Summer Styles for Curvy Bodies

Full-figured fashionista Ashley Falcon reveals her picks for surviving hot weather — without sacrificing style.

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The Perfect Shorts

Short-shorts aren't just criminally unflattering on big girls, they're also painful thanks to "chub rub." And while Bermuda shorts are usually a safe bet, they can make shorter women look bottom heavy. Instead, opt for a pair no more than three or four inches above the knees and stick with a basic, sturdy fabric like denim, which pairs with just about anything.

SHORTS $16.90, Avenue; avenue.com.
Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Basic Tees

You get what you pay for when it comes to tees: Cheaper fabrics don't wash well and quickly lose their shape. Look for short-sleeve shirts (no cap sleeves, which cut the arms at their widest point) in a thick, soft cotton or cotton-spandex blend. Scoop necks are always attractive on women with serious busts. I practically hoard black and gray tees, my old standbys season after season.

TOPS $19.50 each, Gap; gap.com.
Ben Goldstein/Studio D

A Thick-Strapped Tank Top

Too often, full-figured women assume they can't (or shouldn't) wear sleeveless, that flashing jiggly arms might clear the shores faster than a shark sighting. Get over it already! The right tank top can be supremely stylish when embellished with beads or paired with a chunky necklace. Keep in mind: Wide straps camouflage a heavy-duty bra; spaghetti straps just won't cut it.

TANKS $9.90 each, Avenue; avenue.com.
Ben Goldstein/Studio D

A Cotton Dress

Look for dresses defined at the waist (with either a belt or seaming) that hit at or close to the knees. Strong A-lines and empire cuts can make you look like you just graduated from the second grade or, worse, your second trimester. I live for shirtdresses, which always look sophisticated when paired with a wedge sandal and an armload of bracelets.

DRESS $98, Igigi; igigi.com.
Ben Goldstein/Studio D

A Pencil Skirt

My all-season mainstay. For summer, I own several in light fabrics that adapt well for both work and play. My advice: Sit down in a skirt before buying it. There's nothing becoming about a woman, regardless of her size, tugging at her hem all night. And step away from long, floor-sweeping numbers better suited for an Amish bake sale than a night out with the gals. Stick with knee-length, or thereabouts.

SKIRT $59.50, mangoshop.com.
Ben Goldstein/Studio D
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