect on the figure.

I hope you enjoy seeing someone else’s shape on the blog! (If you’d like to participate in Fashion Fridays, please let me know.) Do you have lines and wardrobe elements you come back to again and again, regardless of “style”?

8 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Top-heavy sweaters

  1. That New Towne photo is so amazing. It took me a moment to recognize, wait hey, I’ve *met* that person, because my first thought was, Amy’s budget now covers “supermodel”?

  2. Yes I have favorite garments, but I didn’t know why until I read your posts !
    I now realize that every time my husband finds me beautiful, I’m wearing one of those : garments who fits my bottom heavy, busted figure !
    Thank you Amy…

  3. Doesn’t she look fantastic, Andromeda? My “budget” covers supermodels, only because we are all as beautiful as they are…

    And Eve, I love those moments!

  4. Would love to see suggestions for a narrow-shouldered, small-busted, short-waisted, bottom-heavy figure. I find waist shaping helps, and keeping the length long. Raglan or saddle shoulders help with the fact that my shoulders are so narrow. It would be great to get your ideas.

  5. Great request, Nancy! Will definitely try this for a future week.

  6. I love your body phylosophy! I just happen to have a similar body type to Jackie so this post was very helpful to me 🙂

  7. Thanks for posting this, but any chance you could show a few more pullover (non-cardigan) options? Or a cardigan that buttons up? I just can’t get into these open cardigans. Also, any tips for someone who is broad shouldered, flat-chested and rather high-waisted? My problem is that if I accent my natural waist too much, it can just emphasize that I’m all shoulders and no bust and the rest of my body can look rather out of proportion. Thus, I’ve had sales people and even a professional stylist want me to try empire-waist dresses, until they see the dress on me, at which point they realize how awful it looks.

  8. So glad it was helpful, Andrea–Evie, I’ll definitely try to go here!

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